Shale to boost jobs across the supply chain

Suzie Neuwirth

THE UK’S burgeoning shale gas industry will create tens of thousands of jobs and billions of pounds worth of investment across the supply chain, according to a new report set to be published this week.

The study, commissioned by the UK Onshore Operators Group and undertaken by EY, is expected to warn that the country needs to shore up its equipment and staff training to fully capitalise on its potentially lucrative shale gas resources.

It is thought that the report’s findings will be broadly in line with an Institute of Directors (IoD) report – commissioned by Cuadrilla – which was published last year. The IoD report predicted that investment into the UK’s shale gas industry could peak at £3.7bn a year during the peak production phase, supporting 74,000 jobs.

As well as geologists and drilling specialists, this would also include construction workers and people working in local retail and service industries, the report said.

The government has been highly vocal in its support for shale gas, introducing tax breaks for exploration activities and promising benefits for communities hosting the sites. It is hoped that the UK could benefit from a US-style shale gas boom, reducing its reliance on expensive gas imports.

But preliminary exploration activities by energy firms Cuadrilla and IGas have attracted protesters.

Environmental campaigners are opposed to the controversial hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – technique used to extract shale gas, which some claim causes earth tremors.

The British Geological Survey (BGS) has separately undertaken a report into shale gas resources in the Weald and Wessex basins in southern England, which was expected to be published this spring.

A BGS spokesperson confirmed to City A.M. that the report had been completed but said its publication date would be decided by the government.

A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesperson declined to comment on a date.