Scottish fracking ban “beggars belief” – INEOS

Tom Pickering (1)

The Scottish Government has turned its back on jobs and manufacturing with its announcement this afternoon on banning fracking, said INEOS shale in the past few minutes.

The industry body, UK Onshore Oil and Gas, said the decision was based on “dogma not evidence or geo-political reality.”

INEOS Shale, a subsidiary of the major chemical company which runs the Grangemouth plant, will be one of the big losers from the decision.

It holds exploration licences across the central area of Scotland where commercial quantities of shale oil and gas was regarded as most likely.

Tom Pickering, Operations Director of INEOS Shale, said in a statement:

“It is a sad day for those of us who believe in evidence-led decision making. The Scottish Government has turned its back on a potential manufacturing and jobs renaissance and lessened Scottish academia’s place in the world by ignoring its findings.”

INEOS said a thriving Scottish shale industry would provide £1bn to local communities and bring energy independence. As North Sea oil and gas declines, shale gas could offer Scotland a vital opportunity to revitalise its energy economy, the company said.

Mr Pickering said:

“Today’s decision is a slight on the dedicated professionalism that Scottish workers have pioneered in the North Sea.  We lead the world in exploration safety, but I fear we will start to see large numbers of Scottish workers leaving the country to find work as the North Sea oil and gas industry continues to decline.”

“Natural gas will be needed by Scotland for the foreseeable future and production from the North Sea continues to decline.

“This decision, which beggar’s belief, means gas becomes a cost for the Scottish economy instead of an ongoing source of income.

“It speaks volumes about Scottish leadership on the world stage and sends a clear and negative message to any future investors in Scotland.

“Expert reports have clearly stated that this technology can be applied safely and responsibly– but it will be England that reaps the benefits.”

Government “ignores advice of own experts”

Ken Cronin, chief executive of the industry body UK Onshore Oil and Gas, said in a statement:

“The Scottish Government ignores the advice of its own independent experts and prefers a future where gas will have to be imported with the damage that will do to the economy and the environment. It turns its back on job creation, skills development, an increase in tax receipts and investment in communities. Over the last 20 years, 30 wells have been drilled and produce gas within the Central Belt, without any impact to the natural environment or public health.

“This is a poor decision, ignoring Scotland’s rich heritage and expertise in oil and gas. It is not based on the evidence from extensive independent research, which clearly states that with appropriate regulatory oversight and monitoring Scotland’s regulatory framework is sufficiently robust to manage onshore exploration and production.

“Today in Scotland, there are nearly 2m homes and over 22,000 commercial businesses that are connected to gas. 78% of domestic heating is provided by gas and 43% of all gas consumed is by industry. Currently over 50% of that gas is imported into the UK and set to rise significantly over the next few years. There is no viable or affordable alternative to Scottish natural gas from shale other than importing significant quantities of gas.

“It is interesting that Paul Wheelhouse should mention the Committee on Climate Change, who have in fact stated that the Scottish Government’s own target of having 80% of heating from low carbon sources by 2032 is “very unlikely to be feasible”, and that an onshore gas industry could fit well within Scotland’s climate change targets if certain conditions were met, which the industry was committed to doing. The reality is that it’s better for the planet to be producing our gas here rather than shipping it in across oceans from elsewhere, especially when Scotland has a petrochemicals industry so reliant on natural gas.

“But after today’s decision, the significant benefits from production will now be lost, and the opportunity to develop a robust future energy mix discarded. This is a decision that is based on dogma not evidence or geo-political reality.”

“Not economic or environmental sense”

Francis Egan, chef executive of Cuadrilla told The Blackpool Gazette:

“We are very surprised at the Scottish Government’s decision to continue indefinitely its onshore fracking moratorium.

“That a country which has pioneered the exploration for and production of North Sea oil and gas, including the widespread and continuing use of fracking offshore, feels incapable of doing so onshore, relying instead on importing shale gas from the US does not make economic or environmental sense.

