A further education college will train the next generation of fracking engineers, it has been announced.
Blackpool and The Fylde College in Lancashire has been named as the hub for the National College for Onshore Oil and Gas
It is being set up by United Kingdom Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG), the body which represents the onshore oil and gas industry.
The college is the latest in a new generation of "national colleges", following the announcement of specialist institutes for advanced manufacturing, high speed rail and the nuclear industries.
It will deliver a range of advanced qualifications, up to and including honours degree programmes, and produce the highly skilled engineers and technicians of the future.
Last year Blackpool and The Fylde College was rated outstanding by Ofsted.
Principal Bev Robinson said it was a privilege to be named as the hub for one of the National Colleges.
“We are delighted to be able to contribute to the country's energy industry and ultimately production capacity. “Crucially, this will drive long-term investment in the region, meet the demand for highly skilled labour and secure local jobs.
“It is testament to the college's well-established relationships with industry partners and high-quality skills training up to and including honours degree programmes.”
Energy minister Matthew Hancock, who laid a foundation stone a foundation stone at the college's Advanced Technology Centre this week, said: “Creating a National College for Onshore Oil and Gas in Blackpool, linked to a number of other colleges across the country, we are going to help people get the skills they need to be world leaders in the field.”
A UKOOG report released earlier this year said the development of shale gas in the UK could create a £33 billion investment opportunity for British business, with the potential to create over 64,000 jobs. Energy firm Cuadrilla is currently seeking planning permission to drill, hydraulically fracture and test the flow of gas from exploration wells on two sites in the Fylde area of west Lancashire.
However, the process of releasing shale gas, known as fracking, has proved controversial, with concerns it can cause noise pollution, water contamination and even earthquakes.
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