A new source of methane gas is hitting the headlines. It could provide the complete gas supply for theUKfor a year and a half. But there are problems. This piece from the daily BBC current affairs programme Newsnight explores the potential of so called shale gas, or natural gas trapped two or three thousand metres below ground in shale rock. The technique to extract it is illustrated, but there are snags. Blasting water and chemicals down bore pipes can liberate the gas, and bring it towards the surface, but this has resulted in earth tremors in the Blackpool area of north westEngland. There are also worries about the increase in levels of radioactivity due to the release of previously buried natural material, and of other potential pollutants if the bore support were to crack. This programme balances the benefits of new supplies of gas with the hazards, drawing on American experience to flesh out the arguments.
Presenter: Susan Watts, Science Editor Newsnight
Producer: Nick Blakemore
Commissioner: Liz Gibbons, Deputy Editor Newsnight
FRACKING is being shown as part of the 2012 European Science TV and New Media Festival at 11:49 on Friday 13th July 2012. A full festival programme can be found here.