Wednesday, 13 April 2011

UK shale gas boom 'may be dirtier than coal'

Despite outrage in the US over ‘fracturing’ techniques  used to extract shale gas and new evidence its greenhouse gas footprint  may be higher than that of coal, the UK has given the go-ahead to  companies here to begin drilling. Tom Levitt reports from the centre of  this potential unconventional gas boom near Blackpool In the flat lying geology of the Fylde coast the latest site of the UK’s burgeoning shale gas boom needs little direction.

The 32  metre-high drilling rig, less than one mile away from the village of  Singleton, stands out in the mostly low-lying arable farmland. A little  more than 2,800m beneath the surface is the target of this activity -  natural gas held within deep-lying shale rock formations. To release it  the energy companies involved must inject thousands of litres of water  and chemical additives down the bore wells at high pressure to blast  open cracks.

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