British government ready for fracking

May 16, 2013 at 5:32 AM

LONDON, May 16 (UPI) -- There's nothing standing in the way of new drilling plans for shale gas resources in the country, British Energy Minister Michael Fallon said.

The British government last year lifted a ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, of shale natural gas resources in light of new risk controls. Fracking operations were suspended after Cuadrilla Resources in 2011 reported minor tremors associated with natural gas operations in the country.

Fallon addressed the first meeting of a multiparty group on unconventional oil and gas before the House of Commons. The group includes representatives from industry, consumer groups and non-governmental organizations.

He said the government since December has created the right mechanisms to move forward with shale gas development.

"We announced fracking could resume with robust regulation last December and there is nothing now stopping licensees from bringing on new drilling plans," he said.

Apart from temblors, shale development is controversial because chemicals used in the process are environmental threats.

Fallon said shale would ensure energy security and offer a source of economic stimulus, provided it's done so with care.

He said more than 300 licenses are already in the hands of explorers. A new round for license applications is expected next year.

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