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Britain’s Got Shale

The UK could have enough shale gas to heat its homes for the next millenium, as the British Geological Survey (BGS) plans to report this month. The Telegraph has the story on what is expected to be a hefty windfall:

Industry insiders say the BGS could report between 1,200 trillion and 1,800 trillion cubic feet of gas under the UK, mostly in northern England. The other main reserve is around the Hampshire basin in the Home Counties, including Berkshire, Sussex and Kent. There are also pockets in central Scotland, Wales and the Midlands. The top estimate would represent sufficient gas to heat UK homes for 1,200 years. […]

Even at conservative estimates, that presume just 10 per cent of 1,500 trillion cubic feet of gas is accessible, there would be enough gas to heat our homes for 100 years.

Identifying the resource is just the first step towards realizing the UK’s shale potential. Exploratory wells still need to be drilled, infrastructure must be put in place. There are as many hurdles above ground as below. Europe has a tendency to snub shale, Ireland and Germany being recent examples. The UK is particularly concerned about the danger of fracking causing earthquakes—an 18 month moratorium on fracking ended last year.

Britain will face resistance before it can seriously get into the fracking game. But the “massive” reserves will likely provoke a powerful pro-shale movement that, since it’s all owned by the Crown and energy companies will have to pay a tax, will enrich the British government while making life cheaper for ordinary Britons.

[Shale gas road sign image courtesy of Shutterstock.]

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  • MarkE

    The first European country to break through the
    Green-barrier will have a huge first-to-market advantage in gaining market share throughout Europe since pipelines are already in place. If this market leader keeps its prices high enough to recover its initial investment (but lower than Russian gas), then lowers the prices as late de-Greeners tap their gas reservoirs, they have a good chance of maintaining their initial market share and contribution to GNP.
    It looks like Great Britain could be the first. Either way Europe, also, will have much lower gas prices in the future.

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