UK government lifts fracking ban in bet on shale gas revolution

Jacob Rees Mogg has lifted the ban on fracking within Britain’s countryside, amid a scramble for domestic energy supplies.

According to the Business Secretary, the country must “explore all avenues” and he confirmed plans to issue new North Sea oil and gas licenses.

Boris Johnson declared a moratorium against fracking in 2019, amid concerns that the process, which uses high-pressure water to crack open rock, could cause damaging earth tremors.

Ministers believe that the reverse will lead to a surge in production of shale, which could power Britain for many decades.

This means that fracking will be allowed to resume in areas where extraction firms have planning permission and environmental approval.

Mr Rees Mogg stated: “In light of Putin’s illegal invasion and weaponization of energy, strengthening energy security is an absolute priority and – as the Prime Minister stated – we will ensure that the UK is a net exporter of energy by 2040.

“To reach there, we will need to investigate all avenues through solar, wind and oil and gas production. It’s right that the pause has been lifted to realize any potential sources for domestic gas.”

Prime Minister Liz Truss wants the UK to be a net exporter of energy by 2040. This is in response to a renewed focus on energy security following Russia’s cut to gas supplies to Europe. Inflation reached levels not seen in decades.

Fracking is the process of drilling deep underground to extract gas trapped between rocks and sand. It is used widely in the US and other countries, but it was still in its infancy when only three wells were drilled in the UK.

Kwasi Kwarteng is the former business secretary and now Chancellor. In April, he asked the British Geological Survey for a review of the evidence regarding earthquake risk. This review was also published today.

It found that earthquake prediction “remains a scientific challenge for geoscience communities” and that the structural geology of the Bowland Basin is complex, which is the focal point of frackers’ activities.

Rees-Mogg also stated that he would review the permissible level of seismic activity at fracking sites. The industry has claimed that current thresholds are unjust and hinder the industry.

This is the first round of North Sea licensing since 2020. There will be more than 100 new licenses available.

As new North Sea fields take time and the potential scale of fracking is unknown, neither fracking nor the new licensing rounds are expected to have an immediate impact on gas prices.

Sceptics claim that the UK is too crowded to allow the fracking industry in the UK to flourish, considering the number of wells required.

According to the Government, it is also increasing lower-carbon energy like nuclear and wind power. However, there will still be a demand for oil and natural gas in the future.

The statement continued: “Making the best of our domestic resources under the North Sea will make it less dependent on foreign imports.”

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