Shale gas fracking ‘worth £5bn to Scotland’

Shale gas fracking ‘worth £5bn to Scotland’ by Andrew Whitaker, February 14, 2013
SCOTLAND is sitting on up to £5 billion of natural gas reserves which could be extracted using the controversial technique known as fracking, financial experts said today. A report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said Scotland is in a prime position to “capitalise” on shale gas, which is produced by fracking, due to the expertise that already exists in the country’s oil and gas sector. Reserves of the gas, which has helped transform the fortunes of the United States economy, potentially lie beneath a huge swathe of central Scotland stretching from Aberdeenshire to Dumfries and Galloway. … The PwC report Shale Oil – the Next Energy Revolution said fracking could boost the UK’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by around 2 to 3.3 per cent by 2035 – worth about £30bn to £50bn.

While there is no specific estimate in the report for how much Scotland would benefit from fracking, it is understood shale gas extraction could be worth up to £5bn north of the Border over the same period. … A document from the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has highlighted areas with shale gas potential, including the bulk of Scotland’s Central Belt. The Dart energy company has already been given permission to search for gas in Scotland at a site at Canonbie in Dumfries and Galloway. The firm is also submitting a planning application to drill at Letham Moss, near Airth, Stirlingshire. … The global shale oil market is predicted to generate up to 14 million barrels of oil per day by 2035, Alastair Geddes, director in the PwC’s oil and gas team in Aberdeen, claimed. This could cut the price of oil by 25 per cent to 40 per cent – a reduction of about $33 (£21) to $50 (£32) per barrel – according to the report. A fall in the oil price would boost people’s disposable incomes, but would also result in a reduction in North Sea oil and gas revenues. Mr Geddes also said that shale oil and gas could also be a new source of tax revenue for the UK government and that Scotland had to “grasp the opportunity with both hands” and not be left “in the slow lane”.

Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone, who represents North East Scotland, claimed that more fracking would create jobs, increase revenue for the oil and gas sector and reduce household energy bills. He said: “I’m well aware of the concerns some people have about fracking with earth tremors, but the evidence suggests that its not the sort of things that destroys properties.” … However, Scottish Green Party co-leader Patrick Harvie warned that it would be “wildly irresponsible” to pursue fracking, which he claimed would harm moves to reduce climate change. Mr Harvie added: “A move towards building more fossil fuels power generation would blow Scotland’s climate-change reduction targets out of the water.” Ed Pybus, of the Campaign Against Fracking in Scotland, claimed that the UK government was attempting to ease restrictions of fracking to pursue a US-style expansion of the process. He added: “We need to be investing in renewable technology rather than pursuing this disastrous approach, particularly when no environmental study on it has been carried out.” … A Scottish Government spokesman said: “In Scotland we need a diverse and balanced energy portfolio to provide us with secure and affordable heat and electricity for decades to come and alternative energy reserves such as shale gas and coal-bed methane if sourced and produced with due regard to the environment can fit within Scotland’s energy mix.” [Emphasis added]

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