Monday, March 27, 2023

As Ukraine squeezes war energy, Britain looks to break out again

British government orders scientists to take a fresh look at the risks of fracking

LONDON – The British government on Tuesday ordered scientists to take a fresh look at the risks of fracking, as rising fuel prices and a squeezed supply prompt a rethink about the country’s energy supply.

Business Secretary Quasi Quarteng asked the British Geological Survey to review the evidence and report by June “the geological science of shale gas fracturing and the modeling of seismic activity in shale rocks in the UK”.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves pumping water and chemicals at high pressure to fracture shale rock and release gas. The process has long been controversial in Britain, meeting strong opposition from environmentalists attempting to establish a fracking industry.

The government suspended fracking in November 2019, saying it was not possible to accurately predict drilling-related shocks. It looked like a fatal blow to the industry as Britain sought to move away from fossil fuels and cut UK carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – and sanctions imposed by the West on Russia, a major oil and gas supplier – have forced countries including Britain to rethink their energy supplies with the goal of reducing reliance on imported fuels. The fossil fuel industry and some lawmakers are pressing Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government to end the fracking ban and increase North Sea oil and gas extraction.

Quarteng said it is “important to have all possible energy production and production methods on the table.”

He said the pause on fracking will remain in place until the latest scientific evidence demonstrates that shale gas extraction is safe, sustainable, and minimal hassle for those living and working around.

Cuadrilla Resources Ltd., which operated the UK’s only active shale wells as of 2019, welcomed the review as a “temporary first step” towards reversing the moratorium.

“We believe this review will allow the UK to tap into its vast shale gas resources,” said chief executive Francis Egan.

But Friends of the Earth energy activist Danny Gross said, “Energy efficiency and developing the UK’s vast renewable energy potential is the best way to tackle the energy crisis and reduce rising fuel bills.”

On Thursday the UK government will release its long-term energy strategy, which is expected to call for more nuclear power plants and offshore wind farms – but not more onshore wind farms, which are seen by some conservative lawmakers as vote-losing eyes. Is.

The United Nations climate panel warned on Monday that unless greenhouse gas emissions fall faster than countries, temperatures on Earth will exceed a critical danger point. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change revealed “a litany of broken climate promises” that “put us firmly on the edge of an incredible world.”


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