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