INEOS plans private shale gas meetings for parish councillors

INEOS licences

Red areas are INEOS licences issued last year. Brown areas are other 14th Round licences and grey are oil and gas licences issued earlier

INEOS is promoting its view of the benefits of shale gas to parish and town councils in its English exploration areas at a series of daytime meetings next month.

Opponents of the company’s activities have described the meetings as a “sham consultation” and “a slick PR exercise”. They have criticised the events for excluding the public and any councillors who have day jobs.

The company has arranged three meetings in licence areas awarded during last year’s 14th round (see map). They are on consecutive dates during May at Chesterfield in Derbyshire, Frodsham in Cheshire and Malton in North Yorkshire (Details at the end of this post).

The invitations, sent to clerks of Parish and Town Councils, say the meetings are “part of INEOS’ commitment to open, transparent and ongoing communication with the communities in its licence areas.”

Shale benefits

The chief executive of INEOS Shale, Gary Haywood, who signed the invitation, said:

“I would like to explain the role that an indigenous source of onshore gas from shale has to play as a raw material and source of secure energy for manufacturing. In doing so we will highlight how this has the potential to benefit the economy and the everyday lives of people in the UK.”

Mr Haywood also referred to the company’s proposed community benefits package which would give 4% of shale gas production revenue to people living above fracked wells and 2% to the “wider community close to its operations”.

A spokesperson for the company said:

“The purpose of the meetings is to introduce INEOS and INEOS Shale to Parish and Town Councillors, explain our view of the shale opportunity, what is involved and answer questions from the audience.”

“We are aware of the important role Parish and Town Councillors play in the community and wish to include them as part of our wide ranging and ongoing community engagement.”

The spokesperson said the meetings were “informational in nature and in no way replace full consultation as and when physical activity on the ground is contemplated.” Other members of the INEOS Shale team would attend, he said, and there would be exhibition materials and handouts.

Last autumn, INEOS organised 18 public drop-in meetings in its licence areas in central Scotland. In an interview with DrillOrDrop, Tom Pickering, operations director of INEOS Upstream, could not put a cost on those events but said it would be significant and would run to hundreds of thousands of pounds.


The Frack Free Dee coalition has advertised what it calls a peaceful demonstration outside the meeting in Frodsham Details. Another demonstration is planned outside the meeting in Chesterfield. Details.

Frack Free Ryedale described the meeting in Malton as a “slick PR exercise”. It said:

“Some parish councillors, who are all volunteers, will be unable to attend because they have day jobs, and the wider public are being treated with utter contempt as they are completely excluded from this sham consultation.”

“Those councillors who are able to attend need to ask the many awkward questions about the real impact of fracking on local communities that INEOS hope to avoid by excluding the wider public.”

Ian Conlon, of Frack Free Ryedale, also criticised INEOS’s community benefit proposals. He said:

“It is interesting to note that payments in the United States range from 12% to 21% of revenues, so INEOS is also short changing the public in their effort to bribe people to accept fracking.”

Bassetlaw against Fracking, which campaigns in north Nottinghamshire, wrote on its website:

“If you are on one of the parish councils and have an invite you will no doubt be slavering at the prospect of meeting Gary and the boys from across the pond. The rest of us must harbour the concerns that a company with a dubious history of compliance with safety matters at Grangemouth and elsewhere is proposing activity with a technology that is barely understood and tested in the UK.”

Private briefings

This isn’t the first time oil and gas companies have had informal meetings with local councillors. A Freedom of Information request by Frack Free North Yorkshire revealed that Pickering Town Council had a “private informal briefing” from Cuadrilla on 29th February 2016. The council confirmed there were no minutes or attendance list at the meeting.

Last month, the Driffield Times & Post reported that Driffield Town Council in East Yorkshire had agreed to an informal private meeting with Cuadrilla. This prompted local criticism that the event went against guidelines issued by the organisation, Communities, Town, Parish and Local Councils, which recommends on its website that councils avoid informal meetings “at all costs”.

“Not a public debate”

The spokesperson for INEOS said

“This series of presentations is designed specifically to provide information to Parish and Town Councillors as representatives of their communities and is not framed as a public debate. There will of course be a Q&A session.”

