Thursday, October 23, 2014

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Cuadrilla Shale Gas Discovery Could Change UK Energy Picture

Cuadrilla Resources says it has found 200 trillion cubic feet of shale gas in North West England.

The company said that after analysing results from two test shale wells on its sites in Lancashire it estimated that the Bowland shale basin contains a wealth of unconventional gas. 

Mark Miller, the company’s chief executive, said the find could provide the UK with another 65 years worth of natural gas which could help to reduce prices for British consumers.

“The UK is going to be using gas for a long time,” he said. “A good supply of natural gas on land would certainly help energy security.”

Cuadrilla admitted that the estimate had not been independently verified yet but the company said it doesn’t expect the prediction to vary significantly.

Cuadrilla is in the process of drilling a third shale gas well near Liverpool as part of its UK exploration phase. The company could drill up to 400 wells in the area over the next nine years and up to 800 over 16 years if it proves commercially viable to extract the gas.

Cuadrilla said it will know more about the potential resources and whether it is viable to extract them by the middle of next year. Miller added however that the initial consensus within the company was the resources would be extracted.

“We want to be the first to develop a European shale gas basin,” Miller said. “We’ve got the resources and the talent here,” he said. “This is going to create high skilled jobs and lots of them.”

Cuadrilla said it could contribute £5-6 billion to the local economy over the next 30 years. This would be done through creating up to 1700 jobs locally and paying around £120 million in business taxes over the next few years.

One main criticism of the shale gas industry comes from the renewable sector which claims that it could act as a disincentive to expand wind and solar power operations which require large government subsidies.

Cuadrilla however states that by pursuing shale gas development in the UK it could provide a “transitional space” towards reducing the UK’s carbon footprint and that it could boost the renewable energy sector as it would not be competing for government funding.

Cuadrilla'  encouraging news comes against the background of a weekend protest led by Campaign Against Climate Change.

An estimated 150 opponents to shale gas extraction set up "Camp Frack" near to Cuardilla's drilling site at Hesketh Bank, near Southport in Lancashire.

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