THE GOVERNMENT yesterday indicated that shale gas drilling would resume onshore in the UK after a temporary ban on the controversial extraction technique known as fracking.
The ban came after Cuadrilla Resources admitted that its shale exploration caused tremors in Blackpool last year.
Protesters have also claimed the process contaminates drinking water.
However, Britain has large reserves of shale gas in areas including the Pennines – a supply that could offer an alternative to other fossil fuels and be worth billions of pounds, according to industry experts.
Cuadrilla will be permitted to resume fracking but will be forced to report any tremors even if they can only be felt underground, under recommendations made by a government appointed panel of experts.
The recommendation will now go out to six-week consultation.
Meanwhile the panel said that the UK had rich shale gas resources offshore to put it among the top ranks of global producers.
Nigel Smith, subsurface geologist and geophysicist at the British Geological Survey said: “We were pioneers in the North Sea with conventional oil and gas and the technology has gone around the world, so why not become one in the unconventional [shale] sector.”
In the US almost a quarter of the country’s natural gas extraction is shale and the energy sector has seen a string of deals for shale gas operations across the globe.