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UK fracking hits more roadblocks

So the USA has overtaken Russia as the world’s largest producer of oil and gas. US shale production has increased sevenfold in the last few years despite lower global demand this year.

“We are truly witnessing a changing of the guard of global energy suppliers. The implications of the shale revolution are profound,” said Spencer Dale, BP’s chief economist.

Last year the shale boom also pushed US oil production ahead of that of Saudi Arabia although Opec have taken drastic measures this year to push the US out of the market by dropping prices through the floor. Excellent news for importers such as Britain and we can hear the motorists rejoicing in the forecourts.

Its no wonder then that the UK are trying to set up a fracking industry of their own although there’s no sign yet of the boom like we saw in US shale.

Fracking in the UK has been delayed thanks to new tougher testing rules on the groundwater prior to shale extraction. Concerned were raised under the previous Labour government that fracking could contaminate groundwater with methane amongst other gases.

The new government however, are expected to publish secondary legislation that would allow the industry to drill holes to monitor groundwater without waiting for full planning permission for a fracking site.

Excellent news for Cuadrilla! They have now applied for permission to start their first full-scale shale gas exploration project in the UK with a potential start date of July 2016.

As expected, opposition from environmental groups has materialised, arguing that fracking should be banned in all levels of a groundwater source protection zone, including areas a long distance from wells, boreholes and springs used for drinking water.

Support however came from the US Environmental Protection Agency who said that fracking had “not led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water” adding that the number of cases in which drinking water had been contaminated by fracking was “small compared to the number of hydraulically fractured wells”.

So the fracking dispute continues here in the UK. It’s just a matter of time before we start exploration but who can tell how lucrative it will become. Watch out Opec!