Swiss oil and gas contractor Ineos intends to invest £450 million to develop the Grangemouth petrochemical complex in east Stirlingshire in Scotland to facilitate fracking and shale gas processing. However, environment campaigners and residents are not happy with the steps taken by the company.
The Grangemouth complex is part of the larger plan that Ineos has devised to benefit from fracking opportunities in the UK and importing fracked shale gas from the US.
However, the local residents are not pleased with the environmental implications that fracking will have. Already, 400 locals have filed formal objections, and another 700 residents have signed a petition to prevent the development from going forward. This has prompted Falkirk Council to arrange a special meeting to discuss the Grangemouth project.
Ineos is planning to erect a completely integrated chemical science complex at Grangemouth by 2020. The petrochemicals company believes that extracting ethane from the shale gas will make the site more competitive and also make the manufacturing unit commercially more viable.
Since February 2017, Ineos has been importing ethane from oil and gas fields located in Pennsylvania, US. This gas is extracted using fracking. The company also has licences issued by the UK Government to extract shale gas through fracking in parts of northern England and central Scotland. However, in Scotland, a government moratorium has put fracking on hold since January 2015.
Scotland has started a public consultation on fracking. The consultation opened in January 2017 and will end in May 2017. It is after this consultation that the Scottish Government will take a final decision on this contentious issue.
However, Ineos believes that the project will be extremely beneficial for the local population and economy. It believes that the Grangemouth complex will allow the UK to use unconventional gas reserves to spur the growth of the petrochemical industry and associated sectors in the country.