LONDON, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Moving the shale natural gas sector into the Irish Sea may be the next developmental frontier, the founder of British energy company Cuadrilla said.
Chris Cornelius founded Cuadrilla Resources in 2007 as a pioneer in hydraulic fracturing in the country. Now with Nebula Resources, he said he was ready to move the shale phenomenon out to sea.
"Certainly offshore shale gas is a new concept, and there's no reason with the U.K.'s history of offshore development that we can't develop these resources offshore," he said in an interview with the BBC published Wednesday.
Onshore shale natural gas exploration is in its infancy in the country. Nebula in January was awarded exploration licenses in the Irish Sea. The British Geological Survey said offshore natural gas reserve estimates eclipse what's available inland.
Cornelius said the "billion-dollar question" is whether or not the technology exists to get at offshore shale.
"We won't know that for many years," he said.
Hydraulic fracturing, a drilling practice dubbed fracking, is a routine part of drilling into shale reserves. It's never been done for commercial shale operations offshore.