“We are pleased that in Lancashire we have a strong regulatory framework in place and Cuadrilla is at the forefront of proving that shale gas exploration can and will be a success.

“Lancashire we believe will be at the forefront of establishing a new secure source of UK natural gas, replacing fast declining North Sea production and reducing our ever growing reliance costly and environmentally damaging imports.

“Equally Lancashire is already benefiting, and will increasingly do so, from the investment, jobs and revenue that a successful shale gas industry will bring.”

“Economically illiterate and environmentally inept”

Backing Fracking, the campaign group in favour of shale gas fracking, described the decision as “economically and environmentally short-sighted. A spokeswoman said:

 “Most Scottish homes rely on gas for winter warmth, and it’s going to remain that way for decades yet. Today’s decision to ban fracking in Scotland means homeowners there will have to rely on less secure and more expensive imports now instead.

“Not only that, but Scotland will miss out on jobs and a new source of much-needed tax revenue whilst locking-in higher CO2 imports of Liquefied Natural Gas from Qatar and putting the future of the Grangemouth petrochemicals plant in doubt by denying it access to more affordable local feedstocks.

“In one fell swoop, the SNP has shown itself to be economically illiterate and environmentally inept. It just defies all logic.”

Between 1990 and 2015, the increased use of natural gas in electricity generation was responsible for the deepest cuts in UK greenhouse gas emissions by displacing much dirtier coal and oil from the grid. In contrast,  renewables achieved relatively little over the same period. Further cuts of around 10% could be obtained by substituting UK shale gas for Liquefied Natural Gas imported in ships from Qatar. 

Given the monetary and climate benefits that a new domestic source of gas offers, the SNP decision to permanently ban fracking is nothing short of irresponsible and reckless.”


Scottish Parliament reaction

Reaction from campaign groups

Reaction from English campaigners

Categories: Industry

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34 replies »

  1. Well, no car factory for Scotland then!

    A little bit of a problem when you make a country a poor bet for industrial investment-the investment tends to go elsewhere, and jobs are lost.

    As employment suffers and taxes are raised, the SNP will find they need more than the Greens to prop them up, and then the policy will be reversed. All very predictable, and now there are a good number of other MPs in Westminster representing Scotland, decisions made in Scotland will be scrutinised over time. I suspect the economics of this will become apparent very quickly.

    • North sea oil and gas production up by 25% in last 2 years.

      If prices rise output will rise.

      George Osbourne’s plan to strangle offshore in 2011 to kick start onshore, has failed miserably.

      We now have a David and Goliath situation.

      The profrackers are the little David and the masses are the anti fracking Goliath.

      Of course we all know how the story ends but this is a little different

      In the original story David uses a stone in his slingshot to hit his target

      The profrackers have filled their slingshot with lies,deception, bullying and BS.

      It missed it’s target my many miles

      Bye bye Scottish shale. England will be following you shortly.

  2. Scottish government said yes to listening to the people, yes to clean water and environment, no to pollution, no to corporations ruining the countryside, yes to a future in which renewables would play a strong role. What is their not understand, as Scot living here I resent being told what is best for me…

    • Anthony, that’s not true, is it? The government found that fracking wouldn’t destroy the water or the air. Further, if you are for renewables, you are going to experience industrialization of the countryside on a scale that will dwarf gas extraction. So, let’s at least be honest about what has happened. The government found that their wasn’t enough gas there to go through the fight of developing it. A loud minority, that is prone to fake science, was not worth fighting against. You will find that where shale gas is going to make a marginal contribution, politics usually carry the day.

    • Anthony

      My English friends up there in Inverurie, said they too were fed up with being told what was best for them. Hence a change of sitting MP at the last election.
      My Scottish fishing friends said the same.
      So, resenting incumbent government is not country specific I guess.

