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The British oil and gas industry was dealt a blow on Wednesday after the newest Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he would reinstate a ban on fracking in England, according to the Financial Times citing a senior government insider.
Sunak’s predecessor, who survived in office for just 45 days, lifted England’s ban on fracking in September as one of her first actions as Prime Minister and campaigned on the prospect of increasing oil drilling in the North Sea and boosting nuclear power. Former PM Liz Truss said that her number one priority was to deal “with people’s energy bills, but also dealing with the long-term issues we have on energy supply.”
The former Prime Minister was asked to step down following a failed mini-budget attempt, paving the way for Sunak to take her place. But Sunak’s views on the oil and gas industry couldn’t be more different than his predecessor’s.
Just a day before Liz Truss resigned in her role as UK Prime Minister, the opposition party attempted to re-ban fracking but failed. But the vote showed cracks in the support for fracking when as many as 40 Conservative Party MPs either failed to vote or voted against the party. While Truss had lifted the ban on fracking, her successor Rishi Sunak said this week that he would deliver on the promise of the Conservative Party manifesto, which imposed a moratorium on fracking back in 2019 when oil and gas companies failed to prove that they could operate without inducing tremors above a specific limit.
In part, the Conservative Party manifesto reads: “We placed a moratorium on fracking in England with immediate effect. Having listened to local communities, we have ruled out changes to the planning system. We will not support fracking unless the science shows categorically that it can be done safely.”
A recent poll by Stack Data Strategy showed that 39% of UK adults would support fracking.
Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.