Matt Hancock: “I want to speed up shale”

Posted: July 27, 2014 by tallbloke in Energy, government, People power, Shale gas

H/T to Oldbrew for this story via GWPF from the Sunday Times. I hope this haste doesn’t mean we’ll lose a lot of the benefit of developing a home grown shale gas extraction industry, with the benefits of boosting UK engineering and providing much needed indigenous employment and training in worthwhile skills.

Date: 27/07/14 Tim Shipman, The Sunday Times

Blackpools-Shale-Gas-Dril-007Fracking for shale gas is to be fast-tracked because it will give Britain greater energy security and protect it from Russian aggression, the new Tory energy minister has revealed.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, Matthew Hancock said the government would make it “much quicker” for companies to get approval to drill for shale gas.

At present firms that want to frack have to wait about six months for permission through a 15-stage process. Hancock hopes to slash that in half. Calling shale the “holy grail” of energy policy, he said:

I want to speed up shale. It takes too long at the moment. We have to ensure that instead of an array of complicated permissions we have very firm but very clear rules.

Hancock, 35, was promoted to attend cabinet as Tory spokesman on energy and business in David Cameron’s recent reshuffle. He warned that tensions with Russia following the shooting-down of flight MH17 meant Britain should seek to become energy self-sufficient.

He said:

Shale gas has the opportunity to increase our energy security, potentially to cut costs and also to reduce carbon emissions by reducing the amount of coal that we burn. Those three are the holy grail for energy policy. With what we’ve seen in Russia over recent weeks, the importance of an indigenous energy supply can’t be overestimated.

  1. M Simon says:

    Tall Bloke,

    I expect this will happen all over Europe as well in response to the Russians. All because Putin was not satisfied with the Crimea. The Greens losing to geopolitics. How ironic.

  2. tallbloke says:

    M Simon: Various EU governments with have to wipe egg off their faces first, after banning fracking only recently. As for the eastern regions of Ukraine which wish to secede from the Kiev unelected revolutionary junta, that disaster didn’t start with Putin, but with the EU mandarin’s in concert with US politico-military strategists who thought backing the far right neo-nazi elements to overthrow the elected government was a good idea. It’s a slow-motion train wreck. Ukraine hasn’t been a state long enough to withstand the externally assisted internal tensions tearing it apart.

  3. Richard111 says:

    Well said TB.
    The Russian rebels are now planting broken up pieces of Ukraine fighter jet in the crash zone to ‘prove’ MH17 was brought down by collision with same.

  4. manicbeancounter says:

    It is good to see that energy security is only one of three planks. Costs come before reducing carbon emissions. Ed Davey’s policy of increasing the use of wind turbines conflicts with both the other two. Given that gas-fired power stations are the cheapest and lowest-CO2 emitting back up for wind, it is even more important.

  5. tallbloke says:

    R3: Is there any evidence for that?

    MB: Just so. UK cheif scientist Sir Mark Walport made this point about the right balance between the three imperatives when he took office. He does nod to AGW more than I’d like in public, but I get the feeling that behind the scenes, he’s on the right track. Hopefully, the letter I sent him helped:

  6. M Simon says:


    Thanks. I wasn’t aware of the nuances of the politics. I probably should keep up more as #2 son is living in Moscow as an adjunct to the US Embassy.

    I have seen on the ‘net an end to the fracking ban mooted in Germany. IIRC.

    BTW FWIW the “rebels” seem to be at minimum led by the Russian Army. Special Forces I would guess. So no matter the cause I have not been convinced the uprising was spontaneous.

    It has been what? 70 years since the last major shooting war in Europe. People forget. It all seems like so much dead history. Peace is natural. War is unnatural. That is always how it starts innit. We have the same problem this side of the pond. Peacemongery IMO is the cause of more wars than warmongery. That and miscalculation.

    In any case an end to the fracking ban is welcome news.

  7. Roger Andrews says:

    The “fracking revolution” in the US took place entirely on private land. Gas production on land owned by the federal government declined over the same period.

