Campaigners braced for more bribes and threats in Ineos quest to frack Scotland

frackBy Talk Fracking

After Scotland announced a fracking moratorium on 28th January 2015, campaigners warned of further bribes and false promises by “tax dodging billionaire” Jim Ratcliffe. His company Ineos had been awarded licences to frack Central Scotland.

Chemical company Ineos’s plans to frack large parts of Central Scotland came to a halt when the Scottish government announced a moratorium on fracking. But campaigners expect a dirty PR campaign by the company in response to the moratorium which is still in deliberation.

When the company was awarded licenses to frack in November 2014, Ineos CEO Jim Ratcliffe delivered false promises that 6% of any potential profits would go to local communities and councils. The company now suggest Scotland cannot survive without fracking even though Scotland’s renewable industry is flourishing. But Ineos’s track-record suggests it will disregard the public interest to make profits.

Now in February 2015, after recent reports that Ratcliffe moved his business to Switzerland when HMRC refused his request to avoid paying a £350 million VAT receipt, anti-fracking campaigners urge to not trust the continued promises he is failing to make.

Joe Corre from Talk Fracking said: “Jim Ratcliffe’s promises to financially reward this country show contempt for the British public, especially coming from a billionaire who decided to dodge his tax responsibilities during the heart of the recession.”

“Any promises he makes during the public consultation should be scrutinised carefully. How can local people be expected to believe pledges like sharing potential profits, when the company will not even honour its legal requirement.”

Interviewed in the Daily Telegraph after the decision to up sticks, Ratcliffe laughed off the decision to avoid paying his fair share of tax in Britain. He said “We didn’t do it out of spite,” explaining that the decision was the best course of action for his profits.
Corre adds, “Ratcliffe is clearly a man who will abandon Britain if things go wrong or he does not get his own way.”

The Ineos business model is to expand fast by relying on substantial loans from banks, including the bailed out Lloyds and RBS. It has also used banking facilities from HSBC, infamous for its connections to drug money laundering and tax evasion.

Joe Corre says: “Ratcliffe’s company has effectively been bank-rolled from the proceeds of tax-payer funded bailouts and tax evasion.”

Ineos Upstream are the subsidiary awarded licences to frack 729sq miles of Central Scotland. These plans were halted by Scotland’s government, when it called the moratorium.

Gary Haywood, CEO of Ineos Upstream has made claims that they have an “exemplary safety and environmental record”. But these assertions are contradicted by a series of spills, explosions, fires and other serious emergency incidents in Ineos-owned factories, refineries and chemical plants.

In September last year, a gas leak at Ineos’s Grangemouth Refinery, Scotland sparked a major emergency alert. Unite accused the chemical company of ‘unacceptable’ cuts to the number of safety specialists on site.

That same month, there was an explosion at a German Ineos chemical plant, blowing smoke over the town of Worringer.

Closer to home, Runcorn-based Ineos company Chlor Vinyls admitted to dumping caustic soda into Manchester’s ship canal in early 2014.

In the same town, workers of the Viridor’s Energy-from-Waste plant, a joint venture that includes Ineos, have been hospitalised from two chemical spill incidents.

In other incidents, Ineos have also polluted the River Forth in summer 2007, caused workers burns in 2006, both again at Grangemouth; and caused a toxic cloud over Cologne, Germany, after a fire in 2008.

Reflecting on Ineos’ health and environmental record, Joe Corre says, “This seems more like an exemplary record of health and safety failure”.

The business approach of Ineos was deeply criticised during its dispute with workers at its Grangemouth Refinary in 2013. Scottish commentator Robin McAlpine details how the company acted like a ‘psychopath’, to force its workers to accept reduced pay and conditions.

“The approach of Ratcliffe at Grangemouth shows how he has already held Scotland to ransom. The country should focus on increasing its already budding green industry, which can guarantee a prosperous and healthy future without fracking,” says Joe Corre.

Comments (15)

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  1. Matt Seattle says:

    Someone under discussion here has seriously low self esteem – seen the size of his yacht?

    1. thisgreenworld says:

      yup…him and Donald Trump and all these other self-made men…f**cking the country instead of dealing with their inherent sense of personal inadequacy.

      Why do we continue to put up with (even sometimes admire) ego and ruthless selfishness and unresolved psychological distress that allow men (and it’s mostly men) to trample over land and people and communities to try and fill a personal gap that giant toys can never fill?
      Surely some therapeutic support for such ego at an early age would be cheaper for us all?
      Why do we so rarely look for the underlying issues behind why people with influence behave in certain ways and try and address THOSE realities instead of fighting what they throw up as smokescreen?

  2. maxi kerr says:

    I say” F***k em” and deal with them and their cohorts the same way as they would almost certainly deal with us.

