Press release

Estimates of shale gas and oil in Scotland published

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The British Geological Survey’s report of the resources in the Midland Valley, Scotland, suggests a modest amount of gas and oil in place.

The British Geological Survey’s report of the resources in the Midland Valley, Scotland, suggests a modest amount of gas and oil in place. The central estimate of shale gas in place is 80 trillion cubic feet. The central estimate for shale oil in place is 6 billion barrels of oil.

This does not mean that this amount could be extracted as exploratory drilling is needed to determine how much of the gas can be technically and commercially recovered. This is expected to be substantially lower than the total amount of gas and oil in place, and the Midland Valley’s estimates are particularly uncertain because the area has fewer historic wells and less seismic data than previous study areas. The complex geology of the area and historic mine workings means that exploratory drilling and testing is even more important to determine how much can be recovered.

The estimates compares to a central estimate for the Bowland shale (in the north of England) of 1,300 trillion cubic feet of gas in place and a central estimate of 4.4billion barrels of oil in place in the Weald basin (in the South of England).

Business and Energy Minister Michael Fallon said:

“Making the most of Britain’s home grown energy is crucial to keep job and business opportunities, widen tax revenues and reduce our reliance on foreign imports.

“We know that shale gas alone won’t be able to supply all of our energy needs, but the environmentally responsible exploration of shale gas could contribute to our energy mix.

“Only the broad shoulders of the United Kingdom can attract investment in new energy sources and maintain the UK’s position as one of the world’s great energy hubs – generating energy and generating jobs.

“The UK’s energy security is among the best in the world, backed by a large consumer and tax base that can afford to support our world-leading energy industries and make us such an attractive place to invest.”

Professor Mike Stephenson, Director of Science and Technology at the British Geological Survey said:

“The central estimate of shale gas in place is 80 trillion cubic feet and the central estimate for shale oil in place is 6 billion barrels of oil but reserves cannot be calculated at this stage before drilling and testing take place. The Midland Valley of Scotland has complex geology and a relative lack of data compared to the previous DECC-BGS Bowland-Hodder and Weald Basin studies”

Shale gas development will not come at the expense of the environment. DECC’s regulatory roadmap sets out over 20 potential steps an operator may have to take to get an exploratory site agreed, as it applies in the different nations of the UK.

Notes to Editors: