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  1. Joel Hills

Ineos' £640 million bet on UK shale gas success

Ineos chairman Jim Ratcliffe - a billionaire with big ambitions - is taking a £640 million bet that shale gas will be every bit as big in Britain as it has been in the US.

Jim Ratcliffe, the founder of Ineos. Credit: PA Wire

He told us Ineos were bidding for a large number of licences in Scotland and the North of England but he didn't say specifically where or how many.

It's possible that he will end up with no licences to frack - but he doesn't think that's likely.

But he is frustrated by the planning process in the UK which he thinks has been far too slow, although environmentalists argue otherwise.

Jim Radcliffe has given people this promise: "It is safe, I can prove it."

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Labour: Regulation needed before fracking goes ahead

Reacting to news that Ineos plans to invest £640 million in shale gas exploration in the UK, shadow energy minister Tom Greatrex said:

Shale gas extraction cannot go ahead unless we have a system of robust environmental regulation and comprehensive inspection.

But David Cameron’s government have repeatedly side-lined genuine and legitimate environmental concerns to justify their desire to present shale gas as a silver bullet for all of our energy challenges.

As INEOS’ investment brings the UK closer to commercial scale extraction of shale gas, the Government can no longer afford to ignore these much-needed reforms to the regulatory framework.

– Tom Greatrex

Environmental groups attack shale gas investment

Greenpeace has attacked plans by chemicals company Ineos to invest £640 million in shale gas exploration in the UK, claiming it is a "giant speculative bet on unproven and risky resources".

Investment is essential to transform our energy system, but not giant speculative bets on unproven and risky resources.

Ineos have jumped on a spin-powered bandwagon which is going nowhere.

Independent academics recently called out Government ministers over the ludicrous levels of hype around shale gas, saying 'shale gas has been completely oversold'.

It seems that Ineos have based their business plan on breathless PR brochures rather than scientific reports.'

– Simon Clydesdale, Greenpeace UK

Ineos wants to become 'UK's biggest shale gas player'

Chemicals giant Ineos intends to become the biggest player in the British shale gas industry through its £640 million investment, its chairman said.

Ineos executives announcing the plans. Credit: ITV News/Joel Hills

Ineos already has two licences near its plant at Grangemouth in Scotland but is applying for more in Scotland and the north of England.

The company said it plans to give local communities 6% of the revenues from any shale gas it produces - potentially worth £375 million.

"I believe shale gas could revolutionise UK manufacturing and I know Ineos has the resources to make it happen, the skills to extract the gas safely and the vision to realise that everyone must share in the rewards," chairman Jim Ratcliffe said.

Ineos to unveil multi-million pound fracking plans

Chemical company Ineos is expected to invest hundreds of millions of pounds in fracking in the UK.

The firm is due to outline its plans to produce shale gas for its plant in Grangemouth, Scotland later today.

An Ineos flag above Grangemouth oil refinery in Falkirk. Credit: PA Wire

The company's investment in shale gas could be as much as £640 million, STV News reported.

Fracking, in which water and chemicals are injected into rock at high pressure, is controversial and has sparked numerous protests due to the environmental fears.

Large protests were held in Balcombe in West Sussex last year where energy firm Cuadrilla were test drilling at a potential fracking site.

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Ed Balls 'hopes' cost of living crisis is 'at an end'

Credit: PA Images

Labour's shadow chancellor Ed Balls has said he hopes that the recent signs that pay is rising faster than inflation could signal the end of the "cost of living crisis".

When asked by the BBC if the recent announcement by the Bank of England marked "the beginning of the end for the cost of living crisis", Mr Balls said:

Well, I hope so, but I have got to say, wages rising by 1.3% hailed as ‘remarkable’ by a Conservative minister, that just shows how out of touch Iain Duncan Smith and George Osborne are.

The average working person in our country is £1600 a year worse off. Month after month for years, prices have been going up faster than wages, we’ve now had one month where wages went up by 0.1% more than prices, because prices are really low at 1.2%, as the Governor of the Bank of England says.

– Ed Balls, Shadow Chancellor

Interest rate change not expected until next Autumn

Projections in the Bank of England's quarterly inflation report are likely to cement expectations that interest rates will not rise until well into next year.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

After the cuts in growth and inflation projections the BoE is expected to leave the interest rate at the long-term low of 0.5%.

"What really matters is the broad process of monetary policy, not a specific date for the first interest rate rise", Governor Mark Carney said

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