In Texas, fracking companies obtain consent by negotiating directly with households. Credit: Sean Hannon acritelyphoto/Shutterstock

New British Prime Minister Liz Truss recently announced Reversal of Art 2019 ban for fracking. Faced with an acute energy crisis, the government wants to increase domestic energy production.


According to conventional economic theory or not fracking should happen simply. If the private benefit exceeds social costs, then fracking companies should be able to get local consent by compensating households with money. If the costs are so great that households cannot be reimbursed, then fracking should not happen.

However, in recent history, fracking has occurred regardless of public appetite. In 2016, the government allowed fracking st Fylde’s Preston New Road siteoverturning an initial refusal by Lancashire County Council.

The current approach replicates this. Despite announcing that fracking will only take place if there is local consent, the guidance on how this will be assessed is unclear. A framework for transparent cost-benefit analysis of prospective mining sites still exists not entered.

Fracking in the UK has a complicated history. However, if fracking is to play a role in the country’s future, how should it play out?

Calculating the cost of fracking

The first step is to estimate how much companies are willing to pay for the right to explore and produce shale gas in a given area. This means the private benefit of fracking.

Introduction 3G mobile services in the UK illustrates how this can be done. How mobile operators value the license to provide 3G is not known, but the inflated fee could have delayed the development of critical communication infrastructure.

An auction was held, allowing mobile operators to participate in competitive bidding until each of the five licenses was awarded to the highest bidder. The auction raised £22.5 billion and set out exactly how much the company valued the licences.

Auctions have become common practice in UK utility markets. Renewable energy companies to compete for power generation contracts. The bidder that offers electricity at the lowest price receives a fixed rate for its production for the next fifteen years, which protects it from volatile market prices.

A similar process could be used to determine the exact cost of producing shale gas in the UK. For each potential production site, fracking firms can competitively apply for exclusive drilling rights. The winning bid will be legally bound to an advance payment to the local authority if consent is given.

With the participation of local consent

The second part of the process is then to determine whether firms’ valuation of shale gas production is higher than the social cost.

The costs associated with fracking are high. Shale gas is mainly composed of methane, a fossil fuel with a high carbon footprint.

Its extraction also involves drilling using a mixture of water, sand and chemicals under high pressure. There was fracking in the UK connected resulting in several local earthquakes. The process also produces high salinity wastewater that must be disposed of.

A a recent survey shows that only 27% of Britons support fracking.

however, reports show that fracking firms are currently obtaining consent in Lancashire, negotiating directly with individual households.

Studies into the Texas fracking industry shows that this approach underestimates the social costs. Fracking companies usually have more knowledge about their industry and the legality of licensing laws than households.

The researchers also found that factors such as language, poverty and race also determined how much compensation a family received. In Texas, non-native English speakers tended to receive comparatively lower compensation, while their contracts were 10% less likely to contain environmental, noise or traffic clauses.

To avoid this problem, county or city councils can instead grant permission if they consider the compensation offered to local residents to be high enough. In general, the Soviets have a larger team public trust than national politicians and through local consultation a more accurate estimate of the cost of fracking to local people can be assessed.

Does fracking make economic sense?

By comparing estimates of costs and benefits, a decision can be made about whether there is a case for fracking. If the industry believes there is plenty of shale gas to extract, then it may well recover.

However, there are doubts about whether the UK has enough shale gas reserves for fracking to become commercially viable. British Geological Survey reported in 2019, UK shale gas reserves are ten times smaller than the level cited by fracking advocates.

Since then, the scientific evidence has not changed even in the UK shale the gas industry has recognized the minimal value of fracking. There are shale gas managers careful not to argue that UK industry can cut skyrocketing electricity bills.

questions remain over the economic viability of fracking in the UK. However, if it is to have a future, it must be determined by a system of formal compensation and consent. Therefore, if shale gas mining in Great Britain as useless as science suggests, this will not happen.


There is very little public support for relaxing the rules and regulations around fracking


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Citation: Fracking: A simple test of whether it should happen in the UK (2022, October 5) Retrieved October 5, 2022, from https://phys.org/news/2022-10-fracking-simple-uk.html

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