Energy body increases shale forecasts

UK Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG) has revised its predictions for the value of the UK's shale gas industry, showing that the practice could be much more valuable - and provide for many more jobs - than previously thought.

UKOOG based its findings on an Institute of Directors report from 2013, and updated the information using the results from Cuadrilla’s first hydraulically fractured well in January.

The new report shows upgraded well productivity forecasts by 72 per cent, calculating that each well site at peak production could provide gas for 500,000 homes.

Domestically sourced shale from 60 sites could reduce the demand for imports by 50 per cent. The industry could create 64,000 jobs and drive £33bn spend with suppliers.

Reacting to the news, Cuadrilla remobilised a range of specialist kit onto its flagship Lancashire fracking site at its shale gas exploration site in Preston New Road, near Blackpool.

Francis Egan, Cuadrilla's chief executive officer,  said: "The latest forecasting is clear about this opportunity. It is all achievable by simply investing in natural shale gas, establishing an energy policy that supports its development as part of a diverse energy mix and ensuring this significant resource is brought out of the ground to deliver these enormous benefits for everyone.”

We should not underestimate what is at stake here for the UK.

In addition, research from the Committee on Climate Change has shown that shale gas extraction can be compatible with carbon targets. Analysis shows that, compared with higher lifecycle emission imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) the UK could save almost 70 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2035.

Francis added: "We should not underestimate what is at stake here for the UK. Securing our domestic gas supply is only one part of this equation. Consider also the amount of tax revenue this industry could create and what improvements that could support in society.

These new forecasts suggest that Lancashire really is sitting on a world-class shale deposit.

"Cuadrilla has proved it is there and that we can extract it safely and in an environmentally responsible way. We’re back on site and we’re getting ready to make these estimations a reality. It is now imperative that people understand that they have nothing to fear from fracking and actually a huge amount to gain."

Lee Petts, chair of Lancashire For Shale, said: "These new forecasts suggest that Lancashire really is sitting on a world-class shale deposit, and that it has incredible potential to help meet a significant proportion of the UK's gas demand whilst cutting back on imports that come at a higher financial and environmental cost.

"With sensible forecasts showing that we'll still be using considerable quantities of gas to heat our homes in 2050 and beyond, it makes sense to use more of our own if we can, creating jobs and prosperity along the way, rather than increasingly relying on gas from other countries."