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Durham University

Durham Energy Institute

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How many wells do you want to drill? Davies gives evidence to Select Committee on Shale Gas Extraction in Wales

(23 October 2013)

The DEI's Professor Richard Davies emphasised that “You have to ask how many wells you are willing to drill. You need a lot of wells to produce an equivalent amount of gas that you would have got from North Sea"

The DEI's Professor Richard Davies gave evidence at The Welsh Affairs Committee’s first evidence session on Shale Gas in Wales on Tuesday 22 October.

Watch this session here

Professor Davies stated that the estimate of amounts of shale gas available are considerable. However he emphasised that “You have to ask how many wells you are willing to drill. You need a lot of wells to produce an equivalent amount of gas that you would have got from North Sea, how many wells can you economically or with social acceptability drill.”

In response to the Committees question “Are you saying you need a certain number to make it viable to even consider doing it?” Professor Davies argued that to produce 10% of the resource available, which would be enough to outstrip North Sea supply of Gas since it started, may require tens of thousands of wells.

“You have to ask ‘how many wells can be drilled in the social environment we are in’”.

Planning permission has been given at a number of sites in Wales for exploratory drilling for shale gas. Further planning permission would be required for a full-scale extraction process. The Committee will take evidence from academics and environmental groups to examine the potential for shale gas exploration and commercial level extraction in Wales. It will also explore the environmental and economic impact of shale gas and whether the current regulatory regime covering such activity is adequate.