He said invitations had been sent to parish and town clerks where INEOS had or could find email details. One or two councillors were expected to attend on behalf of the council, he said, and report back to those unable to be at the meeting.

He added:

“We don’t have email details for absolutely all of them [council clerks] and some have not yet been invited as a result.”

“Clerks in the licence areas who have not yet received the invite are very welcome to contact us via the email address for details of the meetings.”

Event details

Monday 9th May

Chesterfield presentation, 2pm-4.30pm, Speedwell Rooms, Inkersall Road, Chesterfield S43 3JL.

Peaceful demonstration outside INEOS meeting, gathering from 1.15pm onwards until 5pm, Speedwell Rooms, Inkersall Road, Chesterfield, S43 3JL. Details

Tuesday 10th May

Frodsham presentation, 10am-12 noon, Frodsham Community Centre, The Cottage, Fluin Lane, Frodsham, WA6 7QN.

Peaceful demonstration outside Frodsham Community Centre, 10am-12 noon, Details

Wednesday 11th May

Malton presentation, 10am-12 noon (Ryedale parishes) and 1.30pm-4pm (York parishes), The Milton Rooms, Market Place, Malton, North Yorkshire YO17 7LX

29 replies »

  1. What a good idea. Many councillors have not taken good decisions, and seem to have been subject to possible intimidation, due to their lack of knowledge of the technicalities. To have Lancs CC and Ryedale RDC vote against their planning departments advice seems a poor example of democracy.

    Explaining how modern drilling, and regulation works would inform the councillors allowing them to do a better job. So many protestors are informed by groups that want to show that fracking is hazardous, when under UK practice its is not. Look at the 50 year history of the N Sea, post Piper Alpha. Why for instance do they show pictures of closely drilled wells, when nobody anywhere does that now, even in the US? Its cheaper and less intrusive to have a wellpad every 5 miles, concealed behind trees, such as at Wytch farm in the posh beauty spot of Poole harbour.
    Proper info on well leaks (Minor issue and very rare), toxic chemicals (not permitted under UK law) water pollution (only an issue if fracking is very shallow, and the legal limit is 1000m in the UK, and not under groundwater zones) and all the other emotive nonsense talked by the anti groups would mean that the councillors could concentrate on the genuine impacts..Traffic, noise, well pad concealment, minimisation of disruption.

    • Lancs CC were right to vote against their planning dept advice because the electorate do not want this industry in their area. This is democracy in action. To say fracking is not hazardous under UK practice is not true. The only well that has been fracked in the UK caused 2 minor earthquakes.
      Proper info on well leaks actually says that 5-7% of all new wells leak and as wells age up to 50% will leak.A 2003 article in Oil Field Review, a publication of Schlumberger, reported that, “Since the earliest gas wells, uncontrolled migration of hydrocarbons to the surface has challenged the oil and gas industry.”
      A 2009 study by Alberta scientists Stephan Bachu and Theresa Watson found that so-called “deviated wells” (the same kind right angling used for fracturing shale gas and tight oil formations) typically experienced leakage rates as high as 60 per cent as they age. Moreover “high pressure fracturing” increased the potential to create pathways to other wells, the atmosphere and groundwater.
      So please Ken stop spouting the lies of the industry you are obviously part of.

      • Oh dear, such poor info. If Lancs people dont like fracking, why did only 370 people in the Fylde sign this well publicised petition?

        The 200 UK wells that have been fracked have caused no issues, as did the M2.3 PH1 event. That is a very minor risk. See

        You (like many) misunderstand SCP or sustained casing pressure, which is an internal leak. See (I wrote this section BTW)

        There is no evidence that horizontal wells have higher leak rates. As long as the surface casings are well cemented there is no issue. The horizontal section is below the regional seal that isolates the surface. As you can see from this paper from Bachu its no problem, its the surface sealing.
        The Royal Academy of Engineering investigated these issues.

        If fracking is done at a suitable depth (1000m minimum is in the Infrastructure act) there are no frack leak concerns. Fracking into other wells is hardly an issue in this country. It is in Pennsylvania with hundreds of thousands of ancient well.

