An interesting tidbit those of us in the U.S. can only salivate over… There is a shale formation in the U.K. that spreads all the way from North Wales (in the south of England) to near the Scottish border in Cumbria (in the north) and well over into Yorkshire as well. That is, it sits under most of the country. But here’s the unique thing about that shale deposit: A couple of exploratory wells drilled by British Gas found the thickness of the shale layer to be 3,000 feet! That is ginormous. By comparison, the Marcellus Shale layer is an average 300 feet thick. The UK shale layer is 10 times that amount. Meaning it holds perhaps 10 times the amount of shale gas as an equivalent section of the Marcellus.
The 3,000 foot thickness likely does not extend through the entire shale deposit, but still, if it’s present in even part of it, it is a game-changing volume of natural gas for Britain and Western Europe. The trillion dollar question is, will they have the guts to get it? The green movement is strong in that country, and although (like New York State), they have riches beneath their feet, they may not have the political willpower to get it. Time will tell.
See this Forbes magazine blog post for more details: UK Shale Gas: How Deep Is It?