The Energy and Climate Change Committee were back on the subject of shale gas yesterday, hearing from two panels of witnesses - one for and one against (video here). This is an improvement for the ECC who have tended to want to hear only the green side of the debate, with only token voices against (see the windfarm inquiry for example).
The stars of the show were Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla, and Professor Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Centre. Egan was measured and sensible and even managed to put over his frustration with bureaucratic delays at DECC without looking exasperated. This was the kind of man you'd want running things. I don't think I'd twigged that the figure of 200TCf shale gas resources is for Lancashire, not the UK. The UK will be much bigger.
Anderson meanwhile was the archetypal academic - somewhat eccentric, full of interesting bits and pieces, but with the unfortunate feature of having swallowed the global warming story whole. If you accepted this rather dogmatic position, then he had some sensible things to say, for example noting that it was probably better to extract gas in the UK than have the Russians extract it for us.
There was a measure of agreement on one issue: that there's a great deal we don't know. Just how much gas will flow from the Beast of Blackpool is anyone's guess, although Egan said that the geology looks good. There really is only one way to find out and that's to drill.
So let's get fracking and find out what we've got.