IGas CEO Says Shale Gas Production in U.K. May Start in 3 Years

Commercial production of shale gas from IGas Energy Plc’s U.K. sites is likely in three years, its chief executive officer said.

IGas plans to drill two exploratory wells before the end of the year, Andrew Austin said in an interview in London. The company will have gas-in-place estimates by the end of May, after which a decision on where to drill can be made, he said.

The government is preparing tax breaks to encourage exploration for shale gas as it seeks to counter a decline in production from the North Sea and cut reliance on imports. It’s also “engaging with industry and communities” on how to ensure locals benefit from any development of resources, the Department of Energy and Climate Change said by e-mail this week.

“The government is getting to a position to make shale happen,” Austin said yesterday. The tax breaks are “likely to be similar to other field allowances used to stimulate development” across the U.K. Continental Shelf, he said.

The company, based in London, plans to start fracking next year, Austin said. Hydraulic fracturing, as the technique is also known, blasts water, sand and chemicals at high pressure into underground rock to release trapped fuel.

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