This morning (17/3/2015) Ineos announced details of their plans for a 'shale gas information programme' [1], at a press conference at their Grangemouth plant. Mary Church, Head of Campaigns for Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

“Fracking is a dangerous, dirty industry and all the money in the world can’t hide that. No amount of slick roadshows are going to allay the concerns of communities who have heard about the reality of the impacts of this industry in the USA and Australia. No amount of PR spin can hide the climate change impact of exploiting shale gas.

“Scottish communities have been fighting the unconventional gas industry for years, and are already very well informed. It’s no surprise that Ineos are resorting to spin-doctors and glossy videos to try and lovebomb Scottish communities into stop worrying and learn to love fracking. Sadly Ineos have the budget for a long and dirty fight, while community and campaign groups can only fight their corner on a shoestring.”

INEOS restated previous claims about community benefit payments [2], and have invited Community Councils to a briefing event on Thursday. Last week it was revealed that Ineos have not signed up to a voluntary Government scheme to pay communities exposed to test drilling [3].

Mary Church commented:

“Ineos's pie-in-the-sky claims of huge sums of money for communities will never be delivered. Using the questionable economics of the USA industry to woo communities when we know UK costs will be much higher is simply indefensible. The company is on record saying that if they frack and don’t get enough gas, then communities won’t get a penny.”

“The figures the company is using are also based on highly uncertain and exaggerated estimates of how much gas it might be possible to extract from UK shale beds.” [4]

In the unlikely event that Ineos’s fracking operation make any profits a tiny fraction will go to making a few landowners better off and even less would be distributed amongst communities living in license areas. By Ineos's own definition, a shale gas community benefiting from any payments would be living with 200 wells drilled and fracked per 100 square km of license area.[2]

Church continued:

“We are convinced that when Scotland has thoroughly reviewed the evidence around health and climate impacts of unconventional gas the moratorium will swiftly become a permanent ban, just like in New York State. Ineos is pouring its money down the drain trying to sell fracking in Scotland when it’s never going to happen anyway.”

News reports over the weekend revealed that Ineos have a string of safety breaches over recent years and have been classified by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency received a rating of ‘poor’ compliance with pollution laws for one or other of their Grangemouth plants in 2010, 2011 and 2012.[4]

Church continued:

“Communities will be looking at Ineos’s poor record at Grangemouth when they judge for themselves the trustworthiness of the company’s claims that fracking is safe.”


Notes to Editors

1. Ineos's plans for a shale gas information programme are at: http://www.ineos.com/businesses/ineos-upstream/news/ineos-launches-scotl…. The company plans to hold a series of public meetings in areas under license.

2. Ineos restated a previous announcement of payments for communities who would accept fracking today. According to Ineos's announcement last September: “Typically, those living in a Shale gas community (approximately 100 square kilometers) would benefit from the output of 200 wells.”
http://www.ineos.com/news/ineos-group/ineos-plans-25-billion-shale-gas-g…. FoES reaction at http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/ineos-fracking-community-bribes

3. Ineos opt out of proposed industry wide compensation scheme including payments for communities near test fracking http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/energy/fracking/11462840/Fracking-…

4. Robert Gatliff, Director of Energy and Marine Geoscience, British Geological Survey, said on Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland that there was “a long way to go before we know whether there is any significant commercial production possible”, 31 Jan 2015. He was a member of the Scottish Government’s Independent Expert Panel on Unconventional Gas. Fracking company Cuadrilla have also said that it will take 5 years and 40 test wells to work out if it is worth stating a commercial industry in the UK.

5. The Sunday Herald: http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/environment/revealed-the-catalogue-of…

6. Ineos have previously said that the future of Grangemouth plant is secure for the next 15-20 years: Interview with Ineos Director Tom Crotty (ICIS 10/3/15) http://www.icis.com/resources/news/2015/03/10/9866975/uk-shale-gas-setba…
(The Scotsman 17/2/15) http://www.scotsman.com/news/scotland/top-stories/ineos-in-grangemouth-t…

7. Scottish Government declared a moratorium on fracking and unconventional gas 28/1/15 http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/fracking-moratorium-scotland

8. Ministers have “completely oversold” the potential of shale gas, energy experts say. BBC 11/12/14 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-30013668

9. Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
* Scotland's leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 74 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.