• Switzerland's news in English

Swiss firm bids to be British shale gas giant

AFP · 20 Nov 2014, 18:29

Published: 20 Nov 2014 18:29 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"Ineos has today announced it is planning to invest $1 billion (£640 million) in UK shale gas exploration and appraisal," it said in a statement which also sparked anger from environmentalists over the controversial energy extraction method.
Ineos, headquartered in Rolle in the canton of Vaud, added that "substantial further investment would follow if the company moved into development and production".
The company already has fracking licences near its plant at Grangemouth in Scotland, but is applying for more in Scotland and northern England.
"If Ineos wins all the shale gas licences it has applied for, Ineos will be the biggest player in the UK shale gas industry," the statement added.
In order to extract shale gas, a high-pressure blend of water, sand and chemicals is blasted deep underground to release hydrocarbons trapped between layers of rock.
Campaigners argue that the controversial process — known as fracking, or hydraulic fracturing technology — causes water pollution and earth tremors, while energy groups say it drives down gas prices, creates jobs and boosts economic growth.

'Revolutionize' manufacturing?

"I want Ineos to be the biggest player in the UK shale gas industry," said chairman Jim Ratcliffe.
"I believe shale gas could revolutionize UK manufacturing and I know Ineos has the resources to make it happen, the skills to extract the gas safely and the vision to realize that everyone must share in the rewards."
Ineos already has two fracking licences for over 120,000 acres, and has also invested £400 million in a project to bring US shale gas into Grangemouth, which is Scotland's only oil refinery.
The company has also pledged to give local communities six percent of the revenues from shale gas production.
Addressing a London news conference, Ratcliffe told reporters on Thursday that the offer to local communities was "generous" and could be worth up to £400 million over 15 years.
The Ineos boss said some people could become millionaires, adding: "That's fine."
And he said that manufacturing in the UK had "collapsed" and needed a boost such as cheaper energy from shale gas. "It could be the saviour of manufacturing," he said.
Thursday's announcement was however slammed as "hype" and "risky" by Greenpeace.

'Spin-powered bandwagon' 

Story continues below…

"Investment is essential to transform our energy system, but not giant speculative bets on unproven and risky resources," said Simon Clydesdale, energy campaigner at Greenpeace UK.
"Ineos have jumped on a spin-powered bandwagon which is going nowhere," Clydesdale said.
"Independent academics recently called out government ministers over the ludicrous levels of hype around shale gas, saying 'shale gas has been completely oversold'."
But the announcement was welcomed by British Prime Minister David Cameron's government.
Energy minister Matt Hancock tweeted that he was "delighted" at the news, which he described as "a strong stride forward for this important domestic energy source".
Cameron had announced in January that his government was going "all out for shale" as it seeks to create more jobs, boost taxation revenues and reduce Britain's reliance on foreign energy sources.
European Union states are, however, divided on fracking, with countries such as France banning the controversial process.
Oil output in the United States is, meanwhile, soaring as the nation embraces a shale energy revolution.

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Could Montreux host the 2026 Games? Photo: Ivo Scholz/Swiss Tourism

Montreux is to put itself forward as the host city for the 2026 winter Olympics as part of a potential bid by the cantons of Valais and Vaud.

Geneva car share scheme could help reduce city traffic
Catch a Car is aimed at short hops within a city. Photo: Catch a Car

Catch a Car, already in Basel, launches in Geneva next month.

Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Female employees in Switzerland earn 19.3 percent less than their male colleagues. File photo: Randy Kashka

Switzerland's gender pay gap means from today, Friday October 21st, women in the country will effectively be working for free for the rest of 2016.

Swiss luxury watches stolen in Paris raid
Police outside the Girard-Perregaux watch store on Thursday. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

The 10 Girard-Perregaux watches are worth half a million euros in total.

Brother-in-law arrested over murder of Swiss teacher
The victim worked in a school in Stabio, near the town of Mendrisio. Photo: Oliver Graf

The primary school teacher was found dead in Ticino earlier this week.

Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Designed to house 20,000 people, the bunker was built in and over two motorway tunnels. Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben

The Local takes a tour of the Sonnenberg bunker in Lucerne, opened 40 years ago at the height of the Cold War.

Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
File photo: Renato Bagattini/Swiss Tourism

Skiers in Switzerland pay the highest prices for their ski passes of anywhere in Europe, according to research.

Eco group fights Bern over wind farm plans
There are currently more than 30 wind farms in Switzerland. Photo: Alpiq

Wind turbines are “gigantic and destructive” machines, says Paysage Libre Suisse.

Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Antoni Da Campo will now carry out his military service. Photo: Antoni Da Campo

A Swiss man who was told he would not be accepted for military service because of his strict veganism has finally succeeded in making the army change its mind.

Geneva terror suspects to receive compensation
File photo: Emran Kassim

The Swiss public prosecutor has dropped the case against them.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
Photo: File
Bern argues over passports for 3rd generation foreigners
Photo: Broad Bean Media
Muslim pupils must shake hands – ‘no ifs and buts’
jobs available