Thursday, 22 September 2011

Gas field to turn Blackpool into Dallas-on-sea

The huge scale of a natural gas field discovered under the north-west of England has been revealed, potentially revolutionising the UK's energy outlook and creating thousands of jobs, but environmental groups are alarmed at the controversial method by which the gas is extracted.

Preliminary wells drilled around Blackpool have uncovered 200 trillion cubic feet of gas – equal to the kind of recoverable reserves of big energy exporting countries such as Venezuela, according to Cuadrilla Resources, a small energy company which has the former BP boss Lord Browne on its board. It said up to 800 more wells might be drilled in the region, creating 5,600 jobs and promising a repeat of the "shale gas revolution" that swept the US, sending local energy prices spinning downwards.

Even if only a relatively small fraction of gas could be exploited, it could trigger an rush of drilling in other parts of the UK at a time when Britain is running out of North Sea reserves.

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