UKOOG: ‘Scottish Government fracking ban harms economy and environment’
3 Oct 2017
The chief executive of trade body UK Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG) has condemned the Scottish Government decision to ban hydraulic fracking following a four month consultation process.
Ken Cronin claimed the move had been based on dogma rather than evidence or geo-political reality and would increase reliance on imported gas supply “with the damage that will do to the economy and the environment”.
He stated: “[The Scottish government] 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.”
The move by the Edinburgh executive follows a public consultation on the merits of fracking, to which 60,000 people responded.
An overwhelming 99% said they were opposed to fracking, while fewer than 1% were found to be in favour of it, the Scottish government said in a statement.
Its Business Innovation and Energy minister, Scottish National Party MP Paul Wheelhouse, announced the decision saying: “Having taken account of the interests of the environment, our economy, public health and the overwhelming majority of public opinion, the decision I am announcing today means fracking cannot and will not take place in Scotland.”
In response, UKOOG pointed out that nearly 2 million Scottish homes and more than 22,000 commercial businesses are connected to gas, with 43% of all supply consumed by industry. Gas also provides 78% of domestic heating demand.
With more than 50% of that gas imported into the UK and set to rise significantly over the next few years, Cronin insisted there was no viable or affordable alternative to Scottish natural gas from shale other than importing significant quantities, “with the damage that will do to the economy and the environment”.
“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,” he added.
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