by Andreas Exarheas
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Ineos Shale, along with its co-venture partner Reach, is challenging the Scottish government’s effective ban on onshore unconventional oil and gas development.
The companies have lodged a petition for the judicial review of the recent decision by the government, with Ineos claiming the ban is unlawful.
“Ineos believes that there were very serious errors within the decision-making process, including a failure to adhere to proper statutory process and a misuse of ministerial power,” Ineos said in a statement on its website.
With a ban on shale and all other forms of unconventional oil and gas extraction, Ineos said Scotland will miss out on the ‘numerous economic and employment benefits that will be enjoyed by England, including an estimated 3,100 Scottish jobs’.
“The decision…was a major blow to Scottish science and its engineering industry, as well as being financially costly to Ineos, other businesses and indeed the nation as a whole,” Tom Pickering, operations director at Ineos Shale, said in a company statement.
“It also removed at a stroke the potential for the country in these uncertain times to secure its own indigenous energy supply. We have serious concerns about the legitimacy of the ban and have therefore applied to the court to ask that it review the competency of the decision to introduce it,” he added.
Pickering highlighted that Ineos, Reach and other operators have invested ‘significantly’ in unconventional development in Scotland over the years.
“If Scotland wants to continue to be considered as a serious place to do business, then it cannot simply remove the policy support that attracted that investment in the first place without proper procedures being followed and without the offer of appropriate financial compensation,” he added.
Commenting on Ineos’ challenge to the Scottish fracking ban, the Scottish government minister for business, innovation and energy, Paul Wheelhouse, told Rigzone that the government had taken a ‘careful and considered approach’ to arriving at its preferred policy on unconventional oil and gas.
“The Scottish government’s position was endorsed by the Scottish parliament…subject to completion of a strategic environmental assessment, and follows detailed assessment of the evidence and consultation with the public,” Wheelhouse said.
In October last year, the Scottish government announced that it would not support the development of unconventional oil and gas in the country, following a four-month public consultation which received over 60,000 responses.
Approximately 99 percent of the consultation responses were opposed to fracking and fewer than one percent were in favour, according to a government statement at the time.
Ken Cronin, the chief executive of UK Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG), the trade body for the UK onshore industry, has previously stated that the onshore oil and gas industry can generate a further 64,000 jobs in the UK, create a new stream of UK tax revenue and provide direct local investment to the communities that host production.
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