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UK lifts moratorium on shale gas production

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The UK has officially lifted the prohibition on shale gas production through hydraulic fracturing, which is commonly referred to as fracking or fracing.

Where there is support from local communities, operators will now be able to gather data about how UK shale gas can be safely extracted. To further boost energy security, the government has also announced its intention to hold a new licensing round for oil and gas prospects in the North Sea, and this could mean more than a hundred new licenses being issued.

Announcing the change in policy in a statement, Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Business and Energy Secretary, said:

“In light of Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and weaponisation of energy, strengthening our energy security is an absolute priority, and, as the Prime Minister said, we are going to ensure the UK is a net energy exporter by 2040.”

Rees-Mogg added that a combination of all the potential energy sources would be necessary to achieve that goal. Nevertheless, the geologist and founder of Cuadrilla Resources, which operates the country’s only two shale wells, Chris Cornelius, told The Guardian that geological challenges meant that shale gas production was unlikely to happen at scale and that geothermal energy and tidal power could be more promising sources of energy.

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