Approval granted for fracking in northern England

Third Energy U.K. has been granted approval to frack an existing UK natural gas well, overcoming last-minute protests and reviving a practice not used in Britain since earthquakes were recorded in 2011.

North Yorkshire County Councilà‚ on Monday approved a proposal by Third Energy to create five fractures in a vertical gas well in the Ryedale district in northeast England, although the project could still be delayed if the decision is subject to appeal.
Fracking site
The news will be welcomed by the government who are strongly in favour of shale gas as a critical aspect for the country’s power generation capacity and security. PM David Cameron said in 2014 that the government was “going all out for shale” and the energy secretary, Amber Rudd, said after the general election that she would “deliver shale”.

The government is focusing on gas-fired power generation to a greater extent, now that coal is being phased out, and nuclear power facilities are being delayed.

“It’s obviously very positive news and it’s an important first step,” Corin Taylor, a director at U.K. Onshore Oil and Gas, a trade association that represents Third Energy and spoke in favour of its application, told Bloomberg. “Now it will really be about whether or not that gas can be produced in sufficient quantities,” said by phone.

Plunging domestic gas production has caused the government to support the practice to shore up energy supplies. Fracking caused tremors in the U.K. in 2011 after Cuadrilla Resources Ltd. unknowingly drilled into an area with a fault. A temporary moratorium was put in place as the government sought to address concern the technique is unsafe.à‚ 

The U.K. may have as much as 26 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable shale gas, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in 2013, or about nine years of the nation’s gas consumption. It should become clearer whether other companies will be able to resume fracking in the U.K. by the end of the year.

Cuadrilla, Engie SA and Total SA are other parties interested in drilling for gas in the region.

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