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‘Fracking is safe’ says Ineos boss as US shale gas arrives in Grangemouth, Scotland

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Fracking is extremely safe and could revive communities paralysed by manufacturing collapse, said Ineos chief Jim Ratcliffe as the first shipment of US shale gas arrived at Grangemouth.

Talking to BBC Radio Scotland, Ratcliffe referred to the US experience, saying that fracking only caused “occasional issues” but otherwise has been largely safe.

“The United States is the most highly regulated society in the world, it has the largest chemical industry in the world which is highly regulated,” Ratcliffe said. “They don’t allow you to do things that are unsafe or environmentally unfriendly in the United States and I don’t think shale is any different.”

He named the city of Pittsburg as an example of a community that benefitted from the development – a possible model for struggling UK communities if fracking ever receives a go-ahead.

“You have to think about jobs and investment, and if you look at Scotland do you want those 10,000 jobs or do you not want those 10,000 jobs that have been saved by shale,” he said referring to workers employed by Ineos.

“You have to accept the world is not perfect, chemicals is not a perfect world, occasionally we have spillages and we have incidents because we’re not perfect. It’s like occasionally you get a puncture in your car. However hard you try, things go wrong occasionally.”

He added that shale gas is necessary for the UK chemicals industry to make up for dwindling North Sea oil and gas resources.

“There simply is insufficient raw material coming out of the North Sea to run Grangemouth,” Ratcliffe said. “We’re talking about 10,000 jobs in total that depend on that Grangemouth facility, so if it were not for the shale gas we are bringing in from the US, Grangemouth would have closed three years ago.”

However, he said, Ineos would prefer to use local shale gas instead of importing from the US, despite the fact that the firm has just launched its shale gas terminal that operates eight tankers transporting US shale gas across the Atlantic.

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