To date IGEM has published two independent reports into shale
gas (Shale gas: A UK energy miracle,
and Shale gas: the time is now, and a signposting
document (IGEM/G/101: Onshore natural gas extraction and
route to use) to support explorers' full regulatory
After the US, Europe could become the next major producer of
shale gas. Several European countries including the UK have
substantial shale gas resources and the benefits of extraction
could include greater security of energy supply, reduced dependency
on imports and economic benefits including new tax revenues.
However, commercial scale production of UK onshore shale gas
could be at least three to five years away and is dependent on
industry and policymakers overcoming significant obstacles.
Explorers must first determine how much gas is recoverable and
resolve regulatory, supply chain and funding issues. But they must
also engage with public opinion and take into account the concerns
of the anti-fracking movement.
IGEM has a dual role to play in the continuing debate. Firstly,
it has a critical role in promoting the science and evidence to
dispel myths and misconceptions that have gathered around fracking
and shale gas development. Secondly, it has a role to play in
publishing guidance and best practice for the industry.