back to article Lancs shale to yield '15 years' of gas for UK

The Cuadrilla Consortium has published its eagerly expected estimate of shale gas reserves in the North West of England. The group reckons it can extract 200 trillion cubic feet from sites near Preston and Liverpool – more than the current national estimates for Poland. Assuming a 20 per cent recovery rate, that's enough to …

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  1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    the political establishment?

    When the lights go out, anyone standing between voters and a gazillion cubic feet of free gas is going to be toast. Environmentalists take note: the only way to stop this gas being brought to the surface is to ensure that enough nuclear power stations are built to make the gas unnecessary.

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      So

      a) It's not free gas, it has to be extracted out of the ground, potentially with massive disruption to the land it sits under.

      b) It buys you 15 years tops. Probably less, given that the UK would probably export much of it.

      c) Then what?

      To me it's equivalent to rummaging around the back of the sofa, finding a few quid and concluding all your problems are over.

      1. IsJustabloke
        Thumb Up

        that'll be the an EXTRA 15 years to pop out Nuclear power stations then

        1. paulc
          Mushroom

          15 more years of procrastinating

          15 years of more procrastinating more like... you know what will happen... they'll put off deciding until yet again it's too late to get them online when the gas runs out... New Labour had 13 years in which they managed to decide nothing. The need for replacements was known back then... we could have had them on stream now, but the greenies got in the way and Labour decided that the question was too tough...

        2. NomNomNom

          cool 15 more years to ignore the problem so that in the meantime it gets even worse

      2. GitMeMyShootinIrons
        Happy

        Answers on a postcard....

        A) No, it's not, but is it any less disturbing to the environment than coal mining, masses of wind turbines tearing up the countryside or damming rivers? Not even 'do nothing' costs nothing. If we don't do this, we lose 15 years, or more to the point face 15 more years deeper in the pockets of either those reputable nations in the middle east or Russia than we should be.

        B) It buys you 15 years to build up alternatives, be they nuclear (the better option), or wind/water/etc.

        C)See answer B. So long as 'single interest groups' (treehuggers and/or NIMBYs) and their lobbyists as well as those loveable bureaucrats don't balls it up. Which they will....

      3. Sam Liddicott

        a few quid...

        a few quid when you need it can save you more than a few quid, just like a 10 pence piece in the car glove compartment when you need it can save you a 50.00 parking ticket.

        15 years more gas when we thought we had none is great -even if only as leverage to get nuclear back.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge
      Devil

      The political establishment will kill it

      There was a word in their press release which has signed their death warrant.

      They will create a few jobs and all of the qualified middle class engineering jobs with an average salary of 50K. That has signed their death warrant.

      Neither the band in charge, nor the band in opposition want any middle class.

      1. Middle class is bad for the economy. Instead of impulsive spending and filling the govt VAT coffers it saves, thinks before it buys and is overall a pain in the arse. So while it may be paying a higher tax rate it will contribute way less to "key parameters" then distributing the same amount of money to a large group of what once upon a time used to be called lumpen-proletariat. Just ask any "think tankist" - they all hate the middle class as it spoils their numbers. So bad for the band in blue.

      2. Middle class and the band in red - no comment needed.

      So the merits of the scheme are utterly irrelevant here. It will be the socioeconomic effect of the scheme which will decide its faith and that at this point is guaranteed an empathic thumbs-down from 2/3rds of the political establishment.

    3. Northern Fop
      Mushroom

      Sunday morning fry up

      Nuclear power's all well and good, but it's still crap for frying sausages. Vive la gas!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Northern Fop

        I fry snossages quite well over an induction hob.

  2. Steve Hosgood

    19th century revisited!

    Cubic feet? What's that? I hope the company involved are a bit more "this century" than El Reg's reporting, or we can expect them to be sending small boys and pit ponies in there to extract the stuff!

    1. Code Monkey

      What's that in elephants?

    2. Andus McCoatover
      Windows

      19th century revisited

      "or we can expect them to be sending small boys and pit ponies in there to extract the stuff!"

      There's an idea! Would've saved Maggie a fortune during the Miners' strike...But then the Plods would have lost their overtine. Still, it's an ill wind....

    3. HeyMickey
      Facepalm

      @Steve Hosgood

      Nah, everyone in the oil/gas industry still uses imperial units apart from the French. Even when I come across non-imperial units they are often CGS (centimeter, gram, second) as opposed to SI.

