Larger than expected UK shale gas resources estimated
The British Geological Survey was asked to estimate how much gas is trapped in rocks beneath Lancashire and Yorkshire.
It said there could be 1,300 trillion cubic feet at one site alone, but it is unclear how much could be extracted, and putting that into context, there are three trillion cubic feet of gas currently consumed in the UK each year.
The reserves will be extracted in a process known as fracking, which involves pumping water, chemicals and sand at high pressure into rock to release shale gas.
The exploitation of shale gas and oil revolutionised the energy industry in the US, although there are questions over this will be repeated here, given that the shale geology of the UK is complex and the costs of drilling are likely to be much higher than in America.
Whilst it is still not clear how much of the gas will be recoverable, drilling expert’s estimate that will be able to extract around 10% of it.
The government is expected to announce that communities that host fracking sites will receive 1% of any revenues generated by the well over its lifetime.
Critics of fracking, many of whom would prefer to see more investment in green energy, argue that the process can cause earth tremors and pollute water supplies, and that shale gas wells themselves may blight the countryside and affect house prices