What Lies Beneath: Could Offshore Shale Resources Trump Inland Deposits?
It’s been a constant feature of our business pages and daily news bulletins, but the tearaway topic of shale shows no sign of slowing down. In the latest developments, the founder of leading scale adventurer Cuadrilla has announced his intention to explore potential shale deposits lying under the Irish Sea.
Previously focus has been purely on the extractable shale gas opportunities that lie inland, however British Geographical Survey estimates offer that offshore shale around the UK’s Irish Sea seaboard could be up to five or ten times more plentiful than that held inland. With three exploratory licenses already awarded, it seems that momentum is quickly building towards a concerted effort to investigate the riches beneath the Irish Sea’s choppy waves.
Jennifer Patterson of the payroll and tax advice consultants Umbrella.co.uk believes that the development of shale as an onshore and inshore industry is inexorable: “Government policy has been silently determined to push shale opportunities at almost every turn. Publicly we have seen a more conciliatory voice, with some ground conceded to groups who have raised hands in protest. However, the likelihood appears very much to be that shale exploration is a total go.”
“The UK is looking to set a precedent as well. The licences awarded will likely be added to which will mean that the UK will be home to the world’s first offshore shale gas wells. Estimates point to some 250 trillion cubic feet overall in shale deposits sitting off the coast, and if successfully exploited, the UK exchequer, as well as businesses throughout the oil and gas industry, would well be booming.”
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