Ineos, the world’s fourth largest chemicals company, has made its first move into shale gas exploration with the purchase – for an undisclosed sum – of a 51% share of the shale exploration licence held by British Gas in Scotland’s Central Belt (See British Geological Survey map)
The 133 licence covers 329 square kilometres of the Midland Valley, which includes Ineos’ Grangemouth refining and petrochemical complex and the area around it. Grangemouth sits near the heart of a shale oil ‘sweetspot’ identified in the recent British Geological Survey of UK shale deposits.
Gary Haywood, Chief Executive, Ineos Upstream, said: “Over the last year INEOS Upstream has been drawing together a team of experts in the Sector, including a number of leading shale exploration and development specialists from the US. This expertise gives us the perfect platform to move into onshore exploration.”
INEOS Upstream, the company’s new oil and gas exploration and production business, has bought the 51% share from BG Group. The other 49% share of the shale section licence is owned by exploration company, Dart Energy.
INEOS is currently engaged in a $600 million project to bring shale gas ethane from the USA to its petrochemical plants in Scotland and Norway.
Haywood added: “This is a logical next step for INEOS and we are very excited about it. We are one of very few businesses that can use shale gas as both a fuel and a petrochemical feedstock.
“With our large UK asset base, our existing capabilities in operating oil and gas facilities and our exemplary safety and environmental record, INEOS is well placed to become a major player in the UK onshore gas production sector.”
This acquisition is subject to normal DECC and operator consultation and approvals.