Green MEP Keith Taylor, who has called for a moratorium on oil and gas drilling in Surrey following an unprecedented swarm of earthquakes in the region, has responded to the publication of an Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) report claiming no link between the seismic activity and nearby oil and gas drilling activity.
The senior Green politician points out that the report does not represent the scientific consensus - even among those who attended the workshop upon which it was based - and that the primary aim of the OGA is to facilitate oil and gas drilling across the country, in line with the government's fossil fuel push.
An independent investigation of the same data analysed in the OGA report by Edinburgh University came to the opposite conclusion, that the earthquakes are induced by exploration activity, and Edinburgh has produced a hypothesis which shows how Horse Hill well could have triggered the earthquakes.
Mr Taylor said:
“The OGA’s findings do not represent a scientific consensus. Some independent experts have assessed the same available data and reached a very different conclusion; finding that human activity was likely to be linked to the unprecedented seismic activity in Surrey. The OGA exists to promote and facilitate oil and gas drilling; their conclusion, and certainty with which they present it, may be disappointing but it is hardly surprising.
“Oil and gas firms are desperate to continue their climate-destructive operations unimpeded by concerns over their seismic impact. But, however much the oil and gas industry may wish to sweep them away, questions about the links between the Surrey earthquake swarm and oil and gas drilling in the region still loom large.
“While those questions remain unanswered, I will continue to support experts’ calls for a moratorium on all oil and gas drilling in the area.
“The case for employing the precautionary principle is obvious. That we have witnessed unprecedented seismic activity in an area where unconventional fossil fuel drilling sites are active is, clearly, extremely concerning. Until the experts are able to form a consensus on the possible cause, a moratorium remains the most sensible course of action for all involved.”