LONDON, June 6 (UPI) -- The British government is considering whether its policies on shale gas and geothermal energy are "fit for purpose," Energy Minister Michael Fallon said.
The British government in May unveiled proposals to reform how companies gain access to underground oil and gas deposits as well as geothermal resources. A 12-week consultation period ends Aug. 15.
Fallon said both reserves, while in the early stages of development, are key potential sources of energy for an economy still importing a great deal of its resources.
"The government is considering whether the existing legislative framework is fit for purpose to enable them to determine this potential," he said in a statement Thursday.
Queen Elizabeth II in her annual address to the British Parliament said the government aims to introduce energy measures that will improve British economic competitiveness.
"The bill will enhance the United Kingdom's energy independence and security by opening up access to shale and geothermal sites and maximizing North Sea resources," she said.
Cuadrilla Resources, a shale pioneer in the country, has said there may be as much as 200 trillion cubic feet of shale gas in a reserve area in Lancashire. The British Geological Survey has said there may be more than 8.5 billion barrels of shale oil elsewhere in the country.