The UK may have economically recoverable shale gas resources that are five times lower than estimates from earlier this decade, new research suggests.
A new study from the University of Nottingham’s Faculty of Engineering and the British Geological Survey (BGS), published in the journal Nature Communications this week, has concluded that the UK has available shale gas resources equal to just 10 years of current UK gas demand, compared to a 2013 estimate that said the country had 50 years worth of shale gas resources.
The new study uses a new approach in determining the gas in place and extrapolates findings from small parts of the Bowland Shale to the whole Bowland Shale. The authors of the study say that the maximum gas in place is equal to economically recoverable shale gas reserves of less than 10 years of current UK gas consumption.
The UK government supports fracking and believes that shale gas could reduce the UK’s gas import dependence and contribute to its net zero emissions target by 2050.
UK shale gas company Cuadrilla, as well as the United Kingdom Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG), the association of the UK’s onshore oil and gas industry, dismissed the new study. UKOOG said the research was not representative of all shale formations and the only way to really know shale gas volumes is to frack and test flow.
Cuadrilla, which resumed fracking at a second well at its site in northwest England last week, was quite blunt in its response to the study.
“Those involved in publishing this should be embarrassed. We hold more data and technical experience of the Bowland Shale than anyone else in the UK yet not once did anyone from this research group or Nottingham University contact us for our view or input,” Cuadrilla’s CEO Francis Egan said, adding that the test flow results of real-world wells will determine the shale potential of the UK.
Cuadrilla resumed last week fracking at a second well in Lancashire, after fracking at a first well had to be stopped several times over the past year due to minor seismic events.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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