Gas fracking ban lifted in England for energy independence

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  • UK pushing to increase domestic energy supply
  • Moratorium is applicable from 2019
  • More research needed to assess risk of shock
  • Challenges remain in predicting impact, says BGS survey

LONDON, Sep 22 (Reuters) – Britain on Thursday formally lifted a moratorium on fracking for shale gas in England that has been in place since 2019, saying strengthening the country’s energy supply was a There was “absolute priority”.

Energy prices in Europe have soared after Russia invaded Ukraine, and Britain is subsidizing bills for homes and businesses at an estimated cost of more than £100 billion ($113 billion).

New Prime Minister Liz Truss said earlier this month that fracking – breaking down shale gas from rocks to be allowed to be removed – where it was supported by communities.

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Business and Energy Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said on Thursday that all sources of energy need to be explored to increase domestic production, “so it is fitting that we have removed the pause to realize any potential sources of domestic gas.” Have given”.

Fracking, which has been opposed by environmental groups and some local communities, was banned after the industry regulator said it was not possible to estimate the magnitude of the earthquake that might trigger it.

However, Rees-Mogg said the exercise was “safe”, and the extent of seismic activity should be re-evaluated so that it can take place “in an effective and efficient manner”. read more

Cuadrilla, 96% owned by AJ Lucas of Australia (ajl.ax)Britain had the most advanced fracking wells and found a natural gas resource, but earth shock regulations meant that its operation had to be halted, meaning neither of its two wells could be fully flow-tested. could.

The company welcomed the decision and said it was committed to returning a portion of any shale gas revenue to local communities.

“The removal of the moratorium will help the shale industry to unlock substantial amounts of UK onshore natural gas, enough to meet the UK’s needs for decades to come,” said Cuadrilla CEO Francis Egan.

Chemicals and energy giant INEOS, which holds several British shale gas exploration licences, said the government should view shale gas development as a “national infrastructure priority”.

Experts say restarting the industry will do nothing to drive down energy prices this winter, however, the industry will take years to develop and it is unclear whether significant amounts of gas will be extracted. can. read more

Andrew Aplin, Honorary Professor at Durham University, said: “Even if the risks prove manageable and acceptable, shale gas will only have a significant impact on UK supplies if thousands of successful wells are drilled over the next decade. ” ,

Fracking will continue to be banned in Scotland or Wales, their developed governments have said.

tremors

A report requested by the government and published by the British Geological Survey (BGS) on Thursday said that since very little fracking has occurred in the country, it remains “challenging” to estimate its seismic impact.

The largest earthquake caused by fracking occurred in 2011 at the site of Cuadrilla in Blackpool, northern England, recording a magnitude of 2.3, which residents said woke them up at night.

Subsequently, the government introduced a traffic-light system, which suspended work when seismic activity of 0.5 or greater on the Richter scale was detected.

BGS stated that the threshold was the most conservative in any region where fracking has occurred, with some states in the United States where fracking is common, with a magnitude 4 threshold.

Rees-Mogg stated that activity of 2.5 and under occurs “millions of times a year around the world”, adding that the limits of grassroots movement for the construction industry were twice the limits achieved by fracking in England. .

The government said allowing drilling to resume would generate data to understand how shale gas can be extracted safely if there is local support.

It also reaffirmed its support for a new oil and gas licensing round, which is expected to be initiated by the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) in early October.

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Reporting by Paul Sandle and Susanna Twidel Editing by William James and Mark Potter, Kirsten Donovan

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principals.

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