Sixteen of the 100 industry players questioned think it will be a successful extraction method within a decade and 13 say this will happen in the next 20 years.
Over half think the Conservative party has the clearest policies to promote shale gas development, with a number of respondents saying Labour had “not been vocal on the subject”.
The government is pushing for exploitation of the resource, hoping it will improve the UK’s energy security and reduce reliance on imports. But environmentalists oppose the plans, claiming the fracking technique used to extract the gas causes earth tremors.
The industry was split over whether protests over exploratory drilling in Balcombe last summer would affect investment in UK shale, with 45 per cent believing the protests did impact the case for investment and 45 per cent saying it did not. But 55 per cent see local opposition as the biggest challenge for shale gas to overcome.
“We are at the beginning of a shale gas revolution,” said Bob Ruddiman, head of energy and natural resources at Pinsent Masons. “But we must recognise that a significant investment of time and money is required to ensure success.”