This report by the British Geological Survey into the potential oil and gas content of the Bowland Shale (upper and lower) makes for interesting reading.
“The assessment of shale gas resources in the UK is in its infancy”
“This large volume of gas has been identified in the shales beneath central Britain, but not enough is
yet known to estimate a recovery factor, nor to estimate potential reserves (how much gas may be
ultimately produced). “
“The organic content of the Bowland-Hodder shales is typically in the range 1-3%, but can reach 8%.” (Different authors place the threshold for potential economic recovery at 4%, 2% or even 1%.)
“Where they have been buried to sufficient depth for the
organic material to generate gas, the Bowland-Hodder shales have the potential to form a shale gas
resource analogous to the producing shale gas provinces of North America (e.g. Barnett Shale,
Marcellus Shale). Where the shales have been less-deeply buried, there is potential for a shale oil
resource (but, as yet, there is inadequate geotechnical data to estimate the amount of oil in-place). “
” It should be emphasised that these ‘gas-in-place’ figures refer to an estimate for the entire volume of gas
contained in the rock formation, not how much can be recovered.”
In the years 2010-2012, five wells in the UK have been drilled explicitly for shale gas exploration.
Others have been drilled for coalbed methane.
And so on.
(Your taxes paid for it.)
“Net potentially productive shale in the upper Bowland-Hodder unit is 200-3,000 feet (60-900m) thick; the lower Bowland-Hodder unit is up to 10,000 feet thick(3,000m thick). These latter thicknesses are much greater than in the US analogues [equivalents].”
“It is still too early to [estimate recoverable reserves]. In time, the drilling and testing of new wells will give an understanding of achievable, sustained production rates. These, combined with other non-geological factors such as gas price, operating costs and the scale of development agreed by the local planning system, will allow estimates of the UK’s shale gas reserves to be made.”