      If you think cubic feet are bad, how about:

      ppg = pounds per gallon (of additive)

      ppb = pounds per barrel (and not parts per billion as you would expect)

      mDft = mili Darcy-feet

      or mixed units like pounds per square _centimeter_?

      all of these are units I have dealt with in the last week at work...

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Is that an Imperial gallon or a US one? My Mars mission might depend on it.

      2. Steve Hosgood

        My point was merely that for 99% of the readership of El Reg (i.e those readers not in the oil and gas industry), our only contact with gas is to buy it in m³. So an article going on about cu.ft is a bit pointless for most of us.

        It's like the pointless tabloid press headlines going on about "Petrol hits £7,£8,£9 (or whatever) per gallon". Meaningless! We buy the stuff in litres! They might as well tell us that it's £800 per hogshead! Or articles going on about Amazon workers sweltering in 100°F temperatures. We've been doing temperature in °C for the last 40 years, why muddy the water with °F?

        Oh yeah - that last story wasn't in the tabloid press, it was in El Reg! Same author though.

  3. Elwell
    Thumb Down

    wellcount

    It also says that there'll be 800 wells to extract the stuff. That's going to scar the landscape

    1. tmTM

      Who cares

      It's in Liverpool after all, how much worse can it get?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It's in Hesketh Bank, a quaint village which is nearer Preston than Liverpool.

  4. Phil Endecott

    £6 bn vs. Kweku Adaboli

    Like football pitches and Wales. Tax on 15 years of gas production = 4 Kwekus.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Happy

      @hil Endicott

      "£6 bn vs. Kweku Adaboli "

      Careful now. Innocent unless proved guilty.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Meh

    What's the betting that gov.uk wastes the revenue too? Instead of investing like norway did with the north sea oil fields, I reckon we'll get a short term tax break for votes rather than a fund that could be used to offset the national debt or fund science, engineering or manufacturing

    1. tmTM

      Depends

      If Labour get voted in to squander it all.

      No doubt it will be used as an election tool, parties promising tax breaks funded by the gas money.

    2. Mark 65

      With regards North Sea oil you have a point. With regards this, £6bn in tax won't even pay the annual interest bill.

  6. Silverburn
    Meh

    Sources?

    "The UK burned through 3.11 trillion cubic feet in 2009, according to the US Energy Information Administration"

    Why do the US know more about our consumption than our own government? Don't we have data of our own?

    "The group reckons it can extract 200 trillion cubic feet from sites near Preston and Liverpool – more than the current national estimates for Poland. Assuming a 20 per cent recovery rate..."

    Does this whole article seem too good to be true...?

  7. Richard Jukes

    That should be enough gas to fuel Britain as we change over to Nuclear power....the resources are there gentlemen, we just need the political will!

    Ha, yeh Im still laughing too.

  8. Tegne
    Alert

    How long before Blackpool tower disappears down a sinkhole?

    That is all.

    1. Jason 24
      FAIL

      Not soon enough hehe

    2. Code Monkey
      Trollface

      The sooner the better.

  9. nichomach

    Personally...

    ...I'd like to believe that fracking's the miracle that you seem to believe, Andrew, but given that Cuadrilla had to stop their operations near Blackpool because of tremors believed to be caused by their exploratory works, I'm sceptical. I don't doubt that the resource would be valuable, but there are valid concerns over ground water contamination with carcinogens and the shale gas itself. Disclosure: I live in Preston, so the concerns are of direct import to me. IF the process is safe, IF it can be done without risk to the local population and environment, IF the process is monitored closely to ensure that, then frack away; but ONLY if that is the case.

    1. NomNomNom

      well

      I dont think you understand how this clarksonian eco denialism works.

      There is no burden for them to prove it's safe. It's entirely on you to prove it's dangerous. While there's any doubt at all either way that just means you are an alarmist and the drills can move in.

  10. Northern Fop
    Mushroom

    Utter no brainer.

    Russia is a state run by gangsters, even if some of them masquerade as politicians. The loony greens would rather we get our gas from them rather than our own back yard. I can only assume they're not aware of the shocking damage being done to the Russian wilderness by their energy industry. It's NIMBYism dressed up as environmentalism, with the emphasis on the 'mental'.

    Environmentally damaging or not, we need gas. We will still need gas for the next 30 years (and probably a whole lot longer) even if we plaster windmills over every hill in the land. The nation benefits from a slice of the revenue - via tax - which sure beats funding an oligarchs diamond-encrusted bollock-tickler (or whatever they're spunking money on this week).

