Page 0026

of the industry's exploration and production

companies. The study, by Ernst Young (EY),

focussed on supply chain issues and what

needed to be done to make the UK win from

what it called "a unique opportunity" at such

an "impressive scale."

There were a range of opportunities, the

largest at £17 billion for specialised equipment and skills for hydraulic


including equipment such as pumps, trucks

and blenders "which today are supplied to

the industry by third parties and only partially

from the UK." Other potential supplier

opportunities were in steel, rig manufacturing

and waste, storage and transportation.

The report confirmed the UK's strong

capability in highly skilled engineering and

geosciences. Ken Cronin, Chief Executive of

UKOOG, said at the report's launch:

"Keeping the economic benefits in the UK of

the supply chain is not a given, but the this report should make it an

economic imperative that we should."

As we went to Press, however, there was

widespread public debate about fracking,

mainly related to concerns about potential

environment impact. The gas is released by

hydraulic fracturing of the rock, which

involves pumping water, sand and chemicals

at high pressures. This has prompted fears

of seismic tremours and of groundwater, air

and land contamination.

One of the outcomes of this concern is the

emergence of a demand for very sophisticated monitoring

equipment and sensors - both

underground and on the surface. GTMA

members include measurement companies

who may benefit from this (see pages 51-56).

The UK Government is committed to the

sector, and has set up the Office of

Unconventional Gas and Oil (OUGO) within

the DECC to oversee development in the

UK, including licensing oil and gas exploration

and production.

Developing technologies for safe and

responsible exploitation is a priority also for the

UK's Technology Strategy Board (TSB) which,

with the DECC, is investing in feasibility studies to

encourage innovative technologies.

It has made up to £2 million available for projects to

support a number of key technologies

"which will help to develop a UK shale gas

supply chain to serve both the UK and global

market in a safe and sustainable manner."

It is encouraging projects that involve technology transfer

from other sectors, including

high value manufacturing.

Also see: TSB - Measurement for Shale

(page 53) and OUGO (page 47).




The UK Bioenergy Strategy estimates

that excluding biomass from the energy

mix could increase the cost of the UK's

decarbonisation programme by an estimated £44 billion by 2050.

It could provide up to a tenth of the UK

total primary energy supply and can be

supplied as heat, power, liquid transport fuel

and biomethane.

One of the most widely acclaimed examples

of bioenergy is at the Drax Power Station in

Selby, North Yorkshire. It is the UK's largest

power station and is set to become the UK's

largest single renewable electricity generator

through conversion from coal to biomass.

The first of its six units to convert to biomass

saved 2.7 million tonnes of CO2 in 2013

says the company which has an ongoing

programme to convert more units

Forecast CO2 savings at this level are one of

the reasons the sector is seen as so important and why R&D and innovation are


on the list of priorities, At the centre of this is

the BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre

which brings together a network of expertise

that span the bioenergy pipeline from growing sustainable biomass to

fermentation for

biofuels. Funded by Government, it has an

annual budget of almost £500 million to support research.

Also closely involved in developing the

sector is the Low Carbon Innovation

Coordination Group which carried out a

Technology Innovation Needs Assessment

(TINA) into the sector's potential. This concluded that to

achieve optimal deployment

there will need to be "significant innovation

on advanced conversion technologies and

their feedstocks."

Among the priorities it identified are

advanced biofuels demontrations, proof of

integrated gasification systems at scale, and

high efficiency biopower systems. The TINA

report is underpinning the design and focus

of DECC's activities in technology.



Also see: Biomass Energy Centre, REA

Biomass Power Group (page 49) and

Sustainable Bioenergy Centre (page 50).



continued from previous pge

A shale drilling rig, courtesy Cuadrilla, which has

plans to drill four shale gas exploration wells in



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