Ineos Buys UK Shale Licenses from Total
Widening its already leading position as a holder of UK shale gas exploration licenses, Ineos has struck a deal with a subsidiary of French oil and gases group Total. The Swiss-based group now has exploration rights to 1.325 million acres, including lands in in Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.
Ineos also holds a major share of licenses for Scotland but will be barred from using them now that the Scottish government has now embedded its ban on fracking in the country’s National Planning Framework.
Total E&P UK said it has sold to Ineos 30% of working interest in each of the UK licenses PEDL 273, 305 and 316,while has retaining a 20% interest. It has also sold 40% of working interest in the PEDL 139 and 140 licenses. The French group said its decision to reduce its holding of UK onshore acreage is in line with its strategy to concentrate on its current British offshore assets.
In all five of its new areas, Ineos is part of a consortium with other businesses including IGas, Egdon and ECorp. IGas is the operator for all the sites.
“Our acquisition of these assets represents an important development for Ineos Shale and demonstrates our ongoing commitment to this important industry,” said Ron Coyle, new CEO of the group’s UK-based exploration arm.
“Shale gas represents an exciting opportunity for the UK, and has the real potential to bring much needed jobs and investment to local communities. The continuing growth of Ineos’ portfolio of licenses means we will be at the very forefront of this transformational industry,” Coyle added.
Last week, the UK’s High Court upheld the anti-trespassing injunction it granted to Ineos in July of this year. The court orders effectively blocks protest action on and around the Swiss group’s shale sites. Its UK subsidiary had presented the court with “extensive evidence of widespread unlawful action” by anti-fracking activists.
The injunction will now remain in place until the judge delivers his final decision, at an as yet undetermined date.