The United Kingdom has ended its fracking ban in a push to strengthen the nation’s energy security after Russia shut down its flow of natural gas through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline earlier this month.
While the United Kingdom “imports very little gas from Russia, gas prices are set globally and are now approximately 450% higher than they were this time last year,” BBC News explained.
“The market is so tight at the moment that any disruption in supply causes more hikes in the price of gas,” said Carole Nakhle, CEO of analysts Crystol Energy, after Russia shut down the pipeline. “This could cause slowdowns in European economies and accelerate the route towards recession.”
British Prime Minister Liz Truss announced the news on Wednesday as she explained the nation’s goal of higher fossil fuel production and becoming a net exporter of energy by 2040.
“We are cutting off the toxic power and pipelines from authoritarian regimes and strengthening our energy resilience,” Truss said during a speech to the United Nations General Assembly. “We will ensure we cannot be coerced or harmed by the reckless actions of rogue actors abroad. We will transition to a future based on renewable and nuclear energy while ensuring that the gas used during that transition is from reliable sources including our own North Sea production.”
Following the speech, the UK government announced that it had lifted the moratorium on shale gas production, including fracking, and that it would be supporting a new oil and gas licensing round which is expected to be launched by the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) in October.
“In light of Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and weaponisation of energy, strengthening our energy security is an absolute priority, and — as the Prime Minister said — we are going to ensure the UK is a net energy exporter by 2040,” British Energy Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said in a statement. “To get there we will need to explore all avenues available to us through solar, wind, oil and gas production — so it’s right that we’ve lifted the pause to realise any potential sources of domestic gas.”