The British Geological Survey has identified the main areas that could be affected by shale oil drilling across southern England.Read the full story ›
The British Geological Survey findings into how much shale oil is in southern England is not a let-down or a let-up, energy minister Michael Fallon said, after the director of energy Robert Gatliff said the results were "not a huge bonanza".
Mr Fallon added: "It's a potentially home-grown source of energy that we simply cannot afford to ignore. That is why we're encouraging this development through streamlining and simplifying the regulatory process while protecting the environment.
"There's nothing particularly green about tankering oil all the way across the world from the coast of Africa or from Russia if we have it here."
The British Geological Survey has released a map of the area where Jurassic shale oil is considered to be the most lucrative.
According to the map, areas between Southampton and Hastings, as well as Kent will be affected by "fracking".
A report by the British Geological Survey (BGS) has found there are an estimated 4.4 billion barrels of shale oil in vast parts of southern England.
The study of the Weald Basin, which stretches from Wiltshire to Kent, found there could be 2.2-8.5 billion barrels of shale oil. The BGS stressed that these numbers are for resources and not reserves. Shale oil exploration in the US has only been able to access up to 10% of the total oil.
By comparison to the Weald Basin figures, around 40 billion barrels of oil have already been extracted from the North Sea. The study also found there is unlikely to be any shale gas potential in the area.
The Government has proposed new rules to simplify the granting of access for fracking. They would see underground access for shale oil and gas developments allowed under 300 metres.
Under the proposals people living above ground would receive a voluntary payment of £20,000 per well.
The case for fracking is yet to be proven on environmental or economic grounds, the national officer of the GMB union has said, reacting to reports on the forthcoming British Geological Survey, which is expected to reveal huge oil reserves across Southern England.
Fracking needs to be subject to an honest, rational debate that focuses on a plan for energy, including gas in the UK.
The expected announcement on compensation is yet another knee jerk move by a government that has lost any credibility on energy policy.
The Government should be backing renewable power and energy efficiency, Friends of the Earth said, reacting to reports on the forthcoming British Geological Survey, which is expected to reveal huge oil reserves across Southern England.
Regional Campaigner Brenda Pollack said:
These latest estimates will set alarm bells ringing across the South East of England where fracking firms seem intent on punching holes in some of Britain’s most beautiful countryside in the search for profits.
No wonder the Government waited until after the elections to make this announcement as Lord Howell recently warned that fracking will cost the Tories thousands of votes in their heartlands.
Fracking will not bring down energy bills as the gas or oil exploited would be sold on European markets and not used in the UK, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said, after reports suggested that communities affected by drilling will be offered an average of £800,000 in additional compensation.
She told BBC Two's Newsnight: "Even the boss of (fracking firm) Cuadrilla has said fracking in Britain wouldn't reduce energy prices.
"Even the experts, even the people who are in the forefront of the fracking ideology are saying actually that it's not going to lead to lower prices so if you want lower prices you need to go down the renewable route."
A report published later today from the British Geological Survey is expected to reveal huge reserves oil reserves across Southern England, the BBC reports.
The study covers areas across Sussex, Surrey and Kent, is said to say there are several billion barrels of oil in shale rocks, that could be drilled through the controversial fracking process.
The Times is reporting that the government will offer money to areas outlined in a bid to stave off criticism amid growing concerns over the safety of the procedure.
Communities affected by controversial "fracking" will be offered huge sums of money in a bid to win hearts and minds, according to reports.
Communities in potential hacking sites, due to be identified in the British Geological Survey later today, will be offered an average of £800,000 in additional compensation efforts, the Times reports.
Mr Cameron will make the announcement as the survey is published, later today.