The Government’s advisers on climate change say there is a role for Lancashire’s shale gas to substitute imported gas.
A report by the Committee on Climate Change says the carbon footprint of shale could be compared to that of conventional natural gas.
The county is expected to be the test bed for hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’, which sees gallons of water and a chemical being pumped into the ground to fracture shale rock and release natural gas.
Campaigners say the method should be halted after it was shown it could cause earthquakes.
Francis Egan, Cuadrilla’s chief executive said: “Cuadrilla welcomes the findings from the Committee on Climate Change.
“We see a potential very significant role for Lancashire shale gas, over the coming decades, in reducing the UK’s increasing reliance on imported coal and imported gas both for generating electricity and for heating our homes and businesses.
“The report recognises the potential for domestically produced shale gas to have a lower carbon footprint than expensive imported gas and the same is true in comparison with imported coal.
“Shale gas can and should support and complement the growth of renewable energy and reduction in CO2 as the UK moves towards a lower carbon footing.”
David Kennedy, chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change, said: “The focus on reducing UK production emissions remains appropriate, given that these form a major part of our carbon footprint, and given available policy levers. Clearly we also need to reduce imported emissions.
“This highlights the fundamental need to reduce global emissions in order to achieve climate objectives.”