INEOS, one of the world’s largest chemical companies, this week hit out at the environmental audit committee’s proposal to call a halt to shale gas development in the United Kingdom.
The company, whose Grangemouth plant was the focus for an anti-fracking demo at the weekend, believes the committee has overly focused on the potential risks rather than the benefits of shale gas extraction.
INEOS director Tom Crotty said: “This was a missed opportunity.
“The committee deliberately sought out views that focused on concerns about water quality, emissions and geological integrity and so produced a partisan and partial report.
“The committee refused to see INEOS and didn’t look hard enough at the massive decline in the UK’s manufacturing base and the country’s desperate need for shale gas to reduce energy costs and revitalise industry.”
Over one million shale gas wells have been drilled in the USA, the vast majority of them without any problems, and this has led to a manufacturing renaissance which has brought jobs and prosperity to the country, claimed the INEOS executive.
The firm has recruited US shale gas experts and they now stand ready to help develop the industry in the UK.
INEOS’ record in safely running complex petro-chemical plants makes it a perfect choice to lead the UK’s shale gas revolution, insisted its director. It is also committed to public consultation and has agreed to give communities six per cent of shale gas revenues ensuring the rewards are shared by all the stakeholders.
Tom added: “The UK needs shale gas and we know INEOS has the skills to safely extract it from the ground without damaging the environment.
“We have committed to public consultation and to share six per cent of the entire revenue from any of our shale gas wells with the local community.
“Without shale gas, UK manufacturing is starting to collapse so we need to kick start the shale gas industry not put it on hold”.
His comments came as the environmental audit committee presented its findings to the House of Commons on Monday.
Calls for a 30-month moratorium on fracking were heavily defeated but Labour was able to secure an amendment that an environmental assessment must be made and that individual householders must be consulted on applications.
There will be no fracking in national parks and other scenically important areas.
And, on Wednesday, the Scottish Government said it would carry out further work on the environmental and health implications of the controversial technique.
Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing also announced a moratorium on planning consent for fracking.
Full control over fracking is due to be devolved to Holyrood after May’s general election.
A spokesman for the coalition of Scottish anti-fracking groups said: “There is a genuine risk hundreds of wells will be drilled only to demonstrate there is no economically viable resource, profiting the few at the expense of the public, environment and economic health of the many, and derail our programme for long-term sustainable development.”