Jim Ratcliffe
Jim Ratcliffe, at the company's new London Headquarters. Ineos

Jim Ratcliffe, the founder of energy and petrochemicals giant Ineos, who was raised in council house the north of England, is the UK's wealthiest person, according to the Sunday Times 2018 rich list.

The 65-year-old tycoon overtakes the Indian-born Hinduja brothers, Sri and Gopi, worth £20.64bn, to take the top slot on the list with fortune of £21 bn and change, thanks to a £15bn revaluation of his assets.

The grammar school educated the son of a joiner, Ratcliffe, through a combination of acquisitions and expansion initiatives, has transformed Ineos from being a major player in the petrochemicals landscape to an integrated oil and gas company that's among the UK's top ten hydrocarbon producers, and the biggest yet in private hands.

It also is leading the hunt to frack shale gas in the UK and currently holds dozens of exploration licences that grant it access to 1 million acres of land.

In 2016, the company unveiled an audacious move to bring US shale gas to power its European petrochemical plants thereby reducing costs and improving operating efficiencies, and is currently busy shipping shale gas to China.

Straying well beyond the energy and petrochemicals landscape, to an eclectic mix of assets in recent times have seen Ratcliffe buy Swiss football club Lausanne-Sport and motorcycle wear brand Belstaff.

In February 2017, Ratcliffe announced that Ineos would invest "many hundreds of millions" to produce an "uncompromising" off-roader 4X4 sport utility vehicle, following Jaguar Land Rover's decision to cease production of its iconic Land Rover Defender; a vehicle the tycoon loves to drive. He is also a keen marathon runner and a Manchester United fan,

In 2015, Ratcliffe said the UK could thrive outside the European Union, the BBC reported. "The Brits are perfectly capable of managing the Brits and don't need Brussels telling them how to manage things," he said.

"I just don't believe in the concept of a United States of Europe. It's not viable."

in 2016, Ratcliffe moved his company headquarters back to the UK from Switzerland, putting his faith in a post-Brexit economy.

Speaking to IBTimes UK at the time, Ratcliffe said: "My confidence in the UK has not diminished following the 23 June vote in favour of Brexit. Quite the contrary, I feel the climate for growth and business is very favourable. Ineos will continue to grow both in the UK and worldwide. Britain is a good location to ensure both of these goals."