What is Fracking? UK Process and Controversy Explained

Boris Johnson’s government believes shale gas can help solve UK energy bill crisis

The Lancashire rift appears to be over – until February 2022 (Image: AFP/Getty Images)

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The UK produces 48% of its gas needs (Image: AFP/Getty Images)

As part of an effort to reduce the UK’s exposure to these international price shocks, Boris Johnson’s government has revisited the idea of ​​shale gas exploration.

But what exactly is fracking – and why is it so controversial?

Here’s what you need to know.

What is Fracking?

Fracture, or hydraulic fracturing, is a process that releases shale gas or oil – two fossil fuels used to generate energy.

It does this by pumping fluid deep underground at high pressure to fracture the shale.

By opening this rock, it is hypothesized that the gas contained within it is released.

Cuadrilla’s fractured exploration wells in Lancashire have caused small earthquakes (Image: Getty Images)

Why is fracking controversial?

Fracking in the UK seems to have gone down in history in February 2022.

The process was temporarily halted in 2011 after the UK’s only two wells near Blackpool in Lancashire caused minor earthquakes.

These incidents led to an indefinite shutdown in November 2019, and the company in charge of the two wells – Cuadrilla – was ordered by the government’s Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) to plug and drop them in February. year 2022.

Cuadrilla’s cracked wells near Blackpool are regularly targeted by protesters (Image: Getty Images)

The order itself was suspended in March 2022 following a backlash from Conservative MPs.

Opponents of the fracturing process also expressed concern that the process could cause water pollution, as well as noise and traffic pollution.

And while supporters of the process claim it could defuse the UK’s energy crisis and make the country more self-sufficient, environmental group Greenpeace has argued it will not create makes a difference to households struggling to cover their energy bills.

Cabinet Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg is a major supporter of fracking (Image: Getty Images)

“It will take years to develop and if it is produced, it will be sold to the highest bidder in the international market without impacting our energy bill,” said Rosie Rogers, head of Greenpeace. UK said in March.

“If the UK and Europe want to end their dependence on Russian gas, the fastest way to do so is to insulate homes, install heat pumps and boost renewable energy.”

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman had made similar comments to Greenpeace just a month earlier, describing shale gas as “not a short-term solution” and “not proven to be a resource”. in the UK”.

Is there any advantage to jailbreak?

Fracking has a number of supporters within the Conservative Party – including prominent ministers such as Jacob Rees-Mogg and a small group of backing MPs known as the Net Zero Scrutiny Conservative Group, which regularly argues against the green policy.

They think Cuadrilla’s wells can be back up and running quickly, and believe shale gas could provide a significant supply that will boost the UK’s energy self-sufficiency.

Business Minister Kwasi Kwarteng has admitted fracking is unlikely to be commercialized in the short term (Image: Getty Images)

Currently, the UK produces 48% of the gas it uses – importing most of the rest of its needs from Norway.

The business also said fracking could “create 75,000 jobs and provide an ‘upgrade agenda’ in Red Wall areas”.

These arguments appear to have shaken the government, which commissioned the UK Geological Survey to evaluate the latest scientific evidence of the fracturing in April.

But Business Minister Kwasi Kwarteng said: “Unless the latest scientific evidence proves that shale gas extraction is safe, sustainable and has little impact on people living and working nearby, the pause in the UK will remain.”

He also acknowledged that fracking “will take years of exploration and development” before it can be commercialized, and “definitely won’t affect prices” in the short term.

https://www.nationalworld.com/news/uk/what-is-fracking-meaning-how-work-uk-advantages-disadvantages-explained-3688559 What is Fracking? UK Process and Controversy Explained


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: hung@interreviewed.com.

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