27 October 2013, News Wires – Britain must simplify regulations governing shale gas extraction and hydraulic fracturing to enable development of the country’s shale gas potential, Prime Minister David Cameron said.
“On fracking, we do need to take action across the board to help enable this technology to go ahead,” Cameron told a news conference in Brussels after a meeting of EU leaders, Reuters reported.
“There is a worry people are going to have to go through so many different permits in order to start fracking that they simply won’t bother, so we need a simplified system,” he said.
Under pressure to do more to bring down rising consumer energy costs, Cameron has repeatedly urged the country to “get behind fracking”, a technology he says would bring down bills and create tens of thousands of jobs.
His comments come just days after his Chancellor George Osborne pressed the UK to move ahead on shale gas, arguing environmental concerns should not be used as an “excuse” to drag out permit applications for hydraulic fracturing.
The Conservative-led government is planning to introduce tax breaks for shale gas exploration in proposals presently under consultation.
In July, the British Geological Society said that UK’s Bowland-Hodder shale could hold as much as 1.3 trillion cubic feet of gas, double its previous estimate.
A new onshore licensing round expected next year is set to further widen the field for UK shale gas exploration.
Environmental campaigners remain stiffly opposed to shale gas and the use of fracking in the UK, with a well being drilled by UK shale player Cuadrilla Resources at Balcombe in southern England drawing weeks of protests even though it was not even a shale prospect.
The drilling completion technique was placed under moratorium after two minor seismic events in Lancashire in May 2011, but the ban was lifted in December 2012 after experts found the seismic risks linked to fracking could be managed with effective controls and monitoring.