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Trade association hits back at MEP after US fracked gas arrives on Isle of Grain

PUBLISHED: 09:14 13 July 2017 | UPDATED: 13:05 13 July 2017

Fracking

Fracking

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UK Onshore Oil & Gas said the UK needed to utilise its own supply of gas

An industry body has hit back after an MEP slammed the arrival of US fracked gas in the county last weekend as “a sad day for Kent, the UK, the US and the planet”.

Green MEP Keith Taylor said he feared for the future of the environment after the first shipment of liquefied natural gas was delivered to the Isle of Grain on Saturday, reportedly enough to meet around half the UK’s average daily summer demand.

Ken Cronin, chief executive of UK Onshore Oil & Gas, the trade association for the onshore oil and gas industry, agreed that importing was not the way forward, but insisted the UK needs to rely on gas for decades to come.

He told us: “With an estimated 1,329 trillion cubic feet of gas a mile under our feet, it would be both cleaner and greener to utilise our own supply instead of shipping gas in across oceans and continents.

“Beyond the environmental advantages are the economic benefits, with British onshore gas set to provide a boost to British businesses, an estimated 64,000 British jobs, a new stream of tax revenue to support our public services and on a local level, significant investment into community projects.

“By importing our gas from overseas, we lose out on these benefits and of course the environment suffers due to the carbon cost involved in transportation.

“Instead of outsourcing these jobs and economic gains to Qatar and the US, we should take the opportunity now to build a British onshore oil and gas industry, giving us a much-needed boost in security of supply and reducing our increasing reliance on foreign gas imports.

“We believe that the UK energy mix going forward needs a balance of renewables, oil, nuclear and gas to deliver upon our energy needs while meeting our climate change targets.

“It simply isn’t feasible at present, contrary to what Mr Taylor thinks, to operate in a world without oil and gas.

“Both are vital feedstocks for industry, providing the materials for everything from toothpaste and medical equipment to tennis balls and cosmetics.

“The chemicals industry alone employs 500,000 people across the UK. Easy to store, oil and gas also adds essential flexibility to our electricity grid as it can be deployed quickly and efficiently.”

Mr Taylor said he was concerned by the dangers of fracking - a hugely controversial method of gas extraction which involves firing water into rocks below the surface and forcing out the gas they release to harness for energy.

However, Mr Croin insists the technique could provide invaluable economic benefits.

He said: “In contrast to Mr Taylor’s emotive statements such as ‘[the] shocking ecological damage done by fracking’, there is a compendium of research that has shown that with a strong regulatory environment like the UK’s, hydraulic fracturing, a known technique that has been used in oil and gas production for many decades, could help build a safe and promising British onshore industry, giving a boost to our national economy and the local communities that host it.

“If Mr Taylor or his colleagues in the Green Party would like to learn more about how a British onshore oil and gas industry will ultimately assist the decarbonisation of the UK and be an essential boon to our national and local economies, we would be happy to meet to discuss our respective views.”

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