UKOOG response to Scottish Government announcement
Published: 4 October 2017 - Sarah Mead
Following the announcement that the Scottish Parliament will move to ban hydraulic fracking, Ken Cronin, Chief Executive of UK Onshore Oil and Gas, said:
“The Scottish Government ignores the advice of its own independent experts and prefers a future where gas will have to be imported with the damage that will do to the economy and the environment. It turns its back on job creation, skills development, an increase in tax receipts and investment in communities. Over the last 20 years, 30 wells have been drilled and produce gas within the Central Belt, without any impact to the natural environment or public health.
This is a poor decision, ignoring Scotland’s rich heritage and expertise in oil and gas. It is not based on the evidence from extensive independent research, which clearly states that with appropriate regulatory oversight and monitoring Scotland's regulatory framework is sufficiently robust to manage onshore exploration and production.
Today in Scotland, there are nearly 2m homes and over 22,000 commercial businesses that are connected to gas. 78% of domestic heating is provided by gas and 43% of all gas consumed is by industry. Currently over 50% of that gas is imported into the UK and set to rise significantly over the next few years. There is no viable or affordable alternative to Scottish natural gas from shale other than importing significant quantities of gas.
It is interesting that Paul Wheelhouse should mention the Committee on Climate Change, who have in fact stated that the Scottish Government’s own target of having 80% of heating from low carbon sources by 2032 is “very unlikely to be feasible”, and that an onshore gas industry could fit well within Scotland’s climate change targets if certain conditions were met, which the industry was committed to doing. The reality is that it’s better for the planet to be producing our gas here rather than shipping it in across oceans from elsewhere, especially when Scotland has a petrochemicals industry so reliant on natural gas.
But after today’s decision, the significant benefits from production will now be lost, and the opportunity to develop a robust future energy mix discarded. This is a decision that is based on dogma not evidence or geo-political reality.”