  3. Jack-please do not insult other people’s intelligence. If you believe that, no problem. But I suggest you wait and see the consequences-you may learn how billionaires become billionaires, and it is nothing to do with links to the Guardian!

  4. You mean clinch, when he “decamped to Switzerland”, and as a result kept Grangemouth going, and the jobs??

    Like all businesses Ineos requires government “support” to economically assist them in expansion-doesn’t mean building a factory. In return, the government receives revenues. Without government support, they simply find a country who will accommodate them-Scotland may find that out, and lack of revenues simply means increased taxation. On top of potential compensation, which again, means increased taxation.
    “Boaty Macboatface” was a laugh. This time it may not be so funny.

    The day job is not easy.

    • Looks like the Scottish Parliament won the debate and examined all the evidence martin?
      Makes a pleasant change to the total lack of public information here doesn’t it?
      In fact you could say, that the decision to extend the fracking moratorium in Scotland was a result of:
      A Voty McVoteface?

  5. Running-fox, you are not correct. I actually think that strategically this is great for fracking in the UK. It is not great for Ineos in Scotland and, as a result, it will not be great for Scotland. I have many friends in Scotland so I have no axe to grind against Scotland. The fact that the SNP sees fit to grind an axe against the Scottish economy is a gamble where they do not control the odds. It is Russian roulette with taxes and employment the potential consequences.

    I suspect (a different) Ruth is celebrating in Manchester.

  6. Jack-instead of Giggling, try using some grey cells. Have you worked for international companies looking to invest in new projects worth huge sums of money? From your comments, I suspect not. Others of us have. I certainly know how such decisions are taken, and they are not passed to media beforehand. Bland comments may be. Is that really a surprise? Don’t competitors read the “news”?
    You are a bit of a mystery to me, because I genuinely feel you have some understanding of the points we chat about, but you seem determined to comment as if the “audience” will not. I fear many will find that a bit patronising. Don’t take that the wrong way, but a little logic does go a long way.

  7. Surely, with the moratorium over the last few years, the expansion and investment into renewables has been on hold in Scotland because of the uncertainty of whether fracking will get the go ahead. Now it’s almost certainly banned, the Scottish parliament will be looking at more investment in the renewable sector, thereby creating a source of skilled jobs for a much longer term future than fracking has.

    • Paul
      I do not think that the uncertainty has had any bearing on investment in renewables in Scotland. Connected as it is to the NNsea gas line via St Fergus and the rest of the UK grid.

      Scotland power generation is
      Renewables 42%. Wind and Hydro in the main
      Nuclear 35%. Two power stations Total 2652MW
      Gas 22%. Two power stations, Peterhead fed from St Fergus 1550MW, and Grangemouth 130MW

      Since 2916 there are no coal fired power stations in Scotland.

      Scotland exports 29% of its power.

      So, Scotland could be said to export all its fossil fuel power!

      If frack gas had been produced it would have been feedstock for the chemical Industry or exported to the rest of the UK I expect.

      Scotland does not have the shallow offshore wind acreage that England has, so are more dependant on what shallow water is there ( Moray Firth for example ), and the tethered but more expensive offshore wind. Onshore wind is fine, but locals are not so keen on it. Dumfries and Galloway has lots of space and wind.

      The centre of offshore wind in the U.K. Seems to be Grimsby and the Humber Estuary, supported by Siemens and its presence there and in Lincoln. Other centres on the English East Coast are keen to get part of the business. But the big offshore wind developments need to be down South, where the Shallow water is and close to where the vast majority of the UK population lives.

      Plus, out in the country ( as in England ) people are not connected to the gas grid, using LPG, Fuel oil, Coal and wood to keep warm, or expensive electricity, supplemented by solar. The drive to decarbonise them would not rely on Frac gas.

      I do not think there is much more scope for Hydro.

  8. Paul-gannets have had more to do with renewable progress in Scotland than fracking. Don’t get the two confused.

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