MPs and industry call for immediate end to fracking ban

8 March 2022

As onshore wells are plugged amidst an energy crisis, MPs and the gas industry tell the Government: Enough is enough, it's time drop the fracking ban

Today, 8th March, Members of Parliament and the onshore gas industry met to call an end to the fracking moratorium that has crippled domestic energy security as the UK's gas import dependency skyrockets.

While Russia turns off the gas taps to Europe and the Government forces one shale gas company to cement up a promising onshore gas resource, Steve Baker MP said:

"As preparations are made for cement trucks to fill in the UK's last functioning shale gas wells, it is obscene that Russia's war crimes are being funded by Europe's addiction to their gas.

"If Europeans are to escape this trap, ministers must go for UK shale gas with all the vigour of a national war effort. It's already too late to solve this winter's crisis but Boris won't be forgiven for allowing energy insecurity and high prices to carry on year after year. We cannot allow our pensioners and the most vulnerable in our society to suffer from energy crises every year. We cannot allow industrial collapse under the weight of intolerable energy prices.

"Under the Government's plans, we will need vast quantities of gas even as renewables are ramped up. It is time for all of us to listen to facts, not scare stories. The shale gas industry needs a level playing field and an end to hysterical misinformation.

"Ministers who are resistant must realise that Putin has created a new reality compared to 2019. This new reality must spur us into immediate action. Morally, it is the right thing to do."

Today’s event in Parliament throws into the spotlight the 50 year supply of natural gas, valued at £6.6 trillion at current prices, sitting just a mile under our feet. With a history of and potential to pour millions of pounds and tens of thousands of jobs into communities across Northern and Central England, and much-needed security from the supply and price squeezes of the European gas market as Russia severs international ties, today we ask the Government to see sense and lift the illogical ban on fracking for shale gas immediately.

Speakers at today's call to action included:

  • George Yates, CEO of HEYCO Energy Group
  • Andy Mayer, COO of the Institute of Economic Affairs
  • Steve Bowler, CEO of IGas Energy plc
  • Charles McAllister, Policy Manager at UK Onshore Oil and Gas
  • and Steve Baker MP, chairing

Speaking ahead of today's event, Charles McAllister, Policy Manager at UK Onshore Oil and Gas, commented:

"The UK shale gas sector is one of a handful of industries offering a truly credible opportunity to level up the UK. Our Bowland Hodder shale gas resource is world class and could have been providing a consistent, reliable and affordable source of energy for UK homes and businesses for the last decade if the Government hadn't relied on myths, loudspeakers and asymmetrically applied regulation for their oil and gas strategy.

"A failure to develop UK shale gas could readily see the UK send £1 trillion overseas to exporters of natural gas over the next 28 years, a hard pill to swallow for the UK's communities as we jump from the Covid-19 crisis straight into one rooted in the cost of living. It is time to drop the dogma and approach our energy strategy seriously.

"The environmental arguments don't stand up, and neither do the claims around emissions: UK shale gas is forecast to have a carbon intensity one quarter of that of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) the UK is increasingly shipping in from Russia, Qatar and the USA. Economically, the LNG imports from these three countries meant the UK forking over an eye-watering £64bn from 2010-2021, the equivalent of £15 per household per month.

"A continuation of BEIS' 'fingers crossed' approach to gas supply where the UK will have to send out high price signals to attract supply is environmentally, geopolitically and economically irresponsible.

"The industry stands ready to get to work again creating a reliable domestic supply of much-needed natural gas. We don't want or need subsidy; we merely need Government to open their eyes to the strong case for UK shale gas development and drop this illogical moratorium."


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Notes to Editors

  • Whilst the Government's newfound support for the offshore oil and gas sector should be welcomed, at a 10% recovery rate, the onshore industry has a potential gas reserve 17 times that of the offshore sector. The potential tax take from the production of this reserve is in the region of £200bn.
  • Since 2017, the UK has spent over £5bn importing shale gas from America instead of producing it from under our feet.
  • The seismic event from the PNR 1z well, on which the OGA report which induced the moratorium is based, was 1.5 ML – the equivalent of dropping a honeydew melon from shoulder height.