RPS is perhaps unusual as an independent consultancy, in that it brings together expertise in both energy and the environment. This expertise is very relevant to the understanding and mitigation of risk associated with unconventional oil and gas and RPS are pleased to be able to contribute to a reasoned debate on shale gas in the UK. RPS hopes that its experience in working in coal bed methane in Australia and shale gas in the US will bring some insights to the discussion that are not widely available yet in the UK.
As has been demonstrated by its success in replacing conventional gas supplies in the US, shale gas has the potential to help the UK’s immediate energy problems as well as longer-term energy security.
Shale gas, however, is not without controversy, either here or in the US and its high profile has been harnessed by lobby groups trying to further their own causes, both for and against.
All lobby groups would like to claim science is on their side and understandably look for evidence to support their cause but, while the use of anecdotal stories makes good press, it is not good science. RPS hopes to help engender a proper debate on the real science, risks and benefits that underlie shale gas in the UK.
The exploration and development of shale gas presents its own particular challenges and risks but, as the world struggles to balance much needed energy production against its environmental impact, it could be part of an overall energy mix that displaces more polluting energy sources. It is certainly worthy of proper discussion based on reliable information.
The debate is timely, because there is still a long way to go to demonstrate even the possibility of commercial shale gas in this country. The UK is not America, all shales are not equal, US geological basins are not the same as ours and neither is the terrain.
All sides of the argument are passionate about what they consider to be the truth, but the UK public, presented with extreme points of view, do not yet have sufficient balanced information to make up their minds.
This is where we feel that ENDS can help.
John Pothecary, managing director of RPS energy (Europe, Africa, Middle East)
Andy Young, commercial director of RPS built & natural environment (Europe)
UK shale gas and the environment
A special report, sponsored by RPS(energy and environmental consultants)