LONDON, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- British Energy Minister Michael Fallon said the potential prize for energy companies taking an early interest in the country's shale potential may be huge.
"The U.K. is sitting on significant amounts of shale and the potential prize for energy security and investment is huge," he was quoted as saying Monday by The Daily Telegraph newspaper. "This gives companies the huge incentive to step up the search for shale and find out what is recoverable."
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said during an economic address Thursday he was proposing a new tax allowance to encourage investment in the country's emerging shale natural gas sector.
The Daily Telegraph reported the government will unveil new rules this week for community kickbacks for shale, an upfront payment of about $160,000 and as much as 1 percent of the revenue generated from selling produced gas.
The newspaper reported about 7,300 square miles of land in Britain is open to oil and gas drilling. The British Geological Survey estimates there may be enough shale gas inland to last the country more than 40 years though only a small fraction of land is open for exploration.