UK shale gas in context
- If the UK is to deliver 400 lateral wells per year at peak, a new supply chain will be needed; representing a significant job creation opportunity.
- In this scenario, shale gas production could represent over a third of total UK annual consumption by 2020.
- The US experience shows that the development of shale gas can help improve household energy affordability, security of supply, and increase employment and investment that cascades into other sectors (e.g., manufacturing).
UK shale role in the future energy mix
The UK needs to secure its future energy mix and offset declining North Sea production. It must also reduce carbon emissions from reliance on coal power, and ensure consumers have an affordable future energy supply.
Gas is vital to the UK. It heats more than 80% of homes and flows through a well-developed transmissions network.1
Shale gas will also impact continental Europe. Currently, 89% of Europe’s annual gas demand is imported. Estimates suggest shale could reduce this dependency by up to 27% by 2035.2
Bowland-Hodder Shale Basin study
Source: DECC 2014×
UK shale potential
Recent estimates from the British Geological Survey indicate that gas in place in the Bowland shale totals more than 1,300 tcf. This compares to total UK annual consumption of around 3 tcf.
It is not yet possible to forecast potential recovery rates, but there is clearly the potential for shale gas to provide a significant proportion of the UK’s gas requirements. The Institute of Directors (IoD) has estimated that production could reach a level of more than 1 tcf in the 2020s.
1 Developing Onshore Shale Gas and Oil — Facts about ‘Fracking’, DECC, December 2013
2 Macroeconomic effects of European Shale Gas Production, Poyry November 2013
3 Getting Shale Gas Working, Institute of Directors, 2013