The Need for UK to Generate More Natural Gas Supplies
By Anne Lewis-Schneider
Chief operating officer Alasdair Buchanan and also managing director of Senergy Energy Services has said that the UK is failing as far as natural gas production on a domestic scale is concerned. He went on to say that more needs to be done to rectify the imbalance, with more than 50% of gas being imported at high costs. He has said that a domestic gas supply would not only bring down prices but would also be good for permanent and contract job creation.
Mr Buchanan has said that the import of gas has no benefit for the nation as there were no tax rewards and that shale gas, once allowed to become a source of natural gas would add 62% tax to the coffers for domestic projects. This taxation would mean that each site would bring £5 to £10 million in community benefits and developments. He says that the bulk of gas imports are coming from Qatar and Norway which was pushing up prices of gas. Britain uses an average of 40% gas to generate its power requirements at present. 75% of household and business heating comes from imported gas and in the long term a more sustainable solution needs to be implemented locally.
The North Sea supply of gas has been slowly dwindling and government now needs to take a closer look at their energy mix before there is a serious gas resources shortage. Mr Buchanan says that shale has the potential to be a feasible solution to bring down natural gas imports to the UK by half. He encourages further exploration to find out what role shale gas could have in the future of gas supply for the UK. He says that this is needed to restore a good balance in the energy market.
The balance of coal versus gas as a means of generating power has changed from 40:30 to 30:40 and cheap coal which is mainly being imported is on the increase. Coal has much higher carbon emissions than gas and this is impacting on the carbon emissions target set by the EU for the UK. Mr Buchanan is worried that the carbon emissions target is getting further and further out of reach of being attainable. He also said that the advancements that have been made in technology should make shale gas all the more appealing and that onshore natural gas has the potential of solving an energy crisis in the UK. Mr Buchanan would like awareness to be raised and perceptions about shale gas to be changed, that issues need to be solved in the right way to enable the UK to reach its potential as an onshore gas supplier.
It is necessary to ensure that the right skills are cultivated at university or college level to supply the workforce necessary to take on the new technology, and Mr Buchanan is certain that the UK will grow into the new shale gas technology to change the face of gas energy supply from within.
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