With deep coal mining coming to an end in the UK, many mining contractors and companies are shifting their attention to shale gas extraction and are joining forces with companies that already have a substantial presence in the oil and gas sector. Furthermore, since the government approved the controversial method of fracking to extract shale gas from rock formations, petrochemical and mining companies are making a beeline to the UK to set up wells.
Ineos, the petrochemical giant controlled by Jim Ratcliffe, is also looking to enjoy its share of the bounty through shale gas extraction. The company announced that it will submit 30 planning applications for drilling test wells in the UK over the next six months.
Director at Ineos, Tom Crotty, announced that the company intends to start drilling in northern England by early 2017, and it is highly likely that it would start extracting shale gas in about 18 months using the technique of fracking.
Ineos has just ended its six-year tax exile and has opened up a new headquarters in London to focus primarily on upstream oil and gas businesses in the UK.
Ratcliffe, the British billionaire who was responsible for relocating the company to Switzerland in 2010 when it was struggling to pay its taxes after the global financial crisis, has also returned to live in the UK.
Crotty stated that the decision to open a new headquarters in the UK was taken before Britain’s vote to exit the European Union. Ratcliffe has long opined that the UK would flourish if it broke away from the EU; however, Crotty stated that Ratcliffe’s return to the UK was due to the business growing rapidly in the country.
Crotty said that the main concern for the company was to ensure free trade with the EU, similar to what it had achieved in Norway, where Ineos has substantial petrochemical business interests. He acknowledged that the Norway business model had worked well for the company.