MYTH #10: “Fracking will create 64,000 jobs.”

Renewables vs fracking

FACT: This 64,00o new jobs from fracking figure is quoted time and time again by fracking companies and supporters of fracking.

This headline figure comes from a report commissioned by fracking industry trade body UKOOG in April 2014, as reported here in the Guardian. This draws upon a report commissioned by the Institute of Directors (IoD), and partly funded by fracking company Cuadrilla, from the previous year, which had a higher estimate for job creation of 74,000 jobs. You can read an eight-page summary or the full report here.

However, what the politicians don’t tell you is how this headline figure is arrived at. The report’s estimate of64,500 jobs relates to a best-case scenario of 4,000 fracking wells in 2024-26 (requiring a total spend of £33 billion). However, only about 6,100 of these would be direct jobs in the gas industry. The extra 58,400jobs are described as indirect or induced jobs, with little explanation how this figure is arrived at.

Compare this to a similar report commissioned by DECC, which was compiled by AMEC Foster Wheeler (an engineering consultancy firm that has previously provided environmental reports for Cuadrilla). AMEC Foster Wheeler estimated that only 15,900 to 24,300 full-time jobs – direct and indirect – would be created at peak construction by the shale gas industry. You can read about AMEC Foster Wheeler’s estimate in the Financial Times, You can read a summary of this report here, which includes the slightly higher estimated figure of 16,000 – 32,000 full-time jobs created. Here is the complete report if you have a lot of time on your hands.

According the DECC Summary, this figure would be the result of a ‘high activity scenario’ in the Strategic EA assumes that a substantial amount of shale gas is produced during the 2020s, (4.32–8.64 trillion cubic feet), which is up to three times current gas demand in the UK.

This is to be compared to the 27,000 jobs already lost or under threat because of the government’s cuts in support to the solar industry alone.

The aforementioned AMEC Foster Wheeler report, which was compiled for DECC, also points out that “the jobs would typically be short term, at between four and nine years.” and that at the only well to be fracked in the UK, Preese Hall, Lancashire, “only 17 per cent of jobs had gone to local people.” 

So, fracking is not going to produce many jobs, and even if it did, they would be short term and very few would go to local people.

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