Water impact of UK shale drilling not as severe as feared: CIA

06 November 2013 12:22  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Fears over the impact of widespread shale gas drilling on water supplies in the UK is overstated, trade body the Chemical Industries Association (CIA) said on Wednesday.

In a report published by the association, the CIA concedes that shale gas fracking does require a large amount of water, but that the 10-30m litre per well figure cited by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change is roughly the same as the monthly water use of a golf course.

The CIA estimated annual water use in the UK at 6,000bn litres, meaning that the water impact of fracking 100 wells would be 0.03% of current usage.

CIA chief Steve Elliot said that the report had been commissioned to outline the process of shale gas drilling and to make the case for accelerated progress in developing the country’s nascent industry.

“We have looked at each point carefully and analysed what happens at the different stages of getting shale out of the ground and delivering it for use as energy or feedstock,” he said.

The report adds that shale-derived natural gas has the potential to underpin energy from renewable sources such as solar and wind power, which are dogged by intermittency and energy storage issues, as well as reducing price volatility from gas imports.

The CIA also claims that the Bowland shale play in the north of England - currently being explored by energy company Cuadrilla - could be ten times deeper than any US shale.

The British Geological Survey (BGS) estimated reserves in parts of northern England could be 1,300 trillion cubic feet (tcf). The CIA report attributes this figure to the Bowland shale, whereas the BGS gave this estimate to an area of northern England including the Bowland shale area.

By: Tom Brown
+44 208 652 3214

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