As ethane from fracking in the US arrives in Scotland on Tuesday 27 September for the first time, campaigners on both sides of the Atlantic condemn INEOS bosses for profiting from highly destructive shale gas extraction in Pennsylvania.

Almost 10,000 gas wells have been drilled in Pennsylvania, with a devastating effect on local communities and the environment. One of the companies supplying INEOS with ethane from the Marcellus shale, Range Resources, has been fined millions of dollars for environmental violations and is implicated in a gagging order which involves 2 children. [2]

INEOS benefitted from millions of pounds of public money in grant and loan funding to help build a storage tank for the fracked ethane at Grangemouth. The chemicals corporation also want to frack for shale gas in the central belt of Scotland and large parts of Northern England. [3]

Ron Gulla, a former resident of Hickory, Pennsylvania who signed a lease for fracking on his land in 2002 said:

“I have witnessed first hand how the fracking industry has brought permanent damage across the Pennsylvania region, polluted our air, land and water and is destroying our livelihoods. Those living near drilling, infrastructure or waste sites have suffered water contamination, spills, wastewater dumping and gas leaks, as well as multiple health impacts. 

“My property and life have been destroyed by this industry. I don’t know how the harm the fracking industry has caused can ever be corrected or how these injured places will get back their clean water. We must never lose sight of the fact that water is more important than gas.

Karen Feridun, founding member of Pennsylvanians Against Fracking said:

“The 9900 unconventional wells already in the ground in Pennsylvania represent less than a tenth of the number the industry would like to drill. The impacts to the environment, human and animal health, safety, property value, and quality of life have been profound, yet our state government has chosen to put the interests of the industry over those of the people at every turn. 

“Every bad idea, from wells placed next to public schools to radioactive drilling waste being used as a road paving material to the construction of ethane crackers, gets its day in the sun. By the time the industry has finished with Pennsylvania, the state will be unrecognisable. Much of what we are losing is irreplaceable, but even that which can be replaced will be the taxpayer’s burden to bear.”

Friends of the Earth Scotland's Head of Campaigns, Mary Church, said:

“It is completely unacceptable to attempt to prop up INEOS's petrochemicals plants on the back of human suffering and environmental destruction across the Atlantic. The fact that Scottish public money is tied up in this project is disgraceful. 

“Setting aside the devastating local impacts of fracking, the climate consequences of extracting yet more fossil fuels are utterly disastrous. If Jim Ratcliffe was really concerned about the future of the Grangemouth plant and its workers he would be planning for its transition to a low carbon model.  

“We urge the Scottish Government to act swiftly to ban fracking and start planning seriously for a fair transition to a low carbon economy across all sectors. Fracking should not happen here in Scotland, or anywhere.”

Billionaire INEOS owner Jim Ratcliffe has made clear the company's plans to become the biggest frackers in the UK. INEOS owns or has a majority stake in all onshore oil and gas licenses in the central belt of Scotland, covering an area of over 700km2, and has over 4,000km2 of license area across the whole of the UK. It was revealed recently that the company's plans to apply for 30 fracking planning permissions in England this year have suffered a setback, with revised plans to submit 5 applications. The moratorium in Scotland prevents INEOS from fracking in its central belt licenses. The company has called the Scottish Government's moratorium 'absurd'. [4]

Range Resources, one of the companies supplying INEOS with ethane from fracked Marcellus shale gas has a chequered recent history. The company is implicated in gagging orders against children in Pennsylvania (2013); was pursued for a record $8.9 million fine for failing to fix a gas well that polluted groundwater and a stream in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania (2015); was fined $4.15 million for violations at six wastewater impoundments in Washington County, Pennsylvania (2014); has suggested it avoids drilling in rich neighbourhoods (2016); and is alleged to have doctored water test results (2016). [2]

ENDS

 

Notes to Editors

1. Since 2012 INEOS has struck a number of long-term deals to secure imports of ethane from fracked US gas to its Scottish and Norwegian refineries, including 15 year contracts, with Range Resources, CONSOL Energy and Enterprise Products Partners to supply ethane, Sunoco Logistics for pipeline and terminal capacity, and Evergas to transport the gas across the Atlantic. http://www.ineos.com/sites/grangemouth/news/ineos-expands-its-contract-with-evergas-to-six-vessels– and http://www.ineos.com/news/shared-news/ineos-europe-ag-announces-a-new-agreement-to-source-ethane-from-the-usa 

