LONDON, July 19 (UPI) -- It would be "irresponsible" for the British government to not take full advantage of the shale natural gas potential in the country, a treasury secretary said.
The British Treasury Ministry published a report Friday touting the potential economic benefits of shale natural gas in the country.
The British Geological Survey in June estimated the Bowland shale formation in the north contains 1.3 quardillion cubic feet of natural gas, twice what was previously estimated.
British Energy Secretary Sajid Javid said shale gas has the potential to transform more than just the British economy.
"It could increase our energy security, support thousands of jobs and generate substantial tax revenue for the nation," he said in a statement. "It would be irresponsible of government not to do everything it can to support the safe and sustainable development of shale gas."
The government's report said shale could ensure energy security for a country where net natural gas imports are on pace to increase from 45 percent of demand in 2011 to 76 percent by 2030.
Javid said the shale industry is in its infancy in the country and it's not yet clear if the shale natural gas boom in the United States can be duplicated elsewhere. The government, however, is committed to ensuring the right policies are in place to capitalize on the shale potential.
The government said Friday it would offer a tax break on profits from shale production. Energy companies IGas and Cuadrilla are frontier players in the emerging industry, though there has been no commercial shale natural gas yet produced in Britain.