UK’s Shale Gas Revolution

UK's Shale Gas Revolution

How the UK’s Shale Gas Revolution Will Affect Employment for Gas & Oil Workers

The UK has traditionally been a centre of excellence in the oil field and services industry, providing thousands of employments for both local and foreign workers. The Shale Gas Revolution may change all this, although not just yet in the near future. 

As it happens, there have only been 11 new exploratory wells for shale gas and oil, which is not enough to ruffle some feathers or stress out gas and oil workers. An immediate concern would be the continuous drop in oil prices in the global market. If it remains low, oil would have to be left in the ground causing a rapid drop in production that will result in employment problems. 

In fact, offshore drilling has felt the impact of an industrywide glut, particularly in the decline of its contracts-drilling business’ values and rig-use fees. Still, if the UK were to consider the situation in the US where shale oil drilling is showing real progress, it is possible for employment for gas and oil workers to see major changes. The so-called shale states are doing much better job-wise than the non-shale states. 

The problem in the UK, however, is that the progress for shale oil drilling is “glacially slow compared to other countries”, according to the head of the trade body UKoog. Author of a recent shale gas report and research director at the UK Energy Research Centre, Professor Jim Watson, also said that the experience of shale gas production in the UK is low level. 

Further training and study would have to be carried out to improve the situation. His statement is further supported by a resource from the Friends of the Earth Cymru that says that the jobs that will arise from fracking will be “low-skilled, low-paid and temporary”. For a period of 4 years, only around 200 employment opportunities are predicted. 

Nonetheless, the Shale Gas Revolution could open doors to thousands of job opportunities in agriculture, energy efficiency and renewable industry. Although tourism is one of the sectors that will feel the potential impact of shale gas drilling, there could be a mixed reaction, especially from people who come from places that fracking is banned, criticised, gained controversy or suspended. This is no reason to give up on unconventional gas activity just yet. 

As the spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change has said, “The government is working to develop the shale industry, but this is being done carefully to bring about the best outcomes for communities, the industry and investors. Shale has the potential to create jobs and make us less reliant on imports from abroad while moving to a cleaner, greener future.” 

There is little doubt that the Shale Gas Revolution will succeed in bringing in investment, employment, economic growth and energy independence. But it will have its share of problems over environmental concerns and fracking technologies. Still, it will be a long wait before its impact will be widely felt. 

Apart from the 11 exploratory wells, there are shale gas wells to be drilled in; 

Preston New Road, Cuadrilla (4 wells), Roseacre Hall, Cuadrilla (4), North-west site location TBC, iGas (1), East Midlands site location TBC, iGas (1), and Wisborough Green Celtique Energie (1). There are also shale wells to be fracked in Preston New Road, Cuadrilla (4), Roseacre Hall, Cuadrilla (4), and KM8 at Kirby Misperton, Third Energy (1).

Photo by Grant Durr on Unsplash

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