Industry

Shale will save the UK from becoming world theme park – Ineos

The UK risks become a low-paid theme park for the world if it does not develop domestic shale gas, the commercial director of chemical manufacturer, Ineos, told a conference in London this morning.

Patrick-ErwinPatrick Erwin said: “If we [in the UK] want to do things we need energy. It is just a fact”. Without it, he said, “we will become a theme park for the rest of the world to enjoy.”

Ineos is preparing to import US ethane into Grangemouth as a feedstock for plastic (see Imports below). In May, it described itself as the UK’s third largest shale gas company after acquiring licence areas in north west England, the east midlands and Scotland. It has been holding public meetings about extracting shale gas in central Scotland.

Mr Erwin said if people in the UK wanted plastic they had to decide where the raw material should be produced. He asked: “Do you want to produce hydrocarbons in a highly regulated environment or in countries where standards are poor environmentally, socially and in terms of human rights?”

“Just turning the UK into a theme park environmentally is massively irresponsible. You are exporting the problem. If you call yourself an environmentalist that is just ludicrous.”

He added: “Jobs in a theme park are not very well paid. If you want to work in hotels or theme parks, there are not many well paid jobs. If you want well paid jobs you have to have a mixed economy.”

Consulting communities

Mr Erwin said talking to communities in potential shale gas areas was a long-term process, lasting months or even years.

“It is really important that you stand up in front of communities”, he said. “We have a lot of people who genuinely believe this [shale gas exploitation] is a real problem. You have to let them speak. You have to debate with them”.

He said the small number of recently drilled wells was a problem for the industry.

“When people see the shops and hotels are full and the lorry movements are well-managed, they will say ‘What was all the fuss about?’ Until people see this, it is very difficult to use that argument.”

Imports

Mr Erwin said Ineos would shortly be launching ships that would bring ethane into its Grangemouth chemical plant from shale gas wells in the Marcellus region of the US.

3 replies »

  1. Is Mr Irwin really presenting us this absurd false choice “Do you want to produce hydrocarbons in a highly regulated environment or in countries where standards are poor environmentally, socially and in terms of human rights?” with a straight face?

    Where exactly is this “highly regulated environment” he speaks of? What exactly is he trying to tell us about the US “where standards are poor environmentally, socially and in terms of human rights”, because that’s surely where most of the gas is coming from into INEOS’s new inbound facility isn’t it?

    I quote INEOS’s own website “The tank is designed to hold over 60,000 cubic metres of ethane brought from the United States”

    The Reverend Roberts (see July 13 comment) is fond of accusing opponents of fracking of scare-mongering but this sort of rubbish is scaremongering of the worst sort.

    This the type of absurdity that pro-fracking causes

  2. Unfortunately Mr Hobson is wrong because:
    1.UK is one of the most highly regulated countries in the world.
    2. US is regulated but not as highly as the UK AND hydrocarbons ARE imported into the UK from less regulated countries.
    While Mr Erwin’s rhetoric may be slightly enthusiastic and shale gas will not solve all the problems, it will certainly help.

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