Lord Browne: fracking will not reduce UK gas prices
Date published: 02nd December 2013
Fracking is not going to reduce gas prices in the UK, according to the chairman of the UK's leading shale gas company.
The statement by Lord Browne, one of the most powerful energy figures in Britain, contradicts claims by David Cameron and George Osborne that shale gas exploration could help curb soaring energy bills.
Browne added to the government's ongoing troubles over energy policy by labelling nuclear power as "very, very expensive indeed" and describing the fact that more state subsidies are given to oil and gas than to renewable energy as "like running both the heating and the air conditioning at the same time".
The former chief executive of BP, who now holds a senior government position as lead non-executive director, told an audience at the London School of Economics that climate change was "existentially important", but that without gas the transition to a zero-carbon energy system would never happen.
However, Browne, who is the chairman of fracking company Cuadrilla, said: "I don't know what the contribution of shale gas will be to the energy mix of the UK. We need to drill probably 10-12 wells and test them and it needs to be done as quickly as possible."
"We are part of a well-connected European gas market and, unless it is a gigantic amount of gas, it is not going to have material impact on price," he said.
In August, Cameron said: "If we don't back this technology, we will miss a massive opportunity to help families with their bills … fracking has real potential to drive energy bills down." In July, Osborne said: "This a real chance to get cheaper energy for Britain … a major new energy source that can reduce energy bills."
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