    Why are we even discussing whether this is a good idea?!?!

    1. I understand now
      Stop

      Windmills over every hill in the land? that wont do. Might injure some birds or something.

      *goes to sit in the dark*

    2. David Pollard

      Even if?

      "We will still need gas for the next 30 years even if we plaster windmills over every hill in the land."

      Windmills won't reduce the demand for gas. On the contrary they are likely to increase the demand considerably.

      Because wind turbines only generate intermittently they require almost 100% backup capacity. (Calm spells can last up to three weeks or so.) Gas turbines are and will likely continue to be used to remedy much of this shortcoming of wind energy.

      Nuclear energy would be both less expensive and less damaging to the environment, especially once Gen IV designs come on stream to 'burn' waste and put plutonium stocks out of harm's way.

      1. cocknee
        Mushroom

        out of harms way?

        put plutonium out of harms way.....

        Eh? What conjuring alchemy is that? Half life of around 24000 years, bit longer than any human civilisation.

        I'm not saying Nuclear is a no go, just it has it's problems and it is a NIMBY spread across eons instead.

        Though speaking of my back yard. I was going to move to the north west coast... Might have to reconsider. Just going to turn up the gas heating...

        1. Andydaws
          FAIL

          Cocknee - bit of a fail, there....

          Easy - hit a plutonium atom with a neutron, it fissions. It gives out lots of energy (a good, useful thing) and the two remaining lighter atoms are typically

          a) - non fissionable (or more crucialy fissile)

          b) - if radioactive, short lived.

          The most common fission product, for example is Caesium 134 - half-life 2bout 2 1/2 years and decays to stable Barium or Xenon, the second is Iodine 135 (half life about 7 hours, decaying to Xenon 135 then to Caesium 135 which has minimal radioactivity

    3. ToddRundgren
      Flame

      Gas comes from Norway

      It's a minor point, but I believe most of our gas, unlike the rest of the EU, comes from NOrway and not Russia

      The flame is the gas, not the author

  11. JohnMurray

    More gas

    The UK has a defiant "don't want to do" spirit.

    Amply led by the "won't allow them to do" bureau-twats who consistently add costs to an already high bill.....to the tune of 24% of my gas bill being due to "government environmental costs" (green rubbish no doubt)

    It will be bogged-down by people who don't want cheaper anything for anyone (green twats again) and people who don't want people (green twats again).

    No doubt the "my tap gives out gas" people will be heading for the solicitors even before the gas is drilled for....

    England, this unpleasantly green land

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More gas

      Hi John, you've obviously got some kind of masochistic disdain for pleasant environments. So you won't mind if I come round to your house and use your garden as a landfill site.

  12. Geoff Thompson
    Coat

    Blackpool

    Brings a whole new meaning to Blackpool rock. (They were worried about the process causing mini earthquakes.)

  13. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Green with envy

    Presumably this is the worst possible discovery for those who have decided for us that what we need are renewable forms of energy, not cheap ones. Maybe the answer is to redefine the "scouse" as an endangered species, who's natural habitat should not be disturbed?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      More dangerous to us

      than we are to them.

    2. Andydaws

      Nice start...

      So, can we introduce licensed hunting to keep numbers under control?

  14. RyokuMas Silver badge
    Devil

    But...

    ... will we see a price drop in our exorbitant gas bills? Will this stop pensioners freezing to death because they can't afford both heating and food? Will this ease the blatent profiteering that goes on in the energy business in any way shap or form?

    ... I doubt it. Unless the big energy companies are banned from coming anywhere near this and a UK firm not associated with the current cartel is allowed to set up to run this.

    Spawn of satan because even Satan himself is envious of what the energy cartel supplying the UK has achieved

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    May I be the first to say ...Yaaaayyyy!

    Get that stuff compressed liquified and into the petrol stations nationwide.

    Stuff your electric cars and hybrids! Buy a V8!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Steve Hosgood

    The gas industry measures in cubic feet. The airline industry still measures heights in feet. Thats just the way it is.

    1. Fuzz

      nope

      gas industry in this country measures in m³

      if you have an old gas meter it will measure in cubic feet. If you look at your bill you will see this is converted to m³ before it is converted to kWh

      I'd imagine it's only folks from the USA still using cubic feet.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Better onshore than offshore.

    At least if they fuck up it will be easier to get equipment on site to fix any problems. Though I wouldn't want to be near blackpool illuminations if theres a big leak!

