Shale Gas Won’t Meet Future U.K. Energy Needs, Professor Says

Natural gas from shale deposits won’t be developed fast enough in the U.K. to meet future energy needs, according to the University of Leicester.

Britain should cut its reliance on gas because prices are set to rise as demand increases from China and India, Mike Bradshaw, professor of geography at the university, will say today at a Royal Geographical Society conference in Edinburgh. Significant exploitation of shale resources won’t happen for “many years,” because of logistical and environmental hurdles, he will say, according to an e-mailed statement from the society.

The U.K. has more natural gas trapped in shale rocks than Iraq has in its traditional reserves, according to shale explorer Cuadrilla Resources Ltd., which suspended drilling last year after causing minor earthquakes. It said in May that it plans to resume work this year and begin production in 2014.

“Shale gas is unlikely to be a game changer in the U.K.,” Bradshaw will say.

Hydraulic fracturing, the process known as fracking in which water, sand and chemicals are pumped underground to break apart rock formations and release gas, should be allowed to resume in the U.K. as long as “robust” measures are adopted to safeguard against future risks, an independent report commissioned by the Department of Energy and Climate Change recommended in April.

Fracking can be carried out safely in the U.K. if it’s effectively regulated, the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering said last week.

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