The British Geological Survey (BGS) has submitted its scientific review of shale gas extraction to the UK government.
The study, commissioned by the business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, was delivered yesterday (6 July 2022).
A statement from the BGS said:
“The outcome of the report and any further communication regarding the report or its publication will be handled by BEIS [department for business, energy and industrial strategy]”.
A moratorium on fracking in England has been in force since November 2019.
This followed seismic events caused by fracking at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site in Lancashire. They included one measuring 2.9ML, the UK’s largest fracking-induced earthquake.
BEIS told DrillOrDrop yesterday that a decision on whether to lift the moratorium would be made “in due course”.
Mr Kwarteng ordered the review in April 2022.
It followed pressure from a small number of Conservative politicians for the moratorium to be lifted following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Mr Kwarteng asked the BGS to investigate new scientific developments or techniques that would reduce the risk and magnitude of seismic events. The BGS was also asked to look at:
- new techniques that would be suitable for fracking in UK geology and high population density
- how seismicity caused by fracking compared with that caused by geothermal energy or coal mining
- whether the safe thresholds for these activities remain the correct ones and whether differences between the operations are justified
- whether ministers could be completely confident about modelling of scientific events and whether areas outside Lancashire might be at lower risk of seismic activity
The shale gas industry welcomed the commissioning of the report. It has since lobbied for as lifting of the moratorium and relaxation of the regulations on seismic events caused by fracking.
Fracking opponents said the review was not needed because fracking was not the answer to UK energy needs. A network of anti-fracking campaigners has urged supporters to be prepared for a government U-turn on fracking.
Add a comment