Présentations Colloques

Oral Presentation
Session 7.01: Groundwater and Energy Resources
Ward Robert
The importance of an effective and adequate baseline for shale gas - the UK experience
The UK Government is committed to supporting the development of a shale gas in the UK but both it and the research community recognise that before any activity should start there is a need to adequately characterise the baseline. The British Geological Survey (BGS) have a long history of carrying out baseline monitoring and characterisation of aquifers, with much of the published results routinely used to support regulation including implementation of the European Water Framework Directive. **With growing interest in shale gas in the UK, BGS recognised that the existing national baseline dataset needed to be supplemented and more detailed, with methane in groundwater identified as one of several parameters for which there were few data. After completing a national survey of methane in groundwater there is now a focus on two areas of England where there are current planning applications for hydraulic fracturing. With a limited window of opportunity BGS initiated a comprehensive programme of monitoring utilising a combination of existing boreholes (private supplies) and newly drilled boreholes to establish a monitoring network. Site selection was informed by new geological interpretation and 3D conceptual models. **Although monitoring is continuing, the results are already showing the importance of understanding both the spatial and temporal variation in parameters that characterise the baseline. The study has shown that, as would be expected by hydrogeologists but perhaps not by the public, a wide-range of anthropogenic compounds are present both reflecting current and historical land use. Methane has also been found to be present and in much higher concentration than would be expected in some locations, with its provenance not easy to ascertain. The talk will describe the approach, the data and the value of the results for informing public debate and policy.**
United Kingdom