The UK onshore oil and gas industry has today welcomed the decision by the Scottish Government to commission an independent and robust scientific study of the evidence on which it will base its decision to lift its moratorium on shale exploration – creating anew the Scottish shale energy industry – or to maintain the ban and regulate the industry into extinction.
Ken Cronin, Director of UKOOG – the trade association for onshore oil and gas operators – said: “Scotland needs an energy mix that covers all the nation’s needs.
“Four fifths of Scotland’s heat and many everyday items come from natural gas – but Scotland in 2020 could be importing three quarters of its gas potentially from other less stable countries.
“Onshore gas and oil will benefit the Scottish economy, not only directly, with jobs created through oil and gas extraction, but also indirectly, as oil and gas is a critical raw material for the chemicals industry at facilities such as Grangemouth.
“We recognise that the public has concerns about shale gas extraction and need to be reassured about safety and environmental impact and we support the evidence-based approach being taken by the Scottish Government.
“However, many independent reports – including the independent panel of experts set up by the Scottish Government – have commented that a robust regulatory process is in place and any risks can be managed under such a regulatory regime.
“Scotland has a long record of producing oil and gas safely for the benefit of the nation, and we trust that a proper scientific investigation and understanding of all the issues will lead to the creation of a robust onshore oil and gas industry in Scotland.
“We welcome the firm timetable the Scottish Government have set for this process to run, but it is critical to the future of the nascent industry in Scotland that this timetable is adhered to.”
Hector Grant, Chief Executive, Scottish Energy Association, (left) commented: “While appreciating the Scottish Government’s need for transparency in its quest for research into onshore unconventional oil & gas extraction, the Scottish Energy Association believes that there is considerable research already available.
“We trust therefore, that when they have completed the evidence-gathering stage, a properly-considered decision will be made on robust scientific evidence”.