Southern England may Hold Massive Shale Oil Reserve
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.