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Fracking not what it’s cracked up to be says expert

This news post is almost 7 years old

UK has unsuitable geology for fracking claims professor

Fracking won’t produce the amount of oil and gas in the UK energy companies say it will, according to a leading geologist.

A tectonic occurrence 55m years ago means deposits of shale gas and oil have been dispersed into small pockets making large areas of the UK unsuitable for the unconventional extraction method.

Prof John Underhill, of Heriot-Watt University said this made the UK’s geology unsuitable for fracking and questioned the “optimistic assessment” made by energy companies on the amount of reserves that could be extracted from fracking.

“These areas have been lifted up, buckled and depressurised, which has rendered them cooler than the optimal temperatures for oil and gas production,” he said.

“The resultant complexity means these are not good places for hydrocarbons.”

Friends of the earth Scotland backed the professor’s analysis.

“He is not the first geologist to point out serious flaws in the case the industry makes for pursuing shale gas, and no doubt he won't be the last,” said Mary Church, head of campaigns.

"Support for fracking is at an all time low. Over 60,000 people have responded to a consultation on fracking in Scotland with the vast majority calling for an all out ban.

“We urge the Scottish Government to put an end to this discussion by banning fracking once and for all, and focus instead on a rapid and fair transition to a zero carbon economy."

Underhill’s was backed up by Stuart Haszeldine, a professor of sedimentary geology at Edinburgh University.

He said: “Only a few small onshore conventional oil fields have been found in the UK, as the other oil and gas has mostly leaked away.

“The only places where oil or gas may still be retained are within regions where the organic mudrocks remain very deeply buried, such as the deepest parts of Lancashire, Lincolnshire and Dorset.”