  18. Chris 3
    Alert

    Fair enough, the UK does have its fair share of nimbies, but I don't think you can dismiss the concerns over fracking as merely the result of rabid environmentalists.

    I'm not entirely clear from this story, is extraction via fracking?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    2nd attempt. This BBC article talks about the unexpected seismic activity (earth tremors) which caused Cuadrilla to suspend operations in Lancashire earlier this year. There are many others reporting it too.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-13700575

    I'd provide a link to the press releases at cuadrillaresources.com/news/news but it's a bit tricky at the moment as all it's willing to tell me is

    "Bandwidth Limit Exceeded

    The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to the site owner reaching his/her bandwidth limit. Please try again later.

    Apache/2.2.19 (Unix) mod_ssl/2.2.19 OpenSSL/0.9.8e-fips-rhel5 mod_auth_passthrough/2.1 mod_bwlimited/1.4 FrontPage/5.0.2.2635 Server at www.cuadrillaresources.com Port 80"

    1. Andydaws

      hmmm....

      and how big were those tremors - compared to, say, a bus driving past your house?

  20. xeroks

    solution to pipeline problem

    To get round planning difficulties for building piplines, pipe the gas out to sea, and link with existing infrastructure.

    Simples.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There's gas coming ashore at Fleetwood so it's not a big deal.

  21. Graham Jordan

    So are we ready to tell the Scots to fuck off?

    Or does the North sea and the waters surrounding Scotland have equally as much Shale gas to keep us holding their hands?*

    *I'm actually not a racist and couldn't give two monkeys about their independence or reliance on handouts. I R here to spark debate... a mass debate!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Minor point

      Londoners get more subsidy than the Scots.

      http://www.ippr.org/publications/55/1650/fair-shares-barnett-and-the-politics-of-public-expenditure

      1. Spider
        Facepalm

        Lies, damn lies, and stats?

        Actually followed the link, and whilst yes London is at +28% of the UK average it is a bit disengenuous to compare the whole of Scotland with just London. I'm sure if Scotland was listed by region as England is there would be areas of more than the +21% Scotland gets (and conversely some with less).

        However, taken as a country, England also includes, the East of England at -18% to the average and South East at -17% and so on. As a whole, England gets -3% to the UK average, Scotland gets +21%.

        So the previous poster was in fact correct. Scotland gets more money (in fact over 24% more money) under the Barnett formula that England.

      2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Happy

        RE: Minor point

        That's beacuse half of Scotland is in London.

    2. Andydaws
      Thumb Up

      Now the good news....

      The formations with shale gas potential run from Lancashire to the Lincolnshire coast......

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Devil

        Nice idea....

        Are you implying we should just dig the lot out and break it up to get the gas out later, and leave a big trench to cut us off from Scotland?

  22. xeroks

    err..

    all that infrastructure on the west coast of England...

    :-/

  23. mark 63 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    whiny greeny

    when this story was on the news last night , there was was a whiny greeny saying we shouldnt use the gas because "its fossil fuel" !!?!?!?

    Doesent he know about the 80 million barrels of crude oil burned daily?

    Does he have some secret answer to the energy imminent energy apocaypse that we dont know about?

    I'm all for environmentalism , but I'm not worried about our greenhouse because i know the amount of fossil fuels we use is shortly going to decline a lot faster than we could ever have enforced on ourselves.

    ...And as a Blackpool resident - Yes bring it on , You can use my back yard!

    Stick a few windmills up while your at it.

    1. NomNomNom

      haha

      "I'm all for environmentalism , but I'm not worried about our greenhouse because i know the amount of fossil fuels we use is shortly going to decline a lot faster than we could ever have enforced on ourselves."

      So your solution is to become even more reliant on fossil fuels by tapping into a new type - "15 years" worth of shale gas? For people saying this will give us time to build nukes, etc. Nah what it will mean is the exact opposite - for all the energy you get extra for 15 years from this shale gas you don't need to build other stuff.

      "Doesent he know about the 80 million barrels of crude oil burned daily?"

      Given the quotation you provided I imagine he's opposed to that too.

      1. mark 63 Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Thing is NomNom, we're already totally reliant on fossil fuels.

        I think from the extensive reading I've done on the subject we are heading for a giant size crash which will mean nothing less than the end of civilsation as we know it.

