UK hints that fracking could be part of energy policy overhaul

(EurActiv, 9 Mar 2022) The UK has hinted at ending its ban on fracking, as Boris Johnson’s government prepares to unveil a new energy supply strategy in response to the need to diversify its energy supply in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

On Tuesday and Wednesday (8-9 March), the government set out plans to gradually reduce reliance on Russian energy imports, and increase domestic production of oil and gas, as well as renewable and nuclear energy supply.

“We must end our dependence on all Russian hydrocarbons,” Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng told the House of Commons on Wednesday. “In the meantime, we need more investment in North Sea oil and gas,” he said.

A group of Conservative lawmakers are urging the government to relax its stance on fracking in order to stimulate domestic gas production, help plug the supply gap and mitigate against the high prices caused by the repercussions to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Johnson government insists that any changes to its energy policy will not involve abandoning its carbon reduction commitments.

In response to a question about fracking from Labour’s energy spokesperson Ed Miliband, Kwarteng, who is known to be sceptical about fracking, told parliament that “the government has always been clear that we will take precautionary approach and support shale gas exploration if it can be done in a safe and sustainable way. That remains our position”.

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EurActiv, 9 Mar 2022: UK hints that fracking could be part of energy policy overhaul