INEOS shale chief calls on Labour Party to consider the scientific evidence in favour of fracking

Gary Haywood
Gary Haywood

INEOS – which is now routinely importing super-tanker loads of US shale gas into Scotland –  wants to meet with British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to begin a dialogue over onshore exploration for shale gas.

Gary Haywood, Chief Executive, INEOS Shale, said he was ‘deeply disappointed’ by the pledge made at Labour’s recent conference to ban shale gas exploration – aka ‘fracking’.

He told Corbyn: “As the company with the largest number of shale licences in the UK <including those at, and near to, the INEOS refinery at Grangemouth> and as the employer of 4,000 people in this country alone, we are surprised not to have had the opportunity to discuss this matter with you prior to your announcement. 

“Whilst we clearly do not currently see eye to eye on the opportunity that shale presents for energy, for jobs, and for this country, we would like to make ourselves and our technical teams available as needed to enable us to discuss the rationale for your decision to oppose fracking.

“In his speech, Barry Gardiner MP placed his support behind renewables as the preferred source for the UK’s future electricity supplies. This leaves unanswered the question of how the UK would then heat its homes, manufacture its products and keep the lights on when the wind isn’t blowing. 

“This is not a shale gas versus renewables debate – both are needed in our energy mix in the decades ahead.  

“Those who are opposed to extracting natural gas must be called upon to articulate what they would do to fulfil societal energy and materials needs – and not simply be allowed to oppose all the things they don’t want.

“Gas is also the basic raw material used to produce a multitude of chemical products, that themselves are used in most everyday items we use – including in the production of renewable energy facilities.

“As North Sea reserves decline, it falls upon us to find new sources of energy to maintain the standard of living that we have become accustomed to. We currently import almost 60% of our gas and this figure will only climb in the coming years. 

“Is it not better that we source our energy from our own land where we can control the regulation than pay a series of unstable and il-liberal regimes to do it for us? 

“At INEOS, we believe that there is a firm and proven consensus for the substantial and increasing use of gas in the energy mix for the next several decades, whilst renewable capacity and technologies (including energy storage) are developed.  

“Gas is by far the fossil fuel with the most benign climate impact, and its use as a bridging fuel is consistent with climate change targets.

“We have attached three papers on the compatibility of shale gas with mitigating climate change that you may find useful.**  These are but a limited example of the type of independent and scientifically robust analyses that have been published on this topic.

“We are committed to supporting the evidence-led assessment of shale gas production based upon sound science.  

“There is a wealth of independent evidence that has found this industry can be developed safely and with respect to the environment, provided it is properly regulated – including studies conducted by the Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, and Scotland’s Independent Expert Scientific Panel.

“Finally, we believe that a UK shale gas industry could reverse the decline in manufacturing industry, as has happened in America. It would a tragedy not to move forward with this unique opportunity which could transform communities across some of the poorest parts of the country. 

He cited the following (clickable) references: 

“Why Every Serious Environmentalist Should Favour Fracking”
Richard A Muller, Professor of Physics, University of California, Berkeley
Elizabeth A Muller, Executive Director of Berkeley Earth

“The Facts About Fugitive Methane”
Elizabeth A Muller, Executive Director of Berkeley Earth
Richard A Muller, Professor of Physics, University of California, Berkeley

“Potential Greenhouse Gas Emissions Associated with Shale Gas Extraction and Use”
Department of Energy and Climate Change
Professor David JC Mackay, FRS
Dr Timothy Stone, CBE

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