        It'll go something like this:

        -Fuel runs short

        -hauliers go out of business, therefore other busineses fail

        -people cant get to work

        -nothing in the shops

        -locally produced stuff in the grounded trucks sold off locally

        -no fuel fuel for farmers - crops go unsewn/harvested

        -people are getting hungry

        -authorities struggling to retain order

        -military efforts to secure new oil result in death all round and fail due to lack of fuel

        -gangs roaming the streets scavenging what they can

        - Fire, Brimstone, dogs and cats living together etc

        The end

        I dont know at what point someone (govt) might decide to build nuclear stations, or mass wind turbines, but the right time has already passed.

        So if this little pocket of gas is going to cushion us, in the same way an airbag will save you if you car went off the cliffs ov dover, then all the better.

        Suggested reading:

        "The Partys Over" by Richard heisenberg

        1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

          Re:

          That redefines "bedwetting"

  24. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Mushroom

    That might be true but

    In the process it might turn parts of Lancashire into a wasteland due to the earthquates caused by the fracking and the pollution of the water table. There are parts of the USA where this is already happening.

    On the otherhand, demolishing Blackpool might be a good idea.

    Eat this because of the danger.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      wastelands

      > it might turn parts of Lancashire into a wasteland

      but how could anyone tell the difference?

  25. Ministry of Truth

    Yes, but...

    "A bonus would be £5bn to £6bn in UK tax revenue – and energy independence. Eighty per cent of EU member states' gas consumption is imported from Russia via the Ukraine."

    Currently less than 5% of UK gas is sourced from Russia. Most of ours is North Sea (yes, there is still a lot there) either from our own extraction or from Norway.

    The biggest advantage would be gained from this by holding fire on developing the output, invest instead in storage, and buy and use cheap gas produced by the first flush of shale extraction across Europe.

    Once the price begins to rise, then leverage your own supply.

    /irony

    Alternatively, opt for dragging it out of the ground as fast as you can, and pumping it out of the country in LNG or similar, to get all that lovely revenue to... install "green" alternatives. That would be the super responsible thing to do.

    /irony off

  26. Caoilte

    what happened to el reg skepticism of press releases?

    These are their estimates and don't include estimates for the damage that drilling will do to local economy (destroying farming).

  27. I've forgotten what I wanted to say...

    Steady chap

    "The UK, by contrast, has a defiantly "can't do" spirit. Environmentalists are the political establishment, and the UK's planning and regulatory regime are designed to make cheap fossil fuel innovation much much more expensive than it need be" is a bit OTT? Is it not?

    Would you prefer a nice land-grabbing exercise?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The UK doesn't do onshore gas"

    No, but we still have the worlds most advanced high pressure (75 bar) internal distribution network.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not all about economy.

    While I admit that shale gas is something we need, (I personally own mineral rights to about 50 acres of shale production in the usa) I doubt that the UK will be as willing to jump in and let these companys exploit the land. A big problem here (I live in the UK) will be that land owners are not as likely to be mineral owners. In the USA (depending on state) the owners of the land are getting anywhere from 25-45% of the profits. Cost are not going to be nearly as cheap in the UK either, where safety, staffing and disposal (used boring fluid) cost will all be much higher. Many states in the USA have no problem staffing these jobs with temp hands who will need to find a new job once a well is finished.

    I have seen groundwater contamination. I have seen boreholes left open by the seismic testing crews. I have seen a company lower output of a well to the minimum legal requrement to hold a well, because they feel the price of the product is too low (this is going on right now on some shale sites in the US). Most of the pad sites do get cleaned up properly.

    And of course, horizontal drilling doesnt often take place below homes, It is "avoided" but doable. The housing density in the UK is going to make that a issue, Digging up greenbelt land to lay pipeline shouldnt be an issue, If it's done properly then there's little risk to the environment (after install). The only other additional cost that residents might see would be new homes going up in cost due to the foundation base getting used by the wells.

  30. Ru

    "The UK, by contrast, has a defiantly "can't do" spirit"

    This is a wonderful and depressing quote. Sums up quite a few things, I think.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Holmes

    Alarm bells start ringing...

    in Russia now. And I imagine they will go quite some way to make sure this gas does not surface any time soon, ideally ever. I'm not thinking Specnaz, but "lobbying" is a wide-ranging term, think environmental reports on the potential havoc wreaked on protected cockroach population, "useful idiots" given access to hacked government files, legal challenges from the local residents' groups, or, if need be, EU moves to make the extraction methods "incompatible" with current EU environmental regulations (apparently such rumbles have already been heard about gas extraction in Poland). And, I imagine, oil sector, if not able to stick their finger in the pie, would not be exactly supportive. And they do know a thing or two about lobbying.

