Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

‘Wrong kind of shale’ and 280m years too late: Geologists react to fracking move

Fracking was paused in 2019 following worries about earthquakes in west Lancashire and the Government said it would be guided by the science before it was allowed to restart (PA)
Fracking was paused in 2019 following worries about earthquakes in west Lancashire and the Government said it would be guided by the science before it was allowed to restart (PA)

Geologists have reacted to the Government lifting the ban on fracking by saying the UK has the “wrong type of shale” and it was 280 million years too late.

The controversial go-ahead was met with concerns over earthquakes and an increase in greenhouse gas production at a time when the UK had made progress on reducing carbon emissions.

Professor Jon Gluyas, of Durham University, said: “Liz Truss hopes to frack us out of the energy crisis by drilling thousands of wells to produce shale gas.

“It won’t work – societal objections aside, we have the wrong kind of shale and geology which is far too complex.

Fracking: how shale gas is extracted
(PA Graphics)

“Indeed, even the founder of Cuadrilla – of Lancashire fracking fame a few years ago – says the same.”

Fracking was paused in 2019 following worries about earthquakes in west Lancashire and the Government said it would be guided by the science before it was allowed to restart.

But Professor Stuart Haszeldine, a geologist at Edinburgh University, said there had been no advances in predicting the seismic impact of fracturing rock at depth since then.

Much of the UK’s shale gas had simply leaked away through cracks and faults since it was formed, he said.

“We are massively late by 280 million years,” he said.

Prof Haszeldine said local residents would be faced with long-term worries over earthquakes damaging their properties.

And businesses encouraged to invest in expensive test drilling also risked huge losses, he said.

“I see this as a very significant commercial risk,” Prof Haszeldine said.

“You can come in and lose a whole pile of money.”

But Professor Richard Davies, petroleum geologist from Newcastle University, would not write off the possibility of fracking being viable in the UK.

He said: “Everything I have learned from the oil industry shows that there are surprises underneath the surface of the Earth.

“We don’t know everything.”

Prof Davies believed firms may look to the Gainsborough area of Lincolnshire rather than Lancashire, should fracking start again.

He said: “Although the UK is criss-crossed with faults, there’s some evidence that Midlands is slightly simpler.”

Prof Gluyas said that while much focus has been on the north-west of England, two potential sites for fracking development were Somerset, where Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg has his constituency, and shale oil in Norfolk, close to the Prime Minister’s constituency.

Prof Gluyas, director of Durham Energy Institute, said: “They might just like to lead the way.”