Industry

Updated: Ineos offers UK fracking test site

Ineos has offered to develop a fracking test site in the UK.

Fracking operation at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site. Photo: Cuadrilla Resources

The chemicals company said it had written to the government offering a fully-functioning shale gas test site. It said it would demonstrate that the technology could be safe and secure.

Ineos’s chairman, Sir Jim Ratcliffe:

“We will happily invite government inspectors to monitor what we do and if, at any stage, the science shows there are problems we will stop and make good the site.

“But if, as we believe, the opposite is true, we would ask that the government looks again at shale gas which would allow the UK to benefit from its own resources, massively reduce the cost of energy and ensure our long-term energy independence”.

Sir Jim said:

“The UK is in the midst of an energy crisis with ever increasing prices driving people into fuel poverty whilst giving huge sums of money to oppressive regimes.

“It’s a ridiculous situation with so much gas under our feet and we are today offering to drill a shale test site to show that a competent operator can be trusted to develop the technology safely.”

The move comes after the government asked the British Geological Survey to review the science behind fracking.

There has been a moratorium on the process in England since November 2019. This was introduced following earthquakes induced by fracking at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site near Blackpool in 2018 and 2019.

Ineos is the biggest shale gas licence-holder in England. But planning permission lapsed last year on two of its shale gas sites, in Derbyshire (Marsh Lane) and south Yorkshire (Harthill). A third site in south Yorkshire, at Woodsetts, is still awaiting a decision on planning permission by the secretary of state, two years after the deadline.

Ineos said in a press statement that it was part of the “renewables revolution”. But it said renewable technology was “not yet reliable enough to take over and the UK will need gas for the next thirty years as it goes through the energy transition”.

Sir Jim said:

 “The UK is right to be re-examining its energy policy and to look again at the North Sea as part of the answer to our energy needs. But, as the US has shown, shale gas from home could make us self-sufficient in ten years and we need to re-examine this too”.

The company said the science behind shale gas had been “totally ignored” and politicians had “bowed to an extreme vocal minority”. It alleged that if there had not been a moratorium, shale gas could be being used in the UK now.

The government’s most recent survey of public attitudes to fracking found more than twice as many people oppose fracking than support it. The Wave Tracker survey from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy found 45% opposed fracking, while 17% supported. 30% neither supported nor opposed and 9% did not know.

A spokesperson for Frack Free Lancashire said:

“Ineos is claiming to offer to drill a shale test site to show that a competent operator can be trusted to develop the technology safely. The implication here is that companies who have been attempting exactly this and failing for the last decade are not competent operators. We might not argue with this conclusion but we do not need yet another company having another go at the expense of local communities across the country. They have had 10 years. How many tries do they think we should give them?

“Ineos is also claiming that UK fracking would “massively reduce the cost of energy”. Given that Cuadrilla, leading scientists and the government have all agreed that UK fracking will have no real impact on energy pricing in the UK or elsewhere, this is simply not true. We have to ask why they need to mislead the public to make their case. Fracking in the UK has been proven to be unsafe and unacceptable. It is the wrong technology, in the wrong place, at the wrong time. After the recent Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change report, it is clear that Ineos should stop pushing it as we need to transition away from fossil fuels, not invest in further assets that will simply end up being stranded.

“This is typical opportunism by Mr Ratcliffe of Ineos who is attempting to capitalise on the energy crisis at the expense of unwilling communities.”

30 replies »

  1. Looking at the last bit within the article, one would indeed ask about misleading the public-on a number of issues.

    Eg. Tax revenue from one area is often and routinely spent by Government to support other areas. That is what is done continuously. The more tax revenue within the UK the more that is done. Tax revenue over the horizon is lost revenue to the UK Government.

    So, FFL are suggesting they are aware how that would roll out regarding energy? Nope, not a clue. To suggest otherwise is indeed misleading, especially when arguments in support of windfall taxes are also being put forward. For what purpose? Oh yes, to discount the price of household energy! Oops.

  2. Ineos’s chairman, Sir Jim Ratcliffe:

    “We will happily invite government inspectors to monitor what we do and if, at any stage, the science shows there are problems we will stop and make good the site.
    “But if, as we believe, the opposite is true, we would ask that the government looks again at shale gas which would allow the UK to benefit from its own resources, massively reduce the cost of energy and ensure our long-term energy independence”.

