Following the imposition of moratorium on fracking in Scotland, the Swiss chemical giant Ineos – which has invested 640 million pounds in UK shale and purchased more than 700 square miles of shale exploration licences in Scotland – has started a community consultation process to try to win support for the controversial technique.
Ineos Upstream CEO Gary Haywood said: “The Scottish government wants the public to be fully informed about shale gas production and we are determined to help.
“We are launching Scotland’s biggest shale gas information programme to make sure that local communities get a chance to hear the facts rather than the myths about shale gas.”
The operator of Scotland’s largest petrochemical plant at Grangemouth, Ineos, is planning an ‘evidence based approach’ with an information programme that will give the public the facts about shale gas extraction while highlighting both the issues and benefits.
The local meetings will be led by Ineos upstream director Tom Pickering and “supported by other Ineos staff”, with the first meetings scheduled to be held in Denny, Alloa, Falkirk, Kilsyth and Cumbernauld in April.
Ineos’ spin doctors will have a tough job on their hands as according to a study carried out in November 2014 by The University of Nottingham, of all the people in the UK, the Scots are the most sceptical about the benefits of shale gas.
Speaking to BBC News, Mary Church, head of campaigns for Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “Fracking is a dangerous, dirty industry and all the money in the world can’t hide that.
“No amount of slick roadshows are going to allay the concerns of communities who have heard about the reality of the impacts of this industry in the USA and Australia. No amount of PR spin can hide the climate change impact of exploiting shale gas.
“Scottish communities have been fighting the unconventional gas industry for years, and are already very well informed. It’s no surprise that Ineos are resorting to spin-doctors and glossy videos to try and lovebomb Scottish communities into stop worrying and learn to love fracking.”
Last Tuesday (10 March), Ineos bought a 50 per cent stake in IGas’ licences in the North West and East Midlands of England and in Scotland in a deal worth 30 million pounds. The deal with IGas will see Ineos gaining about 220,000 exploration acres with 67 trillion cubic feet of gas in place, although it is not clear yet how much of it could be commercially produced.
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