It is anticipated that the UK will get its first supply of shale gas in the middle of 2017. This was revealed by shale gas firm Cuadrilla Resources.
Oil and gas contractors may already be aware that the UK has a huge cache of shale gas. This gas is trapped under rocks, and shale gas contractors use a process called fracking to extract the gas. Prime Minister David Cameron has already announced that the Government will support extraction of shale gas to offset the reducing output of oil and gas from the UK North Sea.
However, shale gas projects have faced obstacles at local government levels due to protests by environmental campaigners. Shale gas contractors primarily use the process of fracking, wherein sand, water and chemicals are injected into rock formations to facilitate release of the gas, and environmental campaigners state that this method of extraction is detrimental to the environment.
Cuadrilla Resources intends using fracking at two sites in northwest England. Chief Executive Francis Egan stated that if the company gets good results from these shale gas wells, the gas could be in the UK market by 2017.
Initially, gas flows will be small. However, full production would begin in 2018 if the company gets the required permits. The company had its applications for fracking rejected in 2015 by Lancashire Council after the local community raised concerns about fracking.
However, the Government has changed its regulations, which now allow it to intervene to approve or deny shale gas drilling permits. A planning inspector will provide recommendations on Cuadrilla’s applications for the Lancashire sites to Greg Clark, the local government minister, by 4th July.
Egan is confident that Cuadrilla’s Lancashire projects will receive local government approval since the UK Government has already announced its support for the technology. The government hopes the popularity of shale gas will generate jobs in the oil and gas industry, which has been severely affected by sliding oil prices.