        So please stop spouting ill informed nonsense when it is clear that you have no idea. I am NOT ‘part of the industry’, I am a retired teacher and graduate drilling engineer. That allows me to understand the science here. Its odd that the Royal Academy of Engineering have no issues, along with so many other bodies isnt it? What would they know about engineering after all?

        • Hi Ken
          Just to let you know why your comments didn’t appear immediately. There’s a rule that comments with more than four hyperlinks require approval from the administrator (me). It’s a way WordPress attempts to reduce spam to its site. As you’ll see, I’ve approved the comment. Thanks for your continued interest in the site and the issues. Best wishes, Ruth

      • Oh dear, such poor info Tony B.
        If Lancs people dont like fracking, why did only 370 people in the Fylde sign this well publicised petition? Why do people have to be bussed in to swell numbers? Why were letters solicited from around the world?

        The 200 UK wells that have been fracked have caused no issues, as did the M2.3 PH1 event. That is a very minor risk. See

        You (like many) misunderstand SCP or sustained casing pressure, which is an internal leak. See (I wrote this section BTW)

        There is no evidence that horizontal wells have higher leak rates. As long as the surface casings are well cemented there is no issue. The horizontal section is below the regional seal that isolates the surface. As you can see from this paper from Bachu its no problem, its the surface sealing.
        The Royal Academy of Engineering investigated these issues.

        If fracking is done at a suitable depth (1000m minimum is in the Infrastructure act) there are no frack leak concerns. Fracking into other wells is hardly an issue in this country. It is in Pennsylvania with hundreds of thousands of ancient well.

        So please stop spouting ill informed nonsense when it is clear that you have no idea. I am NOT ‘part of the industry’, I am a retired teacher and graduate drilling engineer. That allows me to understand the science here. Its odd that the Royal Academy of Engineering have no issues, along with so many other bodies isnt it? What would they know about engineering after all?

      • I think Ken just wants to see more jobs created and the UK to be energy independent. I think the Studies that you make a point of are way outdated now. One from 2003 about leaky Wells? Well,it’s 2016 and I’ll think you’ll find that technology has moved on from 13 years ago.As for your Albertan friends,I think you’ll find they were later prosecuted for slander against a company for Shoddy journalism. So before you spout of at others,do some homework that’s at least in this decade.

    • My friend you seem to be misled. The implications from poor air quality alone make fracking in the UK too dangerous. Venting Flaring Fugitive Gas Emissions (23 times greater than conventional wells) will lead to 1,000 deaths per year from full scale production in Cheshire alone. You say nothing about waste, treated and disposed where exactly in such quantity. Our estuaries and coastal areas would be a great risk.

  2. I forgot to mention the massive amounts of money that Ineos plan to give away to offset the disruption. The opposition will doubtless evaporate when the cheques start to arrive! Of course this is described as a bribe, a bit like the ‘bribe’ that employers use to encourage people to go to work. ts called a salary/wage! Many of these projects are in poor areas, and the cash would be welcome I would have thought.

