A survey of 1,095 members of the UK-wide Institute of Directors (IoD) shows that British business is supportive of developing shale gas:
- 58% think that extensive development of the UK’s shale reserves would have a positive impact on British businesses, compared to just 7% believing that it would have a negative impact
- And almost half (48%) agree that the benefits outweigh the risks, compared to 18% who think that the risks outweigh the benefits
In addition to the survey, the Institute itself also welcomes the Prime Minister’s policy announcement. The IoD recently produced its own report on the economic and health benefits likely to flow from shale oil gas, which concluded that 35,000 extra jobs, helping to offset the ongoing decline in the North Sea oil and gas industries, could be created. It also said that;
- There is enough onshore supply to meet 10% of the UK’s gas demand for the next 103 years – preventing the expected rise in costly gas imports, and that;
- There are environmental benefits from shifting from coal-burning electricity generation to shale gas, due to the lower carbon emissions and particulates produced by natural gas.
- Gas emits half as much CO2 as coal – using gas as a larger part of the energy mix, rather than coal, would help to save up to 45 million tonnes of CO2, 8% of the UK’s annual carbon emissions.
- Such a shift would also help to reduce the 29,000 annual deaths from poor air quality in the UK
Dan Lewis, Energy Policy Adviser at the Institute of Directors, and co-author of the report, said: “Shale gas has huge potential benefits for the UK, both economically and environmentally.
“We have a massive reserve of shale gas sitting right beneath our feet, and we must take advantage of it. Shale isn’t the answer to all our problems, but it would be a really beneficial part of the energy mix – creating jobs, driving decarbonisation and helping to prevent constant rises in energy prices.
“We cannot afford to pass up this opportunity when there are so many upsides. Fracking has been controversial, but the reality is that with proper regulation it is no more risky than any kind of hydrocarbon extraction – if we overplay the risks, we would miss out on the very real benefits.”
Corin Taylor, Senior Economic Adviser at the IoD and co-author of the report, added: “Renewables and gas will go hand in hand as the major growth areas in global energy supply over the next 10 years.
“When the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow, we need a back-up power source – natural gas is a far cleaner way to provide that than coal. British shale gas has the potential to help decarbonise our power supply, support renewables and boost the economy.”