The report claims that there are just 80 trillion cubic feet of shale gas in and six billion barrels of shale oil buried deep in the grounds of central Scotland. This is much less than the 1300 trillion cubic feet of shale gas that resides in the north of England, and 4.4 billion barrels in the south.
The news has forced Scotland’s ministers to consider the possibility that central Scotland will not be able to provide the “energy bonanza” they may have expected.
UK energy minister Michael Fallon said:
We know that shale gas alone won’t be able to supply all our energy needs, but the environmentally responsible exploration of shale gas could contribute to our energy mix.”
He also commented that he thought of the UK’s energy security as “among the best in the world”, acting as one of the world’s greatest energy hubs able to invest in new energy sources and create jobs.
The concern of further fracking and its impact on the environment has also encouraged Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing to respond that he will continue to consider fracking applications “on their merits”.
Our responsible approach to the development of unconventional gas was confirmed in the Scottish planning policy published last week, which introduces rules to ensure no operator can undertake hydraulic fracturing until they gain explicit planning consent.”
But environmental groups are wary of the plans to engage in further drilling, saying that to do so will only exacerbate the ongoing problem of climate changes.
WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said:
In the wider interests of tackling climate change its time for Scottish ministers to commit to start leaving some fossil fuels, including shale gas, in the ground.
We already know our planet’s climate can’t afford the burning of the fossil fuels we already know about, so to plan to find and burn even more should really be a non-starter.”
Popular fracking areas within England have been populated with environmentalist campaign groups lately, protesting any plans to frack or drill in the central belt.
But in Scotland it may not have to be this way. Just last week it was revealed that Scotland is created a new record in its generation of renewable electricity, and other studies have suggested it may be able to fulfil all of its electricity supply needs without the burning of new fossil fuels.
Indeed, Professor Mike Stephenson, director of science and technology and the British Geological Survey, stated that the results of this new study proves that fracking “has no place in Scotland’s energy future.”