Majority of Brits Support Ending Fracking Ban

New polling from Savanta Comres reveals 44% of Brits are in favour of ending the temporary ban on shale gas extraction across the UK, with 36% opposed and 20% undecided. 41% of UK adults also think the government’s Net Zero targets have weakened Britain’s energy security and should be “reconsidered” following the invasion of Ukraine. Is it any wonder? Energy bills are through the roof, and we’re still relying on Russia for most of our coal…

The new figures also fly in the face of the received wisdom often spouted in Westminster. In February, just before the war in Ukraine, Zac Goldsmith claimed it was “hard to overstate just how unpopular fracking is with the British public”:

Now a majority are in favour, BEIS has commissioned a review into whether the ban can be lifted, and Kwasi Kwarteng even admitted the government needed to “explore all possible domestic energy sources” to solve the crisis. Drill baby, drill…

mdi-timer 6 April 2022 @ 14:00 6 Apr 2022 @ 14:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Government Commissions Review into Resuming Fracking

BEIS has announced it has commissioned a review into the latest scientific evidence on fracking, with Kwasi admitting the government must “explore all possible domestic energy sources” following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The British Geological Survey will conduct the review, and the report is expected in June. In the meantime, the fracking ‘pause’ implemented in November 2019 continues…

Speaking today, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said:

“We have always been, and always will be, guided by the science on shale gas.

It remains the case that fracking in England would take years of exploration and development before commercial quantities of gas could be produced for the market, and would certainly have no effect on prices in the near term.

However, there will continue to be an ongoing demand for oil and gas over the coming decades as we transition to cheap renewable energy and new nuclear power. In light of Putin’s criminal invasion of Ukraine, it is absolutely right that we explore all possible domestic energy sources.

However, unless the latest scientific evidence demonstrates that shale gas extraction is safe, sustainable and of minimal disturbance to those living and working nearby, the pause in England will remain in place.”

The review will explore whether new techniques and technologies “meet rigorous safety and environmental protections“. Millions of customers are already feeling the bite of the soaring energy prices. Hurry the frack up…

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New North Sea Gas Field Gets Up And Running

BEIS minister Greg Hands is quickly becoming a star performer at the government despatch box. After his last showing in January rebutting the opposition’s VAT motion, today he tore Ed Miliband a new one over his own energy record in government after the ex-Labour leader said the Tories needed to get on with a “green energy sprint”. 

“We heard about the ‘green energy sprint’. It’s absolutely extraordinary, since he was the Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change in 2010 we have increased the proportion of our electricity generation coming from renewables from 7% to 43%. Now in any normal terms that would be a sprint, but it’s also a marathon in the sense we have done that over a period of 12 years – almost a sextuppeling Mr Speaker if I might.”

“He talks about nuclear, Mr Speaker, but he will remember the 1997 Labour manifesto when they said they saw no economic case for new nuclear power stations, and now he has the cheek Mr Speaker to come to the dispatch box today and urge we get on with nuclear!”

The debate was sparked by an urgent question from Lee Anderson on fracking, in which the minister did not go any further than the already-stated position that Cuadrilla is perfectly within its right to request a delay to the concreting of gas wells. It may not be necessary for the government to u-turn on this, however.

Today it emerges a new gas field under the North Sea has produced its first gas just off East Anglia, with more such developments on the way to help boost the country’s energy security. The gas was secured by IOG, an offshore exploration and production company who say gas from its Blythe well started flowing into the UK gas grid at the weekend, and its second is set to start producing gas within days. Could this, plus Boris’s trip to Saudi, be enough to prevent the government having to u-turn on fracking…

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Fracking Chief: Kwasi Still Hasn’t Halted Plans to Block Shale Gas Wells

There are now just days to go before Cuadrilla are forced to pour cement into England’s only viable shale gas wells, and BEIS is still sitting on its hands. For the third time in less than a week, the energy firm’s CEO Francis Egan has once again implored the government to withdraw its mandate to fill the wells, and again it’s falling on deaf ears. Anyone home, Kwasi?

