The SNP’s stance on fracking has been branded as “illogical” and “out of kilter” with its broader energy policy, according to a think-tank.
A report by Reform Scotland said with two nuclear plants set for decommissioning, shale extraction could help fill a baseload gap left.
The Scottish Government currently has a moratorium in place on fracking while it considers its future potential in the country.
According to the report, oil and gas adviser Dr Stuart Paton is said to have surmised that there were a “number of contradictions” in Scottish Government energy policy.
He said: “The Scottish Government shows unbridled support for the offshore oil and gas industry, but not onshore unconventionals.”
Paton said a decision by the Scottish Government to oppose fracking was “not a logical objection” for the Scottish Government “given its support” or the North Sea oil and gas industry.
Scottish Conservative energy spokesman Alexander Burnett said:“This is another expert exposing the SNP’s ludicrous position on fracking.
“As he rightly points out, the Scottish Government is happy to take energy from the North Sea and coal plants.
“Yet it rules out categorically the possibility of extracting energy in an unconventional way.
“Not only does that not make sense, but it risks Scotland missing out on the economic benefit fracking could bring.
“And with two nuclear plants set for decommissioning, fracking is one of very few approaches that could see people’s energy bills drop too.”