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The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), has announced that 27 new blocks will be offered exploration for to assess their suitability for fracking for oil and gas.
The revelation comes shortly after Energy and Climate secretary Amber Rudd announced new measures to fast track shale gas planning permission, as the Government seeks to push for a US-style shale energy industry in the UK.
The 27 exploration blocks include areas of the Midlands and North East. A further 132 areas, including parts of the West Country and south coast, are currently being assessed for environmental impact (including upon wildlife and habitats) but may also be awarded.
Whether exploration will actually go ahead is as yet unsure. Local planning consent will be needed. So far, proposed UK fracking sites, such as Sussex and Lancashire, have not received permission, likely due in no small part to local protests.
Nevertheless, the UK Energy Minister Lord Bourne was optimistic over the prospects for fracking: “As part of our long term plan to build a more resilient economy, create jobs and deliver secure energy supplies, we continue to back our onshore oil and gas industry and the safe development of shale gas in the UK. This is why the OGA has moved quickly to confirm the winners of license blocks, which do not need further environmental assessment.”
Yet Greenpeace spokeswoman Daisy Sands predicted further strife: “The Government is backing the destructive fracking industry with tax breaks and stifling local opposition. Hundreds of battles will spring up to defend our rural landscapes from the pollution, noise and drilling rigs that will come with fracking.”
Lord Bourne’s priorities of “keeping the lights on and powering the economy” by offering cheaper business gas are certainly laudable. However, any impact will only be felt over the medium to long term. In the short term, gas for business prices can expected to be mostly unchanged, although unrest in Ukraine or a variety of other factors could cause business gas suppliers to hike their rates.
To get an idea of how much you should be paying, we can help you compare business gas suppliers and change to a new deal in just 20 minutes. Just fill in our simple form (also at the top right of this page) or give us a call on 0330 0100 251 now for a no-obligation comparison.
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