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U.K. Minister Expects Shale Tax Break Details in Spring

U.K. Energy Minister John Hayes expects details of the government’s proposed tax breaks for explorers of shale gas to be released in Spring.

“We are in discussions with the Treasury,” Hayes told lawmakers today at an Energy and Climate Change Committee meeting in London. “All matters are being discussed and considered. The way it’s being envisaged currently is a way of stimulating exploration” where the costs are significant.

A ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, used to access the gas was lifted in December by Energy Secretary Ed Davey, who set up controls to curb the risks of quakes in drilling for the resource. Two tremors at Cuadrilla Resources Ltd.’s wells in northern England in 2011 prompted the suspension.

Hayes, a Conservative, said the government expects more companies to come forward and apply for licenses to drill since the ban was ended. The government is currently undertaking an environmental study for the next licensing round, he said.

Fracking involves pushing pressurized fluids into wells to break apart underground rock formations and unlock gas deposits.

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