The UK lifted its ban on fracking to pursue energy independence as power bills soar, but experts say it’s unlikely to help the energy crisis this winter

Fracking pumpjacks in an oil drilling field.
The UK lifted a moratorium on fracking for shale gas amid the energy crisis.

  • The UK lifted a temporarily ban on fracking amid the ongoing energy crisis.
  • It had temporarily banned fracking over fears of earthquakes from the shale-gas extraction process.
  • UK energy bills are expected to be 80% higher in October than they were a year ago.

The UK has lifted a ban on fracking, aiming to cut its reliance on energy imports as power bills soar.

"In light of Putin's illegal invasion of Ukraine and weaponization of energy, strengthening our energy security is an absolute priority," UK Business and Energy Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said in a statement on Thursday.

The UK is in a cost-of-living crisis: Annual energy bills in the country are expected to surge 80% year-on-year to an average of £3,549, or $ 5,656, from October, the country's energy regulator said in August. 

The UK is also aiming to be a net energy exporter by 2040. It's now a net importer of all main fuel types.

The UK temporarily banned fracking in 2019 due to concerns about earth tremors from the process, which breaks up rocks with water at chemicals at high pressure in order to extract shale gas. Fracking is controversial due to its impact on the environment and fears that the process may cause earthquakes. The British Geological Survey said in a Thursday report it was challenging to "predict the occurrence of larger earthquakes during hydraulic fracturing operations."

Fracking companies welcomed the lifting of the ban, but some experts raise doubts over the impact of the move on UK consumers and the size of their energy bills.

A Thursday report from the London School of Economics said it's a "false assumption" that shale gas produced at home would be priced significantly below international market prices.

It also takes time to develop an industry substantial enough to make an impact.

"Even if the risks proved to be manageable and acceptable, shale gas would only make a significant impact to UK supply if, over the next decade, thousands of successful wells were to be drilled at hundreds of sites across northern England," Professor Andrew Aplin at Durham University's earth sciences department said in a statement on Thursday.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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