Tuesday, October 11, 2016

News: INEOS begin search for shale in Rotherham

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INEOS, the company that owns Government licenses to search for shale gas in areas of Rotherham has contacted a local parish council about carrying out surveys on council land.

A type of natural gas, shale gas has the potential to become an important energy source for the UK, as it is in the US, but extracting the gas using a method called "fracking" (hydraulic fracturing) has negative environmental impacts.

In 2013, an independent survey identified that the whole borough of Rotherham could be sitting on reserves of shale gas. The Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) – the UK's oil and gas regulator has been offering onshore blocks to leading names in the energy exploration industry to provide exclusivity.

Petroleum Exploration and Development Licences (PEDLs), provide the first step to starting drilling – but do not give absolute agreement to drill. On top of a licence, any further drilling application will then require planning permission, as well as permits from the Environment Agency and sign-off from the Health and Safety Executive.

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Operator INEOS has been offered Block SK39 which covers areas including Wentworth, Harley and Thorpe Hesley, in addition to being offered the licence for SK58a which includes Dinnington, North Anston, South Anston, Woodsetts and Thorpe Salvin. SK48 has also been offered to INEOS and includes Brinsworth, Catcliffe, Treeton, Waverley, Thurcroft, Ulley, Aughton, Aston, Todwick, Wales, Rother Valley and Harthill.

Harthill with Woodall Parish Council has now reported that it has received a request from land agents acting on behalf of INEOS Upstream Ltd, stating: "The request is to undertake gravity and magnetic surveys, and 2D and 3D seismic surveys on land owned by the Parish Council.

"At present, this is a request to carry out surveys only and it does not follow that there would be any plans for extraction using the process known as fracking.

"The Parish Council has requested that INEOS attend a public meeting in order that parishioners many ask questions."

A date has been set for October 17.

INEOS said when the licences were awarded that it has committed to full consultation with all local communities before proceeding with any shale gas development. The company has also committed to share 6% of revenues with homeowners, landowners and communities close to its shale gas wells.

The letter to the parish council from August is from Claire Priestner, managing director of FGP Limited, and states: "We are agents and surveyors acting on behalf of Ineos, due to our specialisation in working on private property. The private interest of Ineos is to explore for gas within the shale layer of rock approximately 2,000-5,000 metres below the surface. To understand the geology better Ineos are proposing to understand the geology better by undertaking gravity and magnetic surveys (which is merely walking on with a handheld small device) and 2D and 3D seismic surveys.

"We are hoping to start the survey works at the end of September/start of October 2016 and I would like to issue proposed licence agreements in the next couple of weeks with a bonus in accordance with the specified rates if the licence agreement is signed at the beginning of October 2016. A full indemnity is given for any disturbance and damage and if for any reason a second entry was required within the two year term, the licence fee would be paid again."

INEOS website

Images: INEOS


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