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back to article Lancs shale to yield '15 years' of gas for UK

The Cuadrilla Consortium has published its eagerly expected estimate of shale gas reserves in the North West of England. The group reckons it can extract 200 trillion cubic feet from sites near Preston and Liverpool – more than the current national estimates for Poland. Assuming a 20 per cent recovery rate, that's enough to meet …

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the political establishment?

When the lights go out, anyone standing between voters and a gazillion cubic feet of free gas is going to be toast. Environmentalists take note: the only way to stop this gas being brought to the surface is to ensure that enough nuclear power stations are built to make the gas unnecessary.

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So

a) It's not free gas, it has to be extracted out of the ground, potentially with massive disruption to the land it sits under.

b) It buys you 15 years tops. Probably less, given that the UK would probably export much of it.

c) Then what?

To me it's equivalent to rummaging around the back of the sofa, finding a few quid and concluding all your problems are over.

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Devil

The political establishment will kill it

There was a word in their press release which has signed their death warrant.

They will create a few jobs and all of the qualified middle class engineering jobs with an average salary of 50K. That has signed their death warrant.

Neither the band in charge, nor the band in opposition want any middle class.

1. Middle class is bad for the economy. Instead of impulsive spending and filling the govt VAT coffers it saves, thinks before it buys and is overall a pain in the arse. So while it may be paying a higher tax rate it will contribute way less to "key parameters" then distributing the same amount of money to a large group of what once upon a time used to be called lumpen-proletariat. Just ask any "think tankist" - they all hate the middle class as it spoils their numbers. So bad for the band in blue.

2. Middle class and the band in red - no comment needed.

So the merits of the scheme are utterly irrelevant here. It will be the socioeconomic effect of the scheme which will decide its faith and that at this point is guaranteed an empathic thumbs-down from 2/3rds of the political establishment.

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that'll be the an EXTRA 15 years to pop out Nuclear power stations then

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Happy

Answers on a postcard....

A) No, it's not, but is it any less disturbing to the environment than coal mining, masses of wind turbines tearing up the countryside or damming rivers? Not even 'do nothing' costs nothing. If we don't do this, we lose 15 years, or more to the point face 15 more years deeper in the pockets of either those reputable nations in the middle east or Russia than we should be.

B) It buys you 15 years to build up alternatives, be they nuclear (the better option), or wind/water/etc.

C)See answer B. So long as 'single interest groups' (treehuggers and/or NIMBYs) and their lobbyists as well as those loveable bureaucrats don't balls it up. Which they will....

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a few quid...

a few quid when you need it can save you more than a few quid, just like a 10 pence piece in the car glove compartment when you need it can save you a 50.00 parking ticket.

15 years more gas when we thought we had none is great -even if only as leverage to get nuclear back.

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Mushroom

15 more years of procrastinating

15 years of more procrastinating more like... you know what will happen... they'll put off deciding until yet again it's too late to get them online when the gas runs out... New Labour had 13 years in which they managed to decide nothing. The need for replacements was known back then... we could have had them on stream now, but the greenies got in the way and Labour decided that the question was too tough...

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Mushroom

Sunday morning fry up

Nuclear power's all well and good, but it's still crap for frying sausages. Vive la gas!

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cool 15 more years to ignore the problem so that in the meantime it gets even worse

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Anonymous Coward

@Northern Fop

I fry snossages quite well over an induction hob.

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19th century revisited!

Cubic feet? What's that? I hope the company involved are a bit more "this century" than El Reg's reporting, or we can expect them to be sending small boys and pit ponies in there to extract the stuff!

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What's that in elephants?

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Windows

19th century revisited

"or we can expect them to be sending small boys and pit ponies in there to extract the stuff!"

There's an idea! Would've saved Maggie a fortune during the Miners' strike...But then the Plods would have lost their overtine. Still, it's an ill wind....

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@Steve Hosgood

Nah, everyone in the oil/gas industry still uses imperial units apart from the French. Even when I come across non-imperial units they are often CGS (centimeter, gram, second) as opposed to SI.

If you think cubic feet are bad, how about:

ppg = pounds per gallon (of additive)

ppb = pounds per barrel (and not parts per billion as you would expect)

mDft = mili Darcy-feet

or mixed units like pounds per square _centimeter_?

all of these are units I have dealt with in the last week at work...

