Response to Sunday Telegraph article on the Government’s move to speed up decision making on shale gas applications

31 January 2015

The UK onshore oil and gas industry is committed to consulting and working with local communities to develop the gas resources that this country needs to access to strengthen its energy security and the need to move away from coal as a source of power generation as quickly as possible. The industry welcomed the Government's announcement last year to treat shale as a national priority, (as is the case for the wind, tidal and nuclear industries).

Recent research undertaken for an alliance of trade associations by ComRes revealed that more than half of the UK population – 55% – wants to prioritise gas produced in the UK, including shale gas produced by hydraulic fracturing, over energy imported from overseas.

Ken Cronin, the chief executive of UKOOG, the representative body for the UK's onshore oil and gas industry commented: "This is a heavily regulated industry with four separate regulators, all with their own suite of oversight. Recent experience has shown that the planning process for exploration needs to be made quicker and within prescribed timescales. The time taken for planning decisions has soared from three months to over a year and this is prohibitively expensive for local councils and operators.

"However it is important that local people can put forward their point of view and they are assured that the highest standards of safety and environmental protection are met but unless the industry can drill exploratory wells we will not know whether gas can be produced economically and safely and by 2030 80% of our gas will be imported from overseas."


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Notes to editors:

UK Government polling shows approximately 70% of those polled either have no opinion or are supportive of shale gas development.

- 83% of our homes use gas for heating and cooking

- Over 500,000 people are employed in industries that use gas as a raw material

- Gas is employed in many every day products including computers, cosmetics and packaging

- Gas is intrinsic to our economy and also supplies 30% of our electricity

- But within 15 years 80% of our gas will come from outside the UK at a time when Europe is burning more coal

About UKOOG:

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.