    The science shows that in shale areas where fracking causes earthquakes, those earthquakes increase with cumulative fracks in both magnitude and frequency. Sir Jim has previously lobbied government to increase the TLS from 0.5 ML to 4 ML.
    The Bowland shale was fracked, in 2011, 2018 and 2019, After the 2011 fracking-induced earthquakes, Cuadrilla claimed that earthquakes from fracking were rare and would be unlikely to happen again.
    It seems more likely that there was ‘rare’, because seismic monitoring was not done as routine in US and in 2011, there was very little data on fracking-induced earthquakes. Leading scientists disagreed with Cuadrilla, and said that fracking would be likely to induce more earthquakes:

    “It seems quite possible, given the same injection scheme in the same well, that there could be further earthquakes,” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180118142706.htm

    Before the 2018 fracking-induced earthquakes, in a 2017 article in The Telegraph, a statement was removed that fracking had caused the earthquakes, and replaced with the phrase ‘highly probable’. After the 2018 fracking-induced earthquakes, shale gas lobbyists downplayed and chose to liken the increasing magnitude of induced earthquakes to bags of shopping or pots and pans, in what came across as a patronising and deliberate downplay of locals’ concerns, aimed at Fylde housewives.
    By the time the 2019 fracking-induced earthquakes occurred, local residents had been deliberately misinformed by a slick advertising drive, and fracking lobbyists attempted to characterise the fracking-induced earthquakes that occurred after a 0.5ML stopped the hydraulic fracturing as trailing events.There was, of course, no such thing as ‘trailing events’. One of the UK’s leading geologists, Peter Styles, wrote on DoD that:

    These are events which occur as fluid hydraulic changes and stress changes propogate away from the immediately fracked region, and are, and always have been seen as an integral part of the seismicity response of the subsurface. The earth’s response to the fracking event is not instantaneous and to somehow pretend they are not a consequence of the fracking process is derisory.”

    And that’s what we saw on the Little Plumpton site, which was located close to the 2011 Preese Hall Farm fracking site – that the location was important:

    Schultz and his colleagues found that when increased volumes were injected in susceptible locations (i.e., in connection with a nearby slip-ready fault), it transmits increased pressure to the fault line, leading to more numerous measurable earthquakes.

    It’s not as simple as more volume equals more earthquakes, though-a link that scientists have long identified in the history of induced seismicity, dating back to the 1950s.There is another factor at play in the Fox Creek area, and it’s all about location, explained Schultz.
    “If there is a pre-existing fault, but you’re not connected to it by some sort of fluid pathway, you can hydraulically fracture the formation, and you’re probably not going to cause a significant earthquake,” said Schultz. “It’s conceptually quite simple, but actually determining those things underground is really hard to do in practice.”

    The science says that at shale sites where fracking induced earthquakes, those earthquakes increased in both frequency and magnitude. The 2017-2019 wells at Little Plumpton, Lancashire saw a repeat performance of the 2011 fracking-induced earthquakes, including increasing frequency and magnitude.

    “Right now, most regulations are still based on the magnitude. But there’s a recognition now, a growing recognition, that the true risk is related to what kind of structures are there, what kind of soil they’re built on, how shallow those earthquakes might be,” said Brudzinski.

    The Bowland geology has not changed since 2019, and future attempts at fracking the Bowland shale on the Fylde peninsula, is likely to see more frequent and larger fracking-induced earthquakes.’Not generally felt’ would only be true if Fylde was classed as a ‘rock site’, but Fylde is classed as a soil site, because the surface structures are. built on boulder clay and sands. Boulder clay and sands amplify the seismic waves from a shallow fracking-induced earthquake.
    This means that shallow (2.3km deep) low magnitude (1.5 to 2.3 ML), local earthquakes are felt at the surface – because the seismic waves are amplified by soft sediments and the ground motion is greater. As the thickness of the sediment increases, so does the amount of shaking. In south Fylde, there is an underlying network of sediment-filled valleys incised into bedrockThe softer the sediments, the larger the wave. Softer sediements slow the seismic wave, and because the wave is slowed, the shaking or ground motion at the surface is more intense. This is why the shallow 2.3km deep, local 1.5 ML was felt across the Fylde.Comparing shallow earthquakes to the Big One is misleading. We can’t feel the Big One shaking our houses from a distance because it’s happening at the surface, but if it had originated 2.3 km underground in rock as a 2ML, the overlying soft sediments ( boulder clay and sand) would have amplified the seismic waves at the surface, and we’d be able to feel it some kilometres from the point of origin, depending on the overlying sediment structure.
    A 5 ML is not inconceivable, given the depth and length of some of the local faults.If a 0.5 ML stop can lead to a 2.9 ML earthquake days later, imagine if fracking was allowed to continue until the fracking induced earthquake reached 4.0 ML, and the size of the nduced-eairthquakes.

    Sir Jim said:

    “The UK is in the midst of an energy crisis with ever increasing prices driving people into fuel poverty whilst giving huge sums of money to oppressive regimes.
    “It’s a ridiculous situation with so much gas under our feet and we are today offering to drill a shale test site to show that a competent operator can be trusted to develop the technology safely.”

