Cameron Favors Payments to U.K. Householders Near Shale Wells

Jan 14, 2014 1:42 pm ET

Jan. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister David Cameron said he favors making payments to U.K. households to compensate them for any inconvenience involved in being near shale gas wells, a possible new measure to give the industry momentum.

“I’m in favor of saying to people there’s going to be a small well for drilling for shale gas, and here is a cash payment to make up for the inconvenience,” Cameron told lawmakers at a Parliament’s committee in London today. The payments would apply to householders, he said.

The U.K. has rolled out a series of measures to spur the development of shale gas and reduce reliance on foreign fuel imports. Local councils will be allowed to keep 100 percent of business rates from shale gas sites, double the previous level, Cameron’s office said yesterday. Communities will get 100,000- pound ($165,000) cash payments per well, as well as a 1-percent share of revenues.

Research by business lobby group The Institute of Directors showed investment could reach 3.7 billion pounds a year and support 74,000 jobs in the oil, gas, construction, engineering and chemicals industries. Total SA yesterday became the largest oil company to invest in U.K. shale gas through a $47 million deal to take stakes in two exploration areas in eastern England.

--Editor: Reed Landberg