  3. As to the comment of 6% being a measly amount,Ian Conlon,compared to the United States rates of 12 to 21 % is absolutely true no doubt. However, that 12-21% goes direct to the land owner, and not the community. We have very different Mineral laws compared to the USA. All commodities, natural resources, etc etc in the UK,belong to the State,and not the land owner. 6% is very generous from multi millions that’s right under their feet. Better schools,roads,hospitals, and health services must outweigh any left wing rhetoric that’s coming from less n less people. I suggest Ian Conlon do a bit more research before mouthing off a spin on the real facts.
    People are being educated now on Fraccing in the UK. With Steel plants closing and a depleting north sea oil industry at an alarming rate,I can assure you that if we don’t go through with this exciting new industry that we will end up like the 1950/60’s,pre north sea oil discovery,where things were dire and going backwards as a nation.
    We have 40 years worth of energy,which is a fact,sitting right under our feet. This has to be exploited whilst we improve and head to completely rely on renewables in a 50 years or so. Unfortunately we can’t rely right now on clean green energy, which I think we’d all agree is the ultimate aim,but in the mean time whilst we adapt,we must create jobs and make the UK energy independent,and not rely on the Middle East. Fraccing is for natural gas is the bridge the UK needs too deploy from Coal which is utterly a filthy fuel. Gas is 90% cleaner than coal,and with all UK coal fired power stations to close by 2025, and more n more Gas powered stations being planned by this government, you can be sure they are looking beneath your FEET!
    We are heading for a National Energy Crises within 2 to 3 years if we are not careful,and I for one can’t stand it when I hear of people freezing to death because they can’t afford the heating bills. Yes,people who don’t want Fraccing must be heard,its their right,and all proposals and voices should be heard through the right processes. However, enough is enough now, the clock has been ticking for 5 years,now is the time to kick start this industry,create jobs,local wealth,and national taxes. I don’t want to be held to Ransom by the Russians or Qataris,with the ways things are right now,who wants to rely on Putin or a very Volatile Middle East. Take your Pick.
    Hope I’ve been of an open mind,and informative as part of this debate. I guess if Caudrilla get the go ahead in July,then the can of worms will surely be the go ahead for the UK Fraccing industry. This Government is certainly most keen.Osbourne wants that Northern Powerhouse.
    Best of luck all.

    • In order to understand the basics of gas production and usage in the Uk please reference the following.

      Click to access Gas.pdf

      If you are capable of understanding the content you will understand how much indigenous gas we produce, the fact that most of our imports come from Norway and that in 2015 we exported more gas than we imported in LNG. It is to be noted also that North Sea Gas and LNG are far cheaper than shale gas. You also need to look at the ownership of Cuadrilla. I presume you don’t want to rely on China for your gas ownership. Regarding national taxes see
      And if you still think the UK will make money off this take listen to what energy analysts have to say

    • I’m afraid I disagree with many things you say Mr Heffernan but I respect that people do have different views. However after slinging so many insults and accusations around, I don’t think many would consider your comments open minded. I do wonder what you think will happen if fracking were to fail as it has done in Poland and Denmark? The supporters of fracking seem to infer that if fracking doesn’t take place the lights will go out and we will be at the mercy of extreme regimes. Suerly the reality is we will continue to import hydrocarbons until we have bridged to a sustainable energy mix – and there is already a glut of them in the world. And most developed nations in Europe will not be fracking and I ams sure their economies will continue.
      Incidentally, when the UK coal industry was shut down (which was of course our own energy supply) we have pretty much continued to use coal for the bulk of our electricity generation for the past 30 years. And yet about 50% of the coal we import has come from Russia – strange the government was not worried about energy security and dealing with Mr Putin. We also import coal from Columbia, which was associated with child labour and also from the US. And let us remember it was a Conservative government that closed the pits on the grounds that they were uneconomic.

      • Apologies if you didn’t get my point – I list them as succinctly as I can below:

        Fracking for shale gas has not been proven in the UK yet and it has failed in two European countries- so at this stage we cannot say it will “keep the lights on”.
        If fracking doesn’t work/fails – the UK will keep the lights on as will all the other European countries that have no intention of fracking so it is wrong to imply without fracking the UK will not have energy.
        Jobs in those countries with unconventional gas industries have shown that the projected jobs/income created by fracking have been hugely overstated from the reality.
        People (including the government) that support fracking state energy security as a reason to frack as it is under our feet/our own supply not having to rely upon the Russians, deal with certain regimes etc. But the coal industry under our feet/ own supply was shut down and we have then imported coal for the last 30 years in the main from from Russia – yet energy security has never been mentioned or been a problem. In other words it is nothing more than propaganda to justify fracking – even more so as we get most of our gas from Norway.
        Fracking will not lower gas prices so economic forces will prevail. So Gundi Royale is correct to draw attention to the economics of unconventional gas.
        You were keen to accuse anyone that doesn’t want a fracking industry is left wing – yet it was a Conservative government that closed down the coal industry and then imported coal from Russia, which is ironic to say the least.



  4. So what about the Carbon footprint it creates by importing the gas from foreign sources? It’s far greater than the process of having your own independent supply along with jobs.
    As Gundi Royle,of course she would say unconventional oil n gas is not of interest to her,she’s invested in conventional oil and gas companies, and would not be in her financial interests to promote Shale.She doesn’t having any investments in any onshore projects here in the UK.
    I gather John your not for creating new jobs and bringing wealth to local councils?

