The British Geological Survey released a report on Thursday that provided a revised estimate for shale gas resources in the North of England. The new estimate is double the old one.
The shale formation, known as the Bowland shale formation has been calculated to hold around 1,300 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Considering that BP reports British consumption as 2.76 trillion cubic feet in 2012, this formation is enough to transform the UK energy market, even though only 10-15 percent of shale gas reserves is generally recoverable.
Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, stated that “today’s news from the Geological Survey confirms 1,300 trillion cubic feet of (shale resources), which is double previous estimates.”
Fracking has come under some scrutiny by environmentalists and local communities who are worried that it could lead to earthquakes and contamination of ground water and drinking water supplies.
Related article: European Resistance to Gazprom is Futile
To try and appease local communities the government has said that companies must invest £100,000 in communities near to fracking wells, along with a further one percent of all revenues earned from each production site.
Energy Minister Michael Fallon, explained that “this will provide a welcome boost for communities who will host shale exploration and production as well as offering strong assurances that operators will engage with them and work to the highest health, safety and environmental standards.”
Britain’s shale industry is still very young and as it has not been determined whether any gas can be economically extracted, it may never actually grow to maturity.