As US shale industry falters, a UK fracking boom is unlikely

● By Hannah Petersen, City University London ● While the discovery of what appear to be substantial gas resources under UK soil is an intriguing opportunity for the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the country’s energy companies, lessons from the “fracking boom” in the US give reasons for caution. First it is questionable whether the “boom” has been or is indeed still a positive development. Second, it is unlikely the US shale experience is even replicable in other countries. Not what it’s fracked up to be Despite the hype, many believe the US fracking revolution will be a short-lived phenomenon, may cause environmental problems and might even endanger the economic recovery. Would-be shale developers in the UK should be cautious of overstated reserves. A substantial gap usually exists between promising estimations of gas reserves and the amount of gas that is commercially viable to recover. There has been little effort to fix this discrepancy – already in 2011 the New York Times reported that “energy executives, industry lawyers, state geologists and market analysts” privately questioned whether companies were “intentionally, and even illegally, overstating the amount” of their resources and the productivity of their wells, a concern the US Energy Information Administration raised only internally at the time. In 2012 US Energy consultants’ findings further consolidated the strong basis for doubt about the reliability and durability of US shale gas reserves. A team of researchers around Sir David King at Oxford University recently concluded that the oil industry has overstated world shale gas reserves by about a third. Beyond that, evaluating the success of the fracking boom throws up further problems. Unlike conventional gas drilling, the production rates of fracking wells drop between 60-90% in the first year of use. Overall, the ultimate recovery on a shale gas well is between 8-30%, much lower than the 60-80% for a conventional well ...Zum vollständigen Artikel

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