A new survey by the British Geological Survey – due to be published today (23 May 2014) – is expected to show that the volume of shale oil underneath the surface of south east England is 100 times larger than the total volume of oil recovered from the North Sea since volume production started in 1976.
The official report by the BGS covers London, Kent, Sussex and Hampshire.
Last year, a BGS study of the north of England – which includes the Bowland shale basin in Lancashire – suggested there could be as much as 1,300 trillion cubic feet of gas contained in shale rocks.
By way of comparison, around 45 billion barrels of oil equivalent has been extracted from the North Sea over the past 40 years.
The fracking process involves pumping water, sand and chemicals into rock at high pressure, a method protesters argue is environmentally damaging.
In the US, fracking has created an energy boom and led to speculation that the country could overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s biggest oil producer by 2020 or even sooner.
The volume – and value – of recoverable shale oil in the UK is the ‘political elephant in the room’ for policy makers in Westminster and Holyrood. To date, the UK government has shown a much greater appetite for shale oil mining/ drilling than the Scottish government in Edinburgh.
As is being demonstrated in the USA, shale oil has the potential to ‘solve’ the energy trilemma in the UK and EU.
- A recent report by Public Health England (PHE) has proven that there are no major health concerns related to shale oil mining.