  32. Perpetual Cyclist
    Meh

    This does not provide energy independence

    Even if these initial reports are true, and oil and gas companies drumming up investment are notoriously over-optimistic, this will not stop the UK being a large, and rising net energy importer of oil, coal, (nuclear) electricity and energy infrastructure hardware.

    Shale gas has stopped the USA suffering a natural gas energy crisis this last 5-10 years, but even the USA is still a net importer of natural gas. In all probability this find will still result in the UK being a net importer of gas too. Shale gas wells are notorious for being 1. expensive and 2. having very rapid production decline rates, requiring multiple refracturing of the wells, with variable success.

    I am not against these wells on pollution grounds - they are no more polluting than conventional wells, but this will not result in cheaper energy bills, or prevent an overall energy crisis in this country and the whole world.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So is shale gas

    as evil as some greenies claim? Or is it only as evil as any other gas?

  34. Turtle

    Funny, that. Well, I guess not really all that funny.

    "The UK, by contrast, has a defiantly "can't do" spirit. Environmentalists are the political establishment, and the UK's planning and regulatory regime are designed to make cheap fossil fuel innovation much much more expensive than it need be."

    Even before I had read the article, the first thought that crossed my mind was, "Sounds like a good thing. Too bad it won't be allowed."

    Don't you people there have *any* political parties or politicians who are against the "Impoverish The UK At All Costs, And Make The Rich Richer By Making The Poor Poorer" program? if I were living in the UK I would absolutely be a one-issue voter at this point. . .

  35. AbortRetryFail
    Unhappy

    Eco-mentalists

    I'm sure the greenies and eco-mentalists will find some way of killing this golden goose before it's even laid its first golden egg.

    1. NomNomNom

      indeed fail

      it's "enviro"-mentalists not "eco"-mentalists

      otherwise the play on words doesn't work...

  36. sebacoustic

    Environmental lobbyists

    All very well, the new gas bonanza in Preston. But I would not like to see the environmental concerns brushed off as spoilsport's worries. It's relevant to lots of people me if groundwater courses get messed up by fraccing.

    Fossil fules are great and all, but they have their downsides. CO2 being one of them, but there are others, too. Gas/oil production raping the land is one. Dead miners is another.

    Give me a Thorium plant already.

    Disclaimer: I live in Lancashire.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Frack off

    I highly recommend the American documentary "Gasland." Or this article in the Independent

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/leading-articles/leading-article-fracking--not-a-risk-that-it-is-worth-britain-taking-2358603.html

    "Fracking is an unconscionable gamble with potentially catastrophic results. It has already been banned in France. It should be banned in Britain as well."

    Earth tremors, Contamination of ground water. Methane seeping up into your house.

    No thanks.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Frack off

    "Gasland*" - coming to a UK county near you. But there's big profits, so who cares if a few people get killed/poisoned along the way. Tell you what Andrew, why not drink a litre of frack water for charity just to prove how safe it is? You're going to drink it anyway once it hits the watertable/rivers.

    And environmentalists are the establishment? Really Andrew? Really, really? This must be why the UK has such a good integrated public transport infrastructure, high taxes on aviation fuel, world class nuclear power plants, solar panels on every roof, protections on greenbelt construction, strong environmental protection laws and a regulator with real power...oh wait; we don't.

    * http://www.gaslandthemovie.com/

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Oh dear.

      Of course they're part of the establishment. The long drawn out battles to get a working transport infrastructure de-railed on numerous occasions by the green movements lobbying, let alone the near-destruction of the nuclear industry, massive subsidies to white elephant eco-power generators and eco-friendly planning laws.

      You can bet your socks, sandals and lentilburgers that the environmentalists are part of the establishment.

    2. Zot
      Mushroom

      Have fun igniting your tap water and poisoning the family all for free! Yay!

      All in a tightly packed urban area? Burning tap water from leaked gas has already been on national news in the UK. They said they were going to stop...yeah, right, sure.

    3. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      RE : Gasland

      Was that the movie whose director knowingly used footage from areas where water has contained gas for decades before feacking started to "sex up" the story?

      Good example.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well, I don't think its quite that easy. From stuff I've read about Shale, its not exactly a silver bullet as there is evidence that the mining process can really mess up the environment. Now with a country the size of the USA, the risks can be minimised by being kept away from population centres, but in our shoe box of a country the mining will be a lot closer to home. Everyone wants more access to cheaper energy, green or not, just as long as its not in view of where they live.

