Ineos to invest in UK shale gas exploration

<p>Ineos is set to invest $1 billion in shale gas exploration in the UK.</p>

The UK's shale gas capabilities are set to be accelerated as a major investment is expected in the near future.

According to reports by the BBC, chemicals giant Ineos is set to announce a $1 billion (£640 million) investment package for shale gas exploration and production across the country. Ineos is believed to use the resource as a raw materials for a number of its chemical plants around the UK. One of these is Grangemouth in Stirlingshire which it believes could be economically transformed with long-term investment.

Shale gas has long been highlighted as an important potential energy source but has drawn a lot of criticism from anti-fracking groups. There are environmental concerns with campaigners highlighting possible earthquakes, water pollution and overall damage to rural areas. The government has considering utilising shale gas but has faced opposition.

In July 2013, Conservative peer Lord Howell of Guildford drew huge criticism when he suggested that the north-east of England was an ideal location for fracking as it had large "desolate" areas.

The former energy secretary stated that there was "plenty of room" for shale gas developments with less concerns over "beautiful natural areas". The comments sparked uproar in the north of England and Lord Howell subsequently apologised.

Ineos plans to begin shale gas operations in Scotland would offer the UK another energy option. The company's Grangemouth petrochemicals base will be fed by Europe's largest shale gas import facility, once Ineos completes work on the site. However, the company is also keen to produce shale gas in the UK as well.

It has be assessing Stirlingshire landscape and has been purchasing hundreds of square miles of the Midland Valley allowing it to explore the shale gas capabilities offered by the region.

Once up and running, Ineos is expected to give eight per cent of its revenues from the site to local homeowners and landowners.

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