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Barclays invests in shale gas revolution

Barclays Bank is backing the search for shale gas in Yorkshire and could fund fracking in the area as early as next year, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose.

Third Energy, which is 97pc-owned by Barclays Natural Resource Investments, a private equity arm of the bank, took shale rock samples while drilling in Kirby Misperton, Ryedale, this summer and is now analysing their potential.

The company has drilling rights across a 154 square mile area around the Vale of Pickering, which sits above part of the Bowland shale formation. The British Geological Survey estimates that 1,300 trillion cubic feet of shale gas lies within the Bowland, which stretches from Cheshire to Yorkshire. If 10pc could be extracted it could meet UK needs for 40 years.

David Robottom, Third Energy's chief financial officer, said that if the test results - due in the next few months - were "very encouraging", it would then seek to drill three to four wells "as soon as possible" to further test the potential.

These could include drilling horizontal wells and hydraulically fracturing - fracking - to test how the gas flows, he confirmed. "That's one of a number of options."

Any drilling would first require planning approval and Mr Robottom said this was a "big unknown" in potential timescales. If tests are conducted next year and are successful, commercial production would not begin until 2017 at the earliest.

"Even if we are incredibly lucky and win the lottery, you are looking at three to five years," he said.

Ministers hope shale gas could bring down energy prices but Mr Robottom said it was "far to early to say" until more drilling took place.

He said the Bowland shale rocks spanned from a depth of about 6,000ft-7,000ft to about 11,000ft-12,000ft. Third Energy drilled to about 10,000ft this summer while drilling a well at Kirby Misperton to produce gas from a conventional gas field.

Its existing gas output from the site and other fields feeds a small 42MW power plant.

[Source: By Emily Gosden, The Telegraph, London, 01Dec13]

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small logoThis document has been published on 02Dec13 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.