Local Air Quality issues are regulated by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and the local planning authority.
Given that methane is what we want to sell, all our designs are geared towards its capture. Methane is also significantly more harmful to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.
During early test wells any gases that are produced by the wells, including methane, are flared to ensure total destruction of those gases. This will be for a very small period of time. Flares used in the UK adopt an enclosed design so as to minimise light and noise pollution and ensure good combustion. This type of flaring is regulated by SEPA through the EU Mining Waste Directive and where applicable the EU Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) and will be closely monitored to ensure that there is no significant impact on air quality.
For production sites, no flaring is allowed (only for emergency safety purposes). The industry will use ‘green completions’ (flare-less completions) based on industry best practice, to reduce the emissions of gases into the air. This involves using specialist equipment to collect and separate the initial flow of water, sand and gas, so the gas can be put to good use.
When gas is produced locally, the Scottish Government’s powers over environmental matters may allow it some positive influence over the introduction of, for example, measures such as CCS.Royal Society of Edinburgh, June 2015