Minister avoids question on fracking tax relief

The energy minister, Greg Hands, sidestepped a question about the investment tax allowance proposed under the windfall tax for oil and gas companies.

Greg Hands, House of Commons, 12 July 2022. Photo: from Parliament TV

During business questions in the House of Commons yesterday (12 July 2022), he was asked by the Green MP, Caroline Lucas, to ensure with the Treasury that fracking was excluded from the relief.

But he avoided an answer.

Ms Lucas commented that it was “perverse” that the investment allowance would “essentially incentivise yet more oil and gas exploration at a time when we know that we absolutely need to leave fossil fuels in the ground.

She asked:

“Given that the Secretary of State himself has said that it will take up to a decade to extract sufficient volumes from fracking, will he undertake to speak to his Treasury colleagues and make sure that fracking at the very least is excluded from this perverse investment allowance?”

Mr Hands replied:

“I must say I find the Green party’s attitude to these issues bizarre: it seems to be resolutely against any oil and gas extraction in this country, which could only mean it would be in favour of imports, and those imports would be higher priced, more volatile, likely to be from more dangerous parts of the world, and come with higher embedded emissions.

“The embedded emissions of liquified natural gas are about 2.5 times higher than the emissions from the gas we get from the UK continental shelf. The hon. Lady describes herself as a Green party politician, but I find her approach distinctly un-green compared to that of this Conservative Government.”

The business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, commissioned the British Geological Survey to review the science on seismic events caused by fracking. This followed calls for the lifting of the moratorium on fracking in England, in place since November 2019.

The BGS report was submitted on 5 July 2022. There is no date for a decision from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Link to Hansard transcript of questions

25 replies »

  1. It’s interesting that the Minister states categorically that “The embedded emissions of liquified natural gas are about 2.5 times higher than the emissions from the gas we get from the UK continental shelf.”

    A bit shifty perhaps to refer to all gas we get from the UK continental shelf rather than the expected emissions of fracking in reply to Ms Lucas’s question which specifically refers to fracking?

    If we look at shale gas emissions, the report from Mckay and Stone – “Potential Greenhouse Gas Emissions Associated with Shale Gas Extraction and Use” states on P3 that

    “The carbon footprint (emissions intensity) of shale gas extraction and use is likely to be in the range 200 – 253 g CO2e per kWh of chemical energy, which makes shale gas’s overall carbon footprint … lower than the carbon footprint of Liquefied Natural Gas (233 – 270g CO2e/kWh(th)).”

    So rather than being 2.5 times higher it would seem that it may be on average just over 10% higher than shale with a wide possible overlap between 233 and 253 in the estimates (i.e there may be no difference at all or LNG might even have less emissions than shale gas.)

    Compared to gas from the continental shelf in general it would appear there might be a lifecycle 25% increase (not 250%) for LNG. Maybe he’s not very good with decimal points – he’s only a government minister after all.

    Maybe the answer here is that Hands is ignoring the use part of it and conveniently only looking at extraction and transportation. That would be a little dishonest, but then he is a minister in this government who didn’t resign after Johnson’s lies were expose, so maybe that’s not a massive surprise?

    Does anyone have any idea where he gets his 2.5 multiple from?

  2. Possibly because he has “experts” giving him information?

    But, of course, there is one simple way to find out! And, that would give accurate information rather than “likely”.

    I would suggest the bigger question should have been “how many cargoes of LNG on the water currently/last month coming to UK/Europe and where is the taxation for that applied, and what is then done with it?” The one certainty of that is it does NOT go into any £150s in UK. Apparently, “fortunes” are being made but elsewhere-and that was from Jack, so it must be true! Fortunes are easy to tax, if they are within the grasp of the local taxation authorities.

    So, yes, bizarre just about sums it up.

    • Thanks for taking note of my previous comments MARTIN .

      Indeed that is true , fortunes are being made in the Oil and Gas industry at the current time , BUT when considering such things like Fracking in local communities , you also have to factor in the depreciation in the value of your home , the increased risk of Cancer , Asthma and other deadly diseases, noise , pollution and an increase in heavy vehicle movement which will also cause more damage to local roads and infustructre.

