Call for evidence: Impact of Shale Gas on Energy Markets

27 July 2012

In May 2011, the Committee published a Report on Shale Gas (PDF 1.52 MB).  Since the Committee’s inquiry, there have been further estimates of the amount of shale gas in both the UK and Europe, but these have fluctuated significantly.

Gas has traditionally been a high-volume, low-value commodity, that has been expensive to transport (as LNG). Trade has largely been restricted to specific regions, which has led to regional markets with regional prices. The Committee previously concluded that, while UK shale gas resources could be considerable, they were unlikely to be a “game changer”. But there was evidence that offshore unconventional gas resources could be substantial, and that there was uncertainty in the extent to which a glut in shale gas production could drive down the price of conventional gas.

Large volumes of shale gas being discovered could lead to a global market in gas, as more opportunities for trade arise and the costs of LNG fall. The first LNG export facility in the lower 48 states has recently acquired federal approval in the US, with a post-Fukushima Japan being its initial market.

This inquiry will follow up on the Committee’s previous report and investigate the different estimates made for recoverable shale gas reserves in the UK (on and offshore), Europe, and the rest of the world and the implications of the “shale gas revolution” for energy markets around the world.

Terms of reference

The Committee invites written evidence from interested parties addressing some or all of the following questions:

  • What are the estimates for the amount of shale gas in place in the UK, Europe, and the rest of the world, and what proportion is recoverable?
  • Why are the estimates for shale gas so changeable?
  • What are the prospects for offshore shale gas in the UK Continental Shelf?
  • Should the UK consider setting up a wealth fund with the tax revenue from shale gas?
  • What have been the effects of shale gas on the LNG industry?
  • Could shale gas lead to the emergence of a single, global gas market?
  • What are the effects on investment in lower-carbon energy technologies?
  • What is the potential impact on climate change objectives of greater use of shale gas?

The deadline for the submission of written evidence is Monday 1 October 2012

Notes on submission of written evidence

Written evidence should be in Word or rich text format-please do not use PDF format-and sent by e-mail to 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 Monday 1 October 2012. 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.

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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