Shale gas production could begin within four years if the current crisis in Ukraine escalates.
LONDON, April 2 (Reuters) – Shale gas production in Britain could begin within four years if the current crisis in Ukraine escalates to such an extent that a national state of emergency is declared, the chief executive of Cuadrilla Resources said.
Britain is in the early stages of exploring for shale gas to counter its growing dependence on imports, and geologists have estimated it could have shale resources equivalent to several hundred years of demand.
Cuadrilla is the only company in Britain so far to have used hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in test wells in Lancashire.
It is two to three years away from establishing whether its British shale gas operations are commercially viable, Chief Executive Francis Egan said at an event at think-tank Chatham House on Tuesday evening.
If the Ukraine crisis worsens dramatically and Britain declares a state of national emergency and removes all constraints, "it would take two, three or four years to get up to appreciable production rates," he added.
In an emergency situation, Cuadrilla could start constructing a drilling site immediately and start drilling after two months. Drilling a well would take around four months, and three to four wells would be needed to demonstrate the commercial value of shale gas.
In normal circumstances, it will take two to three years just to find out whether shale is commercially viable, because it has not yet been established at what rate the wells would flow.
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