UK reaffirms support for fresh round of oil and gas licencing

LONDON: The UK government has affirmed backing for a new oil and gas licencing round and officially overturned a restriction on fracking for shale gas in England.

A fresh oil and gas licencing cycle for 100 new licences will take place next month, said the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), but only with the backing of regional communities. The announcement, however, generated outrage in parliament because it violated a pledge made by the Conservatives in their campaign for the general election of 2019.

The government has lifted the ban on shale gas production in England, claims a statement released on Thursday, to "bolster the nation's energy security," as per reports. The North Sea Transition Authority will initiate a fresh round of oil and gas licencing in early October, paving the door for more than 100 new exploration licences that may involve fracking. This plan has also been confirmed by the government. Developers will be permitted to look for commercially viable oil and gas reserves thanks to these licences.

Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg stated strengthening Britain's energy security is a top and absolute priority. In 2019, the government had mentioned that fracking would restart only if "the science shows categorically that it can be done safely".

On Thursday, the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy said that eliminating the ban would allow for the collection of additional data. Since 2019 there has been a shale gas production ban in England due to worries about earth tremors.

An Oil and Gas Authority research claims that using existing technologies, it is impossible to precisely anticipate the likelihood of earthquakes linked to fracking.

Conservatives with congressional districts in northern England, where earthquakes were felt in 2011, and opposition legislators reacted angrily. The new strategy has been referred to as "a charter for earthquakes" by the main opposition Labour party.

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