Following recent announcements regarding the scale of the shale gas reserves in the UK there is still significant work to be done if the UK is to mirror in any way the US shale gas boom.

The survey suggests while 70% believe Chancellor George Osborne is right to offer incentives to those communities where revenues from hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling are generated, the majority – 51% - believe this is not enough to win the public debate.

When offered choices on what the Government should be doing to win the public debate to allow more onshore drilling using fracking techniques, education on the economic benefits of the technology followed by job creation were viewed as the two most important messages to promote. None of the respondents flagged the need to provide additional incentives to exploration companies.

More than two thirds (70%) of the respondents believed that based on experiences in the US, environmental concerns should not be allowed to block the development of the industry in Britain. Only 12% believed they should, with 18% being undecided.

Dominic Simpson, Head of Sales of Rigzone in EMEA and APAC regions, commented,  “In the US, shale gas extraction has helped stimulate a low cost energy boom that has seen the cost of natural gas effectively drop by 50% since 2007. For the UK to reap a shale gas dividend, it is clear more will need to be done to win the public debate and ensure exploration companies pursue the sizeable onshore market opportunity.  The industry has talent that is either experienced or enthusiastic to take on the fracking challenge which is likely to create additional jobs.”

Indeed, 42% of the UK oil and gas professionals have experience in the hydraulic fracturing arena – reflecting in part the use of hydraulic fracturing already in the UK offshore market, as well as in overseas markets.  Meanwhile of the 58% that had no experience, the vast majority of those professionals would like to get involved in the sector. 

Encouragingly, over a third (36%) of respondents believe their organisation will be introducing or expanding hydraulic fracturing related activity in the UK over the next two years. Thirty per cent, however, reckon they would not, with nearly a quarter being undecided.

From July 2 to July 8, 2013, Rigzone surveyed UK-based oil and gas professionals. Nearly 200 responded to the survey, with 21% at organisations that have fracking-related operations in Europe and another 13% with operations in another part of the world.