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INEOS offers to develop shale gas test in UK

12 April 2022

INEOS has offered to develop a shale gas test site in the UK in order to demonstrate that fracking can be performed safely. The offer from the chemicals and energy giant comes after the UK published its Energy Security Strategy last week and said that the government would remain open-minded about fracking.

Image: INEOS
Image: INEOS

As part of the energy security strategy, the UK government has commissioned an impartial technical review on shale gas by the British Geological Society to consider any further scientific updates on seismicity that the government ought to consider. The pause on fracking will continue, however, unless new evidence emerges. Any exploration or development of shale gas would need to meet rigorous safety and environmental protection both above ground and sub-surface, the government added.

Announcing its offer to develop a shale gas test bed, INEOS said that renewable energy technology is 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.

INEOS founder and chairman Sir Jim Ratcliffe 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.”

In a statement, INEOS pointed to the US where over one million wells have been used to highlight fracking’s safety and how it could transform a country’s energy security. INEOS said that in the UK, the science behind shale was totally ignored and politicians “bowed to an extreme vocal minority”, finally imposing a moratorium on fracking.

INEOS has therefore written to the UK government and offered to develop a fully functioning shale test site to show that the technology can be developed safely by a competent operator.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe added: “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.”

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