New British Government Likely To Go All Out For Shale

  • Date: 25/07/16
  • Kelly Gilblom, Bloomberg

As Theresa May’s new government prepares to take the U.K. out of the European Union, it’s likely to promote one technology shunned by most nations on the mainland — fracking.

May, her predecessor David Cameron, and newly appointed members of her cabinet including former Energy Secretary Amber Rudd have supported hydraulic fracturing of Britain’s shale rock to reduce the nation’s increasing dependence on natural gas imports. May voted in line with government policy against additional regulation on exploration companies and an 18-month moratorium on the practice in 2015.

Cameron’s government planned to go “all out for shale” and the new cabinet probably won’t change its view as officials are set to decide whether to approve applications to frack by companies from Cuadrilla Resources Ltd. to IGas Energy Plc. Fracking has been banned or suspended in EU nations including France, Germany and the Netherlands, as well as in Scotland and Wales.

“The government policy on fracking hasn’t changed,” May’s spokesman Greg Swift told reporters in response to questions about U.K. shale gas development.

While May hasn’t directly addressed U.K. shale gas in any major speeches, she heads a government stacked with fracking supporters. Rudd, who was appointed Home Secretary July 13 after serving as Energy Secretary for about a year, has pushed to spread the practice.

Greg Clark, now head of the newly formed department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy was in charge of fracking applications in his previous role as Secretary of State for Communities. He said he would take away the power of local county councils to make fracking decisions if they were unable to stick to agreed-upon timelines because shale gas development was a matter of national importance.

Fracking may gain support depending on how energy trade agreements between the U.K. and EU members play out. Britons voted on June 23 to leave the 28-nation bloc.

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