Petrochemical giant Ineos has now secured licences on both sides of the border in its quest to dominate the shale gas industry.
The Grangemouth firm made significant moves this week, including buying up the remaining 49 per cent - they purchased 51 per cent last year - of the IGas shale gas exploration licences for the area of land surrounding its Grangemouth petrochemical plant.
This latest move follows the Scottish Government’s moratorium on granting planning consents for hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”, the method by which shale gas is extracted, until a full public consultation and further research is carried out.
If this ban is lifted Ineos could potentially frack for shale in and around its Grangemouth site and revive plans for gas extraction on land near Airth.
Looking south, Ineos also secured 50 per cent stakes in seven IGas shale gas licences in north west England with the option to acquire a 20 per cent interest in two further IGas shale gas licences in the East Midlands.
East Falkirk MP Michael Connarty said: “Their interests have always been in England because that’s where the big supplies of shale gas are. England also has a much looser system of control, making it easier for companies to buy up licences and get planning permission for their developments.
“When those safeguards were taken out of the Infrastructure Bill after it came back from the House of Lords it basically gave Ineos the green light to buy up these shale gas licences.”
The deal with IGas is worth £30 million, with Ineos ready to invest £138 million to develop even more shale gas fields in England with IGas.
Ineos Upstream CEO Gary Haywood said: “We believe shale gas could revolutionise UK manufacturing and Ineos has the resources to make it happen, the skills to extract the gas safely and the vision to realise that communities must share in the rewards for it to be successful.”