Minister: British shale gas won't be cheap

Oct. 22, 2012 at 9:11 AM

LONDON, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Exploiting natural gas from shale deposits may secure more sources of energy but it won't be cheap, a former British energy minister said.

British Energy Secretary Ed Davey told The Daily Telegraph newspaper the government is expected to give the nod to shale when it unveils plans for more gas-fired power plants in November.

London, however, suggested that any new hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, should be monitored closely to ensure safe development.

Shale extraction sparked concern after Cuadrilla Resources announced last year that it voluntarily halted shale gas extraction in northwestern England because of small tremors reported near its operations.

Former British Energy Minister Charles Hendry warned in his own column in The Guardian that shale gas would be beneficial but it won't experience the same benefits as in U.S. markets, where a lack of gas exports keeps prices "artificially low."

"We may face a golden age for gas but don't assume it will be cheap," he wrote.

Davey last week warned that shale gas won't be a "silver bullet" that will usher in an era of cheap energy for the country.

"Shale gas in North America has misled people about the medium to long-term trends in gas prices," he said.

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