Controversy dogs Ineos’s fracking operationDecember 2014
A company that is planning a fracking operation in Scotland has been accused of bribing the local community to accept a hazardous operation.
The Swiss chemicals multinational Ineos intends to invest $1bn (£640m,€807m) in shale gas exploration near its loss-making refinery in Grangemouth, Stirlingshire, which it came close to shutting last year.
Ineos says the project would supply the raw material for the Grangemouth plant and make it profitable again.
However, protesters in the community are voicing the common objection that fracking, in which water and chemicals are pumped into shale rock at high pressure to release gas, causes earthquakes, environmental damage and extensive water pollution.
Greenpeace UK believes the Ineos project ignores these dangers.
The $1bn investment, claims Greenpeace, represents “giant speculative bets on unproven and risky resources”. Its spokesman says: “It seems that Ineos have based their business plan on breathless public relations brochures rather than scientific reports.”
One of the Ineos proposals is to give 6% of revenues from the operation to local homeowners and landowners, which Friends of the Earth Scotland has condemned as “a transparent attempt to bribe communities”.
Ineos chairman Jim Ratcliffe responds: “I believe shale gas could revolutionise UK manufacturing, and I know Ineos has the resources to make it happen, the skills to extract the gas safely and the vision to realise that everyone must share in the rewards.”
The Grangemouth project would cover 329 square kilometres (127 square miles) around the plant.
The UK government proposes to allow drilling at depths of 300m below private land without consent.
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