Shale gas body fights for SMEs

Action: Lee Petts
Action: Lee Petts
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A newly-formed trade body is calling on the Government to ensure that smaller British firms don’t lose out on the potentially multi-billion pound shale gas supply chain to larger multinationals.

Lancashire businessman Lee Petts has been appointed chief executive of the Onshore Energy Services Group, launched in London yesterday.

The group believes there are three key reasons why small companies need to play a big role if shale gas, and other forms of energy extraction, are to be a British success story:

n Small companies are much more likely to recruit and train new people as they grow to meet additional demand for their products and services.

n For onshore oil and gas to be commercially viable, well costs need to be kept to a minimum. Existing supply chain SMEs offer all the right capabilities, and can deliver them more flexibly and at a lower cost.

n Small British companies which pay their taxes in Britain, will contribute more to the exchequer than overseas companies or larger UK rivals with complex tax structures.

The group is worried that without coordinated action, there is a risk that the supply chain will come to be dominated by large overseas companies that fly their people and equipment in, and their profits home with them.

Cuadrilla has applied to drill for shale gas at two sites in Lancashire.

Mr Petts, boss of Preston-based Resmol, said: “Britain is a nation of hardworking SMEs that, together, make up over 99 per cent of all businesses. We want to see British supply chain SMEs, especially in communities where shale gas extraction takes place, grow and flourish alongside the developing onshore oil and gas industry just like they have in the aerospace sector.”