UK Announces Shale Gas Fund to Avoid ‘Squandering’ Revenue


By Nicole Goebel

In January this year, British Prime Minister David Cameron said the UK was “going all out for shale,” as the country’s oil and gas operations in the North Sea age, with Britain becoming a net importer of oil and gas again in the mid-2000s.

The government has therefore set its sights on shale gas, which has seen a boom in the US. In Europe, it is controversial due to environmental concerns.

The UK government estimates that its nascent shale gas industry could create around 64,500 jobs. The industry is still in the exploration stages, with a focus on sites in the north of England.

The British Geological Survey estimates there could be 1,300 trillion cubic feet (almost 40 trillion cubic meters) of shale gas in those regions.

Learning from the past?

Given the industry is in its very early stages and given the general public’s reservations about extracting shale gas through fracking, floating the idea of a sovereign wealth fund (SWF) based on revenues from that industry, may seem a tad hasty.

But Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, a Conservative peer in the House of Lords told DW that he is keen to get the ball rolling now. “What I’m interested in is finding ways that we make sure that where we have finite resources which, in my view, are not properly, any single generation’s to spend. We should leave some of the proceeds for future generations to enjoy.”

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