The UK Government’s plans to create a special body to oversee the shale gas industry were criticised by a key energy sector group yesterday.
Chancellor George Osborne is expected to make it clear in today’s Autumn Statement that he wants gas to play a major role in powering Britain in future years.
He will pave the way for the construction of 30 gas-fired power stations to produce 26 gigawatts of electricity, replacing ageing coal, nuclear and gas plants.
Mr Osborne is also due to establish an Office for Unconventional Gas to oversee the development of the shale sector and arbitrate disputes with opponents of fracking.
However, influential industry body Oil and Gas UK questioned the move last night.
Mike Tholen, Oil and Gas UK’s economics director, said: “While joined-up working between government departments is crucial in maximising recovery of both the UK’s oil and gas reserves, we do not believe that proposals to establish a separate regulatory body for the development of onshore gas is the way to achieve that.
“We would strongly support the expansion of DECC (the Department of Energy and Climate Change) into one well-resourced, technically expert organisation to regulate the licensing and development of all of Britain’s energy reserves, whether offshore or onshore, whether renewable or hydrocarbon,” added Mr Tholen.