“Shale Gas Needed to Reduce UK Gas Imports”

Posted by Michelle Howard
Monday, March 24, 2014

Speakers set to fuel energy debate at Unconventional Gas Aberdeen 2014.

Leading figures from industry and government speaking at Unconventional Gas Aberdeen 2014 will tomorrow highlight the impact U.K. shale development could have on reducing costly gas imports but admit that more needs to be done to reassure communities on aspects such as fracking.

With more than 50 percent of U.K. gas supplies now coming from imports, predominantly from Norway and the Middle East, shale gas is being promoted as part of the solution in creating a secure and affordable energy mix.

However, delegates at the two day conference and exhibition at Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Center on March 25 and 26 will hear that more needs to be done to win hearts and minds over onshore shale extraction, providing reassurance on the science behind the operations and benefits to local communities.

Dan Byles, MP and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Unconventional Oil & Gas will give the keynote address. He said, "The debate over whether to explore and develop U.K. shale gas reserves has had a tendency to polarize between extreme views on either side, but in the last year we have seen a growing political consensus over the potential benefits to the U.K. economy.

“The science is increasingly clear that shale gas can be developed safely with strong regulation and high production standards, but it is also clear that the legitimate concerns of local communities have not yet been met. It is more important than ever to continue with a rational and evidence based discussion to ensure that the U.K. takes the right path that enshrines the highest standards of engineering and of community engagement."

Importing gas reaps no tax rewards for the U.K. but when shale becomes profitable companies will be liable for 62% tax. Each site is also expected to deliver between £5-10 million worth of community benefits from the operators and create numerous jobs.

Ken Cronin, CEO of the U.K. Onshore Operators Group (UKOOG) is also a keynote speaker. He said, “The next three years are absolutely crucial for developing shale gas as a secure energy resource. We have a real opportunity in this country to produce our own gas in a properly regulated manner rather than take imports from other countries which may not have such high standards and will effectively sell to the highest bidder.”

Malcolm Webb, CEO of Oil & Gas U.K. added, “Onshore natural gas and oil can make a substantial positive contribution to the energy security and economic wellbeing of this country. However we need to recognize that it is a nascent industry which needs careful support and encouragement. The huge gas and oil fields we found on the U.K. Continental Shelf were able to withstand the vagaries of U.K. Government policy and industry behaviors.

“Recent growing awareness of the need for different behaviors as long term perspectives for the U.K. offshore industry offer a lesson for the onshore sector.”

A number of UK operators will also share their first hand experiences including Andrew Austin, CEO of IGas and Douglas Bain, U.K. Country Manager at Dart Energy. They will discuss tapping the unconventional resource in the U.K. region and the challenges and opportunities this presents.

The aim of the conference is to highlight barriers to development and present practical solutions based on academic research or experience from energy or related industries. It will focus on themes such as supply chain, technology, planning, and the social license to operate.

Major service companies including Halliburton and Schlumberger will also showcase new technologies supporting shale extraction.

An academic showcase will be launched for the first time where U.K. university students and other representatives of academic bodies will display their insights on the subject including technical and non-technical submissions.

Broadcaster and Horizon presenter Professor Iain Stewart will address the academic showcase highlighting the need to better communicate the process of shale extraction and will present prizes for the best student presentations.

The meeting is supported by sponsors ASCO, Halliburton, Schlumberger, Corpro, Chevron, Bond Dickinson and Weir Group.

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