Bri­tish shale gas gets boost from court rul­ing on per­mit

Third En­ergy shale per­mit first since ban lifted in 2012

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

Bri­tain’s High Court ruled yes­ter­day that a frack­ing per­mit awarded by a lo­cal coun­cil to de­vel­oper Third En­ergy was le­gal, af­ter it was chal­lenged by environmental cam­paign­ers, open­ing the way to shale gas ex­trac­tion in the UK. Sub­stan­tial amounts of shale gas are es­ti­mated to be trapped in un­der­ground rocks and the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment wants to ex­ploit it to help off­set de­clin­ing North Sea oil and gas out­put, cre­ate some 64,000 jobs and help eco­nomic growth.

The con­tested per­mit in York­shire, in the north of Eng­land, was the first ap­proval for shale gas frack­ing since a mora­to­rium was lifted in 2012. “The sub­stan­tive claim for ju­di­cial re­view is dis­missed,” Jus­tice Lang said in her writ­ten verdict on the case, rul­ing that the per­mit re­mains valid.

De­spite gov­ern­ment sup­port, progress has been slow due to reg­u­la­tory hur­dles and pub­lic protests, with environmental groups con­cerned frack­ing could con­tam­i­nate ground­wa­ter and that it is incompatible with fight­ing cli­mate change.

“We will con­tinue to cam­paign on be­half of lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties for the sake of our chil­dren and their chil­dren’s health and well-be­ing,” said Jackie Cray, a co-claimant in the case. Third En­ergy, which is owned by for­mer em­ploy­ees of the Bar­clays Nat­u­ral Re­source In­vest­ments pri­vate eq­uity busi­ness, had been ex­pected to pro­duce Bri­tain’s first shale gas this year be­fore its per­mit award was ap­pealed.

The com­pany said it was pleased with the rul­ing. Since Third En­ergy was granted its per­mit, shale gas de­vel­oper Cuadrilla has gained ap­proval for a sec­ond per­mit in north­west Eng­land af­ter the gov­ern­ment in­ter­vened and over­ruled a lo­cal author­ity de­ci­sion. Other Bri­tish shale gas de­vel­op­ers in­clude IGas, Eg­don Re­sources and INEOS. — Reuters

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