    I'm firmly on the fence, I don't think there is a clear easy answer, but the truth is our desire for energy is only ever going to increase.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this safe

    I live a couple of miles from the drilling site in preston and this caused two earthquakes and i have no doubt that this is NOT SAFE....

    But I supppse the precious environment becomes irrelevant when the taxed dilly figure has 8 zeros on the thick textured paper which lies beneeth the gazing glare of a self obsessed corrupt politician , think what that could do, fuel the jags, pay off mortage on the cambrige manor, few extra expensies for that 85"inch plasma in the second home and dont forget the the champagne cocktails at the xmas do.

    Shale gas it is then.

    1. Andydaws

      Did you feel

      either of those tremors, by the way? Or were you completely unaware of them until the media got on the case?

  41. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Thats the end for new UK nukes.

    NT

  42. Danny 18
    Thumb Down

    Please get your facts straight and be less arrogant

    "...The UK doesn't really do onshore gas, and the infrastructure is missing..."

    We do, however, have 'the spirit' to extract gas and oil offshore - which is infinitely harder. Ever heard of the North Sea? Also, most domestic heating and cooking in the UK (and a sizeable chunk of our electricity production) is from gas so clearly we do have the infrastructure.

    It would be nice if you left your arrogance and pretence to technological superiority at the door.

  43. Isendel Steel
    Flame

    Energy Independence

    but only for 15 years ? - and then back on the extortion subjugation.

    (icon - burnt gas)

  44. Stuart 22
    Unhappy

    Two Way Warming ...

    Why do I keep hearing that an increase in recoverable fossil fuels is seen as a good thing?

    Maybe we should send Dave back to Greenland or wherever he proclaimed his green credentials.

  45. Piloti
    Meh

    Slow and steady....

    ""The UK, by contrast, has a defiantly "can't do" spirit. Environmentalists are the political establishment, and the UK's planning and regulatory regime are designed to make cheap fossil fuel innovation much much more expensive than it need be. ""

    Personally, I am starting to think the UK regulatory regime is not all that bad. A slow, steady 'make it work' approach may be what is needed. After all, this is how the German economy works, and, in large parts, how the UK economy does not work. Jam today is the Anglo Saxon view. Germany is the worlds second largest exporter. We have a multi billion pound export deficit. Should we change to a more cautious 'do it correctly, slowly' approach ? Worth thinking about…..

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Gimp

    er..

    "and regulatory regime are designed to make cheap fossil fuel innovation much much more expensive than it need be."

    Well if you think this is going to be priced down from market value anyway, well enjoy that dream while you can..

    And the kicker is that the price is only driven up by futures not by what is being demanded now.

    And the futures is driven by 'peak theory' despite the fact that more resources have been found to fill the gap than are currently being tapped. And if we could ever get governments to regulate more energy sources into place (hydrogen) - rather than just taxing everyone not to use the harmful ones we could possibly never get round to using them. But still all fun and games, where the fun on making fun new markets & industry when you can bleed the people dry using the old ones..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Repeat after me...

      "Hydrogen is an energy carrier, not an energy source."

      Free hydrogen doesn't occur naturally in meaningful quantities (on Earth) and needs to be produced from compounds that contain it, using energy in the process.

  47. Thomas 4
    Meh

    Ambivalent about this

    I can't say I'm completely in favour of fossil fuels, what with potential greenhouse/climate stuff and it's limited duration. An *efficient* and *effective* renewable source would be my preferred choice, along with the elimination of world hunger, death sentence for all politicians and an Android phone that has regular updates.

    That said, gas is one of the less damaging fossil fuels, there's a heck of a lot of it just waiting to be used and the spare change sure as heck could come in handy at the moment.

  48. tas
    Flame

    UK chooses short term profits vs long term cost, as usual

    Why is the UK, who are in the enviable position to survey the environmental and social cost of onshore oil and gas drilling from the US example, so keen to go down this route to extract and use their final non-renewable resources?

    In addition, the UK itself will, more than likely, not directly benefit from these resources instead they will be sold into the EU wholesale market. So, the revenues will be collected as FTSE oil&gas dividends, while the taxes will be used to plug the fiscal holes caused by banks and probably paid out again to the undercapitalized banks via BoE Quantitive Easing (round 2, 3, 4 ad nauseum). In the meantime, UK household gas bills will continue to rise at well above inflation rates, if not higher as Sterling depreciates!

