UK Shale Boom Could Power Up Europe

  • Date: 21/03/14
  • Tim Webb, The Times

One hundred years after Welsh coal powered the British Empire, a shale gas explorer is set to be the first to float in London on the back of a gas boom in the Principality. “If it can happen in the US, it can happen here. It’s a matter of engineering.”

The potential for shale gas exports from South Wales would put the region in direct competition with Qatar, one of the world’s biggest exporters of energy
The potential for shale gas exports from South Wales would put the region in direct competition with Qatar, one of the world’s biggest exporters of energy Ben Gurr/The Times

UK Onshore Gas, which will start drilling in June, believes that Wales is sitting on so much shale gas that it will start exporting it to the rest of the world.

Gerwyn Williams, chairman of the family-owned business, said that the Milford Haven terminal in South Wales, which imports liquefied natural gas from shippers could be reconfigured to export the fuel.

This would put Wales in direct competition with Qatar, one of the world’s biggest exporters of LNG. In 2012, 98 per cent of Britain’s imports of LNG came from the emirate as extra supplies were needed to cope with a freezing winter.

A decision to reconfigure the terminal would mirror the experience in the United States, where energy companies will be exporting, rather than importing, shale gas by the end of the decade thanks to a boom that has transformed the fortunes of the world’s second-biggest energy consumer. “If we are successful, there is no reason why we could not export shale gas from the Milford Haven LNG terminal,” Mr Williams said. “If it can happen in the US, it can happen here. It’s a matter of engineering.”

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