Politics

Minister to “consider next steps” on fracking

The business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, has said he is preparing to consider the next steps on fracking.

Kwasi Kwarteng, 23 June 2022. Photo: BEIS

In a speech at Chatham House in London yesterday, he said the government had always “been clear” that shale gas “could be part” of the UK’s future energy mix.

The results of a review of the science of fracking by the British Geological Survey is expected within days.

Mr Kwarteng told the Second Century London Conference:

“They will report back to me next week, and I will consider the next steps.”

Fracking in England is currently prevented by a moratorium imposed since November 2019. This followed fracking-induced earthquakes at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site.

Mr Kwarteng said:

“We have always been clear that shale gas could be part of our future energy mix, but we need to be led by the science and above all we need to have the support, the ongoing support of local communities.”

He also explained the reason for the review:

“earlier this year, when Russian tanks rolled into eastern Ukraine, of course the whole world changed.

“That’s why, after much reflection, I asked the British Geological Survey to look again at the science around shale gas extraction in England.”

Steve Mason, of the campaign network Frack Free United, responded to Mr Kwarteng’s comments:

“I truly thought I’d never say this, but the news that fracking in the UK may be considered seriously is bonkers.

“The only positive of this is that rested communities will come together again and rise up across the 200  constituencies affected by licences.

“The negatives? There’s to many to list but the return of conflict and division will not be welcomed.

“We as a country will be tumbling backwards into the arms of fossil fuels. The transition to renewables has started, and is gaining pace.  Putting the brakes on now is reckless and foolhardy for our country,  communities and climate change.”

No fracking permissions

Earlier this week, the shale gas industry urged the government to lift the moratorium and “facilitate shale gas development”.

But if Mr Kwarteng were to end the moratorium, fracking is unlikely to start quickly.

There are currently no sites in England with consent for fracking.

Planning permission for drilling and fracking at Preston New Road expired on 30 November 2019.

In February 2022, Cuadrilla was ordered to plug and abandon the site’s horizontal wells. But the instruction from the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) was withdrawn several weeks later. Cuadrilla now has until June 2023 to “evaluate options” for Preston New Road and also its nearby gas site at Elswick.

Earlier this month, two shale gas schemes, which did not include fracking, were refused planning permission by ministers. A decision on the projects at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire (IGas) and Woodsetts in south Yorkshire (Ineos) followed two public inquiries and had been expected in April 2020.

The site in North Yorkshire, due to be fracked in 2107, is now owned by a renewables company. Planning consent to frack the KM8 well at Kirby Misperton has expired and the well is now part of a trial for geothermal energy.

Permission for shale gas exploration lapsed last year without any work being carried out at another two Ineos sites in the villages of Marsh Lane in Derbyshire and Harthill in south Yorkshire.

The organisation representing the shale gas industry, UKOOG, has called for sites to be defined as nationally significant infrastructure. This would take decisions away from local authorities and give them to planning inspectors and ministers. The proposal, previously Conservative policy, was dropped in November 2019 at part of the announcement on a moratorium in England.

24 replies »

  1. Quick step!

    Another 10 from me.

    There are many locals who are suffering energy poverty right now. Surprising what some will support if the economics make it worthwhile. After all it took over £100k net profit guaranteed per year per wind turbine and then what had been reluctance turned into a stampede. Landowners who would “never have one of those beep beep beep things” on their land suddenly saw the light. Shame it didn’t do anything but add a green levy to others. I suspect many would like a great fracking discount to counter the green surcharge, especially when they realize there is £160B to be added to energy bills to fund the nuclear to put the reliable sticker back on the renewables. However, the cheap sticker can be covered over.

    • MARTIN ,

      When taking note of the STEEP decline in property values for people living within the 10km boundary…… The 25% off GAS bills offered to locals by the Fracking industry , will seem like PEANUTS.

      Locals will also have to consider the increase risk to their health from things like Cancer and Asthma.

      Taking note of the above , I can’t see 25% off GAS bills being a winner , can you ???????)

      If you dispute anything I have said , please say . I will be delighted to fill this forum page with evidence from ” experts.”
      .

