INEOS' Grangemouth facility in the UK. (Credit: INEOS)
Petrochemicals giant, INEOS, has announced plans to invest £1 billion in UK onshore Shale gas exploration and appraisal, in a move it says could “revolutionise” manufacturing.
INEOS believes that an indigenous Shale gas industry would transform UK manufacturing and that the gas can be extracted “safely and responsibly”.
Speaking recently at the Polytalk event organised by PlasticsEurope in Brussels, INEOS Chairman, Jim Ratcliffe, said that the UK was leading Shale in Europe and that a “measured approach” was needed to develop competitive energy sources.
“We cannot sacrifice our industries while pursuing other goals. Europe has to develop competitive energy sources because the ramifications not doing so are huge,” Ratcliffe said during the event.
If INEOS wins all the Petroleum Exploration and Development licences (PEDLs) it has bid for from the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC), the company would become the biggest player in the UK’s Shale gas industry.*
The vast majority of the INEOS bids are in Scotland and the North of England, where the local populations have either mining or industrial heritage.
Currently, INEOS already owns two substantial Shale licences in Scotland comprising over 120,000 acres, in addition to investing a further £400 million in an ambitious project to bring US Shale gas to Grangemouth.
The company has also announced plans to give local communities six percent of the revenues from any Shale gas it produces.
In a statement released announcing the investment intentions, Ratcliffe said: “I believe Shale gas could revolutionise UK manufacturing and I know INEOS has the resources to make it happen, the skills to extract the gas safely and the vision to realise that everyone must share in the rewards.”
In March this year, Ratcliffe expressed his concerns about the future of the European Chemical industry in an open letter to José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission.
Within this, he encouraged the European institutions “to take urgent steps to protect” this key industry, highlighting the transformation the US has undergone since embracing Shale gas, as well as the demise of the chemicals industry in Europe as drivers to embrace exploration.