    • There are around 40,000 offshore workers currently laid off through Osborne’s tax regime that is crippling the North Sea oil and gas industry. Would like to see them back to work to join the 375,000 still there. As North Sea gas is cheaper to produce than onshore shale gas this should be the first priority of our government.

      As to creating new jobs and wealth to local councils should prefer this from renewable energy projects. A better and more sustainable future.

  5. The carbon footprint of piped conventional gas from Norway or other countries is far better than fracking and LNG. Extracting new reserves of fossil fuels is completely wrong and against the Paris agreement and against every principle of combatting climate change.
    There have been countless studies that have shown that jobs and the income generated from fracking has been massively over sold. Unconventional gas is not as cheap to extract as conventional – so why would energy suppliers stop buying from Norway? It will not lower gas prices and the economics don’t add up, which is exactly what Gundi Royle is saying – and I am sure all those institutions that are rapidly divesting from fossil fuels agree with her. Mark Carney has warned of stranded assets and the risk of fossil fuel investments. Fracking is not the way forward.

  6. Free market economics, supply and demand dictate which gas we will use and from where. INEOS is buying LNG from the US and shipping it to Norway. The US LNG gas is cheap due to shale gas. Presumably lower cost delivered in Norway than buying Norwegian gas? Otherwise why do it.? It is a business decision not a conspiracy. The market will dictate gas prices and sources. We do sell gas to Europe – this is the way the market works; the gas we export is sold to make a profit on gas we have imported / produced. As long as we need gas, companies will buy at the lowest cost they can – if this is Norwegian Troll gas or US shale gas – or even UK shale gas they will purchase it. Climate change / Paris are red herrings in this discussion. Until we no longer need gas – which is several decades away. No one on this board or anywhere else has come up with a viable alternative to fossil fuel usage yet – at an affordable price. It will come but not for a long time (vehicles, heating, standby back up….). The Guardian is the place for those discussions – and even their readers generally agree there is no viable alternative to gas yet. If UK shale gas is not commercially viable it will not be developed.

  7. A couple of comments on the article:

    The meetings are not a substitute for consultation, they are information events.

    INEOS will fully consult with communities as and when activity is contemplated

    A regularly heard comment from the public events we have held and attended is “we hear too much from the anti’s and not enough from the industry”.

    Judging from the acceptances so far there is strong interest among Parish and Town Council representatives to hear from INEOS.

    INEOS accepts many invitations to speak at public meetings where those against have a platform too.

    The drilling and fracking technology is not complicated and is well understood by the team at INEOS Shale. What is necessary is to drill some wells to take samples of the rock to gain information on the shale layer thousands of metres below the surface.

    INEOS operates highly complex petrochemical plants at 65 sites in 15 countries across the globe. The Group’s safety record is among the top performing chemical companies and we aim to have the best safety performance. By making safety, health and the environment an integral part of our business we encourage a culture of continuous improvement across all activities in all locations. Further information on Safety, Health and Environment is available at the following link.

    • I have read several accounts about the questionable safety record of Ineos that doesn’t quite match what has been written here, including:


      I would add that a person being very concerned about the impact of climate change – does not make one a tree hugger.

    • This comment is a response to the comment made by INEOS Shale at 10.26am on 6th April 2016

      ‘The drilling and fracking technology is not complicated and is well understood by the team at INEOS Shale’.

      So therefore you understand the technical failings at the only UK hydraulically fractured shale gas well at Preese Hall?

      Click to access 5055-preese-hall-shale-gas-fracturing-review-and-recomm.pdf

      If members of Cuadrilla’s management team, having each played leading roles in the drilling and/or hydraulic fracturing of more than 3,000 natural gas and oil wells across the world, have clearly found drilling and fracking in the UK complicated and have not understood or met the challenges presented by UK shale formations, from what experience are you making your claim?

