East Falkirk MP blasts Ineos’ use of ‘blackmail’ tactics

Petrochemical giant Ineos has been accused of using “corporate blackmail” to get its own way on fracking legislation.

East Falkirk MP Michael Connarty said the company succeeded in lobbying the UK Government to do a U-turn over fracking regulations voted into the recent Infrastructure Bill when Ineos Upstream chief executive Gary Haywood stated the firm’s Grangemouth plant was in jeopardy.

Last week Mr Haywood said Ineos’ plan to ship ethane from the US was unlikely to have a long-term future and the development of an indigenous source was required.

Mr Connarty said: “It was a hamfisted attempt at pure corporate blackmail to influence the UK Government to vote for the amendments the House of Lords made to dilute the safeguards and controls over fracking a previous Labour amendment had put in place.”

This week Ineos chief executive for Olefins and Polymers UK John McNally told staff the Grangemouth site is safe until 2030, but “not guaranteed” beyond that time.

In the internal communication, Mr McNally stated: “You may have seen some coverage over the last couple of days in the press relating to onshore shale gas exploration and potential impacts on Grangemouth.

“I think a number of things have been taken out of context.”

Mr Connarty said: “John McNally was clearly trying to calm things down this week. Now Ineos has accomplished what it set out to do in England, he is saying things are not as serious as Mr Haywood made them out to be.

“Mr McNally is trying to pour oil on troubled waters.”