Monday, June 19, 2017

News: Council prepares to deal with first fracking related application

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Rotherham Council has confirmed that it has received a planning application from INEOS' oil and gas exploration and production business and are keen to stress that it is for a test well and not for fracking.

Rothbiz revealed first on Friday that the anticipated application for a Green Belt site between the villages of Harthill and Thorpe Salvin had been submitted.

The applicants are seeking permission for a vertical core well on the site which was chosen because it is within an area of interest based on existing seismic data.

Damien Wilson, strategic director of regeneration and environment at Rotherham Council, said: "This is a planning application to carry out underground investigations − not fracking.

"As with any planning application and in our role as the mineral planning authority, we will carry out detailed consultation and find out what people think of the proposals. This includes local people and the organisations we have to consult by law.

"We have not received an application to carry out fracking. If and when we do, it would be a separate planning application and subject to a similar but separate detailed consultation with the public and other consultees."

The publicity period for the application and for people to make comments will run from June 16 to July 21 2017 but no date has yet been set yet for the proposals to be considered by the Planning Board. Mr Wilson added that the Council was committed to making information available to the public every step of the way throughout the planning process.

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The first of three potential phases, the application covers the installation of a vertical well that has been designed to extract a "core" sample of the rock for laboratory analysis. This process will establish the properties of the local shale formation and surrounding rocks. The data from this well along with existing geological data will allow a better understanding of the shale gas potential.

A pressure transient test (PTT) will also be undertaken following the drilling as the gas is easier to extract if it is over pressured.

Until the data collected is analysed, it is not known if the area is subsequently likely to be a site for fracking. In its application, INEOS said that it "understands that this does not give certainty to those people who are concerned about future shale gas extraction in this area. INEOS intend to keep local communities informed of their future intentions and will continue actively engaging with the local community."

The council has also committed to keeping its website up-to-date with all the latest information.

The detail of the planning application (RB2017/0805) is now available on the Council's website.

As well as consulting with the public, the Council − in its role as the mineral planning authority − will consult with statutory consultees including other councils and national government departments and agencies.

INEOS website
Rotherham Council website

Images: INEOS


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