Ineos pledges to pump £325m into community benefits from its Central Belt shale oil wells

Ineos signIneos has announced plans to hand over up to £2.5bn of shale gas revenues to communities close to its wells around its Grangemouth petro-chemical refineryin the Central Belt.

The company has bought the licence for shale gas exploration and development across a 329 square kilometre area around its Grangemouth power plant.

It will give away 6% of revenues to local homeowners and landowners. The move would see those living in a shale gas community benefit from the output of about 200 wells, and Ineos estimates a sum of £325m would be split between them.

The firm says homeowners and landowners directly above the wells would share £250m, while another £125m would be shared between community projects like schools, parks and community centres.

The announcement comes ahead of the closure of the 14th onshore oil and gas licensing round next month, in which vast swathes of central and southern Scotland are being offered to fracking companies. Ineos recently bought into Dart Energy’ Forth Valley licence, PEDL 133, for an undisclosed sum.

The UK Government  announced last week that it would introduce legislation to remove people’s rights to stop, or even be notified about, fracking underneath their homes despite 99% public opposition to the plans – in the same way that post-war international treaties have already removed the right of private householders in the UK to object to the use of air space above their properties above a certain specified height for trans-national air flights.

Commenting on Ineos’ plans to compensate communities and landowners affected by fracking developments, Friends of the Earth Scotland Head of Campaigns Mary Church, said: “Fracking is a dangerous, dirty industry and all the money in the world can’t hide that.

“Ineos’ offer relates to the production phase which is a good 10-15 years off, if indeed the industry ever gets that far. Even if climate, health and local environmental issues weren’t a factor, it’s far from certain whether there is an economically viable resource at all in Scotland.

“It is quite possible that communities across Scotland will see potentially hundreds of wells fracked in their back yards only for the industry to walk away without handing so much as a penny to the people who have lived with years of disruption.

“The highly speculative sums talked about by the industry hide the true cost of fracking to the climate, communities and the local environment. The UK Government’s reckless dash for yet more dirty fossil fuels is incompatible with our global commitments to avert catastrophic climate change. We urge the Scottish Government to use existing powers to prevent the advance of unconventional gas fracking in Scotland”.

Meanwhile, SNP MSP Angus MacDonald has welcomed the response to his Holyrood question from Finance MinisterJohn Swinney agreeing that the powers over unconventional oil and gas should be in Scotland’s hands.

The Scottish Government has already announced greater ‘wind farm-style’ conditions and ‘exclusion zones’ around shale oil well sites – all as previously reported by Scottish Energy News (all news reports are search-able online at www.ScottishEnergyNews.com )

 

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