Shale Gas Pioneer Plans World’s First Offshore Wells In Irish Sea

  • Date: 17/02/14
  • Ben King. BBC News

The founder of shale gas firm Cuadrilla is planning a venture to frack in the Irish Sea, the BBC has learned. Dr Chris Cornelius believes there are large volumes of offshore shale gas that could be extracted. If successful, it would be the first such project in the world.

Dr Cornelius’ new firm Nebula Resources was awarded three licences in the Irish Sea last month by the Department for Energy and Climate Change and hopes to begin exploration soon.

“Certainly offshore shale gas is a new concept, and there’s no reason with the UK’s history of offshore development that we can’t develop these resources offshore,” he told the BBC.

No longer involved with Cuadrilla, he now hopes to drill the world’s first offshore shale gas wells. [...]

Billion dollar question 

The British Geological Survey has estimated that the UK’s total offshore shale gas resources could be between five and 10 times the size of the resources available onshore.

“We’re very comfortable that the resource is there and the numbers are absolutely ginormous,” Dr Cornelius said. “Is any of that exploitable? That’s the billion dollar question and we won’t know that for many years.”

Though it has only recently become controversial, fracking has been used on a smaller scale for many years, to improve the flow from conventional oil and gas wells.

It has also been routinely undertaken offshore on conventional reserves, including in the North Sea. But fracking the large numbers of wells needed to extract offshore shale gas commercially has never been done.

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