It was good to meet earlier today with stakeholders at Greater Manchester’s Chamber of Commerce to discuss the opportunities presented through shale.
I reiterated the Government’s commitment to a low-carbon and affordable future for energy, and highlighted that gas, the cleanest fossil fuel, still meets a third of our energy demand and we will need it for many years to come. It is vital that we seize the opportunity to explore the UK’s shale gas potential, while maintaining the very highest safety and environmental standards.
We have established those standards as world leaders in extracting oil and gas over many decades. Shale can and will be developed safely. The UK has more than 50 years’ experience of safely regulating oil and gas exploration. We have world-class independent regulators, who will not allow operations that are dangerous to local communities or to the environment to go ahead.
Exploring for shale will also help create jobs and grow local economies. Investment in shale could reach £33 billion and support as many as 65,000 jobs in the oil, gas, construction, engineering and chemicals sectors.
As I outlined at the roundtable today, communities will gain £100,000 per explored well, and 1 per cent of revenues, which could be worth £5 million to £10 million for the average 10-well site.
I am very grateful to Chris Fletcher, the Chamber of Commerce’s Policy & Marketing Director, for having brought the stakeholders together.