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UK chose to pay back £640,000 to fracking firms after shale gas ban

The UK government imposed a moratorium on shale gas extraction in November 2019, leaving fracking firms that had paid licence fees out of pocket, but the country’s oil and gas regulator decided to refund them

Environment 25 March 2022

Shale gas drilling in Blackpool, UK in August 2017

Shale gas drilling near Blackpool, UK, in August 2017


The UK Treasury and the country’s oil and gas regulator chose to give fracking companies a refund of £640,000 after the government banned shale gas exploration in England, despite not being required to do so.

Exploratory fracking had already ground to a halt ahead of a moratorium imposed in November 2019, as companies struggled to operate without triggering minor earthquakes that alarmed local residents and forced the firms to pause work.

But prime minister Boris Johnson has recently asked ministers …