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News | Published November 02 2018

First shale gas extracted in the UK

Cuadrilla, the oil and gas exploration company, has announced today that it has extracted its first shale gas from its Lancashire site, after it began hydraulic fracturing operations just over two weeks ago. Chief Executive Francis Egan has said that “This is a good early indication of the gas potential that we have long talked about. This initial gas flow is by no means the end of the story. However, it provides early encouragement that the Bowland Shale can provide a significant source of natural gas to heat Lancashire and UK homes and offices and reduce our ever growing reliance on expensive foreign imports.”

The news has come to a relief for the company and supporters of the industry after Caudrilla had to pause the process several times following ground tremors. The country’s regulatory system demands that any fracking must be paused if any tremor of 0.5 or above in magnitude is detected on the Richter scale.

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  • Cuadrilla, the oil and gas exploration company, has announced today that it has extracted its first shale gas from its Lancashire site
  • Environmentalists maintain that the site poses a threat to the local geology and, indeed, will hinder Britain’s moves to reduce its carbon output

The process has proven controversial at all levels of politics since the site was first suggested over ten years ago. The Preston New Road site has faced opposition from some local MPs, including Labour’s Rosie Cooper (Lancashire West) who has written to the energy secretary Greg Clark, saying that she believes “it is now just and right for the government to halt fracking at this site, and to place a moratorium on fracking until such a point as they can be not just reassured, but fully assured, that there will be no more man made earthquakes in England or Wales as a result of fracking.” The letter was also signed by the shadow energy secretary, Rebecca Long-Bailey. Legal challenges attempting to stop drilling at the site have failed.

The process has proven controversial at all levels of politics since the site was first suggested over ten years ago

Environmentalists maintain that the site poses a threat to the local geology and, indeed, will hinder Britain’s moves to reduce its carbon output.

However, the British Geological Survey has estimated that shale gas resources in just the north of England contains around 1,300 trillion cubic feet of gas, just 10 per cent of which could meet the United Kingdom’s energy demands for the next 40 years.

Barring any further earth tremors, this week could potentially signify the beginning of a shift in where Britain sources its natural gas from. On Wednesday it was announced that three large natural gas tankers had arrived in Milford Haven, carrying American shale gas, and is set to be delivered straight into the British natural gas grid. With 47 per cent of the country’s natural gas coming form the European Union and much of the EU’s supply coming from Russia, there are several geopolitical advantages of finding new sources of energy. The United States energy secretary Rick Perry has made it a priority for the U.S. to export its energy to its allies, rivalling the likes of Russia and Saudi Arabia, to achieve what he has called “energy dominance.”

The government has stated that without exploiting Britain’s natural deposits, we could be importing almost 75% of our gas by 2030 and that where economically efficient and with robust environmental regulations, domestic gas resources should be taken advantage of.