The technology that is used to frack a gas well– high-volume, slick-water hydraulic fracturing– was first put into practice in the gas fields of the Western US about a decade ago. Since then, most fracking for natural gas has taken place in the US. However, companies are beginning to look at the reserves in other countries recently. Some countries, like France and Bulgaria, have put a moratorium on the process for at least the present time.
The United Kingdom has been, until now, fairly eager to exploit shale gas reserves. However, an article in The Independent suggests that the tone of the government in regard to fracking has changed. The article, which is titled: “Government backtracks on fracking: Ministers decide there is not enough gas under UK to justify controversial ‘earthquake’ drilling” states that reduced estimates of reserves, coupled with a clearer understanding of community and environmental impacts, have led the UK’s ministers to conclude that the country has little to gain from allowing fracking.
The Independent on Sunday has learned that industry experts made clear at a meeting attended by senior ministers, including David Cameron and Ed Davey, the Lib Dem energy secretary, that the UK’s reserves were smaller than first thought and could be uneconomical to extract.
Now senior coalition figures have agreed that shale gas has the potential to be deeply controversial without securing major benefits in lowering carbon emissions or reducing energy costs.
The revelation, ahead of the publication this week of major reforms of the energy market, will be welcomed by green campaigners who have been deeply opposed to clearing the way for a new generation of gas power plants, and voiced serious concerns about the environmental impact, including the potential for fracking to trigger earthquakes and contaminate water supplies.