Community Incentives Not Enough to Win the UK Fracking Debate

Rigzone Survey Findings Indicate Areas of Concern Amongst Oil & Gas Professionals

London/Aberdeen, June 2, 2014 – Support from professionals within the oil and gas industry to the Government’s stance on fracking remains measured, according to the annual survey on attitudes towards UK hydraulic fracturing industry by Rigzone – the leading online resource for oil and gas information, data and talent recruitment.

The latest findings come ahead of the DECC’s (Department of Energy and Climate Change) 14th Onshore Licensing round in which licenses will be granted covering up to 100,000 sq km and follow last week’s report by the British Geological Survey, commissioned by DECC, into the extent of the shale gas reserves in the south of England.

According to the Rigzone survey, while three quarters of respondents believe the Government is right to offer incentives to communities where fracking revenues will be generated, only a third believe that the incentives alone will be enough to win the public debate. Roughly half (49%) reckon they will not – much unchanged from last year’s findings.

Top of the initiatives which oil and gas professionals believe the Government should now be pursuing, in addition to the community incentives, are: better educating the public on the economic benefits hydraulic fracturing can deliver; better educating the public on the environmental aspects of fracking; and better educating the public on the industrial revolution that low cost energy can potentially deliver.

Unlike last year, educating the public on the job generation hydraulic fracturing could deliver was not seen as one of top three messages to communicate – even though 21 per cent thought the industry could generate 16,000-31,999 jobs over the next 20 years, 18 per cent between 32,000-49,999 and a further 27 per cent thought at least 50,000 new jobs would be created.

The majority (88%), however felt Britain should follow Norway’s lead and create a National Fund from revenues generated off oil exploration, whether onshore or offshore.

Dominic Simpson, an executive at Rigzone, EMEA and APAC, commented:

“In the context of a General Election in 2015 and the Chancellor’s commitment not just to reducing the national deficit but ultimately eradicating it, winning the public debate on issues such as onshore fracking is key. Based on the opinions of those surveyed, education – as well as a greater sense of the direct benefits that oil and gas revenues can generate – will have an important role to play.”

Based on experiences in the US, over two thirds believed environmental concerns should not be allowed to block fracking in the UK – only 17 per cent believed they should. However, attempts by the Government to restrain campaigners through tactics such as repealing long-standing British trespassing laws, were received with a more muted response: 60 per cent of the oil and gas professionals questioned being in favour of such a move and 40 per cent against.

Of those surveyed by Rigzone between April 30 – May 8, 2014, just under a quarter (22%) believed their current employers would be introducing or expanding their hydraulic fracturing activities in the UK over the next two years.  A further 20 per cent thought their organisations would do so in other regions of the world.

About Rigzone

Rigzone, a Dice Holdings Inc. service, is a leading online resource for the oil and gas industry delivering content, data, advertising and career services. Dedicated to bringing upstream oil and gas news and data, including in-depth information on exploration, drilling and production markets to organizations tackling the energy challenge, its online community of highly-skilled and experienced energy professionals is unmatched.

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