LONDON, July 28 (Xinhua) -- The British government on Monday opened the bidding process for companies seeking licenses to explore onshore oil and gas, in an effort to deal with energy security and climate change.
Britain's Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) have published details of how companies can apply for licenses that will enable them to start initial exploration for shale gas.
Business and Energy Minister of the DECC Matthew Hancock said: "Unlocking shale gas in Britain has the potential to provide us with greater energy security, jobs and growth. As one of the cleanest fossil fuels, shale gas can be a key part of the Britain's answer to climate change and a bridge to a much greener future."
The licenses provide the first step to begin drilling. Any further drilling applications would then require planning permission, as well as permits from the Environment Agency and sign-off from the Health and Safety Executive, the DECC said.
The controversial fracking process involves pumping water, sand and chemicals into rocks at high pressure, which environmentalists say may cause pollutions and earthquakes. It had sparked several demonstrations worldwide.
The British government had given fracking the green light after a supply chain report published in April showing huge potential economic benefits to the country.