The Irish Times

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Britain lifts ban on shale gas fracking
The Irish Times

Britain this morning lifted its ban on shale gas exploration as it aims to become a European leader in a sector that has transformed the US energy market and counter a fall in the UK’s natural gas production.

The green light on shale gas fracking from Energy and Climate Change secretary Edward Davey comes about 18 months after UK authorities halted the unconventional exploration after the process set off earth tremors at one site.

Fracking can resume immediately, but explorers need to operate under tighter rules including more thorough assessments for seismic risk and installing a so-called traffic light system where operations will be automatically stopped in certain conditions. The British government announced this month that it would create a dedicated government office to simplify regulation and to offer tax breaks to the shale gas industry.

The government has said gas will play an important role in Britain’s future electricity mix, with gas-fired power plants expected to fill gaps left by volatile renewable production and the phasing out of ageing coal plants.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek

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German Lawmakers Reject Ban on Shale-Gas Fracking in Parliament
Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government won votes that will permit fracking to continue in Germany, saying the technique may help the country’s energy supply security.

Merkel’s coalition government defeated motions from the Green Party and Left Party that called for banning hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, after the opposition argued the technique is harmful to the environment.

There’s no reason to prohibit a technique that’s been used in Germany for many years without incidents, said Andreas Laemmel, a lawmaker with the Christian Democratic Union. “We need the technology and we need natural gas as a resource won domestically,” Laemmel said in parliament in Berlin before the vote. The U.K. government earlier today lifted a ban on shale-gas fracking.

Companies including Exxon Mobil Corp. have drilled test wells into unconventional natural gas reservoirs in Germany in an attempt to emulate the U.S. shale-gas boom. While a successful drilling campaign would redraw the energy map across Europe – a continent reliant on Russia for about a quarter of its gas – little headway has been made in Germany.

Même l’Allemagne, citée en exemple par les verdoyants au Québec, a accepté d’exploiter son gaz de schiste en confiant cette ressource à une méchante pétrolière américaine (Exxon) ! On attend quoi au Québec pour joindre « le concert des nations » ?