A committee advising the Government on ‘fracking’ has advised them to support exploratory drilling.
The Energy and Climate Change Committee’s report into the impact of shale gas on energy markets said it would be ‘impossible’ to determine how much shale gas could be tapped into unless some drilling was encouraged.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a process which sees gallons of water and a chemical pumped into the ground to fracture shale rock and release natural gas.
Cuadrilla has drilling rig sites at Singleton and Preese Hall on the Fylde coast, Anna’s Road near Lytham, and Banks, between Preston and Southport.
The committee said that public concerns over the controversial method should be taken into account, and added that a ‘robust’ response to concerns would be key to the public accepting fracking.
Friends of the Earth energy campaigner Tony Bosworth said: “This report does little to back the case for a UK shale gas revolution.
“MPs say clearly that shale gas production may threaten our climate targets, may not stop the price of gas from soaring further and we can’t rely on it to improve energy security.
“Fracking is dirty, unnecessary and a threat to our climate and environment – it’s little wonder so many communities are in opposition.
“Instead of gambling with shale gas, we should be building an affordable power system based on our abundant clean energy from the wind, waves and sun.”
Cuadrilla chief executive Francis Egan said he was pleased with the report.
He said: “I’m delighted with the committee’s central conclusion that exploration companies like Cuadrilla should receive strong support from the Government to get on and drill, in order to establish the extent of the recoverable resources of natural gas.
“We agree with the committee’s conclusion that substantial recoverable shale gas could limit future UK energy price rises, reduce our reliance on imported gas and generate considerable tax revenues.
“Cuadrilla supports the committee’s view that positive community engagement will be crucial.
“We are committed to listening and responding to peoples’ questions, while ensuring their communities share in the benefits of shale gas development.
“We also agree with the committee that the Government must provide robust and factual responses in response to scare stories.”