Shale oil costs

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David Stevenson states that “Scotland’s shale oil industry was killed by a UK government, which imposed a higher tax on the petrol it produced than on petrol from other sources”, (Letters, 15 December). Bearing in mind that shale was the only source of oil in the UK until North Sea oil first came ashore in quantity in the 1970s, what “other sources” might he be referring to?

Shale oil succumbed, in the end, to the vastly greater volumes of cheaper oil that were being produced overseas, especially in the Middle East, despite British government support.

Perhaps Dr Stevenson’s finger slipped on his keyboard when he meant to say that the shale oil industry eventually closed due to cheap, foreign crude oil despite a preferential rate of tax introduced by the British government, but that would not go down well with the Nationalist knitting circle that likes a good story that talks Britain down, whether it is true or not.

Andrew HN Gray

Craiglea Drive


Trevor Rigg makes an emotional attack on shale gas and would prefer offshore wind farms and tidal turbines. (Letters, 14 December). Shale gas has revolutionised the US economy and electricity prices have been halved – prices there are a quarter of those paid in Europe. Shale gas has also lowered America’s emissions.

Fracking will end our dependence on volatile nations and expensive imports, thus protecting UK consumers and industry, while lowering prices. The UK is sitting on gas reserves of up to 300 trillion cubic feet – enough for 120 years. China has reserves of 886 trillion – enough for 200 years and the rest of the world has abundant reserves. Does Mr Rigg expect them all to heed his warnings?

Further, unlike wind turbines, drilling and fracking rigs would be on site for only a few months, not 20 years. Once a well is completed, the structures are dismantled and all that is left is the well head, which can be fitted into a large garden shed.

Shale gas will become the greatest contribution to Britain’s energy supplies since the North Sea boom of the 1970s.

Clark Cross

Springfield Road

Linlithgow, West Lothian