UK unconventional gas could fail to reach potential

Source: GL Noble Denton

A poll of oil and gas professionals has revealed that unconventional gas is unlikely to become the UK’s primary source of the commodity, despite recent estimates that there may be enough reserves to make the country energy self-sufficient.

59% of participants said that they felt unconventional production would come up against too many barriers to become the UK’s primary gas source. By contrast, 41% of participants said that technological advances in recovery and the recent discovery of significant UK shale gas reserves would allow unconventional gas to dominate UK output.

The Industry Snapshot Poll was conducted on the second day of the Gastech Exhibition and Conference in London by global independent technical advisor to the oil and gas industry GL Noble Denton. Senior professionals from across the sector also took part in the poll online.

Recent forecasts suggest that 200 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of shale gas may be available onshore the UK, while offshore reserves could exceed 1000 tcf; figures large enough to make the UK self-sufficient.

While only a small percentage of the UK's reserves are currently considered to be recoverable, estimates suggest that the country has similar shale gas potential to the United States, where unconventional reserves are predicted to account for 49% of the country's total gas production by 2035.

Martin Layfield, GL Noble Denton’s Vice President for Gas Consulting, said: “The result of this poll demonstrates that the sector has hurdles to overcome if it is to realise the full potential of unconventional gas in the UK.

“As significant shale gas reserves come to the fore both on- and offshore UK, we have a collective responsibility as an industry to fully understand the safety and environmental concerns associated with unconventional gas production, and manage public perception.”

This was the second of three Industry Snapshot Polls conducted by GL Noble Denton at stand C86 during Gastech. Delegates are also being asked whether the European gas industry should be investing more to ensure the highest standards of safety and whether Asia's growing appetite for LNG will have a negative impact on Europe's security of supply.

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