London Local Energy: We Want What You Want. The Lowest Carbon Natural Gas on Earth

Why? Where? How? When? Who?

A press briefing from London Local Energy Limited.

Appendices to each section are on line at

London Local Energy wants to reboot the shale gas debate by stressing the product, not the process. We start by correcting two key errors: Gas development is not surface intensive, and nor is local natural gas best left in the ground to fight carbon emissions and climate change.

We also have an entirely different narrative. We don’t seek to industrialise the countryside. We want to industrialise industrial estates.

LLE’s geologists believe there could be a yet undiscovered oil and gas province under London.  Aligning natural gas production with local demand is inherently sustainable and would make London natural gas the lowest carbon natural gas on earth.

Based on modest projections of meeting 12% of London natural gas demand (1.1 billion cubic metres), we estimate CO2 savings, compared to the current UK natural gas supply mix, of 1 million tonnes of CO2. Savings would be ≈1.7 million tonnes if compared to imports of LNG from Qatar, the USA or via pipeline from Russia.

The climate impact of one million tonnes of CO2 is the same -each year- as installing over a million domestic solar panel systems, 130 2.5 MW wind turbines or taking several hundred thousand cars off London’s roads.

London Local Energy’s 3 Step Plan:

  1. Oil and Gas Authority to open 15th Onshore Licensing Round as soon as possible
  2. On license award,  revisit proven hydrocarbon discoveries in London NW10
  3. If resources allow produce local onshore natural gas with minimal surface impact  and maximum CO2 reductions.


Why? Where? How? When? Who?

LLE exploration efforts will be centred in London NW10, home to Londoners from every corner of the planet, and the capital’s most concentrated zones of industrial activity.

We would not explore for gas if we had not considered what potential production in 2018/19 and beyond might look like. Although the exploration phase itself will be remarkably low key, we underline how the more intensive production stage will have a far lower impact than most members of the public, the press and academics may fear.

Production could take place from as little as one football field sized site per 100 square km area. Several horizontal wells would fan out from a central location. Those wells may be as little as three meters apart at surface and it could be technically possible for us to drill several dozen from within a single medium size industrial unit.

Wells themselves would be as long as technically possible. Using the formula for area of a circle, a collection of centrally located 8km long wells thus could drain an area of 200 sqkm.

Wells of equal length and concentration are common worldwide, including Wytch Farm Oil Field in Dorset. Wytch Farm is Europe’s largest onshore oil field and home to some of the most expensive real estate outside London. Similarly, the London Borough of Brent could see hydrocarbon drilling at far lower intensity than that which has taken place in Beverly Hills for over a century.

Total well depth would be circa 3 KM deep compared to 58m for the deepest Tube station. Initial scoping reveals over 20 suitable locations where LLE drilling activities would reduce traffic by up to 80 % from current warehouse, industrial or retail use. We naturally prefer to use only one location and have obvious economic incentives to do so.

Visually, initial exploration drills are smaller than most cranes on the London skyline – and we will only need one at any time. Initial exploration drilling would take days, not weeks.

This is an image of  Ordnance Survey National Grid references TQ18 and TQ 28, the blocks in question which the OGA will offer in the next license round. The white roofs usually indicate industrial areas. The total area is 200 square km or 49,421 acres.

It bears repeating:  Sub surface activity will be over 2 km deep, 40 times the depth of the deepest Tube station and 50 times deeper than Crossrail.  If geological reality allows, it is possible for horizontal wells to cover the entire area from a central location.

The second image is of the White Heather Laundry area today.  Initial exploration may  take place under the area but not necessarily in sight of anywhere within the image


Why? Where? How? When? Who?

Shale gas deposits world-wide arise from source rock deposits deep underneath existing or historical hydrocarbon production. Our analysis of historical records of London oil exploration in 1911 and 1947, raises a key question: where is the source rock for the discoveries and can natural gas be produced from them commercially using 21st century technology?

It may be that exploration will reveal that  oil and gas exists in small or uncommercial quantities, in small but commercial quantities, or indicates a geological potential for a shale gas source rock at far greater depth. It is ironic that the London area has extremely limited modern sub-surface imaging, despite being where the world’s oldest national geological society  was founded in1807.

The only entirely accurate prediction we can make at this time is that if we are not allowed to look, there will be no discoveries. 

As London is projected to use 5 BCM of gas for home heating even under the London Energy Plan Zero Carbon scenario for 2050, failure to look will mean we will have to find one million tonnes of CO2 savings elsewhere. We don’t think people should “Just Say No” or “Take Back Control” or “Leave It In The Ground” without debating – and providing -alternatives.

United Kingdom oil and natural gas resources belong to the Crown. They are owned by the many, not the few. The debate whether to use them – or not – must also be made by the many.  Licenses are awarded by the Oil and Gas Authority. There have only been two license rounds in the past 12 years.


Why? Where? How? When? Who?

The Oil and Gas Authority is charged with Maximising Economic Recovery of the UK’s natural resources. We ask them to open the 15th Onshore Licensing Round as soon as possible.

LLE knows public acceptance has been the key barrier to accessing UK natural gas onshore. We believe starting the debate before the license round ensures earlier success after it.

We don’t want public acceptance or acquiescence. We want to create public enthusiasm. We ask for the media and the public to abandon outdated concepts and join us in an informed debate involving the many, not the few.

After any license approval, we anticipate a two to three year process of exploration and analysis to assess if the geology supports a movement toward the next phase. That would be the appropriate time to have a debate over production.

Annual production of 1 BCM would bring annual tax revenue to national, city and borough levels of £75 million at current gas prices and taxation levels. That could mean 15,000 solar panel installations or 15,000 home energy insulations per year. Or it could be starting salaries for 3,000 nurses, teachers or police. That’s for the many to decide not us.

Why? Where? How? When? Who?


London Local Energy is lucky to have a team of geologists, engineers and energy experts with many years of experience worldwide.

LLE has also has shared our geological analysis with over two dozen shale geologists worldwide.  While they have varying degrees of excitement, they agree that the prospect bears further study.

On a commercial basis, London gas would have the shortest route to market, making even a modest resource more attractive than greater resources that are effectively stranded in the current price environment.

LLE is even more fortunate to be based in the greatest city on earth. We are confident there are many Londoners with great ideas and expertise to share with us that we have yet to meet.

Please get in touch. After all: We Want What You Want.  Safe, secure sustainable natural gas, benefits everyone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *