Feeds

UK sitting on top of at least 50 years of shale gas – report

Hey, let's reverse the pipelines and undercut the Russians!

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

The UK is sitting on a cheap energy economic revolution comparable to the heyday of North Sea Oil, the British Geological Survey suggests.

The Survey’s estimate of the potential gas reserves of the Bowland–Hodder shale formation - finally published today – indicate that using today’s technology, the rocks should yield 1,329 TCF (trillion cubic feet) or 37.7 TCM (37,631 BCM, or billion cubic metres) of gas.

Bowland Shale is a rock formation stretching from the Irish Sea, across the Midlands and Lancashire, to North Yorkshire. It’s just one of several promising rock formations in the UK rich in gas. Others in the West Country, South East England, and Scotland have yet to be surveyed and estimated for their potential.

Nevertheless, the scale of the Bowland shale resource – which rips up the UK’s energy reserve estimates – needs to be put in perspective. 1300TCF is equivalent to 47 years of total UK gas consumption, 268 years of UK gas imports, or 90 years of the UK’s North Sea gas production.

Last year the world’s biggest gas exporter, Russia, produced 592 BCM of gas, or just 1.5 per cent of the Bowland shale field alone.

Some private estimates put the figure even higher. iGas, which has licenses to explore Bowland, reckons up to 170m TCF can be recovered from the area in which it operates.

The UK is also uniquely dense and layered, say gas experts, meaning higher yields, and a lighter footprint.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that the figures are based on a 10 per cent recovery rate – a figure likely to increase with technological innovation and know-how.

To sway nervous NIMBYs and other Radio 4 listeners, fearful of an impending frackocalypse, the Government has promised sweeteners of £100,000 worth of “community benefits”* per well site and 1 per cent of revenues at the production stage.

Cheap energy also has knock-on effects for the economy. It’s less of a factor for marketing consultancies or search engine optimisation (SEO) boutiques, but rather more important for things like manufacturing, construction, transport and other industries which make and deliver actual stuff, create serious jobs for serious numbers of people and drive exports.

In the USA, shale gas has transformed long-term economic decline, helping industry bring jobs back to the United States that it was losing to overseas rivals for decades. While the USA cannot compete on labour costs with China and other Asian rivals, labour is just one factor in the mix – cheap energy has made manufacturing and heavy industry competitive again.

Meanwhile energy regulator Ofgem today warned (pdf) of an increased risk of power cuts as the UK’s diminishing electricity production capacity falls to within 2 per cent of demand – a squeeze Ofgem says has come faster than anticipated.

“Reducing emissions means we have to leave shale gas and other unconventional fuels in the ground,” televised wrestling conglomerate hard-green pressure group WWF insisted in a policy statement on shale gas last year.

Good luck with that, chaps. ®

Useful Links

BGS Bowland Gas Survey
DECC Media Summary

A map of England's recoverable shale gas reserves. Click to enlarge.

The next step in data security

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.