  3. tammcgarvey says:

    So, like most other oligarchs, they extract and harvest our shared natural resources for their personal gain and then “avoid” paying taxes back into the nations they have blagged from.
    In this case, its not only a case of blagging the profits, its the mess, mayhem,health and environmental probelms they will leave behind. For instance, we all know what Shell are doing to the Niger Delta,what fracking is doing to the people and environment across much of America and what lumber companyies are doing round the globe, so why should we trust these corporations or the governments who allow them to do it. And why should we trust the media who disinform us about the whole sham.
    Most of our politicians seem scared to stand up to these crooks. Time we started boycotting some of the big players in oil, banking, retail or any other corporates who exploit our resources,who run roughshod over populations and the strands of the media who all collaborate in reducing our democracy to a joke.
    I agree with thisgreenworld above. We should look more at the pathology of these oligarchs who hold so much control over our planet and the life thereupon.
    Aristotle says “Madness is badness of spirit when one seeks profit from all sources”.
    Sounds about right, eh Mr Ratcliffe?
    Lets jail at least one of these pirates.The more we jail the more we will see their behaviour change. China hangs them, we give them tax breaks and a whopping bonus.
    It would send out a message to the rest of them that their widescale activities are immoral, unethical, criminal and totally unacceptable.

  4. bringiton says:

    The easiest way to get what he wants is through the HoL.
    No need for an expensive PR campaign or brown envelopes to a multiplicity of local councillors,just a few well placed incentives to their Lordships will result in a bill getting quietly amended under cover of darkness,removing planning consent from the SG.
    This is what will happen after May should we return numbers of British political party MPs who do not have Scotland’s interests at heart.

  5. JWil says:

    Ratcliff makes the case for the Grangemouth plant to be transferred to public ownership. It won’t be long before we see threats from the company to shut the plant if they don’t get their way as they did before. Such a strategic facility for Scotland should not be able to be threatened on the whim of one man. There is also the spectre of an uncooperative Westminster government which has the power to foul up all things Scottish that it cares to do.

    I can understand the reluctance of the Scottish Government to close he door completely on fracking.

    Planning consent will be no barrier to Ratcliff as the Scottish Government can override planning decisions taken at local level if it is coerced into it.

  6. Paddy S Hogg says:

    An article on UCG is urgently needed since that is where we need sanity to prevail!

  7. Clootie says:

    When profit is the main driver people come second.

    Tin and coal mining / digging canals / asbestos work / steel works / shipyards / cotton mills etc etc.
    It is difficult for the individual to resist the pressure as he has the immediate threat of a roof over his families head and to put food on the table.

    The level of deaths (almost 80) during the building of the Forth Rail Bridge would never be contemplated now.
    The level of Chronic disease and death related to coal mining and asbestos work would be shunned in a modern society.

    We make progress slowly but now profit is being chased using the excuse that the RISK of this new threat is deemed UNPROVEN / UNCLEAR and other statements of that ilk. It may be 50 years before we discover the real risk that has been forced on our major area of population – it will, of course, by then be too late

    As with the risk of chronic disease we need to protect the individual from the pressure of finding an income at “any cost”.

    This is what governments need to do – protect the citizen from being forced to sell his health..

  8. Crabbit says:

    Planning and environmental regulation are already devolved. The Smith Commission recommendation, accepted by the UK government, is for onshore energy licensing to also be devolved. A future Scottish Government will have the powers to prevent fracking.

    The question is: will a future Scottish Government permit fracking? I think both the main parties in Scotland, SNP and Labour, are ambivalent, until they can better size up the potential economic benefit. If too small, they’ll avoid. If thought to be large…

    On Ineos, the Grangemouth plant is already importing shale (fracked) gas as feedstock.

    1. Shaun says:

      Has it actively started importing shale gas from America yet? I know it’s been wanting to do so for a while now in order to reduce costs to remain competitive.

      1. MBC says:

        In autumn 2013 he anounced he wanted to build a storage facility for imported American shale oil. He needed money for that, and that was what all the stooshie was about with the workers, as he was basically raiding their very generous pension pot in order to build it. At that time oil prices were high and profit margins low, and he claimed that this was essential to keep the industry going. Now that oil prices are half what they were in 2013 (and nobody saw that coming) I’m surmising that this is no longer the case. As I understand it the storage facility is under construction.

      2. Crabbit says:

        Apologies, my mistake, they’ve signed the contract but need to finish building the infrastructure to accept the imports. Imports of shale gas expected to begin in 2016:

  9. JWil says:

    A news article the other night was about a small town in Texas, populated by a few hundred people, which was suddenly inundated with fracking companies and hundreds of workers. It has now felt the effect of the oil and gas price slump. Most of the companies have left and have taken their workers with them. Is anyone selling American fracked gas now?

    1. Crabbit says:

      In the US, certainly. It’s the main source of natural gas for them.

      It does need a lot of widely-dispersed drilling to get to though, so the local economic stimulus is going to be quite transient.

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