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The first tanker loaded with shale ethane extracted from U.S. fields reached Scotland’s Grangemouth site of chemicals company Ineos on Tuesday, rekindling the shale controversy in Scotland and in the UK as a whole.
The delivery of the ethane took place today as planned, and this was Britain’s first shipment of shale fracked in the United States.
While Ineos company representatives and UK industry bodies welcomed the shipment and praised it for helping local economy revival and saving jobs, environmental activists are calling upon Scotland not to accept the shipment.
Ineos said earlier this year that U.S. shale would allow it to run the Grangemouth facility at full rate and bring the chemical complex back to profitability. Ineos has contracts to buy gas from the Marcellus Shale in Western Pennsylvania. According to the Switzerland-based company, Grangemouth is Europe’s biggest ethane storage tank with the capacity to store 33,000 tons of liquid gas.
On the other side of the fence, Mary Church, head of campaigns at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “It is completely unacceptable to attempt to prop up the Grangemouth plant on the back of environmental destruction across the Atlantic.”
Scottish organization Broad Alliance shared on its website a plea from Pennsylvania residents, calling upon Scotland not to accept the shale gas shipments.
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At the same time, the CEO of industry body United Kingdom Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG), Ken Cronin, described the shipment as a boost to the Scottish economy, and added: “We can and should be allowed to develop our own shale creating even more value for our economy and environment.”
In June, the Scottish Parliament voted to ban fracking after the nationalist SNP party abstained, which allowed the combined Labour, Green and Liberal Democrat votes to beat the Conservative party vote against the ban.
Just yesterday, the UK’s Labour Party said it would ban fracking ‘outright’ if it wins the next general elections.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.