The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has confirmed the nine companies that have applied to explore for shale gas at 19 sites, each covering 100 square kilometres in central Scotland. This followed a freedom of information request from the investigative journalism site ‘The Ferret.’ Many of these sites are heavily populated as can be seen from the map here. DECC has not named the companies for commercial reasons, but they are thought to include the chemicals firm INEOS, IGAS and GDF Suez with the first two currently holding licenses in the area.
The outcomes of the applications are not yet known, with the process being delayed as new devolved planning powers for Scotland come into force. In January, Scottish Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing, announced that there is to be a moratorium on unconventional oil and gas developments in Scotland. This will look into the evidence base for decision making for the process.
That process does not prevent energy firms from carrying out scientific and test drilling. Industry executives say privately the moratorium will not significantly delay or impact on their fracking plans as it will take several years to finalise their proposals.