Shale gas is an ‘unconventional’ fossil fuel, which means that additional procedures are required to extract it beyond regular drilling. Many such unconventional sources of oil and gas were formerly too difficult (or uneconomic) to extract until recent advances in drilling technology. A combination of directional drilling and a process called hydraulic fracturing have made accessible large amounts of natural gas locked up in the tight pores of shale formations at depths of 2km or more. Successes in the United States have driven prospecting across Europe—drilling began earlier this year in Lancashire. It is estimated that the UK could be producing around 10% of its current gas needs from shale if it can be extracted at a commercial rate.
Respondents are free to comment on any issues they consider relevant, although the Committee particularly welcomes evidence addressing the following:
- What are the prospects for shale gas in the UK, and what are the risks of rapid depletion of shale gas resources?
- What are the implications of large discoveries of shale gas around the world for UK energy and climate change policy?
- What are the risks and hazards associated with drilling for shale gas?
- How does the carbon footprint of shale gas compare to other fossil fuels?
The deadline for the submission of written evidence is Thursday 13 January 2011.
Notes on submission of written evidence
Written evidence should be in Word or rich text format-not PDF format-and sent by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. The body of the e-mail must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. The e-mail should also make clear who the submission is from. Hard copy submissions should be sent to: The Clerk, Energy and Climate Change Committee, 7 Millbank, London, SW1P 3JA. The deadline is Thursday 13 January 2011.
As a guideline submissions should be no longer than 3000 words. However, please contact the Committee staff if you wish to discuss this matter. Submissions should be in the format of a self-contained memorandum. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and the document should, if possible, include an executive summary. Further guidance on the submission of evidence can be found at Guidance on submitting written evidence to an inquiry
Submissions should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere. Once submitted, your submission becomes the property of the Committee and no public use should be made of it unless you have first obtained permission from the Clerk of the Committee. Please bear in mind that Committees are not able to investigate individual cases.
The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to publish the written evidence it receives, either by printing the evidence, publishing it on the internet or by making it publicly available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure; the Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.
For data protection purposes, it would be helpful if individuals wishing to submit written evidence send their contact details in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
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