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Companies across the UK join the push for sustainable shale

Innovate UK

2 min read Partner content

A new 2 million fund to ensure safety and sustainability are at the forefront of any drilling for shale gas and oil in the UK has been announced today.

Following an intense competition 19 projects have been chosen, which will see companies test innovative ideas for shale gas and oil projects. These will explore at least three types of water treatment, new techniques for monitoring and technologies for well drilling and design.

Successful company bids include:

Glass Technology Services, Sheffield: glass-based beads to keep fractures open, removing need for high-volume water use.
Keronite Ltd, Haverhill: New ‘photocatalyst’ technology for safe water treatment.
Wardell Armstrong Ltd, Stoke-on-Trent and around UK: non-intrusive geophysical techniques to probe to depths of up to 3,000m.
NSG Environmental, Chorley: mobile treatment plant to allow water to be re-cycled and re-used.
Cascade Technologies, Stirling: new types of sensors to detect methane leaks while drilling
Tumbling Dice Ltd, Newcastle-upon-Tyne: new automated systems to guide exploratory drilling processes.

UK Minister for Business, Enterprise and Energy Matt Hancock said:

“Unlocking the shale gas and oil that is deep underground is an opportunity to reduce carbon emissions, increase our energy security and create jobs. It must be done safely and securely, so supporting innovation in this sector is vital to help us seize this opportunity.”

The fund, which will be run by the Government’s technology experts at Innovate UK, includes £1m in contributions from the Department for Energy and Climate Change and a further £250k from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

Rob Saunders, Head of Energy at Innovate UK said

"As the UK develops the potential of its shale gas reserves, it’s vital that it is done in a safe and responsible manner. The companies that have won funding through this competition will bring considerable expertise to tackling that challenge by developing innovative new technologies that can used here in the UK as well as being exported to mature markets elsewhere in the world."

Government policy supports exploration for shale gas and oil in a safe and sustainable manner. Shale gas and oil has potential as a new UK’s energy source, helping to improve energy security, create jobs and transition to a low carbon future. A 2013 study by NERC’s British Geological Survey predicted 1,400 trillion cubic feet of gas in the Bowland shale, although recoverable reserves cannot be accurately estimated until significantly more exploration has taken place.

A study by EY suggests UK shale gas production could create up to 64,000 full-time equivalent jobs as well as investment and tax revenues.

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