British shale projects apparently got a boost on Thursday as the UK government wheeled out its latest support for the nascent industry.
Despite years of speculation and hype the country’s shale promise is still beyond reach, and, the sector’s ambitions continue to be frustrated in the planning stages.
Theresa May’s government will, however, aim to speed up shale project which, according to commentators, can take as long as three years to get up and running – compared to only a matter of months in other parts of the world.
Government measures to streamline the planning process for shale gas ventures will be accompanied by the launch of a new £1.6mln shale support fund. The cash will be earmarked to cover to cost of additional capacity and expertise in the councils tasked with judging planning applications for shale wells.
Ken Cronin, chief executive of onshore industry group UKOOG, said: “This country needs a diverse supply of energy which protects and secures UK jobs and UK taxes. Imported gas currently costs over £13mln a day - money that is not generating jobs or tax revenues in this country.
“To achieve greater homegrown energy production, Britain also needs a policy framework and a planning and permitting system that allows industries like ours to be able to get decisions within timescales that work for all concerned including the local communities we work in.”
He added: “Today’s announcement goes some way to ensuring that our energy security is protected and the benefits we have already seen flowing into communities become much more widespread.”