Expert says fracking could harm Aberdeen’s oil and gas ‘capital’ status

Fracking protestors

Fracking could have a detrimental impact on the North-east oil and gas industry, an Aberdeen academic has warned.

The onshore fracking process has led to huge public protests over the potential environmental impact of blasting gas from shale rock using water and sand, including a major demonstration at Barton Moss in Greater Manchester.

Professor of petroleum accounting at Robert Gordon University, Alex Russell, has said fracking could have a hugely detrimental impact on Aberdeen’s position as Europe’s oil and gas capital.

He said: “Fracking takes away the impetus for the UK Government to focus on maintaining what we have here in the North-east in future.

“The more countries that frack the more the gas price goes down and the less chance of the North Sea (oil and gas industry) surviving.

“We will see the oil and gas giants moving into decommissioning.”

Prof Russell said the impact of fracking could mean the loss of Aberdeen’s biggest job creator.

He said: “If they close the fields down it will be impossible to go back into the North Sea – it makes no sense to jeopardise that to extract gas.

“If fracking takes off in England we will see people move out of Aberdeen.

“We will see a shift of jobs from Aberdeen down south to England to places that don’t need jobs.”

“Shale gas is not going away and it’s easy to get the reserves out anytime.

“There would be a transfer of jobs from the North Sea to inland.

“Gas is at a very low price right now so fracking doesn’t make economic sense as it would maintain the current low price by flooding the market.

“We should be focusing on renewable energy, which we have demonstrated is a viable proposition.

However, an Oil and Gas UK spokeswoman said the UK needs a strong energy mix.

She said: “Gas coming into the UK from any source is positive.

“Gas heats most of the UK’s homes, it’s very important to the energy mix and we would
support the development of gas in the UK.

“We’re a keen supporter of a diverse energy supply and that involves various sources, including non-UK.”

When asked about the potential impact of fracking on Aberdeen jobs, she said fracking was a potential job source, as is
renewable energy.

She added: “The UK Government has shown it is committed to the oil industry by supporting the Maximising Economic Recovery Wood report.”