WISE woman appointed new chair of UKOOG as Wood Group wins $30m US shale gas contract

Prof Averil Macdonald,OBE
Prof Averil Macdonald,OBE

UKOOG, the representative body for UK onshore oil and gas, has  appointed Professor Averil Macdonald, OBE – one of the UK’s leading experts in communicating science to the public –  as its new chairwoman.

Prof.Macdonald is Emeritus Professor of Science Engagement at Reading University, a board member of WISE (Women in Science and Engineering), consultant director of Highbury College, Portsmouth and advises the nine Physics departments in South East Physics Network on diversity. In addition she was chair of the Expert Group for Women in Science until 2015.

She is well known for pioneering Science Outreach through a wide range of projects designed to show people the fascination and careers opportunities of science, including the well-known ‘Science with Coffee and Hobnobs’ – a project particularly aimed at communicating science to mums.

Prof. Macdonald said: “I am delighted to be taking up the position of chair of UKOOG at a critical time for the onshore oil and gas industry.

“I believe strongly that developing the UK’s home-grown sources of <shale> gas will be a major part of moving the UK towards a low carbon economy.

“In this role, I will use a clear, accurate application of scientific evidence to help reassure local communities that reserves of British natural gas can be developed safety and with the minimum of environmental impact and that UK gas supplies are part of a long term sustainable solution and not just a stop gap. I am keen to engage with people to understand their perspectives, hopes and concerns.”

Ken Cronin, Chief Executive of UKOOG, said: “The industry could not have found a better chair than Professor Macdonald. Not only is she a leading figure in science education, she also brings an intellectual curiosity and a willingness to communicate that will be invaluable as the industry begins finding out how much gas there is underneath our feet.”

Meanwhile, the Aberdeen-based oil services conglomerate Wood Group has won a new $30 million coalbed methane (shale) gas contract in the USA.

The contract is for Carbon Creek Energy in the Powder River basin in Wyoming, which consists of approximately 7,000 drilled wells, 6,000 – 12,000 drillable locations and currently produces 385 million cubic feet of gas per day.

Up to 65 new positions have been created and over 40 jobs secured by the 12-month contract.

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