Scot-Govt shale gas ban is a blow to 3,000 new energy jobs in Scotland, warns INEOS chief

The decision to permanently ban shale extraction in Scotland has means that the Scot-Govt is “turning its back on a potential manufacturing and jobs renaissance”, according to management at INEOS Shale.

Recent figures on jobs and investment estimate that the shale industry is expected to bring in £33 billion of investment into England alone over the next two decades. 

Over the last 50 years North Sea exploration has been a rare economic and technological success story for Scotland. 

As North Sea oil and gas declines, shale gas could offer Scotland a vital opportunity to revitalise its energy economy.

“But with a report commissioned by the Scottish Government itself judging shale production safe, its fracking ban decision seems bizarre,” said Tom Pickering, Operations Director of INEOS Shale.

INEOS – a top ten North Sea oil company which also owns the Grangemouth petro-chemical refinery – has secured onshore petroleum exploration licences from the Brit-Govt to drill for shale gas around its factory and across the Central Belt.

Pickering added: “The announcement to ban onshore oil and gas exploration comes at the end of a two-year process during which Scottish industry has been left in limbo. 

“With an official ban on shale extraction, Scotland will miss out on the numerous economic and employment benefits that will be enjoyed by the rest of the UK-  including an estimated 3,100 Scottish jobs.

“It is a sad day for those of us who believe in evidence-led decision making. The Scottish Government has turned its back on a potential manufacturing and jobs renaissance and lessened Scottish academia’s place in the world by ignoring its findings.”

Tom Pickering
Tom Pickering

“Today’s decision is also a slight on the dedicated professionalism that Scottish workers have pioneered in the North Sea. 

“We lead the world in exploration safety, but I fear we will start to see large numbers of Scottish workers leaving the country to find work as the North Sea oil and gas industry continues to decline.”

“A thriving Scottish shale industry would not only benefit local communities to the tune of an estimated £1 billion but will contribute to the country gaining energy independence. Shale gas is fully backed by the UK government and the British Geological Survey, and offers the UK an opportunity to provide the energy our economy needs with reduced Co2 emissions.

“Natural gas will be needed by Scotland for the foreseeable future and production from the North Sea continues to decline. This Scot-Govt decision – which beggar’s belief – means gas becomes a cost for the Scottish economy instead of an ongoing source of income. 

“It speaks volumes about Scottish leadership on the world stage and sends a clear and negative message to any future investors in Scotland. Expert reports have clearly stated that this technology can be applied safely and responsibly – but it will be England that reaps the benefits.”

See also: Scottish Energy News 20 Sept 2017

INEOS chief rules out building new £650 million car factory – with creation of 10,000 new Scots jobs – at Grangemouth refinery in fracking stand-off with Scot-Govt

4 Oct 2017

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