U.K. Said to Lift Fracking Ban to Boost Gas Production

U.K. Said to Lift Fracking Ban in Effort to Boost Gas Production
Cuadrilla Resources Ltd's shale gas exploration site in Singleton, U.K. Photographer: Paul Thomas/Bloomberg

U.K. Energy Secretary Ed Davey will rescind a ban on shale-gas exploration, opening the door for Cuadrilla Resources Ltd. to resume its activities, according to a person familiar with the decision.

Davey is expected to announce the move today, said the person, who isn’t authorized to speak to the press and asked not to be named.

Hydraulic fracturing, using pressurized water to drive gas from shale rock, was suspended after Cuadrilla set off two earthquakes last year in northwest England.

Britain is promoting gas with tax breaks for shale exploration as it seeks to ensure energy supplies and investment in replacing power stations that are due to be retired. Prime Minister David Cameron said Dec. 11 that the U.K. should be at the heart of a “shale gas revolution.” The government also is attempting to hold down utility bills and reduce emissions from fossil fuels such as oil and coal.

Cuadrilla Resources, which is seeking approval to fracture and test a number of sites next year, said the shale rock it’s exploring in northwest England has more gas than all of Iraq.

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