Chemical giant Ineos Group AG is planning to be the biggest player in the United Kingdom's shale gas industry.
The firm's intended $1 billion investment would lead to shale gas exploration and production in the U.K., the output of which would be used as a raw material in its chemical plants, including its facility in Grangemouth where it is already building a storage unit for ethane shipped from U.S. shale production.
Ineos, based in Rolle, Switzerland, has applied for a raft of Petroleum Exploration and Development licenses from the Department of Energy & Climate Change, with the vast majority of the bids in Scotland and the North of England, where the local populations have either a mining or an industrial heritage.
The firm has also guaranteed to give local communities 6 percent of any revenues generated. This offer is typically worth 375 million pounds ($587 million) to a community, Ineos claims.
In a You Gov survey commissioned in October, Ineos asked 6,216 people their views on the controversial method of hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking' to extract the shale gas.
In the U.K., 50 percent of people said they would support the process if Ineos gave 6 percent of all revenues to local communities, homeowners and landowners. Without the cash incentive, the UK figure was only 40 percent approval.
“I want Ineos to be the biggest player in the U.K. shale gas industry,” said Ineos Chairman Jim Ratcliffe. “I believe shale gas could revolutionize U.K. manufacturing and I know Ineos has the resources to make it happen, the skills to extract the gas safely and the vision to realize that everyone must share in the rewards.”
Ineos Upstream chief executive Gary Haywood said the firm has a good record to guard the environment.
“While the awarding of the licenses is a matter for DECC, we believe our knowledge and experience in running complex petrochemical facilities, coupled with the world class sub surface expertise we have recently added to our team, means that Ineos will be seen as a very safe pair of hands,” he said.