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Shale gas could be a larger contributor than expected to UK energy supply

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According to exploratory company IGas, Shale Gas could contribute far more to the UK’s energy supply than expected, supplying 10 to 15 years of the UK’s needs.

There could be up to 170 trillion cubic feet of gas in the areas it is licensed to explore in Northern England. IGas currently holds exploration permissions covering an area of 300 square miles in the Cheshire region.

Previous estimates were at just nine trillion cubic feet of shale gas, but these have now been surpassed as the company set the volume of shale gas at anything between 15.1 trillion cubic feet and 172.3 trillion feet nearly 20 times more than originally though at the top end of the spectrum.

Talking to Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme Andrew Austin, IGas chief executive, said: “Our estimates for our area alone could mean that the UK would not have to import gas for a period of 10 to 15 years.”

There has been some controversy over shale gas, with environmentalists pointing to the possibilities of earth tremors due to exploration into the energy source, with some suggestions that the money would be better spent on renewable resources.

The current annual gas consumption in the UK is estimated to be three trillion cubic feet.

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