Petrochemical company Ineos has bought a majority stake in a second license for shale gas exploration and development in Scotland.
The company announced on Monday that it would acquire an 80% interest in Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence (PEDL) 162 from Reach Coal Seam Gas Ltd. The license covers an area of 400 square kilometers and is adjacent to PEDL 133, in which Ineos owns a 51% stake of the shale layer.
Ineos Upstream, the company's new oil and gas exploration and production business, made its first move into U.K. shale exploration with the investment in PEDL 133 in August. That license includes its Grangemouth refining and petrochemical complex and the area around it.
Under the terms of the new agreement Ineos will be the operator of PEDL 162 and will fund the initial appraisal activity, which consists of two vertical science wells and 100 square kilometers of 3D seismic.
The deal currently remains subject to regulatory approvals, but is expected to be finalized within the next few weeks.
The British Geological Survey has identified significant shale gas and oil resources in this part of central Scotland. According to Ineos, the key objective of the first phase of appraisal is to determine whether the company can economically extract gas from this area.
"If we can, it will provide a local source of competitive energy and raw materials to support manufacturing jobs in Scotland," said Gary Haywood, CEO of Ineos Upstream.
The company has also pledged to share shale gas revenues with local landowners and communities.