While 64% thought 10 years was a reasonable estimate, 13% thought it could take up to 20 years.
The study published today by international law firm Pinsent Masons, also found that 55% of respondents felt confident that Scottish independence would not impact on the industry's ability to attract overseas investment.
Local opposition to fracking and "nimbyism" was viewed by 55% as the biggest barrier to shale gas becoming a valuable domestic resource
However, 55% also thought a Scottish Government proposal for buffer zones around fracking sites would hinder the pace of development.
The survey canvassed the views of 100 prominent players in the UK shale industry.
Bob Ruddiman, the Aberdeen-based head of energy and natural resources at Pinsent Masons, said: "We are at the beginning of a shale gas revolution and we must recognise that significant investment of time and money is required to ensure success.
"The indigenous UK technological supply chain presents a genuine opportunity for us to emulate the success experienced with unconventional gas in the US where it has been truly transformational for the supply chain and consumers.
"Injecting funds into our supply chain is essential if we want to experience the type of boom seen across the Atlantic. We have the opportunity to provide this funding and focus on the infrastructure and technology we need to ensure shale gas features highly in the UK's future energy supply."