INEOS describes itself as “the biggest player in the UK shale gas industry”. It has licenses to explore for shale gas that cover more than one million acres of the UK. The company's CEO is the billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the richest man in the UK.

The company is known for its heavy-handed handling of the industrial dispute at the Grangemouth petrochemical plant, and its aggressive pursuit of UK energy assets to support its core manufacturing business. In April 2017, the company was accused of using Brexit as an opportunity to lobby the government to give energy intensive industries large tax breaks.

In 2017, it took out a wide-reaching injunction against “persons unknown” to prevent protests at future shale gas sites similar to those competitor Cuadrilla Resources experienced in Lancashire. Campaigners are challenging the legality of the injunction.

INEOS also has a stake in other UK shale gas companies including IGas. The first shipments of US shale gas to the UK were delivered to INEOS’ Grangemouth plant in August 2016. It said Scotland’s decision to “indefinitely” ban fracking “beggar’s belief”.

Key Quotes

October 2017

Tom Pickering, Operations Director of INEOS Shale, said of Scotland’s promise to ban fracking:

Natural gas will be needed by Scotland for the foreseeable future and production from the North Sea continues to decline. This decision, which beggar’s belief, means gas becomes a cost for the Scottish economy instead of an ongoing source of income.”


Gary Haywood, CEO of INEOS Shale, said of the company gaining 21 new licenses:

We have seen at first-hand what it has done for the US economy…Shale gas is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that the UK cannot afford to miss. North Sea oil created great wealth for the UK and shale gas can do the same”.

Key Deeds

December 26, 2018

INEOS warned that shale gas would be unlikely to be developed in the UK if limits on earthquakes caused by fracking were not relaxed. A month later, INEOS CEO Jim Ratcliffe called on the government to relax the regulations in question or ban the extraction method altogether.

January, 2018

INEOS was accused of misleading the public after the firm secretly negotiated with authorities to carry out seismic surveys in the most ecologically sensitive parts of Sherwood Forest despite having previously ruled out doing so. 

In a separate story, the National Trust pleaded with the company to drop its bid to carry out a fracking survey in the protected parkland of Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire.

October, 2017

INEOS Shale criticised the Scottish government’s promise to “indefinitely” ban fracking in the country.

September, 2017

INEOS took out a wide-reaching injunction against anti-fracking protesters.

Later that month, protesters challenged the legality of the injunction in court.

April, 2017

INEOS was accused of exploiting Brexit to lobby the government to give energy intensive industries a £100m-per-year exemption from environmental taxes.

October, 2016

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors launched a conflict of interest investigation into a complaint against two companies, Fisher German LLP and Fisher German Priestner (known as FGP), regarding INEOS’ efforts to conduct seismic surveys in the East Midlands.

August, 2016

The first shipment of US shale gas was delivered to INEOS’ Grangemouth plant.

July, 2016

INEOS announced its plans to seek planning permission for 30 fracking sites across the UK within six months.

October, 2015

DeSmog UK revealed local council pension funds invested a total of £53,178,179 in GDF Suez and INEOS.

April, 2015

INEOS held a meeting with Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, on the same day a moratorium on fracking was announced.

March, 2015

INEOS and IGas agreed a £30 million deal to help expand fracking operations in England.

Photo: Richard Webb via Geograph | CC2.0