MOSCOW, August 11 (RIA Novosti) – Some 57 percent of Britain's residents approved of the UK's shale gas production, a survey by market research company Populus showed Monday.
The poll of 4,000 respondents, conducted in mid-June for UK Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG) and published Monday on the Populus website, showed that 16 percent of respondents were against the gas extraction process, while 27 were undecided.
Shale gas production involves the technique of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a process where water, along with sand and chemicals, is injected into the Earth’s crust to create fractures, through which gas travels from about a mile or more underground to the surface.
The process, widely used in the United States, as well as the United Kingdom and other countries, has caused a global controversy due to the risks of underground water and soil pollution.
The survey explained that "fractures are created by pumping a fluid containing 99.5 percent water and sand and 0.5 percent approved non-hazardous chemicals down at high pressure."
In the question, Populus also quoted the British Geological Survey's estimates that the United Kingdom possessed 1,300 trillion cubic feet of natural gas from its shale.
"If just 10 percent of this could be recovered, it would be enough to meet the UK's demand for natural gas for nearly 50 years or to heat the UK's homes for over 100 years. From what you know, do you think the UK should produce natural gas from shale?" the pollster asked.
Fracking’s approval rate was correlated with respondents’ ages. The process gained support of 47 percent of the youngest population group, 18-24 years old, and 70 percent approval among the oldest group of 65 and older.
Two-thirds said Britain needed to be able to produce its own energy in order not to rely on gas from other countries, with only 1 percent disagreeing and 5 percent unsure.
“This survey shows that most people across the country think that shale gas should be developed. More than four out of five of us heat our homes with gas, and Britain’s shale resource gives us the opportunity to become less dependent on foreign energy supplies, create tens of thousands of jobs and support our manufacturing industries," UKOOG CEO Ken Cronin said in a statement, with the comment on the poll's results published on the company's website.
About 60 percent of the population either agreed or strongly agreed to natural gas from shale "as long as it is properly regulated" and "to see natural gas production from shale go ahead as long as it was part of an energy mix that included other sources such as renewable energy."
"Shale gas and renewables are complementary, and our survey confirms that the public would like to see a balanced mix that includes both sources of energy," Cronin said
Greenpeace said the survey was biased and flawed, British media reported.
Fracking has been widely criticized in Britain lately. A series of protests was organized across northern England in an attempt to garner government support against energy companies' fracking activities, especially where historical sites and national parks are concerned.