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Industrialist hopes for more licences

Ineos boss Ratcliffe: ‘I don’t understand the fear of fracking’

Jim RatcliffeIndustrialist Jim Ratcliffe, founder and majority shareholder in Grangemouth chemicals plant owner Ineos, says he doesn’t understand the fear of fracking and believes much of the opposition comes from “hearsay and rumour”.

Mr Ratcliffe, in an interview published today, says fracking in the UK can make up for diminishing North Sea resources and become a major source of energy.

The Manchester-born industrialist refers to National Grid statistics showing nearly half of Britain’s electricity on one particular day being generated from gas, with about 20% from coal and 20% from nuclear. Despite subsidies and major investment in wind farms, they accounted for only 1.4% of the day’s electricity.

There are days when wind does better, says Ratcliffe, but that’s when it’s blowy, he tells The Observer.

Ineos won three licences in a recent round of awards and more are expected before Christmas.

“I think a lot of opposition [to fracking] is based on hearsay and rumour,” he says. “In the US they have drilled one million wells and not had an environmental incident for six years.

“Fracking is no different from conventional drilling. It can be done safely – and there is evidence for this in the US.”

This week, energy and climate change secretary Amber Rudd will visit one of Ineos’s shale gas suppliers in Pennsylvania to get a close-up view of how the industry operates in the US.

Billionaire Mr Ratcliffe moved his company’s headquarters to Switzerland after falling out with Gordon Brown and the last Labour administration,

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4 Comments to Ineos boss Ratcliffe: ‘I don’t understand the fear of fracking’

  1. Alan Tootil says:

    People opposing fracking do not fear it. Mostly they are saying they have made an informed judgement that they have investigated the facts and come to the conclusion that it lacks the potential to provide benefits claimed but certainly involves risks that are too high for an onshore UK environment. They are saying they do not want it and will resist it. They are saying they already know that the government’s illogical determination to frack has subverted local democracy and is dividing communities. They are saying to billionaires like Ratcliffe they should take their misguided ambition elsewhere.

    Ratcliffe must know full well that according to the National Grid’s 2015 report on prospects for the future into the 2030s under four different scenario assessments, there is NO scenario using fracking which allows the UK to meet its climate change commitments. The “Gone Green” scenario is the only energy policy which will meet emissions and climate change targets. Moreover, “Gone Green is the only scenario showing exports by mid 2030s”.

    And if Ratcliffe believes a million wells have been drilled in the US without “environmental incident for six years” he is either a fool or not giving us the facts. It really is as simple as that.

  2. Reg Lewis says:

    People who are, and who always have been driven by money and power, will likewise always interperet the world they occupy and exploit in a way that will justify their actions. Remember, money and power are their main, and in most cases, only objective. I for one do NOT trust or respect anyone that functions from such a selfish point of view, no matter what figures they throw at me in order to justify their actions.

  3. AC says:

    To say there hasn’t been an incident in the US from fracking in the last six years shows a very ill-informed person. I think Ratcliffe needs to find out what’s happening in Azle and Denton, Texas, and in Oklahoma, not to mention Pennsylvania and many other places. I really can’t believe he doesn’t know about the water and soil pollution and earthquakes, sinkholes and road potholes that fracking causes.

  4. AC says:

    Also fracking is sideways drilling, not at all conventional drilling, which is vertical.

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