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Britain is the largest user of natural gas in Europe, and just as shale gas has managed to transform the US energy sector, the UK is hoping that its own shale reserves could help it meet its own natural gas demand for years to come.
Britain’s shale gas hopes have recently been given a boost after Centrica Plc, the parent company of British Gas, bought a 25% stake in a large shale gas formation in northwestern England.
Centrica paid £40 million ($62.8 million) to Cuadrilla Resources, the license operator, for a 25% stake in the Bowland Shale formation in Lancashire. It then has plans to spend an extra £60 million developing the formation, depending on the results of production and exploration tests.
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Richard Sarsfield-Hall, an energy consultant at Poyry, stated that “this is a big step forward for shale in Great Britain and starts to move it beyond the speculative.”
Centrica has recently begun to accept LNG imports from the US and Qatar in an attempt to offset the declining production from North Sea fields, but this will be its first venture into shale gas.
Cuadrilla has previously estimated that the Bowland formation in Lancashire could hold as much as 200 trillion cubic feet of gas. The UK energy ministry will release a revised estimate for recoverable shale gas by the end of next month, but experts claim that no one will truly now Britain’s potential until exploration drilling actually begins.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com