LONDON Dec 5 Britain on Wednesday launched a
government office for shale gas to simplify regulation of the
unconventional gas sector more than one year after it
temporarily banned shale gas fracking for environmental reasons.
Finance minister George Osborne also confirmed his
announcement made two month ago to hold public consultations on
tax breaks for shale gas exploration.
"We are consulting on new tax incentives for shale gas and
announcing the creation of a single office so that regulation is
safe but simple," Osborne said in his half-yearly budget
The Office for Unconventional Gas and Oil will join up
responsibilities across government departments to provide a
single point of contact for investors and streamline the
Last year, Britain put a temporary halt on hydraulic
fracturing or "fracking" for shale gas, a process in which water
and chemicals are injected at high pressure into rock formations
to retrieve trapped gas, after earth tremors were measured near
a fracking site close to Blackpool.
Britain's energy secretary has not officially lifted the ban
but Wednesday's confirmation of shale gas tax breaks implies
Britain will allow fracking work to resume and he previously
hinted at the fact he hoped to give it the green light.
Energy Minister John Hayes also said he was confident that
Britain could issue licences for new shale gas projects once
questions about environmental and seismic issues are answered.
(Reporting by Karolin Schaps; Editing by Anthony Barker)