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Fracking is “once-in-a-generation” opportunity to boost economy says Ineos boss

October 14, 2015

Fracking offers a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity to create jobs and boost the Scottish economy, according to chemicals company Ineos.

Tom Pickering, operations director for Ineos Shale, said the controversial gas extraction technique had the potential to greatly benefit the country.

The issue is expected to be high on the agenda at the SNP conference which gets under way in Aberdeen tomorrow.

Pickering said the company had taken a stall at the conference and would be speaking to as many delegates as possible.

In January the Scottish Government announced a moratorium on onshore unconventional oil and gas including fracking, the process used to extract shale gas and oil.

SNP ministers said the move would allow for more research and consultation on the technique, a process which is not expected to be completed until spring 2017.

The lobby group Smaug (SNP Members Against Unconventional Gas) was formed to encourage the Government to extend the moratorium to cover underground coal gasification (UCG).

Energy minister Fergus Ewing has now announced a separate moratorium for the technique, which converts underground coal into gas.

Pickering’s comments follow on from comments made by North Sea oil and gas pioneer Algy Cluff, who last week urged the Scottish Government not to squander taxpayers’ money on further research into underground coal gasification (UCG).

Pickering said Ineos backed the Scottish Government’s plans for consultation and a “science-based approach”.

But he added: “We know shale production is safe and we take time to explain why to everyone we meet.

“In addition, the Scottish Government’s expert panel has concluded that shale production is safe if best practice is followed.

“The view is also supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering, The Royal Society and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.”

He said a “misconception” of fracking had been fuelled by what he described as “misleading” and “discredited” films such as the 2010 American documentary Gasland, which focused on communities in the United States affected by the technique.

“We believe we can deliver this essential industry in a way that will greatly benefit the people of Scotland whilst also protecting the environment,” he said.

“As a Scot who cares about this country, I don’t want us to lose out on this once-in-a-generation opportunity.

“Aberdeen is seen as the capital of Europe’s oil business and Scotland now has another chance to lead an industry that will create jobs, boost the economy and showcase our fantastic engineers.”

He said communities in areas where the firm operated would benefit from a boost to manufacturing jobs and an offer to give back 6% of production revenues.

Ineos chief executive and chairman Jim Ratcliffe has suggested that Scotland could have an onshore shale gas industry within a few years.

The company, which runs the Grangemouth plant, has acquired fracking exploration licences across 700 square miles of central Scotland.

Ineos proposes using shale gas as a raw material for its chemical plants, and has revealed plans to put millions into exploration.

Source: Energy Voice

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