British Prime Minister David Cameron is doubling down on hydraulically fracturing England’s shale oil and gas reserves.
In an op-ed in The Daily Telegraph, Cameron makes the case that fracking, which in the U.S. has caused natural gas prices to plummet but has come with questions about its environmental impact, will lead to cheaper energy and benefit local communities.
We reported this week how the British remain deeply ambivalent about the practice. In a recent poll, 41% of respondents favoured it versus 33% against, with 68% saying fracking would be good for the economy. But 47% also said fracking would damage the environment, and 43% said they do not want it done in their town.
…fracking has real potential to drive energy bills down. Labour’s mismanagement of the economy means that many people are struggling with the cost of living today. … We’re not turning our back on low carbon energy, but these sources aren’t enough.
…fracking will create jobs in Britain. In fact, one recent study predicted that 74,000 posts could be supported by a thriving shale-gas industry in this country. It’s not just those involved in the drilling. Just as with North Sea oil and gas, there would be a whole supply chain of new businesses, more investment and fresh expertise.
…It has been suggested in recent weeks that we want fracking to be confined to certain parts of Britain. This is wrong. I want all parts of our nation to share in the benefits: north or south, Conservative or Labour. We are all in this together.
…We must make the case that fracking is safe. International evidence shows there is no evidence why fracking should cause contamination of water supplies or other environmental damage, if properly regulated.
Recent estimates put northern England’s shale gas reserves at 1,300 tcf. There’s also said to be hundreds of millions of shale oil about an hour south of London, but recent attempts to drill there were met with protests.