Ashworth discusses fracking and renewable energy
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Despite British sanctions slapped on Russia over its brutal invasion of Ukraine, loopholes have meant that Russian oil and gas imports can still be imported. While Russian-owned and operated ships were stopped from docking in UK ports, ships from third countries that are carrying Russian gas consignments will continue to be allowed to arrive unimpeded. Official figures from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy suggest reliance on Russian gas has doubled in just four years.
Rupert Lowe, a former MEP for the Brexit Party, wrote on Twitter: “Johnson should immediately lift the ban on fracking.
“It will have to happen sooner or later, so just get on with it now.”
Steve Baker, the former Brexit minister, said: “There’s a war on which appears to be possible only because Europe is, as the PM said, addicted to Russian gas.
“While Putin bears responsibility for the ultimate war crime of initiating a war of aggression, everyone who allowed our shale gas to remain in the ground on a false pretence should hang their heads in shame as the Ukrainian people fight and die for their country.
Fracking is a process of oil extraction that involves drilling down into the ground and using high pressure to release the natural gas trapped in the earth.
It has been banned in England since 2019 as the has committed to pursuing its net zero commitments.
The decision came after a scientific study warned it was not possible to rule out “unacceptable” consequences for those living near fracking sites.
It also came after advice from the Oil and Gas Authority, which published a report warning that it was not possible to predict the magnitude of earthquakes fracking might trigger.
But the move might have left Britain more reliant on gas imports.
In 2018, 15.6 million megawatt-hours’ worth of liquefied natural gas were imported from Russia.
Last year, that figure had surged to 33.7 million megawatt-hours.
Simon Cran-McGreehin, head of analysis at the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit, told The Times: “Although not at the same level of some other European countries, the UK has been spending billions of pounds on Russian gas that could now be being used to fund Putin’s war in Ukraine.”
In fact, analysis suggests that if the current price of gas stays the same, Britain’s continued imports of Russian LNG could reach nearer to £4 billion.
Gas prices jumped yesterday by 35 percent to about £120 a MWh yesterday, and prices dropped below £68 a MWh since September.
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UK payments to Russian gas companies are also thought to be around £6 million according to analysis by the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit.
Former Brexit Minister Lord David Frost has argued that fracking “a competitive and reliable source of energy” and reduce the UK’s reliance on imports.
He joined a group of MPs who had urged the Prime Minister to lift the ban last month.
But this was not welcomed warmly by climate activists.
Molly Scott-Cato, a professor of green economics at the University of Roehampton, told Express.co.uk: “We’ve known for a while that Lord Frost and his Brexit cronies don’t have a high regard for experts, but to suggest that fracking can play any part in our economic future is to ignore both rational thought and scientific evidence.
“We need the prime minister to stick to his words about a rapid transition towards net zero rather than allowing his political weakness to put future generations at risk.”
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