Fracking gets U.K. approval in effort to go ‘all out for shale’

Fracking gets U.K. approval in effort to go ‘all out for shale’

Britain has begun to accept bids for licences to explore for shale gas in more than half the country, three years after putting a stop to hydraulic fracturing because of the fracking technique’s links to earth tremors…read full story here.

Key Points:

  • The British government opened a round of licensing Monday (July 28), 2014), after Prime Minister David Cameron said his government is “going all out for shale” in an effort to boost Britain’s energy self-sufficiency.
  • The licences are the first step in the exploration process but do not give outright permission to drill.
  • Oil and gas exploration companies must also obtain planning permission, environmental permits, and health and safety approvals before they can receive final go-ahead to drill in Britain, a process that means it could be five to 10 years before new drilling goes ahead.
  • “Ultimately, done right, speeding up shale will mean more jobs and opportunities for people and help ensure long-term economic and energy security for our country,” said Business and Energy Minister Matthew Hancock.
  • National parks and other important sites will be protected except in “exceptional circumstances.”
  • Three years ago, the government put hydraulic fracturing on hiatus, after two seismic earthquakes near Blackpool in northern England were caused by fracking.
  • Britain’s large environmental lobby has protested the technology
  • The British government hopes development of shale gas can curb its growing dependence on imports and help replace revenues from oil in the North Sea basin that is dwindling.
  • Recently, the British Geological Survey put the shale gas resource at 1,300 trillion cubic feet, but there is little incentive for British landowners to allow exploration on their properties as they are not guaranteed a share of the findings.