2. Range Resources has around 1 million acres of license in Pennsylvania in the Marcellus, Utica and Upper Devonian shales http://www.rangeresources.com/operations/marcellus-division 

'The damaging history of fracking company supplying Scotland' 25/9/16 http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14763183.The_damaging_history_of_fracking_company_supplying_Scotland/

'Lifelong Gag Order Imposed on Two Kids in Fracking Case', As reported in August 2013

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/aug/05/children-ban-talking-about-fracking 

‘Department of Environmental Protection seeks record fine of $8.9 million from Range Resources', June 2015  

https://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/2015/06/16/dep-seeks-record-fine-of-8-9-million-from-range-resources/

'Range Resources to pay $4M for violations at western Pa. impoundments,' September 2014 https://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/2014/09/18/range-resources-to-pay-4m-for-violations-at-western-pa-impoundments/ 

'Gas executive apologizes for suggesting Range Resources avoids rich neighborhoods', April 2016 https://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/2016/04/22/gas-exec-apologizes-for-suggesting-range-resources-avoids-rich-neighborhoods/

'Lawsuit accuses Range Resources and lab of doctoring water test results', June 2016

https://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/2016/06/15/lawsuit-accuses-range-resources-and-lab-of-doctoring-water-test-results/

3. In 2014 INEOS secured £230 million in UK Government loan guarantees to help build a storage tank at its Grangemouth refinery to enable it to import ethane from the US, as part of a ‘long-term survival plan’ for the plant. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-28331545 

The company also benefitted from a £9m regional selective assistance grant from Scottish Enterprise for this project. http://www.scotsman.com/news/grangemouth-ineos-reveals-blueprint-for-future-1-3219316

The support was secured in the months following a dispute between management and Unite union which saw Ratcliffe threaten closure of the plant in October 2013. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/oct/20/grangemouth-faces-permanent-closure and http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-24671184

4. INEOS owns or has a majority stake in all onshore oil and gas licenses in the central belt of Scotland http://www.ineos.com/businesses/ineos-shale/news/ineos-is-today-awarded-three-new-shale-gas-exploration-licenses-from-the-uk-government-cementing-its-position-as-one-of-the-uks-leading-shale-gas-businesses

'INEOS moves to become biggest player in the UK Shale Gas Industry' http://www.ineos.com/businesses/ineos-shale/news/ineos-moves-to-become-biggest-player-in-the-uk-shale-gas-industry

'Jim Ratcliffe's Ineos makes slow progress in UK fracking drive' http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/09/19/jim-ratcliffes-ineos-makes-slow-progress-in-uk-fracking-drive/-gas-exploration-licenses-from-the-uk-government-cementing-its-position-as-one-of-the-uks-leading-shale-gas-businesses

'Chemical giant Ineos blasts SNP's “absurd” fracking stance'

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14672032.Chemical_giant_Ineos_blasts_SNP_s__absurd__fracking_stance/  

5. The Scottish Government imposed a moratorium on shale gas fracking in January 2015. A programme of evidence gathering including a Public Health Impact Assessment and studies on climate, seismic, economic and transport impacts, has been undertaken. A public consultation is due in winter 2016/17, and a decision on whether to ban fracking or allow it to go ahead is anticipated in spring 2017. http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Business-Industry/Energy/onshoreoilandgas 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she is “highly skeptical” about fracking http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-35783026 

6. Pennsylvania currently has almost 10,000 unconventional wells in the ground from a total of 17,492 proposed and drilled unconventional wells in the state. GIS MAP: http://maps.fractracker.org/latest/?appid=28041aae3e674e04b0f987f047f3fe59  

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection http://www.dep.pa.gov/DataandTools/Reports/Oil%20and%20Gas%20Reports/Pages/default.aspx 

7. Ron Gulla signed a lease with Great Lakes Energy Partners LLC in 2002. Range Resources subsequently purchased Great Lakes Energy in 2004 and the drilling on his property began in 2005.

8. 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, 75 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.

www.foe-scotland.org.uk