We need Lancashire's Shale Gas
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This is the text of an open letter published in the Guardian on 4 June 2014

Since the Industrial Revolution almost 250 years ago, Britain's economic prosperity and national energy security have depended on having access to abundant supplies of domestic energy sources such as coal, oil and natural gas.

In 2004 the UK became a net importer of natural gas for the first time. Over the last three years, according to industry experts, output in the North Sea has fallen by 38%.

After nearly 30 years of near-abundant supplies of natural gas from the North Sea, we have become more exposed and vulnerable because of our increased reliance on foreign imports of energy to meet our power-generation needs. In 2014 UK government ministers said they expect Britain to be importing nearly three-quarters of our gas needs by 2030. But it does not have to be this way for ever.

According to the independent British Geological Survey, the Bowland Basin, which covers significant parts of north-west England, currently sits on top of 1,300 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. If we extract only 10% of this valuable resource, that is enough to boost our domestic supply to meet existing demand by at least a further 25 years, according to geoscientific experts.

Globally high prices for commodities and recent innovations mean this is now economically and technologically possible. As geoscientists and petroleum engineers from Britain's leading academic institutions, we call on all politicians and decision-makers at all levels to put aside their political differences and focus on the undeniable economic, environmental and national security benefits on offer to the UK from the responsible development of natural gas from Lancashire's shale.

signed by:

Richard Selley, Emeritus Professor of petroleum geology, Imperial College London,
Dr Ruth Robinson, Senior lecturer in earth sciences, University of St Andrews,
Professor Ian Croudace, Director of Geosciences Advisory Unit, University of Southampton,
Dr Lateef Akanji, Coordinator of petroleum and gas engineering programme, Uni of Salford,
Dr Godpower Chimagwu Enyi, Lecturer, petroleum and gas engineering, University of Salford,
Professor Ghasem Nasr, Director of spray research group, petroleum technology research group and leader of petroleum and gas engineering, Uni of Salford,
James Griffiths, Prof of engineering geology and geomorphology, Uni of Plymouth,
Associate Professor Graeme Taylor, Senior lecturer in geophysics, University of Plymouth,
Professor Ernest Rutter, Professor of structural geology, University of Manchester,
Professor Mike Bowman, chair, development and production geology, and president of the Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain, University of Manchester,
Professor Stephen Flint, University of Manchester,
Professor Jonathan Redfern, chair of petroleum geoscience, University of Manchester,
Dr Kate Brodie Senior lecturer, University of Manchester,
Dr Rufus Brunt, University of Manchester,
Professor Kevin Taylor, University of Manchester,
Dr Tim Needham, Needham Geoscience and visiting lecturer, University of Leeds,
Professor Paul Glover, chair, petrophysics, University of Leeds,
Professor Quentin Fisher, Research director of School of earth and environment, University of Leeds,
Dr Doug Angus, Associate professor of applied and theoretical seismology, Univ of Leeds,
Dr Roger Clark, University of Leeds,
Professor Wyn Williams, Director of teaching: rock and mineral magnetism, University of Edinburgh,
Dr Mark Allen, University of Durham,
Dr Howard Armstrong, Senior lecturer in department of earth sciences, University of Durham,
Dr Martin Whiteley, Senior lecturer in petroleum geoscience, University of Derby,
Jon Blundy, Professorial research fellow in petrology, university of Bristol,
Dr James Verdon, Research fellow, University of Bristol,
Professor Adrian Hartley, chair, geology and petroleum geology, University of Aberdeen,
Dr David Iacopini, Lecturer, University of Aberdeen,
Dr Nick Schofield, Lecturer, University of Aberdeen
Professor David Macdonald, chair, geology and petroleum geology, University of Aberdeen,
Dr Andrew Kerr, University of Cardiff,
Andrew Hurst, Professor of production geoscience, University of Aberdeen,
Dr Sina Rezaei Gomari, Senior lecturer in petroleum technology and engineering, Teesside University,
Professor Agust Gudmundsson, chair of structural geology, Royal Holloway,
Dr David Waltham, Royal Holloway,
Professor Joe Cartwright, Shell professor of earth sciences, Oxford University,
Professor Peter Styles, Professor in applied and environmental geophysics, Keele University,
Dr Steven Rogers, Teaching fellow, Keele University,
Dr Ian Stimpson, Senior lecturer in geophysics, Keele University,
Dr Jamie Pringle, Senior lecturer in engineering and environmental geosciences, Keele University,
Dr Gary Hampson, Director of petroleum geoscience MSc course, Imperial College London,
John Cosgrove, Professor of structural geology, Imperial College London,
Professor Howard Johnson, Shell chair in petroleum geology, Imperial College London,
Professor Dorrik Stow, Head of Institute of Petroleum Engineering, Heriot-Watt University,
Dr Gillian Pickup, Lecturer in reservoir simulation, Heriot-Watt University,
Dr Zeyun Jiang, Lecturer, Heriot-Watt University,
Dr Jingsheng Ma, Lecturer, Heriot-Watt University,
Dr Gerald Lucas, Edge Hill University,
Charlie Bristow, Professor of sedimentology, Birkbeck College, University of London,
Dr Paul Grant, Lecturer, Kingston University.

habitat21 / Jun 14

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