Grangemouth: Anti-fracking groups raise alarm as Ineos US gas shipments arrive


Ineos organising public relations effort to welcome new international trade in fracked gas

SCOTLAND will become a key destination in the new transatlantic trade in fracked gas today (Tuesday 27 September), with the arrival of a shipment from the US that campaigners warn marks new dangers for the global environment.

Fracked gas will arrive from Pennsylvania in a huge “dragon ship” designed to transport the fossil fuel, at the Grangemouth processing plant in Fife, owned by corporate chemical giant Ineos.

In advance of the arrival Donald Campbell, Chair of the Broad Alliance anti-fracking group told CommonSpace that the transportation of fracked gas was detrimental to the environment.

He said: “What we are seeing with the arrival of these ships is potentially the start of a new global trade in fossil fuel. The governments of the world need to act to stop this happening. The messages we have received from right across the United States bust the myth that people there love fracking and benefit from it. We need to listen to them.

“Governments need to think about the impact it will have on the climate. The Broad Alliance is working to convince the Scottish government to make the moratorium on unconventional gas into a ban, but increasingly we are part of a global movement. We say ‘no fracking here – no fracking anywhere.’”

Recent years have seen the growth of the international movement against fracking and other forms of unconventional gas extraction, which are used to release fossil fuel gas from underground deposits. The practice has been criticised by residents of fracked areas and by the scientific community for a range of environmental impacts from the spread of toxins into local water supplies to earthquakes and other seismic activity.

Explainer: What is happening with the SNP and fracking?

With the arrival of the first shipment of gas, US communities effected by fracking have called for greater action and awareness on the impacts of corportions profiting from the trade in American fracked gas.

A spokesperson for Citizens for Clean Water, from Susquehanna County Pennsylvania, said: “Please don't accept these shipments of Fracked Liquid Gas from Pennsylvania. Americans are being sacrificed by having this production near their homes, schools and farms. Thousands of violations have been uncovered, showing that our air and water has been polluted by the process of extraction and gas production.”

Ineos plans to ship 40,000 barrels per day over the next 15 years, establishing a major trade for fracked gas in Scotland.

Investigative news website the Ferret has revealed that the Ineos are laying-out a huge public relations offensive with the arrival of the gas, with journalists invited to dinner in Edinburgh last night (26 September), given a hotel room for the night then provided with breakfast on a barge to cover the event. It emerged that Richard Dixon, director of environmental group Friends of the Earth Scotland, was originally invited to the event by BBC Scotland – but had his invite barred by Ineos.

The Scottish Government has placed a moratorium on fracking in Scotland, but the continuing industrial build up by corporations planning fracking in Scotland has led campaigners to call for the establishment of an all-out ban on the practice.

At the Labour party conference in Liverpool yesterday [Monday 26 September] shadow Chancellor John McDonnell announced that a future Labour government would ban fracking.

A statement on the Ineos website claims that the importation of US fracked gas via the dragon ships will supply the European energy market with a competitive advantage.

It reads: “Whilst European gas production is crumbling, America's is booming.”

“Ineos has a bold, pioneering plan: to ship US ethane gas to Europe bringing competitive advantage from America into Europe. The company has secured 15 year contracts for the purchase, distribution and shipping of ethane from the US, underpinning the economics of its petrochemicals assets in Europe for many years to come.”

Last year Gareth Beamish from Ineos told CommonSpace it was "indisputable" that fracking caused an earthquake in England.

Picture courtesy of 4652 Paces

Check out what people are saying about how important CommonSpace is. Pledge your support today.