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Shale Gas in the UK

The Geological Society held a public briefing meeting on Monday 18 June 2012, on the geoscience relating to shale gas and its extraction. Over the past decade, shale gas production in the US has grown spectacularly, and now represents a significant part of US energy use. There has been widespread reporting in the media of exploration for shale gas in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, the extent to which it can and should contribute to the UK energy mix and public concerns about potential risks.

The speakers did not discuss whether shale gas should be extracted. Rather, they considered from a geological perspective the extent and nature of the potential resource and whether it can be extracted safely.

The meeting was aimed at non-geologists and attracted a diverse audience including: elected representatives and officials from both local and central government; regulators; NGOs; those from industry sectors in the hydrocarbons supply chain (including water utility companies); and others with a general interest in the topic.

Follow the links below to view recordings of the talks and to download speakers' presentations as PDFs. Also presented here are a briefing note from the Geological Society covering the topics addressed in the meeting, answers to questions raised following the meeting, and a suggested further reading list.

Can shale gas be extracted safely?

Additional Material

Geological Society briefing note on shale gas - This briefing note has been prepared by the Society as a summary of the current state of geoscientific knowledge relating to the extraction of shale gas, following the public briefing meeting held on 18 June 2012. To read about issues not addressed in the briefing note, please see the suggested reading list.

Post-meeting Questions 

Suggested Further Reading