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Doubts cast over Conservative Party's controversial fracking proposals

View profile for Miles Dearden
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Reports suggest that controversial Conservative plans to develop a national ‘shale wealth fund’ for the UK are now unlikely to go ahead after the party failed to win an overall majority on 8 June.

Previously, the 2017 Conservative Manifesto had outlined plans to kick-start a ‘fracking revolution’ across the UK.

The document claimed that Britain had the potential to ‘replicate the shale boom that has transformed the US energy landscape’ in recent years.

However, these claims have been disputed by researchers in recent weeks, while industry commentators have voiced concerns that the Conservative Party’s fracking plans are unlikely to reach fruition following the surprise result of the General Election.

Jon Ferris, strategy director at North East energy company Utilitywise, suggested that, if the Party attempts to press ahead with its plans, it is unlikely to receive support from its alliance partners, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

He also warned: “While the UK remains dependent on imported gas, the production of domestic shale gas would have limited impact on prices, and would not replicate the transformation of the US energy sector.”

These concerns have been echoed by Professor Jon Gluyas, executive director at the Durham Energy Institute (DEI) at Durham University.

He said: “The evidence that the UK could replicate the US [fracking] experience is close to zero. Our shales are gas rich but that is where the similarity ends.

“Extraction will be difficult due to unfavourable geological and geographical factors and societal opposition. In the last decade only a handful of wells have been drilled compared with the tens of thousands in the USA.

“Moreover, not one of the UK wells has led to development of a shale-gas field,” he said. 

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