    As far as I know all mineral rights in Europe are all owned by governments.

    So don’t expect too much.

  8. tallbloke says:

    M Simon: I doubt the majority of those in East Ukraine want to be ruled by Moscow. But they don’t want to be ruled by Kiev based right-wingnuts either. A poor situation.

  9. Andrew says:

    Sky news reported the parts mixing plan. Also there has been some editing of Wikipedia How propaganda methods have changed. There are some interesting twitter theories bouncing around (@JF991) based around how Russia’s economy is strongly leading Putins actions (Gazprom etc) another huge firm has just defaulted on its bond payments. If Putin is seen to lose this, his head may possibly roll. He seems desparate for air superiority. It’s all very Tom Clancy ish.

    Interesting to see how a dose of fear effects a government priorities. Although still just words, meant for the Lib Dems ears as much as anyone’s.

  10. oldbrew says:

    M Simon says: ‘It has been what? 70 years since the last major shooting war in Europe. People forget.’

    Including you I’m afraid.

    Bosnian War 1992-1995:
    ‘The most recent figures suggest that around 100,000 people were killed during the war. In addition, an estimated total of 20,000 to 50,000 women were raped, and over 2.2 million people were displaced, making it the most devastating conflict in Europe since the end of World War II.’

  11. RKS says:

    tallbloke says:
    July 27, 2014 at 3:13 pm
    M Simon: I doubt the majority of those in East Ukraine want to be ruled by Moscow. But they don’t want to be ruled by Kiev based right-wingnuts either. A poor situation.>>>>>

    I have a lot of admiration for your blog but your political bias seems a little strong here.

    You forget that the new government in Ukraine was democratically elected. Even Putin acknowledged that.

    And it must be remembered that Russia has a long history of invading their neighbours, including neutral Finland and more recently parts of Georgia.

    WW2 was started by the invasion of Poland by Germany AND the incarnation of the Russian Empire then known as the USSR.

  12. tallbloke says:

    RKS: You can read the BBC’s timeline of events here.

    The crux of this was on 25-27th May

    25 May: Ukraine holds presidential election but most polling stations in east remain closed. President-elect Petro Poroshenko vows to bring “peace to a united and free Ukraine”.

    26-27 May: Ukrainian army launches “anti-terrorist operation” to oust separatists occupying Donetsk airport. Combat jets, helicopters and airborne troops deployed and at least 40 separatists killed.

    This military action was not planned or sanctioned by the new president, who had to pretend he had sanctioned it in order not to have his authority undermined on day one of his presidency. The interim ‘government’ had been forced by the militias to hand over control of the military to the ‘right sector’, who seized the moment.
    The right sector is composed of a disparate grouping of several right wing,ultra-nationalist and neo-nazi parties. These are the wingnuts I referred to.
    The political coalition fell apart recently. The Prime minister resigned 4 days ago. The president is not in control of the country and no-one in the east voted for him anyway because most of the polling stations there were not opened on the day of the election. The Kiev based military is under the control of the neo-nazi wingnuts and no-one in the east trusts them. The conscripts forced to fight their eastern compatriots don’t want to be there.

    It’s a mess.

  13. and Australia speeding up coal with India in charge
    “A fourth mine has been approved in Queensland’s Galilee Basin, with Indian mining giant Adani getting the nod to develop one of the world’s biggest coal mines.

  14. oldbrew says:

    Also Russia has stopped gas supplies to Ukraine, and in turn Ukraine has blocked the canal that delivers 85% of Crimea’s water supply.

    ‘Fracking for shale gas is to be fast-tracked because it will give Britain greater energy security and protect it from Russian aggression, the new Tory energy minister has revealed.’

    Already watered down:

    ‘Ministers will announce a major climbdown on fracking today as they bring in strict controls to protect vast swathes of the British countryside.’

  15. oldbrew says:

    The Poles want to speed up shale too, but the EU is going to sue them if they go ahead.

    ‘Warsaw accused of breaching EU law on assessing environmental impact of fracking’