Fracking bosses call for ban on projects to be lifted to ease crisis

Fracking bosses call for ban on projects to be lifted in bid to help ease energy crisis for families facing spiralling gas bills

  • Fracking bosses slammed the Government’s ‘perverse’ double standards 
  • It came as Britain continues to battle an energy and cost of living crisis 
  • A moratorium on fracking for natural gas has been in place since 2019 after drilling triggered tremors that exceeded a regulator’s limit

Fracking bosses have slammed the Government’s ‘perverse’ double standards as Britain battles the energy crisis.

The accusation comes as the only company to ever drill shale wells in the UK, Cuadrilla, revealed last week it has been ordered to plug and abandon its sites.

A moratorium on fracking for natural gas has been in place since 2019 after drilling triggered tremors that exceeded a regulator’s limit. 

But industry executives have called the decision ‘purely political’, pointing to the fact that geothermal projects that can cause bigger earthquakes have since been allowed to go ahead.

Energy company Cuadrilla was told by the Government’s Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) to seal two horizontal shale wells drilled near Blackpool (pictured)

The row has intensified as spiralling wholesale gas prices have piled pressure on household bills while the UK has become more dependent on foreign imports. Yesterday it emerged more than 30 Conservative MPs and peers – including former Brexit negotiator Lord Frost – have written to Boris Johnson urging him to lift the fracking ban.

In a letter to the Business Department, seen by the Daily Mail, fracking licence holder Aurora Energy Resources called the Government’s approach to different industries as ‘discriminatory’. 

The company also said it was ‘unsure’ whether the Business Department ‘has within its team sufficient expertise to meaningfully respond to the issues we have raised’.

Fracking involves pumping a mixture of sand, water and chemicals into the earth to crack shale rock and release trapped gas.

Aurora highlighted seismic events at a geothermal energy site in Cornwall where 19 quakes that would have surpassed fracking limits were recorded between August 2020 and February 2021. 

Aurora claims modelling for the project says it could cause quakes of up to 5.0. The Business Department said it did not regulate geothermal projects.

Cuadrilla last fracked in Lancashire in 2018 and 2019. It was ordered to stop work after a 2.9 magnitude quake.

Environmentalists welcomed the decision to cut ties with fracking in the UK. Pictured: Anti-fracking protesters demonstrate outside Lancashire County Hall in 2015

Aurora chief executive Ian Roche said: ‘The continued ban on hydraulic fracturing for shale gas has been shown to be driven solely by politics and not by science.

‘The development of the UK’s shale gas resources would increase security of supply, offset expensive imports, create jobs in northern England and provide much-needed tax revenues. 

‘The failure to recognise… the importance of natural gas in both the current and future energy mix and putting UK consumers at the mercy of expensive imports, when domestic solutions exist, is a political failure.’

An industry source told the Mail: ‘If it was genuinely about seismicity then everyone would have to play by the same rules. The economic case is there, the environmental case is there – politicians are just spineless on this issue.’

A study has claimed the UK is sitting on an estimated 1,300trillion cubic feet of shale gas, which could cover supply for 50 years. Others dispute this, estimating there is 80 per cent less shale gas below the UK than first thought, and it would last only ten years.

The Business Department said: ‘We ended support for fracking on the basis of scientific evidence, showing it is not currently possible to accurately predict the probability and size of tremors associated with fracking. Shale gas remains unproven as a resource in the UK.’

Thousands of people in London were left without electricity last night as a National Grid fault hit homes in Stanmore, Harrow, Wembley and Borehamwood. 

Most had power restored by late evening. 

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