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 I suppose we have to allow them to be upset!

    Will Tom Pickering now be suing the Scottish government as he threatened earlier That should be interesting to watch.

  2. Well, well, or rather, not well, well, if you see what i mean?

    Ineos could always take out an injunction against the Scottish Parliament i suppose, that seems to be their litigious answer for everything?

    Perhaps, as Paul mentioned with the California Measure Z result, they will sue the Scottish people and Parliament and use all their well rehearsed legalese to overturn democratic government? history does not bode well for such actions and has not exactly enamoured the Scottish to the “English”, or rather Swiss moves to invade Scotland?

    I hope you don’t mind if i post the link again Paul?

    Interesting times indeed?

  3. A great decision and the right decision by the Scottish government. The Scotts are sensibly looking to a green future with sustainable jobs. It is time Ineos realised not every government can be lobbied and “bought” and that public opinion does actually matter.

  4. Anc with regard to Mr Cronin’s comments, I doubt very much that had fracking not been banned the the fracking companies would only be drilling 30 wells over a 20 year period in Scotland. We all know that the unconventional gas industry would require thousands of wells to be drilled and fracked. And therein lies one of the many problems with this industry.

  5. Woohoo!!!! Everyone knows their ‘experts’ are paid for by the oil industry anyway. When will they own up to the fact that people are not against energy exploration- they just dont want horizontal wells filled with chemicals going near, above, under aquifers homes and farmland. I’d say they need to compromize, not have a tantrum like a child that does not get everything he wants!

    • Cindy

      You are spot on with that. But Out of sight is out of mind, hence Scotland is not in a hurry to lobby for a ban offshore oil and gas production as it was to be, and would be the cornerstone of their financial survival.

      All the production is out of sight, with only the processing / reception to be seen onshore.

      So the decision is not one to save the earth from global warming ( for the few commentators who include that in the mix ), but a pragmatic view to stay in power ( in a democracy ).

    • The aroma of sour grapes is evident even all the way down here on the Fylde – Can you smell it where you are Peeny?

  6. Anyone else notice that Ken Cronin’s comments were word for word exactly the same as Tom Pickering’s. Anyone might think that they’d colluded before issuing statements – but they wouldn’t do that would they?

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