The Task Force have released their final report on the process of shale gas fracking and have recommended that exploratory drilling begin as soon as possible.
The Task Force on Shale Gas was launched in September 2014 to give careful consideration to public concerns, and to provide an impartial and transparent assessment of the potential benefits and risks of shale gas extraction to the UK.
The report found that, provided the strictest regulatory and industry standards are adhered to, there is no more risk to the public from fracking than other comparable industries.
Lord Chris Smith, chair of the Task Force on Shale Gas said the public would only be able to make an informed decision on whether they support shale gas once there is a clearer picture of how much gas can be recovered what sort of industry might be possible.
Therefore he has suggested that a number of exploratory wells should be allowed to go ahead in order to establish how much gas is available and what sort of industry might be possible.
Lord Smith explained: “The size of the UK industry’s impact will depend on its (as yet unknown) potential output. We recommend that a number of exploratory wells should be allowed to go ahead, under the very strict environmental safeguards that we have outlined in our previous reports, in order to establish a much clearer picture of where and how much recoverable gas there is in the UK. Only when we have a better understanding of how much gas could be recovered in the UK will the public be able to make an informed decision as to whether they support it.
Without exploratory drilling the economic impacts of shale gas remain largely unknown. However, we make two strong recommendations to make sure the benefits are felt. First, the Government must commit to appropriate skills training in areas in which shale gas production will occur. And second, we recommend that operators and Government specify details on how the creation of successful production sites will benefit residents living nearby.”
He also recommended that operators show full transparency with regard to the chemical content of materials used and that local residents should have a direct role in monitoring any operations.
So how will this affect business energy prices?
Fracking opens up a wealth of opportunities from creating thousands of jobs directly to supporting a wider supply chain indirectly. It could also strengthen the UK’s energy security and mitigate against potential risks to energy supply. Should shale exploration provide us with ‘energy on tap’, the impact on business energy prices will become apparent long before domestic prices, as business energy is bought in sooner than domestic.
Putting aside environmental concerns, fracking could have the biggest impact on reducing energy bills as it has in the US.
Sadly, we could be years away from this and UK energy supplies are ever dwindling as more and more coal-fired power stations are closed. Ongoing development of renewables and low-carbon energy will still be required in the meantime to try and close the gap.
Business Juice advises customers to compare suppliers and lock into a fixed contract to protect themselves from medium-term price hikes.