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Gas report sparks call for Fylde fracking

Cuadrilla's drilling rig at the Preston New Road fracking site
Cuadrilla's drilling rig at the Preston New Road fracking site

Pro-fracking groups have said  a new report shows the country and business needs a burgeoning shale gas industry in Lancashire.

They point to a new report by BMI Research which says that gas will make up more than 50 per cent of the UK’s electricity mix within a decade as coal is retired from the grid, making a new domestic source of gas even more crucial.

In its industry trend analysis, BMI Research said that gas-fired generation will account for 52 per cent of electricity by 2027 up from 45 per cent last year.

Its prediction is based on the forecast closure of all remaining coal-fired power stations scheduled for 2025, delays in getting new nuclear power stations built, and changes that make gas more economic.

Lee Petts, Lancashire For Shale Chairman, said: “Gas is already one of our most important fuels, supplying heat to over 80 per cent of UK homes and over 40 per cent of our electricity generation.

“As this report makes clear, it is also going to play a central role in meeting the nation’s power needs in the next decade and beyond.”

He said over half the gas used in the UK is imported from abroad.

“The trouble is that, right now, we are reliant on overseas supplies of gas, and we don’t have a lot of gas storage capacity anymore.

“When gas imports are interrupted, like they were twice last winter during two spells of exceptionally cold weather, we can quickly find ourselves running short whilst prices spike.

“With gas demand in electricity generation now forecast to grow significantly, it’s even more crucial that we get on with producing our shale gas resources, including here in Lancashire.”

He added county businesses in a recent survey said that priorities for energy are that it must be affordable, available when needed and reliable.

But environmental campaigners Friends of the Earth said fracking was not suitable for replacing foreign gas.

Helen Rimmer said: “The reality is that to replace just half of estimated UK gas imports will require 6,100 wells, that’s one well a day for 15 years. Meantime, In six years the UK’s renewable electricity output has jumped from providing 9% to nudging 30 per cent of UK electricity.

“Do we want the countryside to be an industrial testing ground, or invest in renewable energy with the jobs that sector can offer?”