Shale Round takes shape
By Roy Pinnock
The government has published the application criteria for the 14th Onshore Petroleum Exploration Development Licence (PEDL) Round, accompanied by new planning practice guidance (‘Planning for hydrocarbon extraction’) for use with applications. There are some surprises in the PEDL materials, which significantly increase the need for planning and environmental input at the PEDL licensing stage. While the planning practice guidance offers nothing new, it is a large political signpost away from National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty until the next general election.
The PEDL regime is the bidding process for companies seeking licences to explore for onshore oil and gas under the Petroleum Act 1998. The licence terms for the 14th PEDL Round have been tailored to reflect the approach to ‘unconventional’ oil and gas exploration, including ‘drill or drop’ provisions (extinguishing the licence if progress has not been made to implement it) and licences that enable multiple operators to carry out initial exploration. The PEDL application criteria now published by the Department for Energy and Climate Change set out the financial hygiene, competence and governance requirements for licence awards…
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