  2. Yes, I dispute. And don’t bother with your “experts”, they have already been used up trying to imply that Chesapeake Energy are not successful, which even a child could easily identify as fake news. Seems there are a lot of experts in fake news.

    If you are allowed to come to the UK Jack you might see that there is no steep decline in property values near oil and gas facilities. Indeed, property values around Europe’s largest on shore oil field are sky high! Ignore Salisbury Cathedral spire-it is 123m high-and visit Wytch Farm. All nice and tranquil but very high property prices. That is because UK has high standards.

    And, locals do not seem too concerned about property prices near electricity pylons with their health risks.

    You may not be aware, Jack, but there are millions in the UK who would quite like cheaper property values! Especially, if they moved into an area with cheaper property values AND achieved a lower energy bill.

    How many miles away from nuclear until property prices are not impacted? Based upon Chernobyl, quite a few HUNDRED miles.

    Yes, I can see 25% a winner. Some who can’t eat could do so with 25%. It obviously looks like a winner, as that is the only time that you are out of your back seat and doing your thing, like the cuckoo signals Spring.

    • HAHA MARTIN ,

      Oh dear , here we go again.

      It seems that you enjoy Jack endlessly repeating the same for YOU .

      OK , just for you MARTIN

      Regarding Chesapeake Energy , I said , quote

      During ” normal ” oil prices Chesapeake Energy was a HUGE debt ridden, toxic, white elephant . With unsupportable debts of $9 BILLION …

      https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jun/29/chesapeake-energy-fracking-pioneer-files-for-bankruptcy-owing-9bn

      Now at the moment during the current conflict with Russia, the very costly process of Fracking in the USA may be able to keep its head above the water line but then so can anyone in the Oil and Gas industry.

      I could extract Oil from discarded human toenails and become an overnight success during these uncertain times.

      BUT , what the forum members need to consider is this ….. What happens when this war is over and the price of Oil and Gas stabilize again??????? What happens as the world moves away from Fossil fuels .

      The answer for the Fracking industry is simple…………HUGE DEBTS , BANKRUPTCIES, and costly toxic legacies will be left for the ” good old taxpayers “, financial institutions, banks and pension funds to shoulder.

      Just look at American shale debt over 15 years .

      https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/US-Shale-Has-Lost-300-Billion-In-15-Years.html

  3. So much misleading fracking information has been bandied about recently. The claims made by industry and some supporters to push for fracking do not stand up to scrutiny. The fact is fracking will not make the U.K. self sufficient and fracking is not going to lower anyone’s bills anytime soon. Fracking is years away from potential production and an unproven industry.
    I can’t see many communities willing to put up with fracking. The constant need to drill and frack, traffic, noise, seismicity and pollution.
    Cuadrilla’s own figures when fact checked by Dr Simon Evans of Carbon Brief, would mean drilling and fracking circa 20,500 wells! This is the reality of fracking that people should keep in mind. The meaningless pledges to discount bills, the industry is unproven and likely a decade away so won’t help lower bills anytime soon, if at all and the scale of the industry.
    Fracking would be a backwards, ill thought through, step by the government and those that have opposed it for years will fight again. And once the wider population is reminded of the true facts opposition to fracking will grow. Because whilst we are all suffering this energy crisis and harsh economic conditions fracking is not the solution.

  4. KatT:

    Fracking in UK would only be part of an energy mix. I do not see why you focus upon what would be required to supply the UK. Wind will not, sun will not, but as part of an energy mix they were still developed.

    I think you may find that many more people, currently suffering fuel poverty, because previous Governments did not plan ahead would quite welcome one that now did so.

    Who knows? If the Glencore CCS scheme in Australia with a coal fired power station is a success, then there is also all that coal stored in UK!

    Jack.

