Americans view shale gas as more reward than risk

A majority of Americans think shale gas offers more rewards than risks, according to a survey by Deloitte. It found around two thirds of people believe the benefits outweigh the […]

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By Vicky Ellis

A majority of Americans think shale gas offers more rewards than risks, according to a survey by Deloitte. It found around two thirds of people believe the benefits outweigh the risks while eight in ten link natural gas with job creation and economic revival.

The surge in the new fuel, which in 2010 made up 20% of gas produced in the USA, has proved controversial with environmentalists who worry the ‘fracking’ process to get it out the ground could contaminate water supplies.

The audit and analysis firm held 1,694 online interviews last month with adults age 21 to 74, including residents of areas where shale gas development is more established such as Texas, where shale is a newer phenomenon such as New York and also nationally.

Gary Adams, vice chairman of Deloitte LLP said: “The survey findings are especially interesting among the more mature shale areas where people are long-accustomed to oil and gas development. There, 8 in 10 respondents who currently do, or ever have, leased their land to a natural gas developer (83%) would do so again.”

But results suggest the industry still faces the challenge of communicating with the public. At least a fifth of respondents had “never heard of hydraulic fracturing”, the controversial process used to extract shale gas. Only a third of people polled from areas where extraction is underway or planned see shale gas companies as “extremely” or “very” trustworthy.