      For those members of the public who are not invited, or unable to attend your meeting please respond on this blog. Thanks

      • John,

        Before INEOS made the decision to invest in UK shale gas extraction it carried out extensive due diligence including seeking the advice of world leading specialists from Mitchell Energy, the company credited with perfecting shale gas extraction in the USA. Nick Steinsberger, Kent Bowker and Dan Steward have been working in shale gas extraction since the 1980’s, and are regarded as leaders in their field. The team that pioneered the most effective method for safely extracting shale gas in the Barnett Shale in America are now working exclusively with INEOS’ own on-shore gas exploration team.

        In addition to drawing on the expertise of Nick, Kent and Dan, the INEOS Shale team includes Drilling, Geology and Completion Engineers from around the globe with relevant experience in their disciplines. That experience includes drilling onshore UK, US and Canada, drilling long laterals through shale sections that have been fracked in multiple stages and building the best frac design for a reservoir to improve recovery.

        Our Geologists also have a wealth of experience including Shale plays in the States and onshore UK.

        INEOS can also call on the expertise within its offshore team, INEOS Breagh, responsible for producing gas from the North Sea to satisfy the demand of 1 in 10 homes in the UK.

        Before we drill a well we will have completed a full, in-depth risk assessment and identified any potential hazards. We can then plan to avoid them or mitigate them.

        We will acquire 3D seismic and take core (rock samples) from numerous vertical wells prior to going horizontal and fracking the horizontal

        We acknowledge there are challenges but through a thorough data review, shooting 3D seismic, drilling the vertical core wells, working within the UK Government & Industry Regulations and using thorough engineering we can safely extract gas from the shale layer.

  8. They already have pin down and strangled UK shale at birth. Look at how the Planning Inspector of Caudrilla inquiry and how pervasive they are trying not to make the decision open and transparent so not to offend and anger the anti fracking brigades. They are doing everything the local councils and Government can to avoid facing up and deal directly to dispel the disinformation and vocal campaign by this group. Surely if they are certain that it is safe they would come out and say these claims and exertion by this group is unfounded and the risk is manageable we have none of this nonsense let get on with what need to be done and do safely and responsibly under the best practice and guidance. It is that simple but the Government is doing a running around and pervasive to hide from facing up to this disinformation compaign. It is pretty weak show of conviction and the NIMBY see it and seize it to get louder.

  9. Hello Paul – I think Ineos is shipping ethane to assist their petrochemical industry (production of feed stock).

    I always appreciate your contributions to this discussion board and often agree with many things you write. I agree completely with you on market forces but unfortunately cannot agree on Paris/climate change being a red herring as without doubt new fossil fuel reserves, including shale gas, must remain in the ground if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change. And we definitely cannot continue to burn gas for another 70 years, the use of gas for power generation beyond 2030 is a major issue – especially without CCS.

    We have to have an alternative to our energy being provided mainly by fossil fuels and we need it ASAP, I agree with you this isn’t on the table now but it needs to be well on the way. That is why investment and political will should be focussed on this now to secure a sustainable energy mix and not on fracking.

    Just as an aside I saw this on the news today (please see the link below) – DNA engineering is also developing and this will replace the need for fossil fuels in the petrochemical industry and that Britain is a world leader in this technology.

    We really must support these new greener industries and put money and resources now into a sustainable future – for all our sakes.

    Kind Regards


    • So,after all our comments etc etc,what do we believe are the chances percentage wise of Fracking being given the nod to go ahead and explore?
      10%?50?90? Answers on a postcard please.

    • KT – you are correct, it is / was ethane, not methane. But still from US shale gas. INEOS used to get ethane from the North Sea including Statoil. But it is cheaper to bring it in from the US due to shale gas.

      It seems the Scottish Government made a £9mm grant to INEOS – a bit odd considering they are currently blocking shale gas in Scotland?

      The issue of burning gas going forward, and for how long, clearly needs to be resolved ASAP. But to date there is no viable solution / alternative. Don’t forget natural and agricultural methane emissions.

      The planet will warm up, no doubt some of it is man made, but we need to adjust and learn to live with it. Just as we did at the end of the last mini ice age when the increase was much greater and faster and we came out of caves. We are not going to stop it. There are too many people on the planet.

Add a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s