The British Geological Survey estimates that there could be 1,300 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas trapped in the rocks under Lancashire, Yorkshire and surrounding counties – far more than previously thought.
No-one yet knows how much – if any – can be recovered by fracking, the controversial process of blasting water, sand and chemicals into the ground to release the gas.
However, even if only 10pc could be extracted, it could potentially meet Britain\’s annual gas demand, of 3 tcf, for more than 40 years.
I assume that\’s just the Bowland Shale. And I see mutterings around the place that 40% is a reasonable estimate to hope for of finally recoverable reserves. Not that I actually know of course.
As to earthquakes, it was a reader here, Matthew, who calculated that a 0.5 on the Richter Scale, what is set as the limit allowable by Ed Davey, is really rather small. Say that you\’ve over such a \’quake. Directly over one happening in the drilling, half a mile down.
Now, walk outside to the lawn with your handy example bowling ball. Raise it to head height and drop it on the lawn. You have now experienced the same amount of awesome earthshaking and building destruction that a 0.5 earthquake in the drilling depths would cause.
Awesome, isn\’t it? Terrifying even.
And as to the DECC predictions on prices…..they\’ve been saying all along that shale won\’t make any difference to gas prices because it will all be exported. Which is entirely nonsense of course: gas isn\’t as transportable therefore not as fungible as oil. Thus the market is a great deal more regionalised, localised. Local production of any sigificant portion of local consumption will indeed drive prices down. In turn that will lead to a resurgence in certain manufacturing processes: some plastics and most especially fertilisers. Strangely, exporting fertiliser is a cute way of exporting natural gas.
Cheaper energy, low carbon energy, a manufacturing export renaissance: what\’s not to like here?