  49. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Colour me sceptical

    This is a very small formation and they are claiming to have found a reserve 2/3 the size of the colossal Groningen gas field, more than 30 times as large as the Morecambe Bay fields and 10 times the size of *all* the reserves remaining in the UK sector of the North Sea. In each of these cases the reserves are known only by drilling a large number of widely dispersed wells into well-understood formations and long term monitoring. That's not possible here.

    What's more, if they got a 20% recovery rate from this field they'd pull up very nearly half as much gas as the USGS reckons is economically recoverable from the *whole* Marcellus Formation in the Eastern United States which is almost the size of England.

    I think a lot more work needs to be done before anyone thinks that Blackpool is sitting on a gas fortune. But in the meantime I bet that 200 trillion number is doing wonders for their share price.

  50. Dick Emery
    Megaphone

    If fuel prices continue rising like they are doing the greenies will hopefully get shouted down by the majority. The problem has always been that minority groups have too much sway in what gubberment does. They are usually the noisiest too. It's also hard to know whether fuel providers will buy from a local provider and sell it on cheaper than they currently do. Mores the likely they will carry on profiteering claiming they must invest in infrastructure to meet the demands and any savings get passed along to their shareholders instead. Call me pessimistic but that's how I see it panning out. The gubberment needs to put the boot in but they won't.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That was quite a rant

    Other than a reassertion of the author's world view I don't think it actually told me anything beyond the actual amounts involved.

  52. Andy 97
    Paris Hilton

    It's only 15 years, not a limitless supply.

    This could of course be a simple way to remove the national debt to a manageable size, export to Europe and we all win.

    The extra tax could be used to build sustainable transport infrastructure and even assist the funding of reusable energy that the sanctimonious strata of our society keep going on about.

    I would (of course) treat the predictions with some scepticism, the company that discovered the wells is looking for funding from the city, and we all know what that can lead to.

    Paris because she's used to being drilled by American Explorers.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How much LNG did we buy from Libya in the last few years?

    LNG = liquefied natural gas. Comes by boat from places like Libya, arriving at terminals in places like Pembrokeshire. Have recent events changed the outlook?

    a) Buy your natural gas from Russia?

    b) Buy your natural gas from Libya?

    c) Buy some extra insulation and invest in commercial-scale energy efficiency, whilst also minimising the wasteful use of gas for generating electricity?

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "more energy sources ... (hydrogen)"

    Hydrogen isn't an energy source though it can potentially be used as an energy storage and transport mechanism for certain niche applications. Might make sense for power stations for example.

    1. Andy 97
      Childcatcher

      I watched the local news and this nice man from Honda explained that most of the hydrogen used is actually extracted from natural gas.

      Oh dear, I can see months of badly informed debate in the national press ahead.

  55. Martin 63
    Mushroom

    Sounds ideal

    Use the gas, get better than 20% efficiency during the process, and plough the profit into building nuclear - not give it away as we did with north sea gas.

    And sites for the nuclear stations - well if the gas extractions ruin the environment as much as we are told, there are some obvious sites for it.

    Sometimes things are too simple for words.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't add up

    The numbers don't add up, the projected number of wells, the number of jobs created and the amount of gas that can be extracted vary wildly...

    Also this (3rd paragraph)

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/companies/aj-lucas-calls-private-equity-placement-rights-issue/story-fn91v9q3-1226140772168

    "We have now identified a strategy that will introduce strength to the AJ Lucas balance sheet, minimise dilution for shareholders and allow AJ Lucas to maintain its shareholding in Cuadrilla."

    Coincidence?

    See also: http://frack-off.org.uk/

  57. Shonko Kid
    Mushroom

    Enviro-mentals

    OK, so we've discovered a natural resource, that is there for the taken (bar some up front investment) that not only reduces our reliance on imports, but would also give the govt a bit of extra cash. Sure, we don't want to continue to burn gas, or dig up Preston to get at it, we know it's bad. But it's there, and it's better than free, and we have no choice. Surely it's not beyond the realms of man (or even whitehall mandarin) to say, ok, so this'll get us a few extra £bn over the next decade, let's use that so when it does run out, we have a viable green alternative, and we've kicked our gas-habit for good. Is it really too hard to imagine?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So REALLY good for the country as a whole

      but may seriously upset some Lancastrian Northerners.

      I'm sure there's got to be a downside to all this but can anyone point me to it?

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