Energy Institute UK publishes new Guide to Shale Gas to stimulate informed debate

The new Guide to Shale Gas from the Energy Institute
The new Guide to Shale Gas from the Energy Institute

There is an ongoing public debate (informed and otherwise) about the potential benefits and risks of developing shale gas in the UK.

And to help inform the ongoing discussion, the Energy Institute (EI) – the professional body for energy professionals – has published A Guide to Shale Gas, which addresses the technological, environmental and legal aspects of exploiting this energy source, produced independently and based on sound science.

The new 20-page document from the Energy Institute aims to bring scientific and technical accuracy to the debate and to help readers expand their knowledge of the subject. It explains in factual terms how shale gas is extracted, its impact on the environment and its potential role in meeting future UK energy needs.

The UK Government has promised to support the safe deployment of shale gas as part of its UK energy policy – notwithstanding that fracking applications have been rejected by local councils.

Publication of the Energy Institute Guide to Shale Gas comes as the latest polls by the UK Dept of Energy (DECC) show that most people are simply unaware of the issues – whilst the biggest single group of those expressing an opinion (46%) is neither for nor against shale.

Louise Kingham, Chief Executive, Energy Institute, said: ‘Our Energy Barometer survey among energy professionals has highlighted the need for the energy industry to improve its communication with the public.

“Shale gas is a clear priority among the areas that require greater explanation, with the survey showing it as the single most poorly communicated topic on the energy spectrum.

“With this publication, we want to promote better understanding between the sector and wider society; to present facts from an independent perspective and to help people make informed decisions on energy matters.’ 

See also:  

Shale and Safety: get the fracking facts right from the Royal Society of Edinburgh –

The UK Shale Energy Conference 2015

The Energy Institute’s Guide to Shale Gas explains what it is and where it comes from – as well as its potential impacts and legal framework. It has been developed from an extensive review and analysis of existing literature and contributions by over 75 subject specialists – including professionally qualified EI Fellows and Members from relevant backgrounds and experience. It has also been subjected to a robust peer review process prior to publication.

The latest DECC survey public opinion survey results found that support for fracking – the process for mining shale –  appears to be linked to awareness.

Amongst those that were only aware of fracking but did not really know what it was, and those that hadn’t heard of it – more than 60% of peole selected the neutral option and therefore didn’t give an opinion.

There is more opposition than support amongst those who know a lot about it (54% vs. 32%), know a little about it (35% vs. 27%), and those who are aware of it but don’t really know what it is (23% vs. 13%).

The only group to be more supportive are those that have not heard of fracking, of whom 12% support it and 7% oppose it.

When asked whether they support or oppose extracting shale gas, almost half of the public neither supported nor opposed it (46%).

Amongst those that did offer an opinion, slightly more opposed (28%) extraction of shale than supported it (21%). This is a reversal of the findings when these questions were first asked when 27% supported it against 21% that opposed. This shift towards more opposition has happened gradually over the last 18 months, with support currently at its lowest since the survey began.

The Energy Institute (EI) is the leading chartered professional membership body for the energy industry, supporting over 21,000 individuals working in or studying energy and 200 energy companies worldwide. The EI aims are to:

  • Help improve understanding of energy and the quality of the debate
  • Support energy professionals and help deliver the skills the industry needs
  • Drive up standards, promoting excellence in practice

For more information: 

How shale gas mining works: Source: Energy Institute
How shale gas mining works: Source: Energy Institute

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