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INEOS calls for UK government to end "unworkable" shale policy

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INEOS, the multinational chemicals and shale exploration company, has called for the UK government to end what it describes as its “unworkable” shale policy. Sir Jim Ratcliffe, founder of INEOS has stated that the government should either ‘make shale workable or shut it down’.
Will government policy cause the sunset of the UK shale industry?
(Will government policy cause the sunset of the UK shale industry? Image via INEOS Shale).

The current “traffic light” policy sets a 0.5 seismicity limit for shale operations. If any seismic activity registering a magnitude of 0.5 or higher, current policy determines that all fracking activity must stop for at least 18 hours.

In a statement INEOS set out what they see as a more realistic policy for fracking activity, stating that ‘the current 0.5 level is over 3,000 times lower than the 4.0 level typically found in the United States where over 1 million shale wells have been safely drilled’.

INEOS’ call for change to the policy follows a similar statement from the British Geological Survey (BGS) which recently called for the restrictions to be reviewed.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has criticised the government’s rationale for the current restrictions, saying that:

“The Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) seems to lack a basic understanding of the Richter Scale. It is a logarithmic scale. The limit within the United States is typically set at 4.0 – a level that the US Environmental Protection Agency feels is safe and will not lead to any damage to land, property or people. To put that into perspective, magnitude 4.0 is 3,162 times higher than 0.5 and 177,827 times stronger in terms of energy release”.

Shale development has transformed the US economy in the last 10 years. Just one of 50 shales in the US, the Permian, is now producing twice the amount of gas that the UK extracts from the entire North Sea. The availability of clean and abundant gas has rejuvenated the energy intensive manufacturing base of North America with hundreds of billions of new investments in chemicals, steel, glass and aluminium leading to the creation of millions of new jobs.

“The government’s position is unworkable and unhelpful. They are playing politics with the future of the country. We have a non-existent energy strategy and are heading towards an energy crisis that will do long term and irreparable damage to the economy and the government needs to decide whether they are finally going to put the country first and develop a workable UK onshore gas industry”, says Ratcliffe.

With indications that there may be enough gas within British shales to make the UK self-sufficient in energy for a generation, there’s a huge amount at stake depending on which direction UK energy policy heads in the near future…
Tags: Oil & Gas
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INEOS calls for UK government to end "unworkable" shale policy - Time to read 3 min
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