06Jul / 2016
As part of the International Festival for Business being held in Liverpool, Shale UK took place last month over two days, offering the chance to examine and discuss the geology and the commercial rationale of shale development.
With representatives from operators, environmental consultants and utilities companies, the conference highlights were the presentations by the first day’s key note speakers.
John Blaymires, CEO of IGas, focused on ‘delivering the potential’ of shale and providing a picture of what full scale production would look like. He suggested that this level of activity could be achieved by 2020 within the Bowland Shale. The likely design would involve multiwell pads of up to 10 vertical wells at 2km long horizontally. In this way gas could be drained from an area of 4.5 square kilometres. John stressed the point that while this would produce significant volumes of gas, the actual surface impacts would be minimal. He demonstrated this by overlaying a six well pad development with a single central processing facility on to a map of the City of London. In his closing remarks, John pointed out that shale would contribute to the UK’s energy security and would be a step towards decarbonising the economy.
Mike Stephenson, Director of Science and Technology at the British Geological Survey (BGS), summarised the work the BGS had done on quantifying shale resources in the UK. The mid estimate figures are for 1,300 TCF (trillion cubic feet) of gas in the Bowland Shale, 6.0 BBL (billion barrels) of oil in the Scottish Midland Valley and 4.4 BBL in the Weald Basin. Mike went on to say how the BGS was continuing its research into shale properties, including advanced seismic interpretation and real time environmental monitoring.
On the final day Toni Harvey from the UK’s Oil & Gas Authority (UKOOG) discussed the results of the 14th onshore licencing round and confirmed that in December 2015 the government announced the offer of 159 blocks. It is expected that letters to operators will be sent out shortly.
This event came at a critical time for the emerging UK Shale Gas sector; the results of the Brexit referendum were in but the planning inspector’s recommendation to the Secretary of State on Cuadrilla’s Lancashire sites was still awaited. The immediate view amongst the delegates was that the vote to leave and a weaker pound strengthens the case for developing the UK’s indigenous shale gas resources.
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