More evidence to blow claims made by frackers…
Britain to remain reliant on gas imports, engineers group says
Source: Susanna Twidale, Reuters, Tuesday September 18th 2012
Exploiting the UK’s shale gas reserves will not provide a panacea to
weaning the country off costly and unpredictable gas imports, the country’s
top engineers said on Tuesday.
In a policy statement circulated to MPs, the Institution of Mechanical
Engineers said shale gas “is not the silver bullet many claim it is.”
“It is unlikely to have a major impact on energy prices and the possibility
that the UK might ever achieve self-sufficiency in gas is remote.”
Developers of the unconventional gas believe that trillions of cubic feet
of reserves could be lying under British soil, and it was hoped that
successful extraction of the gas could help to boost the country’s energy
security by cutting its reliance on imports.
Due to the UK’s dwindling gas supplies, the country has already become a
net importer of the fuel, leaving it dependent on supplies from sometimes
remote and politically unstable regions.
In the United States, a boom in production of cheap shale gas in recent
years has pushed down energy prices and cut greenhouse gas emissions,
prompting calls from industry for the UK and other European countries to
But development of shale gas reserves in Britain are likely to be fraught
with more problems than in the United States.
Across the Atlantic landowners own mineral exploration rights, but UK
exploration rights are with the state. High population density in the UK
also makes shale gas exploration more difficult than in North America.
Britain currently has a moratorium on shale gas fracking, a technique in
which water is pumped at high pressure into rock to create narrow fractures
to allow gas to flow into the well bore to be captured.
Resumption of the practice may have moved a step closer after Prime
Minister David Cameron reshuffled his cabinet earlier in September and picked
Owen Paterson, a supporter of the technology, as Environment Secretary.
Paterson has previously hailed the potential economic benefits of shale gas.
While the final decision will be made by the country’s energy ministry,
support from the Department of Environment could help to speed a decision
in favour of resuming exploration.