Kemp: Frack The Future: Britain's Onshore Oil, Gas Quest Is On

Article title
Britain's small onshore energy companies are now in the midst of a mini boom as they seek to capitalize on the new-found interest from investors to consolidate their holdings and raise external finance.

Reuters

The opinions expressed here are those of the author, a columnist for Reuters.

LONDON, May 12 (Reuters) - They were crazy dreamers who dared to believe that oil and gas could be produced from beneath England's rolling green hills.

Small companies such as Alkane, Egdon, Cuadrilla, Dart, Island Gas, Newton and Star bid for and won Petroleum Exploration and Development Licences (PEDLs) in Britain's 13th onshore licensing round held back in 2008.

Some of these firms were hoping to find small onshore oil and gas fields. Others thought money could be made from capturing the fugitive methane emissions from abandoned coal mines or by drilling into unworked coal seams and capturing methane directly from the source.

No one imagined that oil and gas could be fracked from almost impermeable shales buried thousands of feet below the surface.

But Britain's small onshore energy companies are now in the midst of a mini boom as they seek to capitalise on the new-found interest from investors to consolidate their holdings and raise external finance.

Lucky Licence Holders

Britain's oil and gas resources are the property of the crown. PEDLs give the holder the right to drill wells to search for and produce them and are awarded through a competitive process in exchange for an agreed work programme.


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