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Cheap Gas Prices Could End Fracking Debate For Good

Falling gas prices could kill off the idea of hydraulic fracturing in Britain, amid further protests.

Recently, Third Energy were given the go ahead to use hydraulic fracking in the North Yorkshire village of Kirby Misperton.

The energy company has been producing gas in the region for over 20 years and will use its fields to produce fuel for its electricity generation plant (42MW).

Other energy groups are also trying to find gas, such as Ineos (a UK chemical group, privately owned with a $40 billion turnover, as well as Cuadrilla.

The UK Government has also come out in support of the idea, with David Cameron in particular advocating the benefits of fracking.

This desire for energy independence has recently been supported by the British Geological Survey which estimates that there is a resource in excess of 1,000 trillion cubic feet below Yorkshire and Lancashire, that’s more than 10 times the amount of gas that has ever been produced from the North Sea.

Therefore, to recover even a minute fraction of the resource could be hugely beneficial to the country’s energy concerns, although price would be an issue.

Estimates of producing shale gas from fields in the UK are well above the prices of spot gas, which is around 30p per therm.

Another company, IGas, which had been examining the potential for fracking in old coal seams, has also abandoned the idea due to the cost being too much. However it will, for the moment, continue with shale gas.

Meanwhile, the output of US gas is rising year on year, with their storage almost at capacity and exports being sent to the UK. One of these importers in Centrica.

Despite this, there are still fracking advocates in the UK who maintain that the hydraulic fracturing process can be profitable but investors are being advised to let market forces kill the idea off for good.

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BDC 317 : Jun 2024