Study reveals South's shale gas and oil reserves

The British Geological Survey (BGS) publishes a long-awaited study into the extent of shale gas reserves in the south of England.

According to the Times it is expected to show reserves in Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire.

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Fracking fears for 'vast swathes of the south'

A report out today showing the extent of shale oil and gas in Southern England has been greeted with dismay by campaigners opposed to fracking.

The study by the British Geological Survey maps out the likely location of billions of barrels of shale oil to be found in areas across Sussex and Kent.

Ministers believe wide-scale fracking has the potential to drive down household energy bills, as it has in America.

But anti-fracking campaigners at Balcombe and elsewhere say it's destructive and dangerous. Helen Plint reports and speaks to campaigner Charles Metcalfe, Caroline Lucas MP and Robert Gatliff of the British Geological Survey.

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South could have up to '8.5 billion' barrels of shale oil

A report by the British Geological Survey (BGS) has found that there is around 4.4 billion barrels of shale oil in parts of the south.

The study of the Weald Basin, which stretches from Wiltshire through to Kent, found that there could be 2.2-8.5 billion barrels of shale oil.

The BGS also said that these numbers are for resources and are not reserves.

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BGS: Areas of Kent to be affected by fracking

The British Geological Survey has released a map of the area where Jurassic shale oil is considered to be the most lucrative.

According to the map, areas between Southampton and Hastings, as well as Kent will be affected by "fracking".

Areas over which at least one shales is considered prospective for oil Credit: British Geological Survey

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Southern 'oil bonanza' could be hard to extract

A geological expert has said that even if there is an 'oil bonanza' in the south, then the reserves could be difficult to extract.

Professor Andrew Aplin, from Durham University has identified three problems that he thinks could affect the exploitation of reserves identified in the Weald area, which spans Sussex, Hampshire, Kent and Surrey.

He said:

The interesting question is how much of the oil that has been identified might be recoverable. A careful look at the data in the report suggests that much of the oil in the shales is tightly bound to the rock and therefore difficult or impossible to produce. If there is any free, and therefore potentially producible, oil in the shales, there are two further problems. Much of the shale sequence in the Weald is clay-rich, which US experience suggests is difficult to fracture effectively.

Also, the chemistry of the oil in much of the area is likely to be quite heavy and thus will not flow easily; in contrast, the shale oil which is being currently produced from areas such as the Eagle Ford in the USA is much lighter and thus flows more easily. This relates to the temperature to which the shales have been buried in the geological past."

– Professor Andrew Aplin, Durham University

Map shows site of possible shale oil and gas reserves

This map shows possible location of shale oil and gas Credit: BGS

The British Geological Survey (BGS) in association with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has completed an estimate for the amount of shale oil and shale gas in the Weald Basin in south-east England.

The range of shale oil in place is estimated to be between 2.20 and 8.57 billion barrels (bbl) or 293 and 1,143 million tonnes, but the central estimate for the resource is 4.4 billion bbl or 591 million tonnes.

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GMB: Fracking 'compensation' a knee-jerk move

The case for fracking is yet to be proven on environmental or economic grounds, the national officer of the GMB union has said, reacting to reports on the forthcoming British Geological Survey, which is expected to reveal huge oil reserves across Southern England.

Fracking needs to be subject to an honest, rational debate that focuses on a plan for energy, including gas in the UK.

The expected announcement on compensation is yet another knee jerk move by a government that has lost any credibility on energy policy.

– Gary Smith, GMB national secretary for energy
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Report to reveal 'huge oil reserves in Southern England'

A report published later today from the British Geological Survey is expected to reveal huge reserves oil reserves across Southern England, the BBC reports.

The study covers areas across Sussex, Surrey and Kent, is said to say there are several billion barrels of oil in shale rocks, that could be drilled through the controversial fracking process.

The Times is reporting that the government will offer money to areas outlined in a bid to stave off criticism amid growing concerns over the safety of the procedure.

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