24pc drop in value for homes near shale gas wells

Robyn Hall

November 6, 2012

The UK has an estimated £1.5trillion of shale gas supplies – bigger than the whole of the North Sea reserves – and the potential to create a booming industry.

Shale gas is natural gas formed from being trapped within shale formations.

It has become an increasingly important source of natural gas in the United States over the past decade, and interest has spread to potential gas shales in the rest of the world – including the UK.

In 2000 shale gas provided only 1% of U.S. natural gas production; by 2010 it was over 20% and the U.S. government’s Energy Information Administration predicts that by 2035 46% of the United States’ natural gas supply will come from shale gas. The potential to create a similar industry has captured the imagination of mining companies.

But the value of homes within two miles of shale gas wells could plummet by 24%.

A study from the US National Bureau of Economic Development claimed that house prices would be affected by fracking which is the method by which the gas is extracted.

Fracking involves sending millions of gallons of water and chemicals under high pressure to force up the gas. But there is a danger the process could be harmful to the environment, contaminating ground water and even causing mini earthquakes.

Concerns over fracking have increased after results, expected to be released next year, from the British Geological Survey are expected to show the UK is sitting on shale gas reserves worth £1.5trillion.

Andrew Austin, chief executive of iGas, told the Daily Mail how his company had recently discovered huge shale gas reserves in Cheshire after drilling to find methane gas from coal deposits.

He said: “What we found was surprising. But we think it is very significant.”

Austin insisted the company would work only “with the people” and would not try to force through controversial mining methods.

But he said that once a well was installed it was unobtrusive and most people would not notice the “odd tremor”.

Sign up to our daily email