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UK Shale Industry ‘May Create More Than 100,000 Jobs’

Tim Webb, The Times

A shale gas boom in the UK would create more than 100,000 jobs but the industry will take ten years to get going, according to new research.

Poyry Management Consulting said that the shale gas industry would eventually employ between 40,000 and 60,000 people and a “much larger” number of indirect jobs for workers in the supply chain and service sector.

The figures, based on research by Poyry, is the most bullish estimate yet. It eclipses a report in summer from the Institute of Directors, which was financed by Cuadrilla, the shale gas producer, which estimated that the industry would create up to 74,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Environmentalists and other opponents questioned the credibility of that report because of its links to Cuadrilla. The Institute of Directors report was also based on a low estimate of the UK’s shale gas deposits of 309 trillion cubic feet.

Soon afterwards the British Geological Survey concluded that the North alone held an estimated 1,300 trillion cubic feet.

John Williams, senior principal at Poyry, said that the industry would create these jobs if Britain were eventually able to produce at peak the equivalent to about one third of Britain’s forecast gas needs, which he said was realistic. Experts believe that production will peak in the 2030s.

Speaking to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, which has launched an inquiry into the economic impact on UK energy policy of shale gas and oil, Mr Williams suggested that the jobs would be “highly skilled and highly paid” if the British industry developed in a similar way to that of the United States.

However, he cautioned that the UK would have to wait some time for a jobs boom to materialise. Significant production would not come onstream until the mid-2020s, he said.

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