Cuadrilla chief executive Francis Egan said recently it was possible “tens of thousands” of jobs could be created if gas could be successfully extracted from under the Lancashire countryside.
And he promised that his gas exploration company would do everything it could to recruit and offer work locally so the whole county would see the economic benefits.
Today, Greenpeace national campaigners poured scorn on the projected figures, and said it could create as few as four jobs per well if fracking was approved in the county.
Greenpeace UK campaigner Lawrence Carter said: “Like loaves and fishes, the numbers of fracking jobs peddled by the industry never stop multiplying.
“They started off with a wildly optimistic 6,000 jobs and now Cuadrilla’s boss is promising tens of thousands of them – a six-figure estimate may be next.
“The truth is that no one knows how many jobs, if any, fracking will create. The lesson from the US is that the pie-in-the-sky figures bandied about by the fracking industry there have been dramatically slashed. Academic research shows that wells in the Marcellus Shale created less than four new jobs each.”
Independent surveys have suggested that in the UK, shale gas could create 70,000 jobs. But all that depends on the amount of gas and the number of wells.
Mr Carter added: “With fracking, people in Lancashire are being sold a fantasy. Government figures show the low-carbon sector is already providing work for over 11,000 people in the North West.
“Clean energy is the most sensible and safest way forward to lower energy bills, create jobs, and ultimately prevent more extreme weather like floods.”