Ineos May Venture into US Shale

  • Ineos May Venture into US Shale (c) IneosIneos May Venture into US Shale (c) Ineos

With negative decisions by local councils, increasingly vocal anti-fracking sentiment and earthquakes besetting the British shale exploration sector, it was only a question of time until a frustrated Ineos began eyeing an investment in the US shale gas market more seriously.

Ineos Shale, the UK arm of the Swiss-based chemical group already imports US shale-derived ethane to feed its petrochemical plants at Grangemouth, Scotland, and Rafnes, Norway, but principal owner Jim Ratcliffe has long harbored hopes of tapping resources closer to home.

According to reports, Ineos has been looking for shale gas investments within the Permian Basin, the US fracking heartland, where output continues to grow, and is said to have begun assessing a number of projects

Sources speaking to UK newspaper The Guardian said the group is planning to bid on oil fields worth $1.5 billion worth of fields in the Gulf of Mexico, offered for sale earlier this year by ExxonMobil.

Ineos and another would-be shale gas explorer, Cuadrilla, have repeatedly criticized the UK government’s “unworkable” earthquake rules, under which drilling activity must be halted for 18 hours if it triggers a tremor registering higher than 0.5 on the Richter scale.

Over the summer, the chemical group has made little progress in its appeal of anti-fracking decisions. The latest news is that its appeal against the Rotherham council‘s refusal of an exploration permit at at Woodsetts, South Yorkshire, is unlikely to be heard before 2020.

While the safety rules apply to all of the UK, in Scotland it’s all quiet on the shale front there, anyway, due to the country’s moratorium, which Ineos up to now has unsuccessfully challenged.

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