    The same script rehashed! I think you will find other countries tried to exploit the “very costly fracking” in USA, only to find it isn’t! Maybe more costly than some other developments-but you have posted against those as well [edited by moderator]

    Just own up, Jack, you use fossil fuel but have a remit to try and stop others being able to decide who also use, what their supply is. Good luck with that, but you will find they will decide when they have seen the reality regarding Chesapeake Energy, not your desperate attempts to conflate difficulties during the pandemic with current circumstances. You might even expect a high number of people were employed in hospitality and are intelligent enough to see what happens when there is a market and when there isn’t. It really is that simple Jack, nothing to do with toe nails, and an insult to the many thousands who had direct experience of when their market disappeared during the pandemic.

    What happens when the war is over? Then the oil and particularly gas prices will remain high, just like before the war started. Why do you think the oil/gas companies were smiling whilst the tambourines were shaken at COP 26 and the tame “experts” were talking about stranded assets?
    What you need to do, Jack, is find the experts who have no axe to grind and have a record of success with predictions. So, for inflation, that was Buffett, not the Fed. the BOE or the politicians. Yet, most took the predictions from those and in the process many tried to discredit Mr. Buffett. All sounds familiar, Jack? However, you go a step further and when the whole edifice has fallen you try and suggest it will be back to as you would like shortly! It will not Jack, and spending-at least-£160B of tax payers money in UK to produce electricity that will be expensive electricity, should be a clue that most should take note of.
    Rather than have a script that deals with circumstances for that script, maybe produce a script that deals with the circumstances as they are? I know that is called reality, but it is what most people are familiar with. I am not too old that I do not realise that is a taboo to the activist, but it would be quite refreshing to see the reality actually addressed by an anti, otherwise it looks as if the anti cause is just a safe space for activists. Sorry, Jack, it isn’t. I am still here.

    • Oh dear MARTIN ,

      More of your ” OPINIONS ” again..

      You are entitled to your own ” OPINION ” but that’s all it ever is , as you never back up your comments with any evidence.

      You say, I keep supplying the same , quote, ” script rehashed ” That is because you keep recycling your sane OPINIONS …. Therefore Jack has to keep supplying you with the EVIDENCE to prove that you’re wrong …

      I have to do it old chap , because it’s important forum member are aware what the ” experts ” are saying regarding the dangers of Fracking.

      YES , FRACKING is a costly, destructive , environmentally damaging climate changing, dangerous to human and animal health process that leaves future generations a toxic financial burden maintaining abandoned/orphaned wells.

      As far as COSTS go , due to the current situation around the world regarding energy supplies . I COULD at this present time extract Oil from toenails ( greenfly toenails ) and make my fortune…….. The fact that at this time, the huge white elephant , bankrupt ridden Fracking industry in the USA can at this time, hold its head above the waterline , it’s NOTHING to wrote home about .

      HAHA , thank you for the laughter…… So all the these organizations and ” experts ” that warn of the dangers of Fracking all have ” axes to grind ” do they ??????????

      Well do they ?????????

      Please say yes , it will give Jack another golden opportunity to fill this forum page with independent, reputable, indisputable evidence.

      [Edited by moderator]

      • [Edited by moderator]

        What about all the experts who support fracking, Jack, and are currently doing it and making it work and making a lot of money from it? The “experts” in horse drawn carriages were against motor vehicles, the experts in motor vehicles made them work, and smiled. The experts who made a lot of people buy diesel cars? What happened to them? They will have pocketed their fees and then kept out of the way of those who took their “expert” advice to find it was a nonsense environmentally and was then penalized financially. Maybe they became the “experts” who told people they should lease their roofs to solar power energy generation? The experts who were waffling about stranded assets just a few months ago? Oh, they are still being considered, by some, as experts, but sorry, they do not have my confidence. The experts who warned people not to be vaccinated against Covid? Those experts who pontificated that there would be no significant inflation, yet my haircut had risen from £10 to £15, and that was within a competitive market not a cartel? What happened to them? Oh yes, they are still there. Did I believe them? No. Am I likely to believe them again? No. .

        There are a lot of frackers who have been smiling for many years, including those on $60k/year washing dishes, that I informed you about some while ago and the source-not my opinion. You may not like it, but looking at the US rig numbers there are just more and more of them every week. You may also not like the old saying that states what happens this year in USA happens in UK a few years later. I noted today a news feed about a Hooters in UK, so there is some evidential support for you Jack!

