To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, how many seismologists and geologists are employed by her Department; what advice her Department sought from seismologists and geologists on fracking in Lancashire and East Sussex; what the cost of this advice was; and if she will publish the advice she received from external services.
The Oil and Gas Authority, which became an Executive Agency of DECC on 1 April 2015, currently employs 11 geoscientists. One of the 11 geological posts is dedicated to UK onshore oil and gas activity.
Following seismic tremors experienced in 2011 after shale gas hydraulic fracturing near Blackpool, the well operator carried out geomechanical studies to determine the cause. To assist DECC in evaluating these, DECC asked three experts in the fields of seismology, induced seismicity and hydraulic fracturing to make an independent assessment of the studies. The cost of employing these three experts to undertake this work was £28,000. Results of the analysis, published in 2012, can be found on the Government website via the following link: