As I have mentioned in the the House previously:
It seems that we have vast, abundant and cheap sources of gas in this country. We should be going through a shale gas revolution… Of course there are problems, but as an engineer I just see problems to be solved and risks to be mitigated. I think we should get on with it.
British shale gas may represent an opportunity for both economic prosperity and energy security for decades to come. This is a view the Government now shares.
In June, the Government announced findings from the first independent study conducted by the British Geological Survey (BGS) on the potential volume of shale gas in eleven counties in the North of England. BGS scientists estimated that there is likely to be some 40 trillion cubic metres (1,300 trillion cubic feet) of shale gas in the ground in this area, more than was previously estimated.
As part of its long-term infrastructure investment plan, the Government has also announced a package of reforms to accelerate shale gas exploration, including a consultation on tax incentives and changes to the planning system.
A comprehensive package of community benefits has also been unveiled by industry, with companies pledging early engagement (prior to any application for planning permission), and the provision of sizeable community benefits in areas where shale is explored and commercially extracted. The benefits include £100,000 for communities situated near each exploratory well, and 1% of revenues from every production site.
Speaking following the announcements, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Unconventional Oil and Gas, Dan Byles MP said:
Today’s announcements on planning, tax incentives, community benefits and the potential scale of our domestic resource are hugely positive, representing a major step forward for the UK shale gas and the foundations of a world-leading industry. Even if only 10% of what BGS believes is there was extracted, this would support the UK’s gas needs for four decades – and the report only covers one part of the country. Now we need to know how much of this valuable resource we can extract and what it will mean for UK consumers and industry.
I look forward to a shale gas revolution, bringing enterprise and prosperity, as well as lower energy bills across the country.