Shale rock that could be a potential magic bullet for the UK economy’s energy deficit faces opposition from green lobbyists for possible health hazards related to its extraction process called hydraulic fracturing or fracking. Experts quote that this energy reserve abounds in many underground locations across the UK.
A recent British Geological Survey report, doubling its earlier estimates shares notable 3D seismic data pointing at the presence of shale gas reserve of 1,300 trillion cubic feet in areas of North England between Yorkshire and Lancashire. A fraction of this reserve alone, using controversial fracking technique of extraction can help the UK save energy bills. Reports suggest that 10% of this gas from this reserve can be extracted by drilling companies. This explains pro-fracking policies and reforms favored by PM Cameron who recently spoke on how fracking could be ‘fresh driver’ of UK development, at a recently convened World Economic Forum conference in Davos.
Fracking or hydraulic fracturing involves creating fractures in rock by infusing liquids like water and some chemicals at high-pressure into cracks and fissures. This allows natural gas trapped in shale rock beds to flow out into wells from where it can be extracted. A geologist with a leading energy company using fracking process in its wells in the UK said there is 330 trillion cubic feet of shale gas in its license area.
Another energy firm looking to extract shale gas estimated 170 trillion cubic feet of shale gas in its licensed areas in Northern England. The company previously estimated only 9 trillion cubic feet of gas but later increased estimates nearly 20 times. There exists little clarity on how much gas can be extracted in an economically viable manner. Some statistics reveal with fracking, the UK may meet energy requirements without importing expensive energy from other countries. Fracking has transformed US energy dynamics and UK hopes for similar revolution to meet its energy deficit and stride towards energy security.
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