The SNP should abandon its “infantile” objection to shale extraction, and help explore the potential for an economic boom for Scotland in the process.
Speaking as the first shipment of US shale arrived in Grangemouth today, the Scottish Conservatives said fracking north of the border could also lead to lower energy bills.
But despite the historic delivery, no Scottish Government minister turned up to the event, a move described as “insulting” by shadow finance secretary Murdo Fraser.
Owners of the Grangemouth refinery Ineos said shale gas helped guarantee 10,000 jobs there, yet the SNP still has a moratorium on fracking in Scotland.
That stance has been described as “illogical” by experts, with others warning Scotland could miss out on a shale boom altogether.
The Scottish Conservatives have repeatedly called for the potential of fracking to be investigated, especially at a time when North Sea oil hits unprecedented struggles.
In addition, extracting shale here could help lower energy bills in the long-term, helping thousands out of fuel poverty.
Scottish Conservative shadow finance secretary Murdo Fraser said:
“The arrival of the first shale shipment is extremely welcome news for Scotland’s economy.
“It guarantees jobs at a major employer, and helps showcase to the world that Scotland can become a centre for shale refinery.
“However, all this potential will be wasted if the SNP continues its infantile objection to fracking.
“There is a startlingly blatant hypocrisy in the Scottish Government welcoming the arrival of shale, yet ruling Scotland out of ever generating its own.
“Frankly, it’s insulting that no Scottish Government minister could be bothered turning up to this arrival.
“Shale has the potential to ease the crisis being faced in North Sea oil, and reduce people’s energy bills, helping thousands out of fuel poverty.
“That’s why we think the extraction of shale in Scotland should be explored, before we miss out altogether.
“It is important that any exploration is done with strict environmental regulation, but the Scottish Government’s own advisory panel said this was possible back in 2014, and the SNP should recognise that.”
Notes to editors:
The first shipment of shale to the UK arrived at Grangemouth today:
The Scottish Conservatives have long campaigned for the potential of fracking to be examined north of the border: