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Misconceptions 'holding back fracking progress'

Comparisons with the United States market are damaging the UK’s potential to draw on shale gas reserves to meet future energy needs, according to former British Geological Survey energy specialist Nick Riley.

“US deposits are only around 200m thick and use vertical wells, whereas deposits in the UK are much thicker and would use horizontal wells, like those used at the Wytch Farm oil field in Dorset, to carry out fracking,” explained Riley at Ciria’s Geotechnical issues in construction conference yesterday.

“Also US wells are not built to UK standards. This combined with the different types of well means that the assumptions and calculations that are being made using US data are not relevant and not all are based on shale gas and fracking.”

According to Riley, widespread misconceptions and interpretation of the issues by non-professionals is blighting exploration.

Riley also criticised the moratorium on fracking imposed by Scotland. “The moratorium is crazy,” he said. “We need to learn more about fracking but we can’t if the technique is banned.”

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