Feeds

Shale gas: If we've got it, flaunt it

Energy minister warms to UK fuel

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

The shale gas revolution was given a guarded welcome by Parliament yesterday, with the economic and security benefits to the UK judged to outweigh environmental reservations.

Exploration consortium Cuadrilla reckons that the UK could be self-sufficient for 15 years using cheap gas extracted from the Bowland shale alone - and reduce its dependence on imports from Russia. Plus, techniques are improving, so the self-sufficiency period could stretch to several decades.

One of Parliament's loudest climate change advocates, the Greener-than-thou chairman of the energy select committee Tim Yeo (Con, South Suffolk), said that shale gas companies had to maintain public confidence and follow best-practice guidelines outlined by the committee. But, he said, the benefits of cheap gas were immense and shouldn't derail shale.

"I urge the government to consider the potential benefits to Britain. There are legitimate concerns, of course, about the environmental impact, and those concerns must not be ignored. However, those who call for fracking to stop completely must produce scientific evidence to justify their demands, and I do not believe that at present such evidence exists," Yeo concluded.

On earthquakes, Yeo noted that Cuadrilla had recorded tremors of magnitude 2.3 and 1.5 "probably" caused by shale exploration, and reminded Parliament that:

"To put that into context, the European microseismic standard classifies a magnitude 1 earthquake as one that is not felt, a magnitude 2 earthquake as scarcely felt, and a magnitude 3 earthquake as weak."

There was no threat to the population, or the environment, from the earth shivers.

David Mowat (Con, Warrington South) agreed, adding: "I believe that we have wrongly placed some efforts by confusing 'decarbonisation' with 'renewables'.

"Decarbonisation is necessary and it is a legal requirement. Some of the renewables targets might not always lead to us making the right decisions about how we decarbonise, and at what rate."

Energy Minster Charles Hendry gave it a guarded welcome.

"I think that it is too early to know how significant shale gas may prove to be as a contributor to future UK energy supplies," he warned, but warmly welcomed the potential benefits.

"The government are committed to ensuring that we maximise economic recovery of UK hydrocarbon resources, both offshore and onshore. We see it as in our national interest to maximise returns on our indigenous resources. We are moving to a situation where we are net importers of gas, and there is a multi-billion-pound benefit to the UK economy from optimising our resources. We are keen for that to happen," he told MPs.

He added, encouragingly for shale backers, that the public didn't realise quite how deep shale fracking takes place - far underneath the water table. He also pointed out that the flaming faucets featured in the scare movie Gaslands had been shown to be unrelated to oil or gas exploration deep below ground.

Hendry's boss Chris Huhne, a Liberal Democrat, recently raised the idea of handicapping the gas power stations with "carbon capture" technology that doesn't yet exist, but, er, typically involves pipelines taking the deadly CO2 compound out to sea.

MPs noted that Caroline Lucas, the only Green MP, was curiously MIA. Lucas was not present for the debate.

Perhaps her electric car had broken down.

Read the full debate here. ®

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
Reg reader fires up Pi-powered anti-cat garden sprinkler system
Crap in my begonias? Oh no you don't, you furry little sod
NASA aborts third attempt at finally settling man-made CO2 debate
Two birds died trying. Will the third make it?
Would it be BAD if the Amazon rainforest was all FARMS? Well it WAS, once
Used to be all fields round here: Jungle tribesman saying
'BIGGEST BIRD EVER': 21-foot ripsaw-beaked flying HORROR
Fossil avian cruised above sea like toothy ekranoplan
Boeing to start work on most powerful rocket ... EVER!
NASA okays start of Space Launch System after design review
SPACE: The FINAL FRONTIER. These are the TEN-YEAR images of star probe Cassini
Fuel running fearfully low, but the mission continues
Help us out readers: How would you sniff and store network traffic?
Phase two of our deep desert project needs your wisdom
Alabama quadchopper hits THREE THOUSAND FEET next to AIRPORT
Unsporting 'airspace nerd' alerts FAA to altitude violation
Boffins urge European Commission to reboot electric brain project
Billion-Euro simulated mind project criticised for narrow thinking
Going up: Fancy a virtual flight to 30km above the PLANET?
Space boffin rattles tin for immersive Oculus Rift experience
prev story

Whitepapers

How modern custom applications can spur business growth.
In this whitepaper learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem
Only the Power of One delivers leading infrastructure convergence, availability and scalability with federation, and agility through data center automation.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization
Virtualization continues to be one of the most effective ways to consolidate, reduce cost, and make data centers more efficient.
Build a Business Case: Developing Custom Apps
In this whitepaper learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.