An oil and gas association representing onshore exploration and production companies has recruited its first chief executive as part of expansion plans.
The United Kingdom Onshore Operators Group (UKOOG) said it was widening its scope to reflect the increased importance of onshore oil and gas exploration to the UK economy.
This follows the UK Government’s lifting of a ban on the controversial practice of fracturing rocks in shale reservoirs to release gas, and creating a special office to deal with onshore oil and gas production.
The ban came into force after fracturing by shale gas firm Cuadrilla was found to have caused mini-earthquakes.
However, not all onshore oil and gas production involves fracturing and the industry is expected to grow significantly in coming years.
Ken Cronin is UKOOG’s new chief executive. He was previously at communications firm Kreab Gavin Anderson and has worked with companies including IGas, Gazprom and British Energy.
He said: “This is a critical time for the future development of the onshore oil and gas industry in the UK with production set to grow significantly for the first time since the North Sea oil boom of the 1970s.
“The industry has come together to ensure that the most stringent standards are in place for safety, environmental management, exploration and production.
“My role is to work with companies in the industry and all stakeholders to ensure that the industry can make a meaningful contribution to the UK economy by creating jobs, skills and producing energy that will help British business and households while at the same time working in partnership with the communities it operates in.”
Oil and gas has been produced from sites on the UK mainland for nearly 100 years and UKOOG has existed as a trade body since 1996.
The UK already has western Europe’s biggest onshore oil and gas field in Wytch Farm in Dorset.
However, the emergence of new sources of hydrocarbons from sources such as shale gas and coal bed methane point to a much larger role for the onshore oil and gas industry in the energy mix for the UK economy, said UKOOG.
David Robottom, UKOOG chairman and chief financial officer of Third Energy: “The expanded role of UKOOG shows the commitment of UKOOG members to open and transparent dialogue with all organisations and individuals involved in the debate about the UK’s future energy needs.
“Ken’s background in communications, investor relations and finance will be invaluable as the industry plays an increasing role in the supply of affordable energy to the UK economy in the future.”