UKOOG announced Monday an agreement with the GMB union to support the exploration and development of shale gas in the UK.
The two organizations have agreed a joint charter on shale gas, which focuses on safety, skills and supply chain development. As part of the agreement, UKOOG and GMB will work to ensure that the industry works transparently and in an environmentally responsible way.
UKOOG Chief Executive Ken Cronin commented in an organization release:
"I am delighted to be working with the GMB, their history is immersed in the gas industry and we have a lot of common interest. Natural gas from shale has the potential to generate many thousands of highly skilled well paid jobs. Gas is used for heating and cooking in over 80 percent of the homes and workplaces in the country. Gas is also an important feedstock for the chemical industry, which employs tens of thousands of people in the North of England. It is essential for the economic well-being and the energy security of the UK that we get on with exploration to determine the extent of the gas resources we have in this country."
GMB National Secretary Gary Smith said in a union statement:
"Having access to gas is a matter of national security. Our homes and large parts of British industry need gas; any suggestion to the contrary is just not real world. The truth is we are going to be using gas including shale gas for a long time to come. Given these facts we need to honestly consider the moral and environmental issues about transporting gas, including shale gas, across oceans and continents and being increasingly dependent on gas from countries with regulatory and environmental standards lower than ours. GMB believes it is essential that we continue to debate the merits of shale gas and that this is done soberly. The UK has serious issues about energy security and they need to be considered in any debate on shale.
"GMB has a 126 years involvement in the gas industry. GMB has a fantastic track record in ensuring we have the highest standards of health and safety and skills in the UK gas industry. If the shale gas industry does take off we will bring all that experience to bear, to ensure the industry operates at the very highest standards in terms of the environment and health and safety. Integral to this is having a highly skilled workforce and we will work with the industry to make sure we have levels of skills that are absolutely second to none."
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