United Kingdom Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG) and the GMB have announced the agreement of a joint charter on shale gas, focusing on safety, skills and supply chain development.
The charter underlines a joint commitment to ensure:
- that gas is recognised as essential to British industry and households;
- gas has a key role in both the UK’s future energy supply and the move to a low-carbon energy future;
- an increased understanding about the importance of gas and the long history of exploration and production onshore in Britain;
- the establishment of an industry safety forum to build on the already strong regulatory and safety foundations in the sector;
- that skilled jobs are created and local communities benefit through the employment and training opportunities this brings; and
- that British manufacturing and other supply chains have the opportunity to benefit from the development of the shale gas industry.
GMB has also welcomed UKOOG’s development of the National College for Onshore Oil and Gas. As part of the agreement, GMB will have a seat on the operation and advisory council of the college.
UKOOG chief executive Ken Cronin said: “I am delighted to be working with the GMB. Its history is immersed in the gas industry and we have a lot of common interest. Natural gas from shale has the potential to generate many thousands of highly skilled, well-paid jobs.
“Gas is used for heating and cooking in over 80% of the homes and workplaces in the country. Gas is also an important feedstock for the chemical industry, which employs tens of thousands of people in the north of England.
“It is essential for the economic wellbeing and energy security of the UK that we get on with exploration to determine the extent of the gas resources we have.”
GMB national secretary Gary Smith added: “Having access to gas is a matter of national security. Our homes and large parts of British industry need gas; any suggestion to the contrary is just not real world.
“The truth is we are going to be using gas – including shale gas – for a long time to come. Given this, we need to honestly consider the moral and environmental issues about transporting gas, including shale gas, across oceans and continents and being increasingly dependent on gas from countries with regulatory and environmental standards lower than ours.”