Ineos threats over fracking

Perhaps the least surprising energy story of recent weeks has been INEOS threatening the future of their Grangemouth plant if unconventional gas extraction (fracking) is not allowed in Scotland.

We were told at the time of the last crisis by INEOS that their business plan was based on importing gas from the USA. Many of us were sceptical, given the likely availability of shale gas so close to Grangemouth.

In fact in 2013 we warned, “The link with fracking is that his Grangemouth plant sits right in the middle of the central belt shale gas area. Using this gas would obviate the need to ship in shale gas from the states. We are bound to speculate that his next line will be to threaten (again) that without local gas the plant is no longer ‘viable’. Central belt residents – you have been warned.

Now, surprise, surprise, we are told by Ineos Upstream chairman Gary Haywood that buying in the gas from abroad was not a long-term solution. Speaking at a conference in Edinburgh, he said it would be feasible to get a shale industry up and running in the UK “within three to five years…… Can we do that efficiently enough to make Grangemouth make sense in the future? That is a real challenge.”

Ineos has bought licences for shale gas exploration across 700 square miles (1,126 sq km) of land in central Scotland, but the government moratorium has left a question mark over the future of the industry locally. When asked if the plant would have a future without an indigenous supply of gas, Mr Haywood said it would be “very difficult”. He said: “When you are shipping in material of that nature you are always at a disadvantage.”

Amazing that this wasn’t pointed out when Ineos was ‘selling’ us the 2013 plan and taking substantial amounts of taxpayers money. And let’s not forget that Ineos’s owner is another corporate who relocated profits to Switzerland to avoid tax.

MSP’s should not be swayed on fracking by the shifting sands that is the latest Ineos threat. There is a strong safety, environmental and economic case against fracking and that is the correct focus for legislators.

 

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  • Posted in: Gas

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