      Taking note of the above , the financial gains certainly WON’T outweigh the negative health and financial impacts for local people , unlucky enough to live iin a Fracking fall out zone .

      Unless of course you are one of the very lucky few at the top these Fracking companies, who will rake in eye watering salaries, whilst keeping themselves and their families far , FAR AWAY from any Fracking activities. It’s a WIN , WIN for them ONLY .

      • Except, Jack, the same risks apply to many other aspects of life! Sometimes the risk is not what others would claim, sometimes the risk is not what others would claim AND has a fracking (oops) whacking great benefit to justify the risk. How about the risk from living close to pylons, (yes, £54B more for the tax payer for more of them) or the risk of living close to nuclear (yes, £160B more for the taxpayer for more of them)? Take your list and add plenty, in addition to the costs.

        As far as CJR’s comment is concerned, I am speechless! Yet, will just add that is presumably why it is okay for kids in the DRC to be handling a known carcinogen-cobalt-to offshore responsibility? So, “we” can use but others who have no choice pay the costs.

        Throw a switch? Might do nothing, CJR, when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing.

        • MARTIN , ,

          You bring up the topic of Pylons

          YES and for those living close to Pylons , how devastating will be to ALSO have the highly toxic process of Fracking in their area. A real ” Double Whammy ”

          It’s strange how you are so concerned about children half way around the world in the DRC , but yet you don’t give a HOOT about children in the UK ……. Why knowing the facts as to how dangerous living in a Fracking area it can be to children’s health , are you so desperately trying to push Fracking into local communities ??????????

          Why us that MARTIN ?????????

          If you have any doubts about what I have said, please say . I will be delighted to fill this page with ” expert ” evidence.

          • You mean UK children Jack who will have to pay for all the Net Zero??? On top of Covid repayments of debt. As my neighbour said to his son, “my generation has just finished paying for WW2, these two are on you!”

            Meanwhile, in USA, drop outs from High School are earning $60k/year washing dishes, and local schools are having funding provided to the PTA-all from fracking! And someone called Jack, reckons fortunes are being made!

            What CAN be dangerous to children’s health would be better done somewhere where there are high standards to make certain that is not the case. That is why I refer to kids in the DRC. Not going to happen if it was the UK, Jack. Thanks for making that point for me.

            You missed the point about the pylons-the £54 B is to EXPAND the network to connect what? Oil/gas sites? Nope-off shore wind turbines distribution. Not to worry-the children will be happy to pay? I suspect not. They will believe being angry will make someone else pay, but will be sadly wrong.

            Expert advice? Hmmm, like Chesapeake Energy that started as a warning against profitability, even though the year 2020 was a give away, and somehow morphed into making a fortune, all within a few short weeks. No thanks Jack.

            • HAHA MARTIN ,

              Yes of course , pot washers on $60k … I did hear Toilet cleaners were flying into Fracking sites in their own private jets ….

              Remind us how many permanent jobs there were going to be at Cuadrillas site in Lancashire ???????? OH YES 11 jobs and how many of those wold be minimum rates of pay , security guard jobs ?????? They’d be better of opening a Tesco store, it would be better pay , more jobs and it certainly wouldn’t damage your health .

              OH dear , OH dear , the laughable Fracking dream . Your about 10 years to late trying to sell that lemon to the British public….. You may get a few selfish , morally bankrupt people that will try and push this toxic industry on to people , whilst they themselves will be living well out of the Fracking areas , but for the people living in these Fracking zones , well , more a more are empowering themselves with the truth about this industry and they DON’T like it .

              Frackng is a highly toxic, environmentally damaging, climate changing , dangerous to human and animal industry that also will devalue the value of homes in Fracking areas and cause difficulties for people requiring buildings insurance,

              Now I am more than happy to show you the ” expert ” evidence, for anything I said above , if of course you dispute anything .

              ASK the people who they put first MARTIN , The health and safety of their own families, or those in other countries ??????

