United Kingdom fracking firm Cuadrilla will seal its two shale gas wells in Lancashire forever, six months after the country’s oil and gas authority called for the wells to be shut down.
Cuadrilla CEO Francis Egan said the order is “ridiculous” given Europe’s gas supply crisis, reports the Guardian. But other voices maintain the solution to a crisis driven by gas is not to drill for more gas—especially not with a technique that is purpose-built to release climate-busting methane.
“At a time when the UK is spending billions of pounds annually importing gas from all corners of the globe, and gas prices for hard-pressed UK households are rocketing, the UK government has chosen this moment to ask us to plug and abandon the only two viable shale gas wells in Britain,” Egan told The Guardian.
But claims that a domestic fracking industry stands poised to rescue the UK from its energy woes are at least a decade old, said Greenpeace UK’s head of climate, Kate Blagojevic.
“Fracking was going to be the solution to our energy problems. Years later, all this industry has given us are a couple of holes in a muddy field and some minor earthquakes,” Blagojevic told the Guardian.
Even if Cuadrilla’s wells were to go ahead and become productive, she added, that outcome is still many years away, and any gas produced would be “sold to the highest bidder on the international market, barely making a dent on global gas prices.”
“The solution to the energy crisis isn’t more gas, but better, greener homes,” Blagojevic said.
Cuadrilla has been able to secure support from two members of the Conservative Net Zero Scrutiny Group, a collection of MPs that includes a significant number of Brexit and “has recently begun what critics say is a ’cynical’ campaign against policies designed to end the UK’s contribution to the climate crisis.”
Tory MP and Net Zero Scrutiny deputy chair Steve Baker said the closure would hurt ordinary Britons struggling to pay energy bills—a claim that even shale advocates have abandoned, Blagojevic said.
Sam Hall, director of the Conservative Environment Network, agreed that fracked gas has “limited potential to reduce energy bills,” but said the Johnson government is “right to focus on expanding domestic clean energy and reducing gas demand as the route out of the current energy bill crisis.”