The UK government has lifted a moratorium on shale natural gas production by hydraulic fracturing in order to “strengthen energy security” of the country. government website on Thursday, September 22.
The UK government has lifted the moratorium on shale gas production in England and reaffirmed its support for a new oil and gas license round. Authorities expect to issue more than 100 licenses to greenfield developers, after which they will need to obtain mining permits from local authorities and regulators.
“In light of the illegal Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and weaponization of energy, strengthening our energy security is an absolute priority. We will need to explore all available options, so it is only right that we lift the moratorium in order to realize any potential sources of domestic gas,” the government stressed.
“Lifting the moratorium will help the shale industry unlock UK natural gas in quantities sufficient to meet UK needs in the coming decades,” Cuadrilla, which owns the largest production wells in the country, welcomed the government’s decision.
Gas production by hydraulic fracturing has been banned since 2019
The hydraulic fracturing method for gas production was forbidden in the UK since 2019 due to the threat of earthquakes. Environmental activists are also against fracking, including because of the possibility of water contamination with toxic chemical compounds.
Experts interviewed by Reuters doubted lifting the moratorium would help lower energy prices this winter as the industry will take many years to develop.
“Even if the risks turn out to be 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,” Durham University professor Andrew Aplin told the agency.