As Ukraine war squeezes energy, UK looks again at fracking

Apr 5, 2022, 8:56 AM | Updated: 9:23 am

LONDON (AP) — The British government on Tuesday ordered scientists to take a new look at the risks of fracking, as soaring fuel prices and squeezed supplies prompt a rethink about the country’s energy supply.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng asked the British Geological Survey to review the evidence and report by June “on the geological science of shale gas fracturing and the modelling of seismic activity in shale rocks in the U.K.”

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves pumping water and chemicals at high pressure to fracture shale rock and release gas. The process has long been controversial in Britain, with attempts to establish a fracking industry meeting strong opposition from environmentalists.

The government suspended fracking in November 2019, saying it was not possible to accurately predict tremors associated with the drilling. That looked like a fatal blow to the industry as Britain sought to move away from fossil fuels and cut U.K. carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — and the sanctions imposed by the West on Russia, a major oil and gas supplier — have made countries including the U.K. rethink their energy supplies with the goal of reducing dependence on imported fuel. The fossil fuel industry and some lawmakers are pressing Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government to end the fracking ban and to increase the extraction of North Sea oil and gas.

Kwarteng said it was important to keep “all possible energy generation and production methods on the table.”

He added that the pause on fracking would remain “unless the latest scientific evidence demonstrates that shale gas extraction is safe, sustainable and of minimal disturbance to those living and working nearby.”

Cuadrilla Resources Ltd., which operated Britain’s only active shale wells until 2019, welcomed the review as a “tentative first step” towards overturning the moratorium.

“We trust that this review will allow Britain’s huge shale gas resources to be exploited,” said chief executive Francis Egan.

But Friends of the Earth energy activist Danny Gross said “energy efficiency and developing the U.K.’s vast renewable power potential are the best ways to deal with the energy crisis and bring down soaring fuel bills.”

On Thursday the U.K. government will release its long-term energy strategy, which is expected to call for more nuclear power plants and offshore wind farms — but not more onshore wind farms, which are seen by some Conservative lawmakers as vote-losing eyesores.

The United Nations’ climate panel warned Monday that temperatures on Earth will shoot past a key danger point unless greenhouse gas emissions fall faster than countries have committed to. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change revealed “a litany of broken climate promises” that “put us firmly on track toward an unlivable world.”


Follow all AP stories on climate change issues at

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


(Facebook Photo/City of San Luis, Arizona)...
Associated Press

San Luis authorities receive complaints about 911 calls going across border

Authorities in San Luis say they are receiving more complaints about 911 calls mistakenly going across the border.
2 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Associated Press

Daylight saving time begins in most of US this weekend

No time change is observed in Hawaii, most of Arizona, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Marianas.
10 days ago
Mexican army soldiers prepare a search mission for four U.S. citizens kidnapped by gunmen in Matamo...
Associated Press

How the 4 abducted Americans in Mexico were located

The anonymous tip that led Mexican authorities to a remote shack where four abducted Americans were held described armed men and blindfolds.
10 days ago
Tom Brundy points to a newly built irrigation canal on one of the fields at his farm Tuesday, Feb. ...
Associated Press

Southwest farmers reluctant to idle farmland to save water

There is a growing sense that fallowing will have to be part of the solution to the increasingly desperate drought in the West.
17 days ago
A young bison calf stands in a pond with its herd at Bull Hollow, Okla., on Sept. 27, 2022. The cal...
Associated Press

US aims to restore bison herds to Native American lands after near extinction

U.S. officials will work to restore more large bison herds to Native American lands under a Friday order from Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.
17 days ago
Children play in a dried riverbed in Flassans-sur-Issole, southern France, Wednesday, March 1, 2023...
Associated Press

Italy, France confront 2nd year of western Europe drought

ROME (AP) — Bracing for Italy’s second consecutive year of drought for the first time in decades, Premier Giorgia Meloni huddled with ministers Wednesday to start mapping out an action plan Wednesday, joining France and other nations in western Europe grappling with scant winter rain and snow. Meloni and her ministers decided to appoint an […]
19 days ago

Sponsored Articles

(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
As Ukraine war squeezes energy, UK looks again at fracking