Report highlights benefits and barriers to shale gas boom

Shale gas development could create tens of thousands of jobs, reduce imports, generate significant tax revenue and support British manufacturing, suggests a new report.

CuadrillaGetting Shale Gas Working, a study drawn up by the Institute of Directors and sponsored by energy firm Cuadrilla Resources, looked into previous developments, investigated the economic impacts of potential shale gas production at scale, and set out recommendations for both government and industry.

The report predicts that huge quantities of shale gas are stored beneath the ground in Lancashire.

Corin Taylor, senior economic adviser at the IoD and author of the report, said: “Shale gas could be a new North Sea for Britain, creating tens of thousands of jobs, supporting our manufacturers and reducing gas imports.

"Further exploration will be needed to assess the size of technically and commercially recoverable resources. At the same time, partnerships need to be established between industry, government and communities to ensure that development of this vital national resource benefits local people.”

Headline figures from the report include an estimation that an energy boom could yield up to £3.7bn investment per year, supporting 74,000 jobs including geologists, drilling specialists, construction workers, truck drivers, cement manufacturers, water treatment experts, and people working in local retail and service industries.

Approximations suggest the mining would only require 'a small amount of land', with one two-hectare site providing enough space for 40 horizontal wells and supply enough gas to power 747,000 homes at peak production.

The report also recognised that support for shale gas exploration sat at around 50% of residents of Blackpool, Fylde and West Lancashire support, and that work needs to be done to gain the confidence of local communities.

It also details a possible skills shortage of workers in oil and gas production. The authors of the report also noted: " In order to remain focused, this report does not examine the safety of hydraulic fracturing, either in the UK or overseas. Other expert bodies have looked into the process in detail,  and we support their calls for strong regulation of all aspects of the drilling and hydraulic fracturing process."