ERJ staff report (PR)
London - More than three times as many people in the UK support shale-gas production than opposing it, a public opinion survey, commissioned by industry body UK Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG) has found.
The Populus survey of 4,000 adults also found overwhelming support for reducing the UK’s reliance on gas imports from overseas, which are rising rapidly as North Sea production declines.
This survey, which is one of the largest polls on the issue, found that 57% of people support the production of natural gas from shale in the UK, compared with 16% who oppose and 27% who are undecided. The process usually involves fracking (hydraulic fracturing) of shale deposits, located deep underground.
Meanwhile, 67% of respondents agreed that the UK needs to produce its own energy so it isn’t reliant on gas from other countries, compared with just 1% who disagreed.
This, suggested UKOOG, reflects concerns highlighted recently by the National Grid, which forecast that without natural gas from shale production, Britain will import up to 91% of its gas by 2035.
Most would be willing to see natural gas from shale production go ahead as long as it formed part of a mix that includes renewable energy sources, Some 59% of those polled agreed with this idea, with only 12% disagreeing.
Meanwhile, 42% agreed with the UK government’s planned changes to underground land access, compared with 16% who disagreed. The changes are designed to bring oil and gas and geothermal energy production into line with other essential services that have rights of underground access, including water and sewage pipelines and coal mines.
“This survey shows that most people across the country think that shale gas should be developed, according to said Ken Cronin, chief executive of UKOOG.
“More than four out of five of us heat our homes with gas, and Britain’s shale resource gives us the opportunity to become less dependent on foreign energy supplies, create tens of thousands of jobs and support our manufacturing industries,” said Cronin.
“Shale gas and renewables are complementary, and our survey confirms that the public would like to see a balanced mix that includes both sources of energy,” he added. “Whilst these results are positive, our industry needs to continue to do all it can to listen to and engage with the views of local communities.”