    Given that “INEOS intends to move into shale gas extraction to secure a supply of competitive energy and feedstock for its UK petrochemicals businesses”, that wouldn’t reduce the price that householder pay for heating their homes with gas,
    but will feed one of only two gas crackers in the country”, owned and operated by INEOS

      • Load of nonsense.

        Firstly, Sir Jim is interested in other areas of the country, so to keep quoting Cuadrilla in respect of INEOS is just daft.

        Secondly, INEOS, as an international business, is already into shale gas extraction and importation, so it has no need from that point of view to source from the UK. It has already built ships to bring gas from other parts of the world. (Unfortunately built elsewhere as UK costs, including energy are too high!) Two huge ships docked last night in Kent to feed the UK with gas-one from Algeria, one from USA-nothing to do with INEOS. No tax gathered for the production of those two cargoes. UK has three LNG terminals, soon to be four. Sir Jim uses his own facilities, in UK and elsewhere.

        Thirdly, if a windfall tax on the north sea could be used to reduce household energy bills, why could tax on other energy producers not do exactly the same? It already does. Tax is plonked in and then reallocated and plonked out, reducing the price that some may pay for services, and goods. That is why the NHS is free and private health care expensive! Lots of tax plonked into the NHS to make it free. None of that comes from energy being produced over the horizon. Cost of living assistance comes from taxation. If not business taxation, then taxation upon individuals, which tends to increase cost of living.

        Now, whilst I might understand some in UK may not pay tax, it is a very small number, and most of the rest who do are usually quite keen to know what they pay for, and how it is used/misused.

        Good job the revue is being conducted by the real experts. I can but hope, that if that bit is sorted, then things like examining how tax is taken and allocated is also removed from those who seem to have no idea how the UK functions. And, before the usual extra nonsense, 1% of the income taxpayers pay 33% of all income tax in the UK, so the “alternative” of just plonking more tax upon them is likely to decrease the tax taken, as they are mobile and can live where they like and just pay their, usually lower, taxes elsewhere. Something people play politics with but find out the costly reality quite quickly.

      • A very timely summary and exposé of the facts about earthquakes caused by fracking, Clapham Omnibus. And you also expose the real reason for Jim Ratcliffe and Ineos for suggesting trials for overturning the fracking moratorium. Which is typically personal profit and financial business advantage, and not anything to do with cheap energy for those in poverty.

  3. Ahh, profit and financial business advantage-on which UK taxes are levied when the profit and financial business advantage is in the UK!

    Which is exactly how cheap energy for those in poverty is funded, not crowd funding.

    Once again, the reality is avoided as it doesn’t produce what is required. The old jigsaw trick of trying to hammer a piece in that just doesn’t fit.

    If that is the sort of “accurate information” that is sought by you KatT, good luck with it. It is simply laughable, and I would have thought exciting those that have already been excited would be okay if there is a moratorium, but if that is eased, then there is a problem. Not mine however, so keep it going.

  4. Strange contradiction of some other anti posts!

    Apparently, in USA oil and gas companies are bankrupt and have no money. “We” were recently supplied with the example of Chesapeake Energy, although a little scrutiny would show them ranked as a very strong growth company acquiring other businesses.

    Even within the anti ranks there is constant contradiction. That was a case for excommunication in the past, but it seems there is now resistance within the resistance. Anti links now contradicting other anti links. Where will it end? Bows and arrows at dawn?

    Oh dear, KatT, I really can see your problem. It is so evident for anyone to observe. It is an issue with trying to manufacture stuff. What emerges is one bit of manufactured stuff contradicting another. That is why reality always wins. Hey ho, but I must move on as I have been tasked with arranging for grandson to visit a real load of cobras- and lions. (I do recall last time I saw lions was in Singapore. Quite alarming as they appeared to be walking free, until I got closer and realized there was a moat between them and myself. That gap between long vision and shorter vision was enough to get the adrenalin pumping!)

  5. INEOS HQ is in London. Never moved to Monaco. Was considered with Corbyn looming, as was the same for many other companies with intelligent owners or directors.

    Where private owners of international companies live is usually as much related to their personal choices, and their international business locations-and maybe even where they want to sail their yachts. So, where does a person “live” when they have a number of houses in different parts of the world? Quite a few Premiership footballers play all season and have accommodation in the UK but live in other countries. It is a big world and little Britain is just part of it.

    Based upon where INEOS make most profit, then perhaps Sir Jim should live and have HQ in Belgium, Germany or USA? Nope, good old UK and now wishes to invest more in UK, that some would like to prevent. Irony, or what? Trouble with INEOS UK is that the investment required, and made, has mopped up most of the profit in recent years.

    Sir Jim also has houses in other parts of the world, including UK, and has been trying to finalize plans for a house overlooking the IOW, which he refers to as “the finest plot on the south coast” where he has recently invested further into a chain of restaurants.

