Alun Davies, Minister for Natural Resources and Food
I wish to inform Members of the publication on the Welsh Government website today of a document, ‘A Study of Potential Unconventional Gas Resource in Wales’ commissioned to further our understanding of the potential resource in Wales.
The study, undertaken by the British Geological Survey, provides a comprehensive summary of all the currently available information on the resource, both onshore and immediately offshore. It also considers methods of exploration and development of the resource, including shale gas, coal bed methane and underground coal gasification, and reviews the potential impacts of any development on the environment and health.
A number of geological horizons in Wales that might be prospective for gas are indicated in the study, but an assessment of the potential resource is only possible through further exploration and research.
Energy Wales recognises the role of gas as a key transitional fuel in the move to a low carbon energy system. A strategy of Energy Wales is also to ensure that the economy and people of Wales benefit from energy developments and that we focus on projects that deliver the greatest value.
We recognise there is a need to evaluate whether indigenous gas resources can contribute to the energy mix. This study provides a suitable foundation on which we can develop a fuller understanding of the potential benefits and disbenefits of unconventional gas development to the people of Wales. We have also committed to commission a Study to define the economic benefits and dis-benefits of unconventional gas development in Wales. We expect to publish those conclusions later in the year.