Less than 24 hours after the Labour Party said that it would ban fracking, a US tanker headed to dock at Ineos plant in Grangemouth.

The gas has travelled more than 3,500 miles via a “virtual pipeline” of eight tankers to reach Grangemouth, where Ineos has built an import terminal as part of an overhaul costing £450m. The ethane will be fed into “crackers” that convert the gas into ethylene, used in the production of a range of plastic products.

Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside. Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure which allows the gas to flow out of the head of the well.

Speaking at Labour's annual party conference the shadow energy minister, Barry Gardiner, announced that a future Labour Government would ban fracking. If a Labour Government were to win a general election, tankers from the US will be the only source of shale gas for Grangemouth.