Petrochemical Firm, Ineos Pushes Ahead with UK Fracking Plans


Since its emergence at the turn of the new millennium, fracking has remained a hot topic amongst government, businesses and even the general public. Indeed, never before has a practice of energy generation attracted such controversy. Despite gaining widespread attention however, a final conclusion as to the potential or risks of fracking has yet to be drawn. Adding to conversation and, furthermore, pushing ahead plans for its latest fracking programme, Ineos has cemented its standing on the vote yes side.

Ineos is pushing applications to start to test drilling by the end of 2016. Gary Haywood, Chief Executive of Ineos Shale revealed the firm is going to conduct a major seismic survey over the summer months in order to identify prime fracking locations across northern England. The firm is one of 100 companies awarded licences to explore the potential of fracking across regions of the UK. And whilst preliminary reports may be prove positive, Ineos will still have to submit a planning application to the local council and, crucially, have it approved.

Rumblings of investment within the business nevertheless reveal the firm’s positive outlook on fracking in the UK and seems to suggest, perhaps prematurely, that acceptance is inevitable. Ineos has already gone ahead to create six new role within its shale gas and fracking division; the company is looking to recruit a geophysicist and an operations geologist as well as a new commercial director.

In order to alleviate concerns expressed by both from both councils and local communities, Ineos is looking to set up meetings with local authorities in both Cheshire and the East Midlands in a bid to quell fears over the future of the rural landscape, as the well as the impact fracking has on local businesses and quality of life.

And the firm will have to go some way to convince locals considering the scale of the project in question. Up until now, investigations have been relatively small-scale, covering just 400 sq km of England. Ineos is hoping to extend that coverage tenfold, conducting seismic surveys on a scale unseen in the UK. The desire is to find suitable geology for fracking purposes.

Ineos Shale is recognised as one of the UK’s key players within the fracking industry having been awarded 23 of the lucrative licenses on offer from the government during the 14th round. It has promised to invest some £650m establishing 30 wells in the country’s prime fracking spots.

Despite acknowledging the anxieties of the general public, even consulting with 5,000 local people, Ineos has concluded that public opinion is largely dictated by scare stories in the media. Haywood added that the potential of fracking in the UK is likely to be determined within the next couple of years and that will undoubtedly entail a weighing up of the pros and cons on a local and global scale.

The company is hoping to commence core drilling to establish viable fracking sites in 2017. An application for test fracking is expected to be placed at the start of 2018.

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