        • MARTIN ,

          [Edited by moderator]

          YES , I’m sure there have been a lot of Frackers who as you say , ” have been smiling for many years ” in the USA …… The great American Fracking Ponzi scheme has been in full swing for many years now……

          Whilst the chosen few in the Fracking industry have been raking in the money …… Private and corporate investors, pension investment companies, banks and the good old American Tax Payer have been losing the shirt of their backs …

          Just look at American shale debt over 15 years .

          https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/US-Shale-Has-Lost-300-Billion-In-15-Years.html

          As for the ordinary citizens living in close proximity to Fracking sites , they’ve suffered poor health, noise and pollution I’m their communities…..I’d hardly call it a win, win for the ordinary folk .

          • [Edited by moderator]

            Win for the ordinary folk in USA? Well, Jack, I recently supplied you with a reference about the ordinary folk in Pecos, Texas, so not an opinion but a factual reference. So, don’t compound your mistake would be my advice, but will fall on deaf ears I suspect.

            • MARTIN ,

              Can you please supply this ” reference ” again so that I can respond accordingly .

              I do hope that when you use the term ” reference ” it’s more than just your , say so ……… With a ” reference ‘ I’m expecting to see a credible LINK to a professional organization.

              • Don’t be silly, Jack. I have given you the reference. You can read it.

                It happened to be from a series of articles written by James Dean, and featured in the Times. All discussed a long time ago, and more recently. You, as always, had issues. Why? Because there was a paywall! Sorry, Jack, that may exclude you but the information still exists. Exactly, the same limitation you had regarding the NT.

                I should advise you and others not to bother reading the series, it paints a very different picture of the reality and quite different to the nonsense repetition of “Ponzi scheme”.

                But, of course currently without all those US frackers drilling away-another increase in rigs last week-who would gain? Russia, and the Middle East! Well, the Middle East are quite happy with the situation as it is, Russia are not. So, I am for the quick step as those doing the fast legwork in the USA have a limit, and others do need to step up. The USA can not be relied upon going forward to be that “generous” if they feel their own interests are not served by using up their reserves. They already are trying to get out of curtailing cereals for ethanol as it would disadvantage their farmers, no matter that more cereal is required for food around the world without cereal from the Ukraine.

                So, the brave new world of the anti? Carry on growing cereals for ethanol whilst people starve because there is a shortage of cereals to keep them alive! Yet, they then talk about dangers to health from fossil fuel, even though life expectancy has increased dramatically since fossil fuels have been utilized.

                • OH DEAR MARTIN ,

                  So it’s back to make believe time is it ?????????

                  You’ve given NOTHING , which is why I am asking ……. Along with other forum members, we haven’t got a clue what your talking about..

                  ONCE AGAIN I WILL ASK

                  Can you please supply this ” reference ” again so that I can respond accordingly

                  I do hope that when you use the term ” reference ” it’s more than just your , say so ……… With a ” reference ‘ I’m expecting to see a credible LINK to a professional organization

                  [Edited by moderator]

                  AND YES MARTIN ,

                  FRACKING is one great PONZI scheme

                  https://electricalreview.co.uk/2019/09/10/a-fracking-great-ponzi-scheme/

                • MARTIN ,

                  IT’S YOU who has limited knowledge of the National Trust .

                  For fear of being edited by the moderator again , I will just say that YOU and YOU ALONE have not had a good word to say about the National Trust since they said a big fat NO to all things Fracking on their land , back in 2017.

                  WELL ,as the National Trust is the second largest land owner in the UK , many will work hard to make sure that their stance against Fracking continues.

                  Your entitled to your OPINIONS , but that’s all they ever are , because you NEVER back up what you say with any evidence.

