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Fracking could transform Britain's industrial heartland, says Ineos boss

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Media captionTanker carrying shale gas arrives in Scotland

Fracking could transform Britain's industrial heartland in the way it has revived America's Rust Belt, chemicals tycoon Jim Ratcliffe - the man behind Tuesday's first shale gas import to the UK - has told the BBC.

In an interview with Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Ratcliffe said preliminary work by his company Ineos indicated Britain had significant quantities of shale gas in South and North Yorkshire, Lancashire and across Scotland.

"If you look at a place like Pittsburgh in America, a steel town that was on its knees, it has been completely changed by shale gas. We could do the same for our industrial heartland. It could change people's lives," he said.

The Ineos Insight, carrying 27,500 cubic metres of gas from the Marcellus shale field in Pennsylvania, arrived at the company's Grangemouth chemicals plant in Scotland on Tuesday morning.

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Media captionIneos boss Jim Ratcliffe says shale gas could transform the UK as it has done the US

Grangemouth has used gas from the North Sea, but has been running at less than full capacity as domestic production declines. Mr Ratcliffe said the company had faced a decision on whether to abandon Grangemouth three years ago, which led to the plan to import cheaper US shale gas.

The cargo arrived the day after the Labour Party conference vowed to try and ban fracking in England - there is already a ban in place in Scotland.

Mr Ratcliffe said the opposition was "difficult for me to understand."

"One million wells have been drilled in America and while there were issues early on, it is now a very safe and well regulated industry," he said.

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