UK shale gas in context

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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



‘UK shale provides us with a long-term option to buy energy locally rather than through imports.’

UK chemical supplier

Bowland-Hodder Shale Basin study

EY - Bowland-Hodder Shale Basin study

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.

Equivalent to heating over 20m homes3.

Potential peak time UK shale gas production levels



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