    I wonder if the press will be interested in publicizing that? Suspect it will not be that interesting unless a planning conflict develops.

  6. And, a number of other places.

    HQ in London, which is why the vehicle is a Grenadier, after the pub.

    Mind you, I wonder for all of those who work in other countries do they all leave the requisite amount in those countries and just bring back to UK what is due to the UK, whilst leaving those other countries without negative impacts? Nope, in many cases leaving a negative legacy.

    More irony.

    • Sir Jim Ratcliffe confirms new vehicle to be made in France: Not much loyalty for the knighthood he received in Great Britain displayed there is there.
      Thursday, Apr 14, 2022
      Billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, a Leave campaigner in the run-up to the 2016 Brexit referendum, has confirmed a new 4×4 vehicle will be built in France.
      https://bvi.org/sir-jim-ratcliffe-confirms-new-vehicle-to-be-made-in-france

      Partygate: UK PM and chancellor apologise for breaking law in lockdown – BBC News – 12 Apr 2022
      UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been fined by the police for attending a birthday party thrown for him during a Covid lockdown. 50 more fines to government workers for breaking the law to follow.
      The prime minister confirmed he had paid the fixed penalty notice for going to the hour-long gathering in the Cabinet Room on 19 June 2020.
      Chancellor Rishi Sunak and the PM’s wife were also fined for the same event, and confirmed they had paid.
      All three apologised for attending, but neither Mr Johnson or Mr Sunak offered to resign.

      “Ineos is the biggest shale gas licence-holder in England. But planning permission lapsed last year on two of its shale gas sites, in Derbyshire (Marsh Lane) and south Yorkshire (Harthill). A third site in south Yorkshire, at Woodsetts, is still awaiting a decision on planning permission by the secretary of state, two years after the deadline.”

      And these are the people that the good people of Great Britain are expected to trust to be unbiased and law-abiding in order to look after the rights and freedoms and the safety of their constituents? What other laws have these public servants broken that are not (yet) discovered?

      Or to follow the geological science based data that proves fracking to totally unsuitable in Great Britain, and never will be.

      Continued next post:

      • Continued from post above:

        And then there are the inconvenient and much avoided facts that fossil fuel pollution causes 1 in 5 deaths per year worldwide. Minimum 36,000 diagnosed deaths due to fossil fuel pollution in Great Britain in 2021.

        And the fact that fossil fuel pollution is already causing climate destruction worldwide and fossil fuel pollution has worsened by a factor of 10 in the last decade due to locations such as the Permian Basin being fracked extensively and poisoning the local residents. Who are told they are “too close” when those local residents were there long before the rigs arrived within 300 feet of their homes.

        And the fact that fossil fuel pollution is causing the 6th major extinction level event in the Earths’ history which is killing 70% to 80% of wildlife species worldwide with many species now extinct.

        And the fact that fossil fuel pollution is causing vast dead zones in the oceans due to greenhouse gas absorption, which is de-oxygenating the oceans and killing all the wildlife on, above and below the surface. Those that have not already choked on plastic waste, that is.

        That Ineos is a major plastics producer, the end result of which chokes and kills land sea and air creatures worldwide. The resultant microplastics are now found in newborn babies and in the blood and vital organs of humans and animals, in rain and in plants and covering the environment entirely.

        That the greenhouse gas global warming effect due to fossil fuel pollution is raising ocean levels worldwide, due to the melting of the polar ice caps and glaciers. That is releasing methane from permafrost which had been trapped there for millions of years. The release of which rapidly accelerates the greenhouse effect, causing even more destruction. Methane is 80 times a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Greenhouse gasses also destroy the ozone layer in the stratosphere, allowing solar and cosmic radiation to reach the surface, which irradiates all life.

        Therefore, Can any one of those who break the law with impunity and poison the planet with their profitable toxins and pollution, be trusted in the slightest to follow the law in any other respect, let alone to obey the proven and definitive substantiated geological and climate science as a direct result of their decisions?

        If these people can’t even obey the law on these simple regulations that locked down the entire country, when people weren’t able to see their dying relatives and the NHS were working 12-hour days 7 days a week.

        The NHS staff got a well deserved clap of appreciation from the people on Thursdays. But the government hypocrites then made the NHS staff pay for parking in hospital car parks, and pay for their covid tests, and failed to give them the raise they deserved. While having their illegal Party Gate celebrations.

        How can these blatant liars and frauds be trusted to do their jobs as public servants. Which is all they are.

        Not the little tin pot gods they think they are, who can do what they like and break any law they please. And they do, by the recent evidence.

        Are these people trustworthy of anything to do with government in the slightest? Not from the evidence available. Maybe Sue Gray will release more information.

        Have a Nice Easter weekend.

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