British come to Junction for fracking expertise

The United Kingdom is looking west for information about hydraulic fracturing, the British consul general in Denver told businesses in Grand Junction on Monday.

Officials in the U.K. are looking west to Colorado for policy and political help in dealing with hydraulic fracturing as the technology comes to the fore on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, Beverly Simpson said during a conference in the Business Incubator Center sponsored by the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce.

Natural gas drives industry and heats homes in the U.K., making continued exploration and production a priority, Simpson said.

In addition to learning more about hydraulic fracturing, Simpson urged businesses in Colorado and elsewhere in the United States to begin participating in planned free-trade discussions between the two countries.

Negotiations are to begin this summer at the G-8 meetings in London with the hope being to eliminate as many barriers to trade as possible, Simpson said.

Lowered barriers promises to increase the gross domestic product of each of the participating countries by 1 to 2 percent, or about $325 billion a year, Simpson said.

Colorado companies, meanwhile, should look east for business opportunity, Simpson said.

British interests, for instance, employ about 14,000 Coloradans in the Centennial State and investments from the UK amount to about $5 billion in Colorado, she said.

The state has a strong presence in Britain, which looks to Colorado as a ski haven, but “we’re seeing a shift to summer tourism,” she said. “Colorado has been very good about marketing itself” in the U.K.

Companies based in Britain also are looking for partners and markets in the United States, Simpson said, prompting Grand Junction City Councilor Martin Chazen to encourage her to stress the business advantages of western Colorado.

“Tell them we don’t have hurricanes or tornadoes,” Chazen said.


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