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Is that an Imperial gallon or a US one? My Mars mission might depend on it.

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My point was merely that for 99% of the readership of El Reg (i.e those readers not in the oil and gas industry), our only contact with gas is to buy it in m³. So an article going on about cu.ft is a bit pointless for most of us.

It's like the pointless tabloid press headlines going on about "Petrol hits £7,£8,£9 (or whatever) per gallon". Meaningless! We buy the stuff in litres! They might as well tell us that it's £800 per hogshead! Or articles going on about Amazon workers sweltering in 100°F temperatures. We've been doing temperature in °C for the last 40 years, why muddy the water with °F?

Oh yeah - that last story wasn't in the tabloid press, it was in El Reg! Same author though.

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Meh

What's the betting that gov.uk wastes the revenue too? Instead of investing like norway did with the north sea oil fields, I reckon we'll get a short term tax break for votes rather than a fund that could be used to offset the national debt or fund science, engineering or manufacturing

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Depends

If Labour get voted in to squander it all.

No doubt it will be used as an election tool, parties promising tax breaks funded by the gas money.

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With regards North Sea oil you have a point. With regards this, £6bn in tax won't even pay the annual interest bill.

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Alert

How long before Blackpool tower disappears down a sinkhole?

That is all.

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FAIL

Not soon enough hehe

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Trollface

The sooner the better.

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wellcount

It also says that there'll be 800 wells to extract the stuff. That's going to scar the landscape

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Who cares

It's in Liverpool after all, how much worse can it get?

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Anonymous Coward

It's in Hesketh Bank, a quaint village which is nearer Preston than Liverpool.

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£6 bn vs. Kweku Adaboli

Like football pitches and Wales. Tax on 15 years of gas production = 4 Kwekus.

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Happy

@hil Endicott

"£6 bn vs. Kweku Adaboli "

Careful now. Innocent unless proved guilty.

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That should be enough gas to fuel Britain as we change over to Nuclear power....the resources are there gentlemen, we just need the political will!

Ha, yeh Im still laughing too.

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Meh

Sources?

"The UK burned through 3.11 trillion cubic feet in 2009, according to the US Energy Information Administration"

Why do the US know more about our consumption than our own government? Don't we have data of our own?

"The group reckons it can extract 200 trillion cubic feet from sites near Preston and Liverpool – more than the current national estimates for Poland. Assuming a 20 per cent recovery rate..."

Does this whole article seem too good to be true...?

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Mushroom

Utter no brainer.

Russia is a state run by gangsters, even if some of them masquerade as politicians. The loony greens would rather we get our gas from them rather than our own back yard. I can only assume they're not aware of the shocking damage being done to the Russian wilderness by their energy industry. It's NIMBYism dressed up as environmentalism, with the emphasis on the 'mental'.

Environmentally damaging or not, we need gas. We will still need gas for the next 30 years (and probably a whole lot longer) even if we plaster windmills over every hill in the land. The nation benefits from a slice of the revenue - via tax - which sure beats funding an oligarchs diamond-encrusted bollock-tickler (or whatever they're spunking money on this week).

Why are we even discussing whether this is a good idea?!?!

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Stop

Windmills over every hill in the land? that wont do. Might injure some birds or something.

*goes to sit in the dark*

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Even if?

"We will still need gas for the next 30 years even if we plaster windmills over every hill in the land."

Windmills won't reduce the demand for gas. On the contrary they are likely to increase the demand considerably.

Because wind turbines only generate intermittently they require almost 100% backup capacity. (Calm spells can last up to three weeks or so.) Gas turbines are and will likely continue to be used to remedy much of this shortcoming of wind energy.

Nuclear energy would be both less expensive and less damaging to the environment, especially once Gen IV designs come on stream to 'burn' waste and put plutonium stocks out of harm's way.

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Flame

Gas comes from Norway

It's a minor point, but I believe most of our gas, unlike the rest of the EU, comes from NOrway and not Russia

The flame is the gas, not the author

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Mushroom

out of harms way?

put plutonium out of harms way.....

Eh? What conjuring alchemy is that? Half life of around 24000 years, bit longer than any human civilisation.

