ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners today (TUES) hit out at petrochemical giant Ineos and their "pie-in-the-sky" promises of cash to communities for shale gas fracking.


The Grangemouth company has announced it acquired full fracking rights for land across 127 square miles, covering Shotts, Bishopbriggs and Kirkintilloch.

They were to reveal details of their 'community engagement plans' this morning, despite a current moratorium on fracking in Scotland.

Mary Church, head of campaigns for Friends of the Earth Scotland, said the company had previously talked about community benefit payments but has not signed up to a voluntary Government scheme to pay communities exposed to test drilling.

She said: "Ineos's pie-in-the-sky claims of huge sums of money for communities will never be delivered.

"Using the questionable economics of the US industry to woo communities when we know UK costs will be much higher is simply indefensible. The company is on record saying that if they frack and don't get enough gas, then communities won't get a penny."

She said it was a "dangerous, dirty industry and all the money in the world can't hide that."

"No amount of PR spin can hide the climate change impact of exploiting shale gas," she added.

She said the company had been revealed to have a string of safety breaches and was given a poor compliance with pollution laws rating for their Grangemouth plants in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Ineos announced that it had bought out IGas' interest in the site as part of a deal worth £30m.

The deal was agreed despite the Scottish government imposing a moratorium on the drilling technique used to extract natural gas from deep underground.

If the restrictions were lifted, Ineos would have full fracking opportunities in an area covering from Falkirk to Shotts, across to Lennoxtown and Bishopbriggs.

Chief executive Gary Haywood said it was a 'further significant step' by the petrochemical giant towards fracking.

Environmental campaigners are concerned about potential water pollution, and environmental and health implications.

Ed Pybus, of Frack Off Scotland, said he was confident the public inquiry would rule out fracking and show it was 'not worth pursuing.'

He said: "Not enough is known about it.

"The environmental damage is too great. We can't afford to burn all the fossil fuel we have collected."


Fracking - or hydraulic fracturing - is a means of extracting natural gas from sedimentary rocks such as shale. The process involves drilling horizontal wells deep into underground rock and pumping in a mixture of water, sand and chemicals at high pressure.

The mix fractures the rock and creates and maintains openings that allow the gas to seep out into the well for collection. The practice has been successful elsewhere but has also courted plenty of controversy.


Some of those involved in fracking say the process could deliver security of energy supply for decades, provide thousands of jobs directly and indirectly and boost tax revenues.

Increased supply and easier access to it should lead to cheaper energy costs, as it would lessen the reliance on imported fuels.

The burning of natural gas is considered less harmful to the environment than coal and oil.


Opponents of fracking say that because of the intense nature and depth of shale gas drilling it can cause a wider range of negative effects than conventional gas extraction for the environment and those living near drilling sites.

Concern has been expressed about potential gas leaks, contamination of underground water reserves (given wells may pass through them or gas could infiltrate them), air pollution and even small earthquakes.

Questions have also been raised about the sheer volume of water that needs to be used in fracking. These have led to worries about the impact the practice could have on sectors such as tourism and food production.