UK won’t see US-style shale gas production, conference told

A shale gas industry in the UK would be concentrated on a smaller number of sites than happens in the US, the chief operating officer of IGas told the Shale UK conference this morning.

John Blaymires said: “We are never going to develop shale gas in the way it was developed in the US.”

UK shale was much thicker than that in the US, he said. This gave the UK a “huge resource per square mile”.

“US shale is at most 250ft thick. In the UK, it is several hundred to several thousand feet thick so the reservoir density per square mile is far higher. We can tap into a far bigger volume and don’t need the plethora of sites. We can drain several square miles from a site the size of two football pitches.”

Mr Blaymires said: “The Bowland shale represents enormous potential resource”. If you assumed 10% was recoverable, he said, “you are looking at 200 billion cubic feet [of gas] from one site”.

Tests from IGas’s Barton Moss well at Irlam showed the shale was equivalent to that found in the Marcellus areas of the US, he said. It should be conducive to hydraulic fracturing.

He also said early results from the company’s Ellesmere Port well looked “very promising in terms of the ability to develop and produce”.

The Bowland shale represents an enormous potential resource. It is critical to demonstrate, or otherwise, the commercial potential through drilling and testing all this shale”.

Other morning headlines from Shale UK

Shale oil in the Weald
The western half of the English Weald has an estimated resource of 13 billion barrels of oil, according to new research by Imperial College, said Al Fraser, EGI Chair in Petroleum Geoscience, Imperial College London

If you include the eastern half there could be 20bb of oil. “These are good shales, guys. That is why Cuadrilla and Celtique Energie are still interested”. In response to a question, he said: “Balcombe will frack rather nicely”.

Public information on fracking research
Results of research announced in last year’s autumn statement on sub-surface technologies, including fracking, would be publicly available, said Mike Stevenson, Director of Science and Technology, British Geological Survey

“Information will be available from the word go. You will be able to log-on and look at ground and air quality and seismic activity. I think if you want to get the social licence you have to be transparent and open. The only way this will work in this country is to be open”.

Geological data from companies
“The model clauses to be put in place for the 14th round specify that the companies have to release data within six months of fracking. UKOOG is putting together a list of requirements of what geological data should be released by companies.
Toni Harvey, senior geologist, DECC

Urban development of Scottish oil shales
Oil shale exploration and production in West Lothian should be done in cities, said Graham Dean, Managing Director, Reach Coal Seam Gas.

“We’re thinking of it as a more urban activity. We should really use brownfield sites as much as we can.” The area has an aging population with areas of multiple deprivation, Mr Dean said. The area missed out on recent sustainable economic development. “The geology can come to the rescue and provide sustainable economic development for the future”.

Advice to the UK 1
“In the US, the regulatory agencies got caught flat-footed. We got behind. We are playing catch up with the regulatory environment”.
Nick Tew, Alabama state geologist and oil and gas regulator

Advice to the UK 2
“A very precise mechanism needs to be devised, with point-by-point instructions, on what data the companies must provide. So at least you will know what data should be provided and then British Geological Survey can make it comprehensive”.
Piotre Krzywiec, Polish Institute of Geological Sciences

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