Scottish shale gas sussed out to be “in the billions”

Residents of Edinburgh and Glasgow are ringed by underground reserves of shale gas and oil. New estimates from the British Geological Survey out today suggest there are billions of barrels […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Residents of Edinburgh and Glasgow are ringed by underground reserves of shale gas and oil.

New estimates from the British Geological Survey out today suggest there are billions of barrels of shale gas and oil tucked away in Scotland’s Midland Valley.

In a report commissioned by the Government, the geologists estimate there’s between 3.2 billion and 11.2 billion barrels of oil and between 49.4 and 134.6 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas.

The biggest chunk of this estimate comes from the West Lothian oil-shale unit – an underground belt of oil which was drilled by the Victorians.

The geologists are quick to emphasise the report doesn’t show how much can be recovered, only give an idea of the volume of hydrocarbons held in the rock formations.

A war of words broke out at the news – with trade body UKOOG describing it as “reassurance to investors” wanting to explore for oil and gas in Scotland.

Environmentalists at WWF Scotland urged ministers “to start leaving some fossil fuels, including shale gas, in the ground”.