ARTICLESWhy Sajid Javid was right to overturn the “fracking” ban

Why Sajid Javid was right to overturn the “fracking” ban

By Tom Pakenham-Walsh

Rocksolve geologists discuss why Sajid Javid was right to overturn the Lancashire “fracking” ban 

Here at Rocksolve, we like to dispute decisions made at government level. Today, the hot topic is Fracking. Our team think not enough is known about it and decided to look at a number of positive outcomes should more councils take the route to production… 

  1. Numerous government agencies and independent societies have published positive reports that look at the impact of fracking in the UK. The Environment Agency has stated “fracking could be done safely and that the technology could improve Britain's energy security and end the need to import gas from abroad”. The Royal Society report concluded that: 

  •  the health, safety and environmental risks can be managed effectively in the UK 

  • The risk of water contamination through fracturing is low 

  • Seismic risks are low 


  1. The UK currently imports 57% of its natural gas from overseas. There are both economic and climate benefits to extracting more gas domestically. Climate change is a global issue and by encouraging more domestic supply we can make sure that the proper environmental procedures are being followed. Which may not be the case when we import gas from overseas. Economically, we will be investing money domestically and reaping the rewards in local areas rather than paying money to overseas corporations.  


  1. Hydraulic fracturing will bring new jobs and opportunities to some of the UK’s more deprived areas. It is a chance to drive investment into these areas which will be felt by all the businesses in these communities, not just within the immediate oil and gas industry. 


  1. Whilst investment in renewables and nuclear offer the best long-term future of the UK electricity grid. Natural gas is a key transition fuel in the move to a more renewable energy environment. Renewable sources currently lack the ramp up capacity for meeting peak demand spikes. Gas power stations are relatively quick to construct and can quickly ramp up generation to meet these demand spikes. 


  1. Coupled with this, the UK is an incredibly gas dependent nation when it comes to heating our homes and offices, with 8 out of 10 homes relying gas heating. Switching all of the infrastructure that currently runs on gas over to electricity is not feasible in any short term time frame and will cost a vast amount of money. As gas is such a vital fuel for our daily use it makes sense to take advantage of all the domestic opportunities whilst we plan for a smooth transition to a renewable future  


  1. We could see a decrease in electricity and gas prices; the USA saw wholesale energy prices decrease by a third from 2014 to 2015 due to the abundance of natural gas being produced. 


  1. Fracking is not a new technology, it has been occurring onshore in the UK since the 1980s with over 200 wells having been fracked in conventional reservoirs (around 10% of the total UK wells). 


  1. Of course as with any large scale industrial projects there will be associated issues, however we believe that in the case of hydraulic fracturing, when all the proposed regulations are properly enforced and followed the positive benefits for the UK out way the negatives. 


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