Fracking will be widespread across the Lothians within five years, according to two US-based political heavyweights.
Highly-respected American commentators Jason Boxt and Robert Moran, who are in Edinburgh for this weekend’s Festival of Politics, said they expected Scotland to follow the American trend where fracking has surged in popularity.
Protesters in England have reacted angrily to exploratory drilling probes, with eco- warriors doing battle with police.
And while those scenes of anger could be repeated here, Mr Boxt and Mr Moran believe within half a decade people here will be receptive to fracking, as the benefits become clear in a carbon copy of how the industry has been received in the United States.
Mr Boxt, who is aligned to the Democrats, said: “I feel like Scotland is today where the United States was maybe four or five years ago. In the United States, there’s very enthusiastic support from the right-wing [parties] and then you see in the centre there’s a resignation that fracking is here to stay.
“The fear mongering that we saw in the United States a few years back has dissipated. Quite honestly the scientific technology has grown at a pace that may not be matched in a lot of other industries – on how to access, extract and how to synthesise natural gas.
“It has come on so quickly that it’s deflated the sails of those who have been anti-fracking.
“I would be shocked if Scotland wasn’t supportive of fracking in five years.”