LONDON (Reuters) – The British government introduced measures on Thursday to hurry up planning functions to assist growth of the nation’s shale gasoline business.
Increasing reliance on imported gasoline as Britain’s home North Sea output declines is among the driving forces behind government assist for hydraulic fracturing, which includes extracting gasoline obtained from rocks damaged up or fractured with water and chemical substances at excessive stress.
However, it’s not possible to know precisely how a lot shale gasoline could be underground – and, extra importantly, how a lot may be extracted – till fracking has began in earnest.
Commercial manufacturing of shale gasoline in Britain will not be anticipated for 2 years and builders complain that progress has been slowed by protests and regulatory processes.
Recent selections on shale exploration stay disappointingly gradual, the secretary of state for business, vitality and industrial technique, Greg Clark, stated in a written assertion to Parliament.
The government, subsequently, will introduce measures to streamline and enhance the regulation course of for shale gasoline planning functions so selections are made extra rapidly.
Shale gasoline builders say it could actually take as much as three years to acquire permission to drill a check nicely in Britain, in contrast with solely a month within the United States.
The government can even launch a brand new 1.6 million pound ($2.2 million) shale assist fund over the subsequent two years to construct capability and experience in native authorities coping with shale planning functions and arrange a shale environmental regulator.
The government additionally stated it would open a session on whether or not exploration wells might be allowed to be drilled with out the necessity for a planning utility.
The risk of this has angered some environmental teams against fracking due to issues about potential seismic exercise, water contamination and different points.
“The government’s plans pervert the planning process and could make England’s landscape a wild west for whatever cowboy wants to start drilling and digging up our countryside,” stated Rose Dickinson, campaigner at Friends of the Earth.
However, shale gasoline builders equivalent to IGas, Cuadrilla and Ineos, welcomed the measures, notably these to hurry up the planning course of.
“Our planning permission to drill and test just four shale gas exploratory wells in Lancashire was granted after a lengthy and costly three-year process. These timelines must improve if the country is to benefit from its own, much needed, indigenous source of gas,” Cuadrilla stated in an announcement.
The Scottish government outlawed fracking final yr after a public session found overwhelming opposition to it.