Citations are in the full issue brief, which you can download above.
The petrochemical company Ineos is transforming into a dominant UK fossil fuel firm with oil and gas extraction, storage, processing and pipeline assets. Since its 1998 inception, Ineos has rapidly assembled a sprawling corporate empire by snapping up chemical factories and companies. But it also has garnered a chequered environmental record in its aggressive climb to become one of the world’s largest chemical conglomerates.
Food & Water Watch examined Ineos’ European environmental record and found that many of the facilities had accidents, safety lapses, chemical leaks, substantial pollutant releases and even fires and explosions, including:
INEOS ENVIRONMENTAL RECORD
INEOS THREATENS CLEAN AIR AND WATER
From beginning to end, Ineos’s business model represents grave threats to clean air and water. The company relies on fracked hydrocarbons from Pennsylvania and Ohio, which delivers immediate negative impacts in the communities near drilling sites. These dangerously explosive materials must be transported via major pipelines, like the Mariner East 2 under construction across Pennsylvania, drilling for which has already caused dozens of spills and several cases of water contamination. The materials are shipped across the Atlantic Ocean to the company's plastics and chemical manufacturing sites, contributing further environmental threats to the air, water and public health.
Ineos’ current drive to use hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, to drill for shale gas across the UK brings into sharp focus the company’s questionable environmental record. In 2014, Ineos announced a planned £640 million investment to “kick-start a shale gas revolution," according to The Guardian. By 2017, Ineos was by far the biggest holder of UK shale licenses. Fracking injects large volumes of water, sand and chemicals deep underground, at extreme pressure, to create fractures in targeted rock formations to release the oil and gas.
FRACKING ISN'T SAFE
Fracking has become an internationally recognized threat to human and planetary health and safety. In 2012, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) issued a “Global Alert” on fracking. According to UNEP, hydraulic fracking may result in “unavoidable environmental impacts," even if unconventional gas is extracted properly. In the United States, the fracked gas and oil industry has polluted the water supplies of heavily drilled communities, produced massive volumes of toxic waste, caused earthquakes and imperiled vital aquifers from poorly constructed gas wells; meanwhile, oil and gas operations have become the second greatest global source of the potent greenhouse gas methane, threatening the climate and the planet.
Ineos downplays the environmental risks of fracking, despite the fact that the company has never drilled a producing oil or gas well in the UK. Ineos has operated chemical plants for nearly two decades, but in that short time, many of its facilities have been bedeviled by environmental problems. Its dozens of manufacturing facilities across Europe have been responsible for releases of toxic chemicals, leaks, fires and explosions that have endangered workers, communities and the environment.There is too much at stake to allow a company with Ineos’ dubious environmental track record to pursue fracking for shale gas.
The European Union (EU) and UK should be charting a course for a clean, renewable future, not allowing companies to relentlessly pursue a fossil-fuelled race for profits that imperils communities, workers and the environment.