UK Braces For Final Verdict On Fracking

The UK government will soon make an announcement concerning hydraulic fracturing in the UK amid concerns about the tremors at a fracking site in recent months, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in Parliament on Wednesday.  

“We will shortly be making an announcement about fracking in this country in view of the very considerable anxieties that are legitimately being raised about the earthquakes that have followed various fracking attempts in the UK,” Reuters quoted Johnson as saying in a Parliament debate today.

The UK government has generally supported fracking in England and UK shale gas company Cuadrilla has been conducting fracking operations in Lancashire since last year, amid opposition from local residents, and environmental and climate activists.

The company, as well as the UK government, believes that shale gas could help reduce the UK’s gas import dependence and contribute to its net zero emissions target by 2050.

However, Cuadrilla’s fracking operations have had to be temporarily suspended several times over the past year, due to tremors and seismic activity, because under UK regulations, in case of micro seismic events of 0.50 on the Richter scale or higher, fracking must temporarily be halted and pressure in the well reduced.

In August, just a week after resuming fracking at the site, Cuadrilla paused operations—yet again—after a tremor estimated to be the biggest yet since the UK shale gas company began hydraulic fracturing exploration in northwest England last year.

While Cuadrilla aims to continue with its well completion program at the site and touts spending on shale gas as boosting the Lancashire economy, climate activists and local residents continue to voice their opposition to the activities. 

The organization Friends of the Earth UK says that “It’s time for this climate-wrecking industry to be banned,” and calls on the UK government “not to frack it up.”  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com