General public encouraged to ask questions about natural gas from shale
8 September 2014
UKOOG, the representative body for the UK Onshore Oil and Gas industry, has launched a new initiative aimed at encouraging people to ask questions about natural gas from shale.
‘Let’s talk about shale’ is borne out of the recognition that the general public are subjected to a stream of information from a range of sources and much of this information is contradictory. ‘Let’s talk about shale’ will give people the chance to ask the questions they would like to have answered.
Ken Cronin, Chief Executive of UKOOG, said:
“There are a lot of people out there who don’t know what natural gas from shale is and have questions about how it’s extracted. ‘Let’s talk about shale’ offers the public an opportunity to get to know the facts, rather than being forced into listening to what others think they should hear.”
The approach is being piloted in Blackpool and Preston in the North West and Lincoln and Worksop in the East Midlands, with a view to launching it nationally next year.
The aim of the initiative will be to collate questions and have them answered by third party experts, including leading academics. In addition, promotional events will take place in town centres where the public will be able to submit their questions to the ‘Let’s talk about shale’ digi-van. Local clubs and community groups are also being offered the chance to discuss the subject and ask questions of independent local speakers.
The engagement activities include:
• The ‘Let’s talk about shale’ digi-van: a high-tech vehicle equipped with flat-screen TVs - and promotional staff with tablet computers, which will be touring locations in the North West and East Midlands giving the public a chance to ask questions about onshore natural gas development.
• Presentations to local groups and organisations given by geologists, academics and representatives of the business community.
• A fully-interactive website: www.talkaboutshale.com - for the public to ask their questions and to receive answers. The site will become the source of independent information, written in clear language for those interested in finding out more about natural gas from shale.
• Advertising, featuring the ‘Let’s talk about shale’ logo will be used on buses, in local newspapers and in town centres to promote the scheme with the slogan: “got a question about fracking, just ask.”
• Thousands of postcards distributed by local newspapers and door-drops so the public can submit their questions by Freepost.
Professor Joe Howe of The University of Chester said:
“’Let’s talk about shale’ is a great initiative. Many people have questions about shale gas but don’t know where to look for definitive answers. This engagement programme will help to dispel the myths and give members of the public clear answers to the questions they want to ask.”
“Academics have struggled to communicate with the public on shale, and this is a good opportunity to talk directly to those with questions.”
Trevor Fletcher, Board Director of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said:
“The complex nature of extracting shale gas through ‘fracking’ has attracted concerns from environmental groups and the community. The ‘Let’s talk about shale’ initiative is a good way to provide facts and dispel the myths associated with shale gas, enabling informed decisions on where you stand on its future.”
Prof Sarah O’Hara of the University of Nottingham said:
“Any initiative that allows the public to have a voice is a good thing. The public should have an opportunity to ask questions and deserve to get unbiased and scientifically informed answers”
UKOOG is the representative body for the UK onshore oil and gas industry including exploration, production and storage. The organisation’s objectives are to enhance the profile of the onshore industry, promote better and more open dialogue with key stakeholders, deliver industry wide initiatives and programmes and to ensure standards in safety, the environment and operations are maintained to the highest possible level. Membership is open to all companies active in the onshore industry including those involved in the supply chain.