The exploitation of UK shale gas has the potential to create thousands of highly-skilled engineering jobs over the next decade, one of the country’s largest engineering institutions said yesterday.
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers said 4,200 jobs a year would be created over a 10-year drilling programme.
The institution also said the development of shale gas must be coupled with the development of carbon-capture and storage technology for use with gas-fired power plants.
Tim Fox, head of energy and environment at the institution, said: “Shale gas has the potential to give some of the regions hit hardest by the economic downturn a much-needed economic boost. The engineering jobs created will also help the government’s efforts to rebalance the UK’s skewed economy. UK shale gas could make a helpful contribution to the UK’s energy security for the next two centuries, but it is not the silver bullet many claim it is.
“A general over-reliance on gas will render the UK a hostage to volatile global energy markets, with or without UK shale gas. It is vital that the government continues to develop a balanced energy policy, incorporating renewables, nuclear and fossil fuels with carbon-capture and storage.”