              I know that your default setting s always , the children mining rare earth minerals in third world countries like the DRC for the Electric Vehicle industry , as that’s an industry that YOU really feel threatened by , but we all see-through it old chap …

              You will also find that people will care more about the health and safety of their families than the National Debt of the country and let’s face it Fracking is not going to sort that problem out .

              • Well, Jack, that was a mixture!

                Within it again the morphing, this time from could to will. Too many activism tricks, not enough attention to the facts. Just more of the Chesapeake Energy failed methodology.

                Why would EVs be a threat to me? What absolute nonsense. I have asked you numerous times Jack about your personal experience with EVs, and you have ducked the question every time. I expect they have not reached your part of the world yet, but when they do please try them out. By then, they may be better than they are now, but until that time I have tried them and find them a lot less than ideal. [Edited by moderator}

                What were you saying about selfish, morally bankrupt people pushing a toxic industry upon others in an area whilst living well away from it? You mean those pushing the EVs Jack whilst living well away from the DRC and then implying children in such countries have less value??

                Tut, tut, Jack. Morally bankrupt was the term suggested for that sort of thing-by YOU. As I have stated before renewables are not free of exactly the same concerns as those aimed at fossil fuel. You can try and ignore that but by so doing you end up, in your own words, as morally bankrupt. That is the same way that kids in sugar plantations were considered, Jack. Over the horizon, out of sight, so of little concern. Well, you adopted the name Jack the Lad, but I would suggest moral bankruptcy is not part of the image worth perpetuating.

                Oh, I think there are plenty in UK who will decide whether they can heat or eat this winter Jack, and consider that as significant regarding the health and safety of their families. The BBC has a whole raft of them ready to put on the News. Perhaps this tranche will not feature the size 18/20 single mothers who state they have been unable to eat so that they can heat, and provide food for her kids? Maybe they can find a size 10 one within a fracking area who is nice and warm thanks to a discounted energy bill, perhaps enjoying nice heathy discounted salads from greenhouses enjoying lowered heating bills? Maybe earning $60k washing dishes, or another job within the local businesses drawn like moths to the flame of discounted energy bills? Maybe getting her kids better educated due to funding into their schools? (Perhaps elevating what they can do regarding spotting fake news?) Sounds like a veritable Utopia-estate agents should be pocketing huge bonuses!

                Which would still provide jobs for distant morally bankrupt lobbyists still advocating that it should not be allowed. Such is life. Well, no, it isn’t. It is the Internet, not real life.

                • HAHA MARTIN ,

                  Oh dear , here we go again.

                  It seems that you enjoy Jack endlessly repeating the same things to 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 …


                  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 . If they can’t , then they are beyond stupid.

                  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 .


                • MARTIN ,

                  Of course the Electric Vehicle ( EV ) industry is a threat to you ……… It’s the ONLY industry that YOU keep banging on about , talking about how a few children are mining rare earth minerals in the DRC for the EV industry. ……. I don’t hear you mention any other toxic industry that children children are working in , why is that ???????.

                  Maybe YOU would like to talk about the toxic fossil fuel derived plastic waste and how wealthy nations dump HUGE MOUNTAINS of it on third world countries for processing by woman and children ??????

                  OR MAYBE , you would like to talk about how children are handling and burning electronic products to extract precious metals in third world countries.

                  Come on MARTIN , or should I call you SANTA CLAUS ???????? If you cared so much about children being exploted in other countries , you’d certainly want to talk about these other toxic industries , wouldn’t you ???????

                  BUT it’s STRANGE how you don’t give a HOOT about children here in the UK .. If you did , you wouldn’t be trying to force toxic Fracking in to local communities.



                  Putting children FIRST in other countries, instead of UK children………In doing so , I suppose you MARTIN , walk round NAKED and live in a completely empty house , as MOST imported things are produced in countries where exploitation and poor health and safety practices are the NORM.

                • MARTIN ,

                  HEAT OR EAT you talk about.

                  AS I endlessly keep repeating , FRACKING will NOT bring DOWN energy costs for the wider UK public , or should I say , for people living outside the toxic 10km epicenter Fracking zone , their Gas bills will not be reduced by a single penny . As any Gas produced will be sold on the open market to the highest bidder ……….. Surely you understand and agree with that Nursery School level of economics.

