UKOOG, the representative body for UK onshore oil and gas, said last night that it was ‘disappointed’ over the vote by the Scottish Parliament to impose an outright ban on exploration for shale gas in Scotland.
Ken Cronin, Chief Executive of UKOOG, said: “The Scottish Government announced a process in January 2015 which included a research phase and then a public consultation phase.
“This is not due to finish until the summer of 2017. UKOOG and its members have been participating in this process from the beginning and will continue to do so.
“The process is meant to present the facts to the Scottish people and so we are disappointed today to see that some within the Scottish parliament are trying to derail it.
“We are confident as an industry based on over 50 years of experience both onshore and offshore that hydraulic fracturing can be done safely and environmentally sensitively within the regulatory environment in Scotland.
“We have had a well regulated industry in Scotland for many decades. We have drilled over 30 wells in the last 20 years. One of the first hydraulic fractures in the UK took place in Airdrie nearly 50 years ago and fracking also took place inside the Glasgow city boundary in 1989 at Easterhouse.
“The oil and gas industry has made a huge contribution to the economy of Scotland. 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.
“The onshore oil and gas industry has also committed to a multimillion pound programme of benefits for local communities and stakeholders as well as boosting contributions to local councils.”
For the trade unions, GMB Scottish Secretary, Gary Smith, later said: “It is high time our political class had an open and honest debate about the hard choices we face over our energy future along with the prospects for employment across the sector.
“Scotland’s transition to a low-carbon economy is important but it would be futile to pursue this at the expense of a balanced and secure indigenous supply that can boost job creation and the redistribution of wealth.
“Renewable energies alone are not a panacea so we need to be more pragmatic about the opportunities, stability and prosperity we can generate from new nuclear and fracking sources.
“We heard much about what our MSPs are against, but they should also focus on what we are for and how we can best meet our economic and energy challenges with all the options available to us”.
NB: A series of independent scientific reports and academic studies – including the Royal Society of Edinburgh – have all concluded that exploration for shale gas onshore in Scotland by fracking can be carried out safely. All these reports (which are too numerous to list individually – can be viewed online in the online archive at:
This archive is live and searchable online at the site.