INEOS Shale warned Scotland would pay a high price in jobs and investment after the Scottish Government effectively banned fracking.
It said the move “beggars belief” and accused the Holyrood government of “turning its back” on the industry.
And it tried to pour scorn on the ruling by claiming ENGLAND would instead benefit from its multi-million pound influence.
In a furious statement issued in the hours after Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse announced the ban, the company warned it would leave Scotland struggling for both jobs and energy needs.
The company claims 3100 Scottish job positions would be lost to Scotland while England would instead enjoy £33bn investment over the next two years.
Tom Pickering, Operations Director of INEOS Shale, said: “It is a sad day for those of us who believe in evidence-led decision making.
“The Scottish Government has turned its back on a potential manufacturing and jobs renaissance and lessened Scottish academia’s place in the world by ignoring its findings.”
He added: “Today’s decision is a slight on the dedicated professionalism that Scottish workers have pioneered in the North Sea.
“We lead the world in exploration safety, but I fear we will start to see large numbers of Scottish workers leaving the country to find work as the North Sea oil and gas industry continues to decline.”
“Natural gas will be needed by Scotland for the foreseeable future and production from the North Sea continues to decline.
“This decision, which beggars belief means gas becomes a cost for the Scottish economy instead of an ongoing source of income.
“It speaks volumes about Scottish leadership on the world stage and sends a clear and negative message to any future investors in Scotland.
“Expert reports have clearly stated that this technology can be applied safely and responsibly – but it will be England that reaps the benefits.”
Trade body UK Onshore Oil and Gas also hit out at the decision and mocked the Scottish Government’s Climate Change ambitions.
Ken Cronin, Chief Executive, said: “The Scottish Government ignores the advice of its own independent experts and prefers a future where gas will have to be imported with the damage that will do to the economy and the environment. It turns its back on job creation, skills development, an increase in tax receipts and investment in communities.
“Over the last 20 years, 30 wells have been drilled and produce gas within the Central Belt, without any impact to the natural environment or public health.
“This is a poor decision, ignoring Scotland’s rich heritage and expertise in oil and gas.
“It is not based on the evidence from extensive independent research, which clearly states that with appropriate regulatory oversight and monitoring Scotland’s regulatory framework is sufficiently robust to manage onshore exploration and production.”
He added: “It is interesting that Paul Wheelhouse should mention the Committee on Climate Change, who have in fact stated that the Scottish Government’s own target of having 80% of heating from low carbon sources by 2032 is “very unlikely to be feasible”, and that an onshore gas industry could fit well within Scotland’s climate change targets if certain conditions were met, which the industry was committed to doing.
“The reality is that it’s better for the planet to be producing our gas here rather than shipping it in across oceans from elsewhere, especially when Scotland has a petrochemicals industry so reliant on natural gas.
“But after today’s decision, the significant benefits from production will now be lost, and the opportunity to develop a robust future energy mix discarded. This is a decision that is based on dogma not evidence or geo-political reality.”
Gary Smith, the GMB union’s Scotland secretary, accused the Scottish Government of being “hypercritical”.
He said: “Scotland is importing a huge amount of shale gas from Trump’s America.
“If the government wants to be consistent, it will now ban shale gas imports, threatening a huge number of job losses.
“The government has failed to explain where the two million households in Scotland using gas to heat their homes will get gas from in the future.”
Scottish Conservative shadow finance secretary Murdo Fraser said: “This is a short-sighted and economically damaging decision which is nothing more than a bid to appease the green elements of the pro-independence movement.
“According to the Scottish Government’s own scientists, the extraction of shale from Scotland, with the right safety checks, could be done safely.
“It could also support thousands of jobs and deliver economic benefits to communities.
“With the struggles the North Sea is facing, there could hardly be a better time to be getting on with this.
“Instead, the Scottish Government is killing this off while other parts of the world press ahead with fracking.
“There’s also a huge hypocrisy from the SNP here.
“It’s happy to receive shale from the US to refine at Grangemouth – a major industry in itself – yet doesn’t want to have that technology here.”
The fracking ban was first put forward in 2014 by Green MSP Alison Johnstone, but other parties voted against it.
But a sustained campaign involving many environmental groups saw parties change allegiances.
Only the pro Brexit Tories still support the controversial extraction process.
Want to learn more? Read: Talking Fracking – Published Responses
Image credits: cc Anita Starzycka