UKOOG responds to the Nottingham shale gas resource "research"

20 August 2019

Commenting on the University of Nottingham research released in Nature today regarding the UK's shale gas resource estimates, Ken Cronin, Chief Executive of UK Onshore Oil and Gas, said:

"Nottingham in their research have analysed a limited amount of core from one Bowland shale well drilled in 2011 which was subsequently decommissioned without hydraulic fracturing or flow testing. There was no calibration with the US or no interaction with the company who drilled the well.

"The industry is currently in the process of exploration in various parts of the Bowland Shale to test the geology and whether the gas will flow commercially. This involves 3D seismic surveying, core drilling, hydraulic fracturing and flow testing. To date we have made significant advancements in the understanding of the resource potential contained within UK shale, with very encouraging results seen at both Springs Road and Preston New Road which have demonstrated properties in line with world class, US shale plays

"What we know now is that we have a world class resource which has broadly supported the estimates originally published by the British Geological Survey. Indeed, in terms of potential gas flow indications, the results are at the upper end of our original forecasts. Neither do we agree with the generalisations and assumptions used by the authors of this research regarding the uniformity, nature and quality of the rocks and reservoirs. One of the largest lessons learned in the USA shale revolution is that shales are not homogenous and well location, even within a single basin, can be paramount to the success of the well. It appears that no basin variation factors have been significantly considered in this generalised study.

"All research is useful, but needs to be understood in context. We remember the comment made many years ago by a senior geologist in the North Sea, who was so convinced that there wasn't any oil to be found that he promised to drink any that was discovered. Since then, the North Sea has produced over 40 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

"A salutary reminder: the only way to really know the extent of a shale resource is by drilling, hydraulic fracturing and flow testing. We look forward to continuing our work doing just that."

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