Cuadrilla’s Preston Road fracking website is seen close to Blackpool, Britain, October 22, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

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LONDON, Sept 23 (Reuters) – Britain has formally lifted a moratorium on fracking for shale gas in England that has been in place since 2019, saying strengthening the nation’s power provide was an “absolute priority”. learn extra

Below outlines why the federal government is looking for to construct a gas fracking business and the questions that stay.


Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, entails drilling into the earth and injecting water and chemical compounds at excessive strain to interrupt rocks and launch the gas trapped inside.

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Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine European gas costs have surged to file highs and Britain is subsidising payments for households and companies at a predicted price of greater than 100 billion kilos ($110.4 billion).

Britain is closely reliant on pure gas, which is able to take years to cut back. Gas heats round 80% of the nation’s houses and on some days it may be used to generate nearly 50% of the nation’s electrical energy.

The authorities is looking for to extend home gas manufacturing, which has been in decline, to cut back its reliance on imports. The business physique Offshore Energies UK says that with out new funding, Britain must import round 80% of its gas by 2030, up from round 60% now. learn extra


Scientists say this is nonetheless unclear. Since solely few check wells have been drilled, there aren’t any estimates of confirmed reserves to confidently predict how a lot shale gas could be technically and economically viable to extract by fracking.

The authorities has stated that the one technique to assess this is to permit drilling to start out.

“Lifting the pause… will enable drilling to gather this further data, building an understanding of UK shale gas resources and how we can safely carry out shale gas extraction in the UK,” an announcement from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) stated on Thursday.


Injecting fluids at excessive strain may cause earth tremors, whereas individuals within the communities affected are additionally involved concerning the affect on the panorama, tourism and agriculture.

Shale gas is additionally a fossil gas and campaigners say that extracting extra fossil fuels goes in opposition to the nation’s goal to achieve web zero emissions by 2050. It additionally makes use of a considerable amount of water and environmental teams have raised fears over attainable groundwater contamination.

A BEIS public perspective tracker, which makes use of random sampling, in Autumn 2021 confirmed opposition to fracking far outweighs assist, with simply 4% supporting the apply and 45% opposing it.


More than 100 exploration and drilling licences have been awarded to a number of firms together with Cuadrilla, Third Energy, IGas, Aurora Energy Resources and Ineos.

Cuadrilla, 96% owned by Australia’s AJ Lucas (AJL.AX), was the one certainly one of these companies to obtain consent to start fracking.

It discovered a pure gas useful resource at its website in northwest England in 2019, however the guidelines round earth tremors meant its operations needed to maintain stopping, which means that neither of its two wells could possibly be absolutely stream-examined.


Onshore gas fracking is commonplace within the United States, the place it has helped to drive down the price of gas, however the apply stays banned in lots of European nations, akin to Germany and France, whereas few European nations are believed to have appropriate shale gas geology for the expertise.


Not within the brief time period and questions stay over how a lot gas can really be extracted. Even if massive quantities are recovered the worth of this gas would nonetheless be topic to international costs.

British Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng stated in March when he was Business and Energy secretary gas fracking wouldn’t result in decrease British gas costs. “With the most effective will on the planet, personal firms aren’t going to promote the shale gas they produce to UK shoppers under the market worth,” he tweeted.

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Reporting by Susanna Twidale, Editing by Louise Heavens

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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