Scottish Conservative energy spokesman Murdo Fraser MSP said: "The move towards shale gas is accelerating, and we need to see action now from the Scottish Government to make sure we don't get left behind."
Speakers at the first major Scottish conference on fracking, hosted by law firm Pinsent Masons, included government representatives from London and Edinburgh, industry figures and academic experts. Professor Gordon Hughes of Edinburgh University described the current means of distributing a potential financial upside arising from taxation of onshore production as "a rotten system".
Stephen O'Rourke of Wood Mackenzie, sounded a note of caution: "Fifty shale wells have been drilled in Poland but we have yet to see a big commercial success in Europe. We can talk about this shale gas being there, but until you can explore, find and prove economic viability, we are going to be quite conservative about what we think can be produced."
Dr Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland said: "We already know about five times as much coal, oil and gas around the world as we need to guarantee catastrophic climate change, the last thing we need is to go looking for more.
"The Scotland Government has already said unconventional gas is not needed to deliver on their energy policy, because they are sensibly getting on with exploiting our huge resources in wind, wave and tidal energy."