The Scottish Government is being urged to lift the moratorium on unconventional oil and gas exploration, including fracking.
The call from UKOOG, the industry body representing the onshore oil and gas sector in the UK, comes in response to a government consultation.
A website ‘gas4Scotland’ has also been created to explain how gas is used in the country, where it comes from and what the future could look like for both the economy and environment if shale gas were to be extracted.
Some of the things UKOOG is urging the Scottish Government to consider are:
- The UK will be importing more than 75% of gas, costing the equivalent of £300 per household within 20 years
- The amount of annual tax revenue and community benefit generated by Scottish Scale could be equivalent to all the council tax paid in Stirling, Falkirk and Fife over a 20-year period
- At present, there is no viable or affordable alternative to natural gas to heat homes or provide high grade heat and feedstock to the industry that also meets climate targets and supports existing jobs
- The current argument that all the heat and industrial needs will be met by some other means is currently “not credible”
- There are nearly two million homes and more than 22,000 businesses that are connected to gas in Scotland
It also suggests lifting the moratorium should be accompanied by the introduction of a regulatory forum to address any additional guidance on regulation as well as the creation of the necessary bodies within the Scottish system to allow for the devolution of onshore oil and gas from Westminster.
Ken Cronin, CEO of UKOOG believes a moratorium is “no longer justified” as 30 wells have been drilled in the last two decades, with gas being produced “without incident – to the environment or to public health”.
He adds: “Many of the wilder claims about health and environment impacts have been thoroughly debunked by the Scottish Government’s own research and we do not believe that the outcomes of this extensive research give any reason to justify continuing the moratorium on onshore oil and gas extraction.
“We strongly believe that there is a significant economic opportunity for Scotland but we recognise that as a result of a deeply polarised debate and an extremely unfair depiction by some of the onshore oil and gas industry, there is still much more to do to ensure local communities within the central shale belt have proper information.”