“Stop government backing for overseas fracking” – campaign groups

The next UK government must stop supporting overseas fracking operations, a coalition of organisations demanded today.

Earlier this month, the UK government declared a moratorium on fracking in England because of concerns about earth tremors.

But freedom of information requests revealed that the government was also using trade and diplomatic channels and funding from UK Export Finance to help companies, such as BP and Shell, which want to frack in the Vaca Muerta in Argentina, the world’s second largest shale gas reserve.

In 2017, UK Export Finance set up a £1bn export credit support fund for Argentina.

Earlier this year, Mark Menzies, the UK trade envoy to Latin America, had a meeting with the Argentine energy secretary on UK investment in Argentina.  The briefing notes for the meeting said “it is Argentina’s huge shale resources that offer the greatest potential”. They also mentioned agreement “on the scale of opportunities in the energy sector, especially in Vaca Muerta, where only 4% of resources are being exploited”.

Maria Alberdi, of the Argentina Solidarity Campaign, an independent campaign against extractivism in Latin America, said:

“It is hugely hypocritical of the UK government to deem fracking unsafe for their population but happily support fracking in Argentina. Fracking has already had significant impact on the environment, health, and regional economies of communities in north Patagonia. Oil and gas extraction in this region are also infringing indigenous rights. We say no to fracking, and no to UK companies benefiting from extractivism in Argentina”.