South­ern Eng­land may Hold Mas­sive Shale Oil Re­serve

The Economic Times - - Economy - BLOOMBERG

Shale rock un­der­neath some of the wealth­i­est coun­ties in south­ern Eng­land may con­tain bil­lions of bar­rels of oil, a govern­ment re­port said. The Weald basin, cov­er­ing coun­ties south of Lon­don, may have oil in place of as much as 8.6 bil­lion bar­rels, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by the Bri­tish Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey. It didn’t say how much could be ex­tracted prof­itably. The UK’s cur­rent ex­tractable oil re­serves are 3.1 bil­lion bar­rels, data by BP show.

The re­port is likely to add to the con­tro­versy about drilling for shale oil and gas in the UK. The govern­ment wants to de­velop the re­sources to cut en­ergy costs and boost the econ­omy.

Op­po­nents say the process of hy­draulic frac­tur­ing, us­ing high vol­umes of wa­ter, sand and chem­i­cals to drill shale, can dam­age the en­vi­ron­ment. Last year, the BGS said the Bow­land basin, which ex­tends across east and north­west Eng­land, may hold as much as 1,300 tril­lion cu­bic feet of gas. That’s enough to meet de­mand for al­most half a century with ex­trac­tion rates sim­i­lar to US fields, ac­cord­ing to Bloomberg cal­cu­la­tions. The likely range of shale oil in place in the Weald is 2.2 bil­lion to 8.6 bil­lion, the BGS re­port said.

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