In a statement today, Egan slammed the government for “failing to match its rhetoric with action“:

“Since Wednesday BEIS and the OGA have been repeatedly contacted by and on behalf of Cuadrilla to discuss how to give practical effect to the Prime Minister and Secretary of State’s statements.  The only clear and unambiguous response from these verbal and written contacts has been verbal confirmation from the OGA that the 30th June remains the legal deadline to plug both wells with cement. It is clear that OGA will be in no position to reverse that until it receives a clear instruction from the Business Department.”

Kwasi claimed at the despatch box last week “it did not necessarily make any sense to concrete over the wells”, yet here we are, at the eleventh hour, watching the man actually instructed to do that begging for a way out. Tick tock…

UPDATE: BEIS responds by saying “Cuadrilla were informed in June 2021 of the requirement to decommission two non-producing wells by the end of June 2022. As with any licensee, if Cuadrilla wants to extend this deadline they can apply for an extension from the Oil and Gas Authority.” Guido understands Caudrilla wrote formally to the Oil and Gas Authority last Wednesday. They have heard nothing back yet…

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Clock Ticking for Kwasi to Save England’s Shale Gas Option

Earlier this week, Guido reminded BEIS they still hadn’t actually confirmed to energy firm Cuadrilla that they will call off plans to permanently seal off the only two viable shale gas wells in England. The Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng told the Commons on Wednesday that “it did not necessarily make any sense to concrete over the wells”. So why hasn’t Kwasi given the order to call off the concreting over yet? As Cuadrilla’s CEO Francis Egan pointed out, this was pretty crucial for his firm, given they’re scheduled to begin pouring concrete down the wells next week. Unless Kwasi gives him a call, “nothing has changed” as far as Egan is concerned…

Two days have passed and still nothing has changed. BEIS are running down the clock. Last night Egan put out another fraught statement imploring the government to get their act together and let Cuadrilla call off the cement mixers and turn the trucks around:

“The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has set us a deadline of 30th June for filling our shale gas wells with concrete. Plugging and abandoning these two wells takes 2-3 months, which is why work’s starting next week. That means we have a rig contracted, waiting to travel to our site in Lancashire, costing dearly for every day it waits idle.

“I urgently request the Business Department and the OGA to formally withdraw its instruction to plug the wells. They should also put sensible protections in place to ensure that companies like Cuadrilla and others aren’t forced to suffer the risk and financial uncertainty of operating in a position where a Government can keep changing its mind and require wells to be cemented whilst they are still useful.

“30th June is still the legal deadline to cement these wells and delay in engaging with us effectively trumps what’s said in the House of Commons. Every minute counts and costs…”

The OGA’s deadline is the 30th June, consequently the concrete starts flowing next week unless Egan is officially told otherwise. It’s all very good for Kwasi to stand in the Commons and claim the government “supports shale gas exploration if it’s done safely”, it can’t be done at all if the well is cemented over...

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UK Energy Firm Still Planning to Seal Off Shale Gas Wells Next Week

Despite reports that Downing Street is considering a U-turn on plans to concrete up England’s two viable shale gas wells in Lancashire – and a No.10 spokesperson this morning claiming “all options” are on the table, including fracking – it looks like those plans still haven’t actually reached the desk of the man instructed to pour the concrete. According to Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla Resources, the government has kept him in the dark on whether they’ve reversed the mandate. As far as he’s concerned, the wells are still set to be blocked off next week…

In a statement released this afternoon, Egan said:

“We note with interest the reports that the Prime Minister wants ministers to step in to stop the UK’s only two viable shale gas wells being filled with concrete in the middle of an energy crisis. It’s clear that the UK must do everything it can to secure domestic gas supply and not tolerate Putin’s vice-like grip over our energy costs. I await contact from the Business Department to confirm these reports.

Cuadrilla’s plans to plug the Lancashire shale wells under Government mandate are very advanced and the rig will still be arriving on site next week. British consumers, whose energy bills are soaring, will wonder what on earth this Government’s priorities are. We remain open to any other proposals or ideas the Government may have, but as things stand nothing has changed.”

Sounds like someone in BEIS needs to get on the phone to Egan quickly. Hurry the frack up…

mdi-timer 9 March 2022 @ 14:34 9 Mar 2022 @ 14:34 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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