UK vows to have shale gas flowing within six months as Liz Trust lifts fracking ban

Liz Truss, after lifting the ban on Fracking, has promised to bring shale gas out of Britain by spring next year.

The Prime Minister has pledged to increase supplies by increasing domestic oil and gas extraction and the development of nuclear power and other renewable power sources as part of Britain’s plans to become energy independent again by 2040.

She stated that this would see the moratorium against fracking, which has been in place since 2019, lifted with immediate effect. This will allow developers to start extraction as soon as six months in areas where there is local support.

The Government will make available more than 100 additional licences for oil-and-gas extraction in North Sea waters starting next week.

These changes could take many years to bear fruit but they will not affect supplies this winter.

They are intended to help Britain become a net exporter of energy by 2040. This is in addition to plans Boris Johnson has already announced to build 24 gigawatts of nuclear power capacity by 2050 and new offshore wind farms.

Ms Truss stated that the drastic shake-up was needed after “decades” of short-term thinking, which left the country vulnerable to rising energy prices due to Russia’s invasion.

Since 2004, the UK has been a net exporter of energy. The country’s North Sea-depleted reserves have not met more than 50% of its consumption.

David Cameron’s administration originally promoted Fracking as a way of increasing domestic production after the British Geological Survey had estimated that approximately 1,300 trillion cubic yards of gas could be under the UK.

Even if only a tenth of this amount is extracted it could be enough to meet the UK’s gas requirements for many decades.

Fracking, the method used to extract shale gases, was first developed in the US. However, it was banned in England in 2003 on safety grounds. Cuadrilla had caused stronger earth tremors than expected in Lancashire.

Kwasi Kwarteng was the former business secretary whom Ms Truss appointed her Chancellor. She announced earlier this year that she would be reviewing the moratorium.

The resumption of Fracking will likely cause a major dispute with green campaigners who previously promised legal action against any attempt at resuming the practice.

Jacob Rees Mogg, the new Business Secretary, stated that the invasion of Ukraine by Russian President Vladimir Putin had “exposed Britain’s need to strengthen Britain’s energy security for national good”.

He stated that the changes along with other long-term reforms would “resolve underlying problems in the energy market and ensure British citizens have affordable and abundant energy in the future”.

Ministers have taken other measures to boost power supplies, including keeping power stations on standby to assist with power shortages.

The Government pledged Thursday that it would make fundamental changes to the UK’s energy market in addition to expanding fossil fuel extraction.

Renewable power generators will be subject to curbs due to the large profits they make from the spike in electricity prices following the Ukraine war.

Madelaine McTernan (ex-director general of the vaccine task force) will lead a new task force that will negotiate long-term contracts for renewable electricity generators. This will help to lower household bills and cap their earnings.

Historic arrangements allow wind and solar farms that were built before 2014 to sell electricity at market rates and receive government subsidies.

As electricity prices have risen this year, generators have been able to make huge profits. Because solar and wind don’t buy fuel to produce power, costs have not increased in line with electricity prices.

According to the BBC, after meeting with officials, renewable energy producers agreed in principle to accept long-term contracts at fixed rates well below current rates.

Ms Truss’s changes will increase the energy supply, but they are likely to provoke a fight with green campaigners who claim that North Sea drilling is inconsistent with the country’s “net zero” commitments.

Greenpeace previously warned that it would challenge any further oil or gas licenses being granted by the courts.

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