Email of the day on UK shale gas
Comment of the Day

January 22 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day on UK shale gas

I have just discovered the following page from the UK Gov regarding shale gas exploration/production.

I am reminded by how President Obama tried to block shale oil and shale gas production in the US with worries about water pollution, earth tremors and many other PC excuses. Luckily corporate America ignored him and the US is now totally energy self-sufficient. I hope that British companies have the same attitude and can deliver what would be a real game changing energy situation for the UK. Oil is now circa 18% cheaper in the US than the global price, combined with their corporate tax rate, gives them a massive global advantage. With the UK being so gas dependent, I really hope we can overcome these political shenanigans and give the UK the industrial and consumer advantage that the US currently enjoy. 

Eoin Treacy's view

The UK became a net energy importer in 2006. It’s hard not to draw a conclusion that the difficulties the country has experience since, from falling living standards, reduced competitiveness in manufacturing, the calls for disintegration of the union and Brexit were all exacerbated by the fact the UK used to be a major exporter and now sees its imports of oil and natural gas rise every year. There is absolutely no doubt the UK needs an energy policy that makes independence a priority. The trouble is there is not much sign of urgency to tackle this issue.

The one inhibiting factor for the UK in developing its shale oil and gas is it is much more densely populated than the USA and the Texas panhandle in particular. Additionally, the US oil sector is privately held with a clear profit motivation. The vast majority of the global sector is controlled by governments and is often the piggy bank for political opportunism.

The UK has ample sources of shale gas from around the coal fields, geothermal in the southwest and could boost nuclear if the political will existed. If my memory serves me, Theresa May originally floated the idea of sharing the bounty of shale resources with local populations in an effort to overcome some of the objections that arise from having drilling operations in one’s local facility. It seems that idea has been discarded.

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