Under Section 4A of the Petroleum Act 1998 (inserted by Section 50 of the Infrastructure Act 2015), operators who wish to conduct associated hydraulic fracturing must apply for a Hydraulic Fracturing Consent from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Hydraulic Fracturing Consent was introduced in the Infrastructure Act 2015 as an additional step to the existing regulatory and permitting regime. However, it does not apply to wells drilled before the 2015 Act came to force and these are not captured by the requirement to seek a Hydraulic Fracturing Consent.
This Direction ensures that the same approach for consent is taken for all relevant hydraulic fracturing operations, including where the associated well was drilled prior to the 2015 Act coming into force. For these operations, operators will be expected to meet the same set of standards as required to obtain Hydraulic Fracturing Consent, laid out in the Infrastructure Act 2015.