Lord Browne: Fracking will not reduce UK gas prices March 18 2014

Damian Carrington - The Guardian: Friday 29th November 2013

Fracking is not going to reduce gas prices in the UK, according to the chairman of the UK’s leading shale gas company.

“We are part of a well-connected European gas market and, unless it is a gigantic amount of gas, it is not going to have material impact on price” he said.

Browne said there was no evidence that fracking itself had caused water pollution in the US, but said there had been “issues to do with the leaking of gas into aquifers as a result of imperfect operations, mainly to do with the concreting of well casings.”

Ministers rejected the Royal Society’s recommendation in June that specific fracking regulations are drawn up, a suggestion Browne backs, arguing that the current patchwork of regulation from the energy department, the Environment Agency, the Health and Safety Executive and planning rules are sufficient.

On Friday, energy minister Michael Fallon announced that the latest oil and gas licensing round had seen an all-time number of licenses awarded and that independent oil and gas companies would be encouraged to invest and undertake additional exploration. Lord Adair Turner, the former chairman of the Financial Services Authority and Committee on Climate Change, said that solar power costs had fallen “beyond our wildest dreams” by about 80% in five years.

Browne, once known as the “sun king” and who said he is now co-head of the largest private equity renewable energy fund in the world at Riverstone Holdings, said: “Solar is a very good technology and we should use more of it.”