Downgraded estimates for shale oil and gas in the Weald Basin in south-east England have been released by the British Geological Society (BGS). Its findings suggest that there is no significant shale gas reserve in the area although it could contain could contain between 2.2-8.6 billion barrels of shale oil.
“Overall, the rocks in the Weald Basin haven’t had the right history to produce gas,” said Ed Hough, Geologist at the BGS. And extracting what little might be there would be uneconomic.
Another BGS study covering the Midland Valley region in Scotland likewise notes the potential oil and gas recovery potential as “modest,” but said further studies are needed.
The figure for oil in the Weald basin represents the total amount of oil present in the rocks, explained the BGS, but it is not known what percentage of the oil present in the shale could be commercially extracted.
Also, in order to fully estimate the shale oil reserve, drilling and testing of new wells will be required to give a better idea of oil production rates. In addition, non-geological factors such as oil price, operating costs and the scale of development agreed by the local planning system will affect the amount of oil produced.