Public Attitudes towards the UK Oil, Gas and Chemical Industries

In order to understand the perceptions and attitudes towards the Oil, Gas and Chemical industries in the UK, the Institution undertook an online omnibus survey, interviewing a nationally representative sample of 2,034 adults living in Great Britain.

Overall, the survey results are positive. Answers to all seven questions lie between neutral and slightly positive. The general public also feel that the government should support and promote OGC. The public are most positive on the subjects of:

  • operational safety (Q1)
  • economy (Q3)
  • government-support (Q5)

Answers fell more toward neutral on the subjects of:

  • environmentally responsible / green (Q2)
  • building a new plant locally (Q7)

The survey showed that the public gave the lowest positive answer on the question of building a new plant locally within 3 miles of their house (Q7). All regions except Scotland are neutral on Q7. Scotland is more positive toward OGC on the economic benefit and environmentally responsibility, this may contribute to their slightly positive answers on Q7.

The survey has however highlighted several shortcomings in communication between the OGC industries and the public. They are as follows:

  1. 21% of all answers are “Don’t know”, i.e. 28% from female and 15% from male.
  2. The female demographic is slightly less positive than the male, and more likely to answer “Don’t know”.
  3. Younger age groups (i.e. 18-44) are less positive, and more likely to answer “Don’t know”.

Although the general public is positive toward UK OGC industries, OGC professionals need to improve communication with all groups of the public. By opening up communication routes and providing relevant information, it may increase interest in working in the sector as well as reduce concerns over having large facilities near homes.


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