Jim Ratcliffe

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Jim Ratcliffe is the founding chairman and main shareholder of the petrochemical giant Ineos Group. In 2018 he was ranked as Britain's wealthiest person on the Sunday Times Rich List. His fortune was calculated to have grown by an incredible £15billion on the previous year, rising to £21billion, driven by a huge increase in the value of Ineos. [1]

Previously he had ranked among the UK's 25 richest people, with a net worth of £5.75 billion in 2017.[2]

Ratcliffe was knighted in the 2018 Queen's birthday honours list. [3] Later that same year it emerged Ratcliffe was relocating to Monaco for tax purposes.

Pushing Britain's shale gas revolution

The billionaire has been at the forefront of the push to get fracking going in the UK since 2013-14, spending millions on exploration licences and seconding Patrick Erwin, a senior Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) civil servant, as commercial director at his Ineos Upstream shale startup. [4]

In February 2019 Ratcliffe publicly called on the UK Government to rip up the shale industry’s 'unworkable' regulations or face an 'energy crisis'. Ministers were using 'slippery back door manoeuvres to end shale” including 'absurd' earthquake limits imposed on shale gas developers, Ineos claimed. The company also warned the Government that it's 'betting the future of our manufacturing industry on windmills and imported gas', which could cause 'irreparable damage' to the UK’s manufacturing base. [5]

Political access

Meetings on shale gas with UK government ministers and officials




  1. Rupert Neate, Fracking mogul Jim Ratcliffe becomes UK’s richest person, The Observer, 13 May 2018
  2. These are the 25 richest people in Britain, Business Insider UK, 7 May 2017, 8:40 AM
  3. Queens Birthday LIst, gov.uk, 8 June 2018
  4. Melissa Jones, Meet the Frackers’: a Spinwatch lobbying tour , Spinwatch, 15 January 2017
  5. Jillian Ambrose, Ineos tells ministers to shape up or shut down UK shale, 4 February 2019
  6. 6.0 6.1 Email exchanges of 30th June between Ineos and DECC Officials. Briefing material for 28th June Meeting 3. Email exchanges between Ineos and DECC Officials, see page 7 of 17 for this reference.
  7. Transparency data BIS ministerial meetings: October to December 2013, Published May 2014, acc 6 November 2013