Filed under: Capitalism, Energy, Environment, Europe, Russia, United Kingdom | Tags: British Shale Energy, EU Exploring Shale Resources, Weald Basin + Bowland Basin
Shale rock underneath some of the wealthiest counties in the south of England may contain billions of barrels of oil, a government report said. The Weald basin covers counties south of London, including Surrey and Sussex, may have oil in quantities as large as 8.6 billion barrels, according to a British Geological Survey report published on the 23rd. It was also noted that the potential for shale gas may be limited.
Britain is required by law to shut down their elderly gas-fired power plants. Dependence on alternative sources like wind has not turned out to be as dependable as advocates assumed. They have been reduced to importing wood pellets from U.S. North Carolina forests.
The Bowland basin, which extends across east and northwest England may hold as much as 1,300 trillion cubic feet of gas. That would be enough to meet demand for almost half a century if they had extraction rates similar to US. fields. The U.K. government has offered tax breaks to drillers to stimulate the infant industry.
The European Union is determined to shift away from dependence on Russian gas imports, according to a draft European Commission document on energy security. Producing oil and gas from shale could partially compensate for declining conventional production. There will be the usual protests about high volumes of water, sand and chemicals to drill shale, and whether it can damage the environment. Probably more protests than we have experienced. Big steps forward always being out the Luddites.
The European Union has enough gas trapped in shale to free the bloc from reliance on Russian energy supplies for about 28 years if the member countries are prepared to extract it. Russia has been fairly clear that they are prepared to use their vast supplies of gas as blackmail.
According to Reuters, Russia is the world’s top oil producer, but is pumping near capacity. It needs advanced technologies to sustain their output. They want a boom in unconventional oi; output by the start of the next decade. They are targeting a new shale oil boom by the next decade.
It would be very good news indeed if Britain and the EU are self-sufficient in energy, and cannot be blackmailed by Russia, who is inclined to do just that.