On paper, the UK government may have had ambitious plans for bringing about a shale gas revolution. But in reality, things haven’t been as exciting – at least that’s what the figures show. The plan for digging new exploratory wells was touted as a solution that would effectively address the country’s energy concerns. As things stand today, the project has barely moved beyond its starting blocks – only 11 new shale gas exploratory wells are planned this year. It is important to remember that the full impact of the rapidly sliding oil prices is yet to be fully felt across the industry.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron has, on several occasions, reiterated that his government will be focusing intensely on shale gas exploration. However, the number of new wells that are scheduled in 2015 can be described as being a “handful” at best, according to media reports. Of these, fracking will be carried out at just nine wells, of which eight are new.
According to the UK Energy Research Centre’s director Professor Jim Watson—who has also recently authored a report on the possible potential that shale gas holds for the UK—the recent statements made by politicians regarding the potential of shale gas in the country could be termed as being “speculative”. Watson opined that the number of such wells that have been drilled in the United Kingdom are very low. This naturally translates into a low degree of real experience in producing shale gas. Hence, estimating how much shale gas could be obtained from these wells would be premature. Watson said that David Cameron’s statement that these new wells could meet the gas requirements of the UK for the next three decades come across as being optimistic.