New technology means Britain and the U.S. could tap undreamed reserves of gas and oil
by Nigel Lawson
Thirty years ago, I was Secretary of State for Energy in Margaret Thatcher’s government, and one way and another I have been a close observer of the energy scene ever since.
In all that time, I have never known a technological revolution as momentous as the breakthrough that has now made it economic to extract gas from shale.
Geologists have long known that shale — a finely grained rock created from compressed mud, which sits in layers — contains, trapped in it, massive amounts of gas, and in some cases, oil.
But getting it out of the ground is a tricky business. Below the North Sea, natural gas forms in sandstone and when a drill reaches the gas, it flows out.