UKOOG and GMB agree landmark Shale Charter on new energy jobs and safety

How shale gas is minedBy DARA BUTTERFIELD

UKOOG – the onshore oil and gas representative body –  and the GMB trade union have concluded a landmark agreement to jointly support the exploration and development of shale gas in the UK.

The charter is designed to ensure that shale gas has a key role in the UK’s energy supply industry and that local communities benefit through the employment and training opportunities that shale gas would bring.

 The new ‘Shale Charter’ underlines a joint commitment to ensure:

  •  That gas is recognised as essential to British industry and households
  • Gas has a key role in both the UK’s future energy supply and the move to a low carbon energy future
  • An increased understanding about the importance of gas and the long history of exploration and production onshore in Britain
  • The establishment of an Industry Safety Forum to build on the already strong regulatory and safety foundations in the sector
  • Skilled jobs are created and local communities benefit through the employment and training opportunities this brings
  • British manufacturing and other supply chains have the opportunity to benefit from the development of the shale gas industry

The charter comes as UKOOG has publicly welcomed the five year study of more than 38,000 oil and gas wells in the US by the Environmental Protection Agency which finds no evidence that hydraulic  fracturing has “led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States.”

The new Shale Charter aims to help build understanding amongst local communities and further bolster the strong safety and regulatory standards of the sector.

The industry is already regulated under the HSE and DECC and has a comprehensive set of internal guidelines and a ground-breaking agreement around monitoring of fracking sites.

GMB has also welcomed UKOOG’s development of the National College for Onshore Oil and Gas.  As part of this agreement, the GMB will have a seat on the Operation and Advisory Council of the National College.  

Ken Cronin, Chief Executive, UKOOG, said: “I am delighted to be working with the GMB – their history is immersed in the gas industry and we have a lot of common interest.

“Natural gas from shale has the potential to generate many thousands of highly skilled well paid jobs.

“Gas is used for heating and cooking in over 80% of the homes and workplaces in the country. Gas is also an important feedstock for the chemical industry, which employs tens of thousands of people in the UK.

“It is essential for the economic well-being and the energy security of the UK that we get on with exploration to determine the extent of the gas resources we have in this country.”

Gary Smith, GMB National Secretary, commented: “Having access to gas is a matter of national security. Our homes and large parts of British industry need gas; any suggestion to the contrary is just not real world.

The truth is we are going to be using gas including shale gas for a long time to come.

“Given these facts we need to honestly consider the moral and environmental issues about transporting gas, including shale gas, across oceans and continents and being increasingly dependent on gas from countries with regulatory and environmental standards lower than ours.

“GMB believes it is essential that we continue to debate the merits of shale gas and that this is done soberly. The UK has serious issues about energy security and they need to be considered in any debate on shale.

“GMB has a 126 years involvement in the gas industry – a fantastic track record in ensuring we have the highest standards of Health and Safety and skills in the UK gas industry.

“If the shale gas industry does take off, we will bring all that experience to bear, to ensure the industry operates at the very highest standards in terms of the environment and health and safety.

“Integral to this is having a highly skilled workforce and we will work with the industry to make sure we have levels of skills that are absolutely second to none.”

BOOKING NOW: The UK Shale Energy Conference 2015 Glasgow 25 September 2015

INEOS – the third biggest owner of shale gas licences in the UK and which is applying for many more – welcomed the UKOOG-GMB charter.

Gary Haywood, Chief Executive of INEOS Shale, said: “The GMB has always been forward looking in this area and understands the importance of a UK shale gas industry for UK jobs and UK manufacturing.

“We call on other unions to follow the GMB’s lead and acknowledge the tremendous benefits that a safe and well regulated indigenous shale gas industry can offer.” 



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