Tax Incentives Proposed for Fracking in UK

Would pay lower rates than oil companies


SHALE GAS exploration in the United Kingdom, which may include significant reserves in Northern Ireland, is to be encouraged by a special low-tax regime – far below the taxes paid by North Sea oil companies – under plans put forward yesterday by chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne.

Speaking to the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, Mr Osborne said exploiting shale gas reserves, which can only be exploited by breaking apart rock formations deep underground by the high-pressure injection of water, sand and chemicals, was necessary.

The treasury, he said, was consulting on a "generous tax regime" so that Britain was not left behind as gas prices tumbled in the United States. Shale gas is seen by its supporters in the US as offering potential to end the dependence on the Middle East.