Firms are lining up to grab a slice of the action in the shale gas revolution, say business leaders.
The recent Lancashire fracking decision has prompted even more local businesses to express interest in becoming part of the shale gas supply chain
The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid MP, gave the green light for fracking to resume in Lancashire on October 6. A site off Preston New Road Little Plumpton will have four test wells drilled and fracked by the end of next year.
Javid put a decision on a second site at Roseacre on hold to see if traffic problems could be dealt with.
The move has been warmly welcomed by many in the Lancashire business community.
Since then, the number of businesses registering with the dedicated supply chain portal at www.shalegaslancashire.co.uk – maintained jointly by the North and Western Lancashire and East Lancashire Chambers of Commerce – has surged by 15 per cent, taking the total to almost 780 firms.
It said that 96 per cent of newly registered businesses in the last week are from Lancashire. Babs Murphy, a member of the Lancashire For Shale steering group and chief executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said it showed that local businesses have a real appetite for working in the shale gas supply chain. She said: “In total, almost 70 per cent of businesses that have registered their interest in supply chain work are located in Lancashire, which is a real sign of the support that shale gas enjoys amongst the Lancashire business community.
“The challenge now is to start preparing these local businesses for the opportunities that lie ahead so that they can take full advantage of them, which is exactly what Lancashire For Shale and the two Chambers of Commerce are focused on.”
The Chambers are in the process of upgrading the existing supply chain portal to ensure local firms are able to get ahead of the curve by developing relationships with Cuadrilla and their key suppliers whilst at the same time gaining a better understanding of the minimum quality and safety standards that they will be expected to meet.
According to a report by consultants at Ernst and Young in 2014, a mature shale gas industry could one day be responsible for over 64,500 jobs, of which it predicted 61 per cent would be in the supply chain.
However opponents of fracking say it will only create a fraction of that number with most of those jobs going to people already in the industry.