Shale gas and filthy lucre

Sometime this month, the first ethane shipment from US shale is coming to the UK, ironically to Scotland to be used as feedstock at the Ineos Grangemouth facility.

It raises the same questions for the no shale anywhere school that have already arisen over imports of US shale oil and US LNG from shale already arrived in Spain and Portugal .US LNG will be headed to the UK and Belgium soon enough. It will be hard to propose no shale anywhere when it’s already lurking in the water heater.

Ethane is just part of the methane flowing out of Pennsylvania’s gas field and is the precursor for ethylene to polypropylene production, and from that modest substance, most of modern life. It will even be used for the £5 notes that came into circulation last week as noted here back in 2013 when I noted that one can actually make money of out of shale gas. Literally:

The company that makes the polypropylene film for the notes is Innovia Films based in Wigtown in Cumbria. They use £7 or 8 million of gas as fuel a year and their raw material for the polypropylene comes from INEOS. INEOS will soon be importing Pennsylvanian shale gas ethane as the feedstock that eventually will become fivers in our pockets.

It’s doubly ironic as the Scottish Government has the most confused thinking going on shale gas, as Jim Ratcliffe said last week:

The owner of Grangemouth refinery has accused the Scottish Government of “hypocrisy” by impeding fracking when shale gas imports are protecting 10,000 jobs in and around the economically vital plant.

In an interview with the Scottish Daily Mail, Mr Ratcliffe said Grangemouth “would be closed today” without shale gas imports.

He said: “Whether the Scottish politicians like it or not, the shale gas which has come from the US rather than the UK has saved 10,000 jobs in the Falkirk area.

“And that’s 5% of the Scottish GDP. So whether they like it or not they have embraced shale gas and 10,000 people’s livelihood depends on shale gas from the USA.”

He added: “There is sort of an element of hypocrisy there.”

Sort of? Jim Ratcliffe, unlike many in his company, isn’t scared of being brutally honest.  He’s in a better position than many in shale since his company is privately held and Ineos is in a curious position.  No one can boycott the Ineos brand because there isn’t one yet it’s  impossible to boycott the products derived from ethane either. That includes plastic, paint, dyes, pharmaceuticals and fivers.  Anti-frackers may need to go increasingly cashless. Although of course there is that pesky plastic in the payment card.

Whatever you do, don’t touch any receipts.

  • Reduce handling as much as possible.

    • Don’t crumpling receipts it increases the amount of skin exposure and causes friction on the receipt that causes the chemicals to be activated (sloughed off the receipt)
    • Hold with only two fingers
    • Don’t grip firmly for the same reasons crumpling increases exposure, the more pressure the more activation of the chemicals.
    • Watch wipe action or fingers and palms on paper.  Mainly the least amount of exposure to the surface area of the receipt the less opportunity for you to rub off the chemicals and cause absorption
  • Wear protective food grade silicone fingertips on index finger and thumb when tearing receipts, changing receipt rolls, and cleaning machines.

  • Fold one-sided printed paper in on itself.  One-sided thermal paper (paper that can only be printed on one side), usually has more chemical on the printed side.

  • Avoid hand to mouth contact when handling receipts.

  • Avoid handling receipts after using alcohol-based cleaners or when hands are wet, or when greasy from food or lotion. Wet hands lead to more absorption.

  • Wash and dry hands thoroughly; on work breaks (employees) after changing receipt rolls or cleaning machines, prior to and after eating or preparing food, when returning from the store.

  • Protect high risk exposure – pregnant and nursing women, infants, toddlers, small children, and women of child-bearing age.  Never allow babies or toddlers to handle receipts or put them in their mouths.

  • Opt for electronic receipts whenever possible.

  • Do not place thermal paper receipts/orders directly on food during its preparation or when transporting food.

  • Keep drink/meal receipts dry. Do not adhere them to the sides of moist glassware.

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