A new report suggests there may be up to 8.6 billion barrels of shale oil underneath southern England.
That would be on top of the potential 1.3 quadrillion cubic feet of shale gas surveyed in the north last year, and match some deposit estimates for the U.S.’ premier Bakken shale play in North Dakota.
There’s one catch though: It’s not clear how much of the stuff in England’s south is recoverable.
In their survey, the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change write more information is needed to determine how much of the oil-in-place in the Weald region can be extracted.
It is still too early to use a more refined methodology, like the USGS’s Technically Recoverable Resource “top-down” estimates, which require production data from wells. In time, the drilling and testing of new wells will give an understanding of achievable, sustained production rates.
Earlier this week, we declared the debate in America over whether to continue fracking in the face of the practice’s apparent environmental impact been settled.
But it’s only just begun in the UK, which faces skyrocketing energy costs from a host of factors including higher commodity prices, green levies, and uncompetitive markets. A survey last year showed the country was ambivalent on the question, with 68% saying doing so would be good for the economy but 47% fearing fracking would also damage the environment. There is also widespread opposition to annulling a landowner’s right of refusal to allow fracking on his or her property.
The Conservative government is doing all it can to placate opposition. It recently announced it was considering paying an average of $US1.34 million per community where fracking occurs. That would be on top of current statutes that allow a $US168,000 lump-sum payment to a community when a test well is fracked, plus 1% of any production revenues.
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