Shale gas is ‘saving the planet from coal’

Shale gas is “saving the planet from coal” as the latter has a greater environmental impact, according to US fracking expert Chris Faulkner (pictured). In an interview after his appearance […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Shale gas is “saving the planet from coal” as the latter has a greater environmental impact, according to US fracking expert Chris Faulkner (pictured).

In an interview after his appearance at Energy Live 2013, the founder and CEO of Breitling Energy Companies told ELN the US has raised natural gas production by 40% and at the same time greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by 20%.

He believes the environmentalists who are against fracking don’t want natural gas not because of the controversial process of extracting shale gas but because “they’re scared natural gas will slow down development of renewable energy”.

He added: “They have some concern there because natural gas is a bridge fuel, it’s clean, it works. It’s here today and there’s an abundance of it whereas renewables don’t work, they’ve been subsidised for 20 years, they’re very, very expensive and they have a long way to go.”

When asked about the risks of fracking and concerns around contamination of water, Mr Faulker said “there’s a risk in everything” and went on to refer to the Fukushima disaster and even solar panels releasing the toxic chemicals that make up the PV sensors.

He insisted the process of extracting shale gas is “not flawed, it’s safe” and that it’s “not by sheer luck we’ve fracked a million and a half wells in the US and haven’t contaminated the drinking water. It’s because of the fact that we take precaution”.

Mr Faulkner added: “I think what fracking will allow us to do is it would bridge into the future. Now how far that bridge may be – it could be 40-50 years or beyond. The reality is that in the Bowland basin there’s 1,300 tcf (trillion cubic feet) worth of gas. If I can extract 10% of that and the British Geological Survey says the same thing, we can power the UK for 50 years.

“I think that alone is enough incentive to say we need to investigate this and figure out if it’s true and if we can do it because at the end of the day energy security has to be part of the conversation, especially for elected officials.”

He said that although the UK won’t see the same “explosion” of natural gas as seen in the US, “it doesn’t have to” but that if it can happen “at a fraction”, the nation would be in a “much better position”.