Feeds

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

Energy minister warms to UK fuel

3 Big data security analytics techniques

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. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
So, just how do you say 'the mutt's nuts' in French?
Vital linguistic question interrupts LOHAN spaceplane mission
95 floors in 43 SECONDS: Hitachi's new ultra-high-speed lift
Guangzhou skyscraper denizens to hold on to hats
Most Americans doubt Big Bang, not too sure about evolution, climate change – survey
Science no match for religion, politics, business interests
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
STEALTHY NANOROBOTS dress up as viruses, prepare to sneak into YOUR BODY
Cloaking techniques nicked from viruses tackle roadblocks on way to medical frontier
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.