Wood Group keen for UK shale fracking boost

OIL services firm Wood Group still hopes to play a part in a UK shale gas industry if the public can be persuaded to support it.

Speaking to The Scotsman after the firm’s cautious guidance sent shares into a tail spin, chief executive Bob Keiller said Wood’s experience in the United States is that environmental concerns over fracking have not materialised.

His comments come as protestors targeted Cuadrilla, the firm attempting to develop shale gas in the UK, leading some to question whether the industry will ever be viable on this side of the Atlantic.

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Keillor said: “If and when society deems it’s the right or wrong thing to do, if it was to go ahead we would love to play a part in that.”

Of the protests, he said: “We’ve seen the same things happening in the US but substantially, and in all of the operations we’re involved in, we don’t see any of these concerns coming to bear. People have legitimate concerns and therefore this is not a straightforward technological or economic discussion, but I do hope people realise the impact it’s had on energy prices in the US has been a huge stimulus to their whole economy and has created lots and lots of jobs.”

The booming shale gas and oil industry in North America helped pre-tax profits at Aberdeen-based Wood Group jump 16.6 per cent to $186.6 million (£119m) in the first half of the year. But a warning that some of its biggest projects were coming to a close took the edge of the performance.

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