Shale reserves double previous predictions

The amount of shale gas lying beneath the north of England is twice as much as previously thought, according to new research.

CuadrillaThe British Geological Survey announced that there may be 1,300 trillion cubic feet of shale gas present, although not all of it will be accessible.

Shale gas is extracted through the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which involves pumping water and chemicals underground to free the gas from its reserves.

The government is moving to back the practice in light of an impending energy shortage, while drillers estimate that as much as 10% of the shale gas can be harnessed. Others point to the unknown environmental consequences and are pushing for tight regulations.

A recent report by the Institute of Directors found that 74,000 new jobs could be created in Lancashire, directly or indirectly involved with shale gas extraction. Meanwhile Centrica, the parent company of British Gas, recently invested £100m in acquiring licenses to farm the reserves.

Corin Taylor, senior economic adviser at the Institute of Directors, added: “Developing a shale gas industry could create thousands of jobs, reduce imports, support manufacturing and help rebalance the economy. We now have official confirmation that Britain’s shale gas resources are enormous, and we now need to press ahead with exploration to find out what proportion is recoverable.

“Even if only 10% of the gas in the ground could be recovered, it would still provide more than 40 years’ worth of Britain’s total gas consumption. Shale gas is the best energy news this country has had in a long time.” More about shale gas and fracking can be found in the next edition of Lancashire Business View.