The head of Aberdeen’s new oil technology centre said people were missing their chance to have an “intelligent debate” on fracking in Scotland.
Colette Cohen, chief executive of the Oil and Gas Technology Centre, said it did not make sense to talk about whether fracking was right for Scotland until data from UK onshore drilling operations has been gathered.
“We’re talking about moratoriums, but we don’t yet know what the opportunities are,” Ms Cohen told the audience at Energy Voice’s New North Sea event in Aberdeen last night.
“We have the potential here, but we’re only going to start getting real data now that drilling is taking place in England.
“Only once we’ve got that data should we have that debate. We should be allowed to understand the opportunities, then have an intelligent debate. I’m frustrated because we’ve allowed emotion to eliminate an intellectual debate on what’s right for UK energy security.”
A moratorium on unconventional oil and gas development in Scotland has been in place since January 2015 while the government investigates evidence on its potential impact.
A consultation on fracking was launched earlier this year and finished at the end of May. A final decision is expected to be made by ministers by the end of the year.
Andy Samuel, chief executive of the Oil and Gas Authority, agreed that debating fracking was “academic” until a few wells have been tested in the UK, as the geology in the US is not the same.
Mr Samuel, who was involved in US fracking operations earlier in his career, said it was important to understand the geology and the potential first.