UKOOG publishes study showing limited impact of shale gas development on countryside

10 January 2017

UKOOG, the trade body for the onshore oil and gas industry, has today published a white paper "Developing Shale Gas and Maintaining the Beauty of the British Countryside". The paper, along with a video demonstrating the low impact of potential shale development in the UK, show that the development of just 400 well pads the size of two football pitches each could reduce the UK's gas import dependency by 50%.

This compares 88,000 electricity pylons, 9,000 municipal waste treatment facilities and 5,300 individual wind turbines already in existence.

There is no single model that will cover all licence areas in the UK as the geology will be different and much more will be understood once the industry has completed its exploration phase. The report looks at what considerations an operator goes through in choosing a site and, as an illustration, a typical example from the US is used of a 10 well site, or pad. Based on that model there could be between seven and eleven pads of two hectares each in a typical 10km by 10km licence block, taking up 0.2% of land in the block. Each pad would have around 10 well heads leading to 10 horizontal wells extending underground between 1.5 km and 2.5 km at a depth of around 2400 metres (approx. 8,000 ft). Temporary drilling rigs, which are on site for a matter of weeks, will be between 24m (80ft) and 54m (175ft), similar in height to an electricity pylon but smaller than a wind turbine. During gas production the wellhead would only be around 2m (6.5 ft).

Ken Cronin, chief executive of UKOOG, said:

"This study shows how shale gas can be developed in the UK while preserving the natural beauty of the British countryside. The oil and gas industry has operated onshore for over a century, drilling over 2000 wells, yet few people would know we are there.

"Some 84% of homes depend on gas for heating or cooking, our industries depend on gas as a feedstock and a critical part of our electricity is generated using gas. We need to develop the gas resources under our feet to avoid the nightmare scenario of having to import four fifths of our gas by 2035."


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Notes to editors

About UKOOG:

The full report can be found here and the video is hosted here

UKOOG is the representative body for the UK onshore oil and gas industry, including exploration, production and storage. The organisation's objectives are to enhance the profile of the onshore industry, promote better and more open dialogue with key stakeholders, deliver industry wide initiatives and programmes and to ensure standards in safety, the environment and operations are maintained to the highest possible level. Membership is open to all companies active in the onshore industry including those involved in the supply chain.