                  Your OPINIONS have once again been duly noted

  5. So Kat T writes

    “The fact is fracking will not make the U.K. self sufficient and fracking is not going to lower anyone’s bills anytime soon”

    And Fred responds

    “Fracking in UK would only be part of an energy mix. I do not see why you focus upon what would be required to supply the UK”

    thus demonstrating that he hasn’t understood either what the industry he supports is claiming

    “He said the UK could be self-sufficient in shale gas using 0.003% of the land area.” (from Ruth’s committee report on 22 June)

    or what Kat T wrote or what “self-sufficient” means.

    Fred you don’t need an English A level to understand that being self-sufficient in shale gas simply means not relying on others (i.e. imports). It does not mean generating sufficient to satisfy total demand (“what would be required to supply the UK”) which would be about twice as much.

    Must try harder. γ-

  6. Oh dear, reaction.

    What a contrived load of nonsense. The energy mix within the UK is not a constant. You simply attempt, and fail, to use English to try and cover up your lack of knowledge around the maths. And all because your previous contrived use of English was quickly spotted to your chagrin. Perhaps give up watching the BBC if you are that easily lead into such habits?

    So, there is more UK energy coming/to come from wind, from sun and a LOT more from nuclear. There is even a prolonged use of coal that was not on the cards a few months ago. There will be more energy coming from the N.Sea from new exploration, as long as Rishi can keep the companies on side. So, what does self sufficiency mean? That is the whole point, reaction and you must try harder to keep up with it. Self sufficiency of a fuel which is defined as a “transition fuel” will, by definition, not be the same tomorrow as it is today. It does not mean there will not be a demand for it, and does require actions now to cater for the future. After all, why should shale gas be any different in that respect to nuclear where it takes around 30 years to bring on line?

    Carry on with your exercises in semantics, like the fantasy football managers do, with their adopted titles to create an alter ego, trying to demonstrate (oops) they know about the game. I prefer the reality of the actual events. At the end of the day it will be the actual events that dictate how much I pay and what I get.

    Sainsbury van just arrived. Must away. No Shiraz this week!

    • Fred – I honestly haven’t a clue what all that word salad was supposed to mean. 😂

      I mean take “Self sufficiency of a fuel which is defined as a “transition fuel” will, by definition, not be the same tomorrow as it is today. ”

      Mate, self-sufficiency is quite simply self sufficiency. Don’t try to obfuscate with paragraphs full of verbal spaghetti. You got caught out saying something ridiculous (again). Live with it x

  7. There is no point entering into a very expensive industry that doesn’t work…is basically a ponzi scheme!
    it will do nothing for the immediate enviroment and nothing for the world’s enviroment.
    Short term poluting industries are not the way forward we have to build for the future… as our governement should of done 40 years ago… fracking is hopeless and not fit for this country as we all already know, why waste time and money thinking about something we know doesn’t work here.
    More pointless hot air from our hopeless governement !

  8. This comment by the Business Secretary is the nearest thing to a U turn in energy policy I’ve seen but he has covered himself by referring to “local communities” so he could always backtrack behind local opposition if expedient. The BGS report is due out this week, it’ll be interesting to see if the government decide to do something bold and go for shale gas in a big way or just kick the can down the road by offering some time-wasting pilot project.

    With a scheme in the pipeline to pay the consumer to cut back consumption, it’s clear the government is preparing for the possibility of a grim winter. As they say the first duty of the government is to keep the lights on.

  9. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jun/28/fracking-firms-could-be-eligible-for-uk-tax-breaks-worth-billions

    “Fracking companies are likely to be eligible for tax breaks, potentially worth billions, that the government is extending to oil and gas companies to encourage new exploration of fossil fuel resources.

    Combined with high gas prices, the extra funding – which amounts to a subsidy, according to campaigners – could provide a strong incentive to restart fracking operations if a moratorium in the UK is lifted, which could happen as early as this week.

    Oil and gas companies will benefit from a loophole in the government’s windfall tax, which allows exemptions for companies that invest in the exploration of new fossil fuel resources. Legal advice provided to the campaigning group Uplift suggests fracking companies would also be eligible for this incentive, based on the way the windfall tax – officially known as the energy profits levy – is currently written.”

    Loophole? I don’t think so, this is a negotiated policy and definitely required to maintain high investment levels in UK oil and gas.

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