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John Browne, former chief executive at BP, becomes the face of fracking in Britain

Screen Shot 2014-04-26 at 00.38.16Extracts from an article by Edward Robinson published Friday 25 April 2014 by The Washington Post

“Shale gas could be very, very important for this country; it could be transformative,” says Browne, 66, who’s now chairman of Cuadrilla Resources, a British exploration firm that plans to frack the English countryside. “It’s like the opening of Alaska or western Siberia or the Gulf of Mexico.” Even as evidence mounts that fracking operations drain aquifers and spew methane into the air, energy firms are fanning out across mammoth shale deposits in China, Russia, India, South Africa, Australia and Argentina. Royal Dutch Shell has joined forces with China Petroleum & Chemical, or Sinopec, in China to exploit the world’s largest shale-gas-laden formations. Even relatively small Britain is sitting on a gas mother lode. The Bowland-Hodder formation, a belt of shale that stretches across Britain’s midsection, holds more than 1,300 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to the British Geological Survey. That’s almost the same size as the Marcellus deposit under the Appalachian Mountains, the No. 1 U.S. shale gas find.



Shale gas has been produced for many years in places such as Sussex, and appears to have been used for lighting at Crowborough Station until quite recently…for example on you will find information from 1954.

It will be years before shale gas (if it can ever be produced economically) has any significant impact on gas supplies in the UK. It is not the answer to Russian gas, although it may determine the maximum price at which Russian gas can be sold.

In order to produce a significant volume of shale gas, thousands of wells will need to be drilled and fracced. There are very few drilling rigs available, suitable fraccing equipment is almost non-existent, and there are very few people available with the required expertise.

The construction of the required equipment, training of personnel, the drilling and completion of the required wells, and the construction of the required infrastructure (flow lines and gas treatment facilities) will require many years, and tens of billions of pounds of investment.

After the wells have been drilled, shale gas wells will require major maintenance work every couple of years – in many cases this maintenance will require resources comparable to those used for the initial construction of the well. This is not the same as a conventional gas well which may produce for 20 years without intervention.

Interesting article here which supports my view of UK shale gas production. It does not mention the timescale…

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