Industrialist hopes for more licences
Ineos boss Ratcliffe: ‘I don’t understand the fear of fracking’
Industrialist 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,