I'm not saying Nuclear is a no go, just it has it's problems and it is a NIMBY spread across eons instead.

Though speaking of my back yard. I was going to move to the north west coast... Might have to reconsider. Just going to turn up the gas heating...

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FAIL

Cocknee - bit of a fail, there....

Easy - hit a plutonium atom with a neutron, it fissions. It gives out lots of energy (a good, useful thing) and the two remaining lighter atoms are typically

a) - non fissionable (or more crucialy fissile)

b) - if radioactive, short lived.

The most common fission product, for example is Caesium 134 - half-life 2bout 2 1/2 years and decays to stable Barium or Xenon, the second is Iodine 135 (half life about 7 hours, decaying to Xenon 135 then to Caesium 135 which has minimal radioactivity

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Personally...

...I'd like to believe that fracking's the miracle that you seem to believe, Andrew, but given that Cuadrilla had to stop their operations near Blackpool because of tremors believed to be caused by their exploratory works, I'm sceptical. I don't doubt that the resource would be valuable, but there are valid concerns over ground water contamination with carcinogens and the shale gas itself. Disclosure: I live in Preston, so the concerns are of direct import to me. IF the process is safe, IF it can be done without risk to the local population and environment, IF the process is monitored closely to ensure that, then frack away; but ONLY if that is the case.

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well

I dont think you understand how this clarksonian eco denialism works.

There is no burden for them to prove it's safe. It's entirely on you to prove it's dangerous. While there's any doubt at all either way that just means you are an alarmist and the drills can move in.

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Blackpool

Brings a whole new meaning to Blackpool rock. (They were worried about the process causing mini earthquakes.)

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Anonymous Coward

May I be the first to say ...Yaaaayyyy!

Get that stuff compressed liquified and into the petrol stations nationwide.

Stuff your electric cars and hybrids! Buy a V8!

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Devil

But...

... will we see a price drop in our exorbitant gas bills? Will this stop pensioners freezing to death because they can't afford both heating and food? Will this ease the blatent profiteering that goes on in the energy business in any way shap or form?

... I doubt it. Unless the big energy companies are banned from coming anywhere near this and a UK firm not associated with the current cartel is allowed to set up to run this.

Spawn of satan because even Satan himself is envious of what the energy cartel supplying the UK has achieved

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So are we ready to tell the Scots to fuck off?

Or does the North sea and the waters surrounding Scotland have equally as much Shale gas to keep us holding their hands?*

*I'm actually not a racist and couldn't give two monkeys about their independence or reliance on handouts. I R here to spark debate... a mass debate!

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Anonymous Coward

Minor point

Londoners get more subsidy than the Scots.

http://www.ippr.org/publications/55/1650/fair-shares-barnett-and-the-politics-of-public-expenditure

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Facepalm

Lies, damn lies, and stats?

Actually followed the link, and whilst yes London is at +28% of the UK average it is a bit disengenuous to compare the whole of Scotland with just London. I'm sure if Scotland was listed by region as England is there would be areas of more than the +21% Scotland gets (and conversely some with less).

However, taken as a country, England also includes, the East of England at -18% to the average and South East at -17% and so on. As a whole, England gets -3% to the UK average, Scotland gets +21%.

So the previous poster was in fact correct. Scotland gets more money (in fact over 24% more money) under the Barnett formula that England.

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Happy

RE: Minor point

That's beacuse half of Scotland is in London.

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Now the good news....

The formations with shale gas potential run from Lancashire to the Lincolnshire coast......

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Devil

Nice idea....

Are you implying we should just dig the lot out and break it up to get the gas out later, and leave a big trench to cut us off from Scotland?

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Green with envy

Presumably this is the worst possible discovery for those who have decided for us that what we need are renewable forms of energy, not cheap ones. Maybe the answer is to redefine the "scouse" as an endangered species, who's natural habitat should not be disturbed?

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Anonymous Coward

More dangerous to us

than we are to them.

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Nice start...

So, can we introduce licensed hunting to keep numbers under control?

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Better onshore than offshore.

At least if they fuck up it will be easier to get equipment on site to fix any problems. Though I wouldn't want to be near blackpool illuminations if theres a big leak!

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