BY RUTH HAYHURST ON DECEMBER 29, 2017
DrillOrDrop’s round-up of the likely action on fracking and onshore oil and gas activity in 2018.
Third Energy said it has been ready since November 2017 to frack its KM8 well at Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire. It has been waiting for final approval from the Energy Secretary, Greg Clark. The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said the decision had been delayed because of a loophole in the Infrastructure Act. This has now been closed. On the consent for Kirby Misperton, BEIS said this week: “There is no timescale for an announcement”.
Cuadrilla has said it expects to frack its first two wells at Preston New Road near Blackpool during 2018. It has submitted the hydraulic fracture plans to the Oil & Gas Authority. It will also need to get final fracturing consent from Mr Clark. At a recent community liaison group meeting, the company said fracture stimulation equipment was being delivered to Preston New Road. Cuadrilla has been carrying out seismic surveying on land to the west of its Preston New Road site to finalise the direction for its first two horizontal wells. Horizontal drilling is expected to begin in early 2018 and a community newsletter to explain the process is planned for the spring, Cuadrilla said.
IGas has submitted a scoping request for its plans to drill and frack a new well at its site on the edge of the Ince Marshes in Cheshire. A full application is expected in 2018
Other site operations
West Newton B. After a year of inaction, Rathlin Energy recently told a community liaison group “the company is now ready to start work” at its West Newton-B exploration site. It said it had no intention of undertaking high volume hydraulic fracturing in the Bowland shale. There would be a full strip of the top soil at the site and an archaeological survey, Rathlin said. Site construction would follow, expected to be at the end of the first quarter of 2018.
Becconsall. Cuadrilla must restore its Becconsall shale gas site by 1 May 2018 after Lancashire County Council refused permission for an extension of planning permission (DrillOrDrop report)
INEOS has begun approaching landowners about access for seismic surveying in its PEDL licence areas.
Ellesmere Port, Cheshire. Cheshire West and Chester Council’s planning committee is due to decide on IGas plans for testing its well at Ellesmere Port. The meeting could be on 25 January 2018.
Preston New Road, Lancashire. Cuadrilla has applied to the Environment Agency to treat surface water from its Preston New Road shale gas on site and pipe it into a local brook. The public consultation ends on 26 January 2018. DrillOrDrop report
Ince Marshes, Cheshire. IGas is expected to submit a full application for drilling and fracking a shale gas well at its site on the edge of the Ince Marshes. The company has submitted a scoping request to Cheshire West and Chester Council. The Ince Marshes are also the location of the British Geological Survey’s underground laboratory, called UKGEOS. The BGS has yet to submit its application for the project.
Appeals and inquiries
The following public inquiries and hearings are expected during 2018.
Reopened inquiry into traffic issues as part of Cuadrilla’s appeal against refusal of planning permission by Lancashire County Council for shale gas exploration at Roseacre Wood shale gas site – scheduled to start 10 April 2018.
Evidence in public of the joint minerals and waste plan for North Yorkshire, York City Council and North York Moors National Park, scheduled to start February/March 2018.
DrillOrDrop will be reporting on the following cases:
Decision by Court of Appeal on appeals by Preston New Road Action Group and Geza Frackman against approval by Communities’ Secretary, Sajid Javid, of Preston New Road shale gas site
Request to the Court of Appeal by Joe Corre and Joe Boyd expected in early January to challenge INEOS injunction against anti-fracking protests
Permanent People’s Tribunal Session on the Human Rights Impacts of Fracking Link
Result of request to the Court of Appeal to challenge extension of PEDL licence 189.
The independent assessor of the Advertising Standards Authority is reviewing the watchdog’s ruling on complaints about an INEOS newspaper supplement about fracking and shale gas. The ASA upheld one complaint and dismissed two others. DrillOrDrop report
Barclays confirmed in May 2017 that it planned to sell its major stake in Third Energy “at some point”. Since then, there was no public information about a sale.
Third Energy UK Gas Limited, the company behind plans to frack at Kirby Misperton, is again late filing its accounts, which had been due on 30 September 2017. Four other Third Energy companies have also missed the filing deadline.
Three other Third Energy companies: Third Energy Gas Limited, Third Energy Petroleum Limited and Third Energy Oil and Gas Limited have been listed by Companies House as “dissolved on 2 January 2018”. They had each been issued with First Gazette notices for compulsory strike off in October 2017.
Senior members of the government hinted in the final weeks of 2017 about plans to remove fracking decisions from local control. The proposal was in the Conservative Party manifesto but didn’t make it into the Queen’s Speech.