Much less than previously thought, instead of fifty instead of fifty years, there may be enough shale gas in Britain, according to experts, which could question the justification for using hydraulic fracking on the island country.
Research from 2013, based on earlier data, further indicated that the Bowland shale in northern England is fifty times the current annual gas demand in the United Kingdom. However, recent laboratory studies from the University of Nottingham and the British Institute of Geology (BGS) suggest that only a fraction of this, a five-year stock, is contained in the rock, according to a recent study published in the journal Nature Communications.
The British newspaper recalled that the shale gas sector is trying to get the government to ease its regulation of mild earthquakes triggered by hydraulic fracturing.
Experts analyzed samples from two locations and concluded that up to 14,000 cubic meters of gas could be extracted from the entire Bowland Slate Formation. The United Kingdom has an annual gas consumption of approximately 2.8 billion cubic meters.
Christopher Vane, head of organic geochemistry at BGS, said one of the authors of the study is changing their understanding of British shale gas reserves.
Mike Stephenson, BGS’s chief of decarbonisation and resource management, who did not participate in the study, cautioned, however, that only a small number of rock samples from two sites were analyzed.
Hydraulic fracturing company Cuadrilla complained that researchers did not include them in the study, although they said they had the most data on the Bowland Slate Formation.
The energy firm also said Thursday it had to suspend hydraulic fracturing at its Blackpool site in Lancashire County last night after work led to a smaller – but the strongest – earthquake, a 1.55 Richter scale earthquake.
All this happened just a week after Cuadrilla began cracking at a new location after having to abandon its first well due to frequent downtime caused by the quakes.