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IGas to drill two shale gas wells between Manchester and Liverpool

Shale Gas Wells

Powered by article titled “IGas to drill two shale gas wells between Manchester and Liverpool” was written by Terry Macalister, for The Guardian on Friday 26th April 2013 16.36 UTC

IGas, partly owned by a Chinese state company, is planning to drill two wells between Manchester and Liverpool in a bid to find cheap new supplies of shale gas in Britain.

Locations in Surrey and Sussex are also considered promising by IGas as the wider industry gears up for growth after Thursday’s report from the energy and climate committee urged ministers to “get on” and support fracking.

Andrew Austin, chief executive of IGas, said no exact location has been decided for the new wells but they would be on “brownfield” land already used by other industries between the two north-west cities.

“We are planning to drill two straight wells to log and core the results to check their oil-bearing nature and permability. We will not be fracking (using many chemicals) the wells at this stage and will go back for planning permission and consultation with the community if we decide to do so,” he explained.

IGas is 20% owned by Nexen, a Canadian company which itself was recently bought for $18bn by China National Offshore Oil Corporation. Nexen is also the operator of Buzzard, the UK’s largest offshore oil field.

But Austin said IGas was a truly British company with a listing on the London junior stock market, AIM, and a squad of local oil and gas men on the board.

He said IGas had for many years been quietly operating 100 onshore oil wells around the UK, including in Surrey and Sussex where there could be potential for shale extraction at some future time.

Austin said it was too early to say whether there would be a shale gas “boom” in Britain like the one in the US which has sent natural gas prices plunging downwards. “The country (UK) deserves to know whether there is something and we are ready to press forward but we need to know what we have and whether we can obtain the right kind of flow rates. What we do know is the shale is much more dense per site so we should be able to recover a lot more than in the Marcellus or Bakken (US shale regions).”

There has been increasing speculation that it is only a matter of time before one or more of the large UK companies such as BP, Shell or Centrica join the small exploration companies such as IGas and Cuadrilla Resources in the hunt. But “fracking” remains controversial and many environmentalists fear exploiting new sources of fossil fuels will work against Britain’s attempts to reduce carbon emissions. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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