13 December 2012
The Government’s decision to allow exploration of potential shale gas reserves to proceed has been welcomed by engineers, who say it could have major environmental benefits.
Professor John Loughhead from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) said: “The full adoption of the recommendations made in the review by the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering on safe practice, and its own independent review of seismic risk mitigation, shows it has taken the best technical advice to establish safe regulation and processes.
“There is no doubt that it is possible to recover shale gas safely, and in an environmentally acceptable way.
“The ability to exploit shale gas could dramatically increase accessible UK reserves of the cleanest fossil energy and is an economic opportunity that cannot be ignored.
If successful, it is likely to eventually displace coal from the UK’s energy supply, and make more gas available to do the same elsewhere in the world, which has major environmental benefits.
“No-one can say what the impact might be on gas prices in the UK, but we shall not see serious production for at least 10 years even if the reserves are both proven and economically recoverable.
“Over the next 25 years it is technically unrealistic to expect current renewable energy technologies to replace coal, so would not displace their further deployment.”
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey this morning announced that fracking for shale gas can resume in the UK, subject to new controls to mitigate the risks of seismic activity.
He said: “Shale gas represents a promising new potential energy resource for the UK. It could contribute significantly to our energy security, reducing our reliance on imported gas, as we move to a low carbon economy.”