“Shale gas speed-up likely to make slow progress”: FT.

FT: “….industry participants and observers have questioned how much environmental and operational constraints attached to the licences, which aim to protect national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty, will handicap Whitehall’s ambition to replicate the shale “revolution” in the US, where production has soared.”
“….The Department of Energy and Climate Change has previously pointed to estimates that the development of commercial shale reserves could attract annual investment of £3.7bn and support up to 74,000 jobs directly and indirectly – while also providing a boost to the Treasury’s income.
However, a spokesman for the UK Onshore Operators Group, which represents land-based oil and gas companies, conceded that current spending on fracking exploration could be counted in the tens of millions of pounds – compared with the £14bn expected to be invested this year on eking out the UK’s declining North Sea production.
So far this year, operators in the nascent UK shale industry have been encouraged by special early-stage tax concessions from the Treasury, alongside a commitment to legislate to make it easier to drill the horizontal wells used in the fracking process underneath the property of objecting landowners.
But work on the ground remains limited. Cuadrilla Resources, which has pioneered shale gas exploration in Britain, has submitted plans to proceed with test drilling at two sites in Lancashire this year.
Its low-key approach follows a hiatus in exploration after drilling by the company near Blackpool in 2011 caused earth tremors, and widely publicised protests at its site in Balcombe, West Sussex, last year.
IGas Energy, the UK’s other big shale company, has committed to drilling flow tests at licensed sites in the east Midlands and northwest England next year, after this year concluding drilling at Barton Moss near Manchester – in spite of protests.
….Greenpeace has calculated that 24 of 31 constituencies represented by cabinet ministers are in areas covered by existing licensing rules – meaning fracking could take place there.”