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First shipment of fracked shale gas to arrive in Scotland

A ship carrying ethane gas from the USA will arrive at Ineos' Grangemouth plant next month.

Grangemouth: Home to Europe's biggest shale gas storage tank.
Grangemouth: Home to Europe's biggest shale gas storage tank. Paradasos

The first shipment of shale gas extracted from fracking is to arrive in Scotland next month.

A ship carrying the ethane gas will arrive at the Ineos petrochemical plant in Grangemouth from the United States in September.

Ineos says it has invested more than £1bn in the Grangemouth facility since it acquired the site in 2005, with the company having already constructed the largest shale gas storage tank in Europe there.

But with the Scottish Government having placed a moratorium on fracking it has to import the gas to the complex, which employs more than 1300 people.

An Ineos spokesman said: "Next month Grangemouth in Scotland will receive the first ever shipment of shale gas from the US.

"Specifically-commissioned Dragon Class ships will form a virtual pipeline from the US to UK industry, supplementing the decreasing gas production coming from the North Sea.

"The supplies of US shale provide a competitively priced alternative to natural gas sourced from less secure parts of the world such as the Middle East and Russia.

"The need for this new source and the prospect of domestic shale being some years away has forced Ineos to take matters into its own hands in order to give a new lease of life to its Grangemouth site."

Holyrood's Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham told MSPs in June that the Scottish Government is "deeply sceptical about fracking" and that a moratorium would remain until "thorough research" and a consultation have been carried out so that "any decision is based on both the evidence and public opinion".

But the Ineos spokesman said: "With shale now helping to power the Scottish economy, the SNP Government has even more reason to accelerate the current study process and find in favour of a home-grown shale gas industry.

"The fact that Scotland is choosing not to end the moratorium and avoid the financial and carbon cost of transporting shale gas by utilising its own underground wealth is absurd."

New UK Prime Minister Theresa May recently revealed that households south of the border could be given cash payments potentially running into thousands of pounds in recompense for fracking in their area.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "The Scottish Government is taking a cautious and evidence-led approach to unconventional oil and gas. Our moratorium ensures that no fracking can take place in Scotland.

"As previously reported, the Scottish Government has commissioned a series of independent research projects to examine potential environmental, health and economic impacts to inform our evidence-led approach.

"This process is due to report later this year, with the public consultation taking place during winter 2016/17."

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