Cameron told supporters he was eager to take advantage of a shale momentum in his country. The government says shale could ensure energy security for a country where net natural gas imports are on pace to increase from 45 percent of demand in 2011 to 76 percent by 2030.
British Energy Minister Michael Fallon told the BBC the government is eager to replicate the shale success story from the United States where new drilling technologies for shale have led to major production gains.
"I think we're going to see maybe 30, 40 wells drilled over the next couple of years to see what the real potential is -- whether this gas can be got out easily as they have been getting it out in the United States and whether they can get it out as cheaply as they have got it out in the United States," he said in an interview published Wednesday.
Andy Atkins, executive director for Friends of Earth, said Cameron's administration was "hooked" on fossil fuels. This is "driving away thousands of jobs in Britain's renewable energy sector and undermining efforts to tackle global warming."
The Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change said last week there were signs the earth's atmosphere and oceans have warmed in part because of higher concentrations of greenhouse gas emissions.