Imports warning for UK gas production

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The National Grid has warned that the UK must invest in gas production to prevent becoming overwhelmingly dependent on imports

A failure to invest in UK gas production could see import dependency rise to 90 per cent by 2035.

This stark warning came last month from National Grid’s Future Energy Scenarios, which found also that indigenous shale gas could provide over a third of Britain’s gas supplies in 2035.

The practise of extracting shale gas is mired in controversy and vociferous opposition from those convinced of short and long-term anomalies brought about by a process better known as fracking.

The UK is, however, pressing ahead with the regulatory framework in which the burgeoning industry can flourish and this Friday sees the closure of a government consultation on access rights to speed up fracking for shale oil and gas.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change’s consultation includes proposals to reform the procedure for gaining underground access to oil or gas deposits and geothermal energy.

The changes are designed to bring oil and gas and geothermal energy production into line with other services that have rights of underground access, including water and sewage pipelines.

The government has proposed that companies are granted access to land below 300m from the surface, and that firms pay £20,000 per well to people living above that land.

Closure of the consultation coincides with the publication today of a survey commissioned by UK Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG), which found broad support for shale gas production.

The Populus survey of 4,000 adults indicates also that respondents are in favour of reducing Britain’s reliance on gas imports from overseas.

Key findings of the research include:

• 57 per cent support the production of natural gas from shale in the UK, compared with 16 per cent who oppose and 27 per cent who are undecided

• 67 per cent agree that Britain needs to produce its own energy so it isn’t reliant on gas from other countries, compared with one per cent who disagree

• 59 per cent would be willing to see natural gas from shale production go ahead as long as it forms part of a mix that includes renewable energy sources, with 12 per cent disagreeing

• 42 per cent agree with the government’s planned changes to underground land access, compared with 16 per cent who disagree.

The survey’s respondents were reasonably amenable to new infrastructure with 47 per cent agreeing that Britain needs to invest in housing, roads and railways, airport capacity and new energy sources. Five per cent disagreed although 42 per cent expressed neutrality on the subject. Click here for more detail about the survey

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