                  For the UNLUCKY residents who live within the 5km-10km Fracking zone , they will receive a paultry 25% off their Gas bills , as long as they accept a drop in the value of their homes , increased home insurance premiums , that’s if they’re lucky enough to find a company willing to take them on without restrictions . An increased risk of Cancer , Asthma and other deadly diseases , noise , pollution and in increase in truck/heavy vehicle movement within their communities.

                • Give it up Jack. 2020 and Chesapeake Energy are the two factors. The rest of your text is nonsense. In 2020 oil and gas prices were very different, and controlled by the pandemic. Now, according to your own posts “fortunes” are being made, yet you tried to use 2020 as typical! In the UK Jack, young kids in school are receiving lessons to spot that sort of fake news, so I fear your audience is pretty small and the bigger audience just note the attempt.

                  Oil (Brent) was over $100/barrel prior to Putin invading Ukraine, Jack. It is now, what? Oh yes, $100/barrel.

                  So, when the war is over the world is just going to stop sanctions against Russia and oil and gas will be cheap as chips? Oh dear Jack, apart from your excursion into moral bankruptcy you now seem to be promoting normalization of relationships with Putin! Goodness, you are really scraping the barrel.

                  Then you moan about plastic, whilst you use it to moan! If you don’t like plastic, Jack, stop using it. I like plastic. I can see it any day I visit a hospital and it is doing a great job, often saving children’s lives. I take care what happens to my waste plastic as I do with other waste I produce. Others could do better, but that is the fault of others not the material. The material is not a being Jack, it is controlled, or not by beings. On today’s performance Jack, I suspect your answer would be to get rid of those beings as well.

                  Then you try the stop imports as they may come from countries where standards are low! Well, Jack, welcome to the sunlit uplands of enlightenment. But, sorry, you can’t be selective, oil and gas are included. So, maximize local production! (My courgettes are producing well, Jack. Carbon footprint next to nothing, no cheap labour to produce them and local children having their health supported!)

                  Nope, US fracking is more expensive than some oil/gas extraction, but is not as expensive as you make out. The Middle East found that out when they tried a price war, and now there is re-fracing to consider in relation to costs. US seem to have no problem selling both oil and gas for export currently Jack, on the open market, and the rig numbers are around 750, so they obviously feel that will continue. So, I will believe them Jack, as they are the experts, and even the amateurs are stating “fortunes” are being made!

                  Must away to put my cooked beetroot into jars. Sorry, no Russian beetroot required, local production so much better. Just need the UK gas for cooking to make the local sourcing as good as it could be.

                • MARTIN

                  YES , fortunes are being made for those at the top of the Oil and Gas industry………

                  Like I’ve said many times before , YOU could squeeze Oil from discarded Toenail Clippings and make your fortune at this moment n time ……. Any Oil and Gas company at this time , that’s not making money , are beyond stupid and definitely should not be in the business.

                  Your WRONG AGAIN MARTIN , let JACK help you understand.

                  Just take a quick peak at the Brent Crude Oil , historical price data …. Check out the average closing price .


                  YOU SAID , quote , ” Oil (Brent) was over $100/barrel prior to Putin invading Ukraine, Jack. It is now, what? Oh yes, $100/barrel. ” ……… THAT IS WRONG

                  You do seem to be making quite a lot of mistakes these days old chap

      • its just that jack, you complain that the oil and gas (fracking companies) is that the same a in relative terms to the huge conglomerates who own both environmental damaging and non-environmental damaging products? and are quite happy to vacuum up both sets of customers? There is a virtue signalling product and a non-virtue signaling product! I’ll ask you this, you have been using lateral flow tests, made of plastic what and where do you think there products derived?, and how many people have been comforted from covid due to the outcome of the negative tests from these hydrocarbon derived plastic tube, swab, test and associated!!

  3. By importing LNG the |UK is actually “exporting” or at least avoiding some of the issues such as water shortages, received water disposal, earthquakes, air pollution, traffic problems, health issues to local people etc. We maight be paying a higher price yes, but are objectors just going to throw a switch and stop objecting to onshore fracking?

