Mining contractor Ineos believes that exploring for shale gas in the North West, East Midlands and North Yorkshire can help the old mining towns to flourish once again and become economically self-sufficient.
Tom Pickering, Director, Ineos Upstream, stated that his organisation currently has 30 licences to explore shale gas in the UK. As a result, it can explore up to one million acres of land, and the company hopes that this exploration will allow it to discover highly sought-after hydrocarbons.
Mr. Pickering went on add that Ineos has been awarded licences to conduct exploration in Runcorn, Newton Aycliffe and Hull. These are places where the firm already has plants as well as manufacturing facilities. He believes that these facilities could source natural gas locally and this, in turn, would benefit the local communities.
He says that Ineos has witnessed how shale gas exploration has been responsible to rejuvenating the manufacturing sector in the US. And, Ineos is looking to achieve similar results in the UK.
If estimates are to be believed, the UK would need to import 69 per cent of its natural gas requirements by 2018-19. Mr. Pickering states that finding pockets of shale gas around the UK would not only make the country self-sufficient in its energy needs but also create jobs and boost local economies.
Ineos has promised that it will give 6 per cent of the revenue it earns from shale gas to local communities, homeowners and landowners as a way to engage them. It is believed this largess would see areas receiving close to £2.5 billion. However, there is opposition to shale extraction as exploration companies and mining contractors make use of fracking that environment campaigners state is lethal to the environment and water sources.
Mr. Pickering admits that while there is opposition to shale exploration and extraction, more communities are beginning to accept it since it ensures Britain would be able to meet its energy needs. Ineos goes out of its way engage local communities and build trust the moment the firm gets licences, and this has helped the mining giant immensely.