01:23 GMT +318 January 2020
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    A $43 million deal securing shale gas exploration rights for central Scotland, will help lessen the UK's dependence upon fossil fuel energy imports, Scientific Alliance Scotland, an independent non-profit organization representing scientists and academics from across Scotland, told Sputnik Wednesday.

    EDINBURGH (Sputnik), Mark Hirst On Tuesday, shale gas company IGas signed off a deal worth $43m with Swiss-based Ineos who operate and own one of the UK's largest petrochemical refineries at Grangemouth.

    "This agreement is good news for the Scottish economy and Scottish consumers. A domestic supply of clean gas will assure sustainable employment in an important industrial sector and, ultimately, lessen dependence on imported fuels," Martin Livermore, a Director of Scientific Alliance Scotland said.

    Livermore added that "fracking is both well proven as a safe extraction technique and highly regulated. Unlike wind farms, gas wells produce a reliable source of energy with minimal visual impact or noise nuisance."

    The deal secures exploration rights to 127 square miles of central Scotland and has gone ahead despite the Scottish and UK Central Governments recently imposing a moratorium on the controversial drilling technique known as fracking which is used to extract the gas.

    Responding to the deal's announcement, the Head of Campaigns with environmentalist body Friends of the Earth Scotland said in a statement that "if INEOS have any sense they will listen to the community and abandon this deeply unpopular proposal immediately."

    According to Church, unconventional gas extraction is opposed by two local authorities, several community councils and thousands of local people and after full examination of the impact fracking makes on the environment and health it will be completely banned.

    Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a method to extract shale gas and oil by injecting pressurized toxic liquid into the ground, which some organizations believe is dangerous for the environment.

    A report published last year by the British Geological Survey (BGS) estimated that Scotland's central belt could yield 80 billion cubic feet of shale gas which, it claims, would be enough to meet the country's demands for the next 50 years.


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