    • Mr Collyer I cannot for the life of me undertand your comment. Perhaps you misunderstood my comment – can only assume that is the problem. All hopefuls for Tory leadership are simplifying these issues down to “we cannot afford net zero – poor people will have to pay and so we should give up on achieving carbon neutrality”. Invesors in oil and gas are not taking respnsibility for the impacts that these industries have had and are having on climate. Sadly it all about the profits squeezed out of O&G.

        • Thanks for your two recent comments, reaction. Perhaps one day you will comment rather than react? After all, that is the title for this forum.

          Hopefully, CJR has the ability to understand that exporting responsibility is not as simple as they suggested and needs some more consideration. They could always take it up with Greta, as she has been banging on about it in respect of UK for some while.

          • “Thanks for your two recent comments, reaction. Perhaps one day you will comment rather than react”

            Fred. If you scroll up just a little you will see that the very first comment in this thread is from ..er me and it was YOU that reacted to it. 😂

            You are not normally quite so obtuse. Are you OK hun?

            • You mean the first thread as competition for War and Peace, John, that REQUESTED a response? Then the author thought it might be a good use of his time, to decide he knew what everyone else thought and others should be more concise!?

              Are you OK hun? Has there been a problem with the Kryptonite? I fear this alter ego business is eating away at you self awareness. Mr. Kent seemed to have it sorted. When he donned the cloak he did so to prevent others knowing who he was. He didn’t do so, and then state everyone knows who I am! Must be very confusing to do the opposite, but quite amusing. Not sure there is an emoji yet for such, but I suspect one will be produced if such obtuse behaviour becomes common.

                • Well, exactly, reaction. Pleased to see you are sorting out the reality at last and starting to focus a bit more on the self awareness.

                  Branding can be a good marketing tool, however it does not cover up product deficiencies, would be my thought for the day.

  4. You mean those investors who have noted the impact that oil and gas has had on life expectancy on this planet since they were utilised, CJR? I think if you will look at the actual reality, life expectancy has soared. If you have need to make use of the NHS you will find huge usage of fossil fuel products enabling that to continue. Maybe the investors should take responsibility for that increase in life expectancy?

    On shore wind turbines with a guaranteed net profit of over £100k/turbine/year and no problem if the energy was not required, but profit guaranteed. Why? To be able to state they were welcomed by landowners! Sadly, profit being squeezed out is a widespread thing, and also spreads to kids in the DRC risking their health and being paid a pittance. I suggest you avoid that area, renewables are just as “dirty” in that respect. And, then there was Cash for Ash! And now, ocean mining.

    And, you misquote the hopefuls. They are simply starting the debate that should have happened a long time ago, checking the affordability of the net zero target timescale. Once £54B and £160B start leaking out, that is inevitable. Then, there is the cost of replacing fuel duty. Road tolls? What is the cost of the infrastructure? If not road tolls, charge by mile monitored via the vehicle? Civil liberty issues there, on top of the untried and un-costed technology. Do you really believe that many countries having had the huge un-budgeted costs of a pandemic will not look carefully at all programs they committed funding to, even though they had no idea of the amount? Perhaps it should have been done by the previous lot who made the commitments? After all, fuel duty is only £20-£30B per year to the Treasury.

    The biggest impact upon climate are the numbers of people on this planet. That is because of life expectancy. “Strangely”, people like to live long lives. Reduce life expectancy and much of the problem will be solved, but good luck with selling that one. Yurt dwelling may be fun for the well healed, but it was a different matter for those where it was a way of life, albeit a short one.

    Sorry, CJR, I do not agree with off shoring responsibility. To do that then those off shore supplies need to be controlled and that is never secure and often involves body bags for someone’s son or daughter to achieve. Don’t believe me, read the history books.

    Not to worry. I wonder if any of the hopefuls will come up with a plan as to how to afford to have even one of the UK’s carriers at sea, with planes, to look after supply routes? (Both in port currently.) Looks as if working from home has spread.

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