Shale gas extraction through fracking can boost the economy and encourage businesses to come back to the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron is to say. He will say fracking is essential to “make a success of globalisation”.
Mr Cameron, who is attending the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland, will say fracking is already “flooring” energy prices in the US, and could be a “fresh driver” of UK growth.
He will say fracking is essential to “make a success of globalisation”.
Opponents say fracking can cause water contamination and environmental damage.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves drilling deep underground and releasing a high-pressure mix of water, sand and chemicals to crack rocks and release gas stored inside.
The British Geological Survey estimates there may be 1,300 trillion cubic feet of shale gas present in the north of England.
Mr Cameron says this could deliver a large economic boost and ensure the supply of cheaper, more secure energy.
He will say: “There is no doubt that when it comes to re-shoring in the US, one of the most important factors has been the development of shale gas, which is flooring US energy prices, with billions of dollars of energy cost-savings predicted over the next decade.”
The prime minister will call for a greater competitiveness, saying: “The key challenge for politicians and business leaders in Europe is how we make a success of globalisation.
“For years the West has been written off. People say that we are facing some sort of inevitable decline. They say we can’t make anything any more.
“Whether it’s the shift from manufacturing to services or the transfer from manual jobs to machines, the end point is the same dystopian vision – the East wins while the West loses; and the workers lose while the machines win. I don’t believe it has to be this way.
“Of course, we cannot be starry-eyed about globalisation – it presents huge challenges as our economies and societies try to adapt – but neither should we take this pessimistic view.”
And Mr Cameron will point to a “small but discernible trend” of jobs coming back from the East to the West, highlighting a practice where production facilities were moved to low-cost countries.