For frack's sake: Jim Ratcliffe's Ineos wants to invest $1bn in UK shale gas

Emma Haslett
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The UK's shale gas industry is still in its early stages (Source: Getty)

Jim Ratcliffe's Ineos has announced plans to spend $1bn (£639m) in shale gas exploration and production in the UK.

The company has spent the past few months bidding for licenses to explore sites in Scotland and the North of England. It said that if it wins all the licenses it has applied for, it will become the largest player in the UK's shale gas market.

Ineos is already the proud owner of two "substantial" shale licenses in Scotland, which cover 12,000 acres, in addition to plans to expand its plant at Grangemouth to import US shale gas.

In an effort to quell criticism, the company also announced plans to give local communities six per cent of the revenues it makes from the shale it produces, which will "typically" come in at £375m.

Although fracking, the process used to extract shale gas, is commonly used in the US, the UK's industry is yet to make any significant headway, largely because of vociferous protests from residents in the areas around fracking sites.

Although it is not known how much shale gas is under the UK, last year the British Geological Survey suggested the Bowland-Hodder formation, in northern England, may contain some 37.7 trillion cubic metres of gas, enough to supply the UK's gas needs for at least 40 years.

Ratcliffe, Ineos' founder and chairman, said the industry could transform UK industry.

I want Ineos to be the biggest player in the UK Shale gas industry. I think Shale gas could revolutionise UK manufacturing as it has done in the USA. I believe 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.

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