Chemicals company Ineos has acquired a majority stake in an onshore exploration and development license in Scotland that includes its Grangemouth refining and petrochemical complex and the area around it.

Ineos announced on Monday that its oil and gas exploration and production business, Ineos Upstream, has purchased BG Group's 51% share of the shale section of Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence (PEDL) 133, which covers 127 square miles of the Midland Valley of Scotland. No financial details were disclosed.

The remaining 49% share of the shale section license is owned by exploration company Dart Energy.

Ineos is currently building infrastructure in Grangemouth to import shale gas ethane from the United States. This license purchase represents the company's first move into the shale exploration arena and increases the likelihood of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, being launched in Scotland.

Gary Haywood, CEO of Ineos Upstream, said that over the last year the company had put together a team of experts, including leading shale exploration and development specialists from the United States.

He claimed that the deal to acquire exploration rights was "a logical next step" for Ineos and said the company is well placed to become a major player in the UK onshore gas production sector.

"We are one of very few businesses that can use shale gas as both a fuel and a petrochemical feedstock," Haywood added.