British government warms to shale gas

Oct. 16, 2012 at 9:14 AM
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LONDON, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- A British energy official said the government was warming to the development of shale natural gas but warned it won't be a panacea for cheaper energy.

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.

"We will make an announcement around the time of the gas strategy," he said.

The British Department of Energy and Climate Change suggested last week that any new hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, procedures should include small-scale operations followed by a monitoring stage to ensure safe development.

Cuadrilla Resources announced last year that it voluntarily halted shale gas extraction at a site in northwest England because of small tremors reported near its operations.

Davey warned, however, 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.

The minister last week said he makes "no apology" for exercising patience when it comes to shale natural gas reserves.

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