The UK is sitting on a gas gold mine that would crush Putin’s bills and monopoly

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THE price of gas has exploded thanks to Vladimir Putin, who is holding the European energy market by the throat.

Britain is on track to spend £2bn on liquefied natural gas imported from Russia this year as war rages in Ukraine.

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A worker holds a segment of Bowland shale from which shale gas can be extractedCredit: Getty
Beneath Lancashire and Yorkshire lies one of the best reservoirs of natural gas in the world - known as the Bowland Shale

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Beneath Lancashire and Yorkshire lies one of the best reservoirs of natural gas in the world – known as the Bowland Shale

Household bills will skyrocket even more than they already were – and could reach £3,000 a year.

This is what happens when you depend on imported foreign energy.

And what makes it even more infuriating is that we don’t need to. We have supplies here.

Beneath Lancashire and Yorkshire lies one of the best reservoirs of natural gas in the world, known as the Bowland Shale.

At current prices, just ten percent of this gas is worth several trillions of pounds and could supply Britain with gas for five decades.

And we will need gas for decades no matter what: to power wind farms, heat homes and make chemicals vital to industry.

Last year, I asked a Texas gas expert, who has drilled in the Bowland Shale, how it compares to US shale gas reserves.

“It’s much better than what we have in the United States,” he replied, “better than the Haynesville in Louisiana or the Marcellus in Pennsylvania, which is thicker and richer in gas.”

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The technology for evacuating gas is proven, safe and constantly improving. So why not exploit this treasure?

Because wealthy, posh southerners went up north to protest and the government caved.

The technology is usually called “fracking,” but that’s misleading. Hydraulic fracturing has been happening in oil and gas wells, including in Britain, for decades.

What has changed over the last decade is that it has been combined with horizontal drilling and has become cleaner and more efficient.

The latest technology promises to exploit shale gas without any fracking.

In 1997, Nick Steinsberger of Mitchell Energy almost mistakenly tried to crack shale rocks a mile underground with water, instead of freezing, and discovered a recipe for flowing gas from the rocks. source rocks of the gas, the shales.

Anti-frackers like to call this recipe “toxic chemicals” and imply that it could poison aquifers (areas of underground rock that absorb and hold water), but that’s nonsense.

The water is mixed with sand and a small amount of soap and bleach, the kind you keep under your kitchen sink.

It’s pumped from about a mile deep, well below aquifers, and into rocks that are, by definition, full of methane, ethane, and petroleum, so they’re already “toxic.”

The result of Steinsberger’s breakthrough was that within a few years America became the largest gas producer in the world, surpassing Russia.

It has gone from importing gas to exporting and giving itself some of the lowest gas prices in the world – now less than a quarter of ours.

When I first visited the Marcellus Shale site in 2011 to find out what was going on, the experts here were saying that this shale boom was a flash in the pan, wouldn’t last, and couldn’t cope with low oil prices. gas.

THE GOVERNMENT CEDIFIED

They were wrong.

A few years later, I was back in Colorado watching Liberty Oil & Gas profitably and much quieter produce gas from new, low-cost wells.

The site was right next to a housing estate. “Don’t the locals worry about shaking and noise, I asked.

I was told they had set up monitors and asked to be notified when fracking started, then called back a few days later to say, ‘Why didn’t you start when you said you would? “

“But we did,” replied the gas company, “didn’t you detect anything?”

It’s a myth that American shale gas production happens in the middle of nowhere: Steinsberger started it in the suburbs of Fort Worth, Texas.

Almost everything Friends of the Earth and its crowd of eco-luvvie tenants say about shale gas is a myth.

It does not cause fires, poisoning of aquifers, discharge of contaminated wastewater, increased radioactivity or “earthquakes”.

Small jolts happen during any type of underground work, but in Britain shale gas companies such as Cuadrilla have been told to stop if they cause a jolt of 0.5 on the Richter scale , which is equivalent to someone sitting in a chair, and much weaker than what coal mining or geothermal – or even the road and rail transport industries – cause all the time.

Why the double standard?

The very people who protest against shale gas are often supporters of wind farms.

But these pour more concrete (a carbon-intensive material), use more steel (ditto), spoil more views, require more subsidies, and most importantly, take up a lot more land.

A single shale drilling rig with 40 wells extending in all directions covers a few acres.

For a wind farm to produce that much energy, it would have to be 1,500 times larger – and that’s pointless on a calm day.

Britain imports shale gas from America, but – unlike oil – shipping dramatically increases the cost of the gas, as well as the carbon footprint.

The government was wrong to order a shale gas moratorium, order the plugging of wells and repeat its dogmatic objections to the development of Britain’s shale treasure at a time when war in Europe is heightening the need for energy security .

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Cuadrilla's Preston New Road Shale Gas Site

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Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road Shale Gas SiteCredit: Getty
Matt Ridley says:

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Matt Ridley says: ‘We will need gas for decades no matter what: to back up wind farms, heat homes and make chemicals vital to industry’
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