Shale gas licenses may increase UK reserves four-fold

The UK could see its gas reserves more than quadruple. The conclusion is based on estimates from the UK’s IGas Energy Group that said its own license in north west England could contain over 4.8 trillion cubic meters of shale gas.

The company said its technical studies indicate that the licenses
in the region most likely contain an estimated 2.9 trillion cubic
meters or 102 trillion cubic feet.

According to Bloomberg, the new estimates released Monday sent
IGas Energy shares soaring. They jumped 15 percent in London
trading after the statement was released.

IGas, which is due to start drilling later this year, said in a
statement that a study “supports our view that these licenses
have a very significant shale gas resource with the potential to
transform the company and materially benefit the communities in
which we operate.”

“Gas in place of about 100 trillion cubic feet (2.8 trillion
cubic meters) is highly significant, both relative to IGas’s
existing resource base and the UK’s existing gas reserves,”

Bloomberg quotes Laura Loppacher, an analyst at Jefferies Group
LLC in London as saying. “US shale recovery factors are
generally estimated to be 10 percent to 30 percent with current

Should 30 percent be extractable, UK reserves would jump about
850 billion cubic metres compared with BP’s current estimate of
200 billion cubic metres, more than quadrupling the country’s gas

The new estimate from IGas Energy follows the one made by its
rival — Cuadrilla. Cuadrilla’s estimate revealed that its field
in the same region in north west England may hold up to 5.7
trillion cubic metres.

Increasing extraction of shale gas could help UK ease its gas
dependency on Qatar and Russia.

Exploration and development group Cuadrilla believes it could
supply a quarter of the UK’s gas needs from a resource in

“There are already over 300 licenses for onshore exploration
and development, conventional and unconventional, a fifth of
which are substantial,”
UK Energy Minister Michael Fallon
said last month at the All Party Parliamentary Group for
Unconventional Gas & Oil (APPG) meeting in the House of

Shale gas drilling is however a tricky process. Companies use
hydraulic fracturing — the cracking of various rock layers by a
pressurized liquid in order to release the gas trapped inside the
shale formations. Supporters of the hydraulic fracturing point to
the economic benefits from the vast amounts of formerly
inaccessible gas reserves. Opponents of the drilling methods
point to potential dangers to the environment, including
polluting ground water, depletion of fresh water, and soil and
air contamination among other risks.

The UK ended its shale gas exploration moratorium in December
last year despite environmentalists’ concerns over the
controversial extraction technology, the International Business
Times reports.

Conservative MP Dan Byles quoted by IBTimes said that the shale
gas industry could provide as many as 30,000 UK jobs.

This article originally appeared on: RT