Friday, August 4, 2017

News: INEOS selects second shale gas site in Rotherham

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Land to the south of Dinnington Road at Woodsetts in Rotherham is the second Greenbelt location for a proposed test drilling operation by INEOS' oil and gas exploration and production business.

INEOS has recently submitted a planning application for its first exploration site in the borough - at a site between the villages of Harthill and Thorpe Salvin. Both sites have been identified as being in an area of interest to INEOS based on existing seismic data.

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.

The second site is on agricultural land at Dewidales Wood, close to Woodsetts, Rackford Farm, Anston Stones Wood (a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)) and Lindrick golf course.

A Screening Report has been submitted for the first stage in the process - exploration, which involves building a drilling rig and drilling vertically, deep into the ground to find out how much gas is in the shale. This does not involve fracking. INEOS is working with consultants at Turley on the plans.

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The report precedes an application to drill a vertical core well and Rotherham Council will need to determine if the project falls within the remit of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations - whether it were likely to have "significant effects on the environment by virtue of factors such as its nature, size or location."

On the first site, Rotherham Council, determined that INEOS' proposed project falls outside the remit of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations, concluding that: "The impacts from the proposed development are found not to be likely to be so significant, either individually or collectively, such as to require EIA."

The Government's Planning Casework Unit (PCU) has confirmed that the screening request was acceptable and that in the opinion of the Secretary of State, the application does not represent EIA development. The authority did however ask INEOS to submit detailed environmental impact assessments with the full application.

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The screening report for the Woodsetts site very much mirrors the Harthill report, outlining how the subsequent application would provide temporary permission for a maximum of five years and the operation would involve months of various site investigation surveys and site preparation before a period of drilling, coring and testing. A well would be drilled to approximately 2,800 m using a drill rig of maximum 60 m rig height followed by three months of testing.

The site would be restored after the activity has taken place and tests will be carried out on the suitability of the area for hydraulic fracturing.

Members of the public cannot comment specifically on the Screening Request but a spokesperson for INEOS, confirmed: "We have entered into pre-application discussions with Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council to discuss potential environmental impacts of the proposed development which will be subject to consultation with a number of external bodies. During this process we will undertake community consultation to take account of feedback from local residents before submitting a full planning application.

"To help ensure the local community is kept informed as we go through the planning process, we have offered to participate in a Community Liaison Group alongside the local Parish Councils."

INEOS, which recently started six months of seismic surveys in the area, has obtained a High Court Injunction to protect its sites, people, suppliers and the public "from the militant activists who try to game the system and cause maximum disruption."

INEOS website

Images: Google Maps / INEOS


1 comments:

Anonymous,  August 8, 2017 at 11:57 AM  

Please take a look here to see what is going on locally and nationally as communities and councils battle the likes of INEOS and Cuadrilla http://www.frackfreesouthyorkshire.co.uk/

All wells break and leak eventually, most within the first 5 years. This industry brings nothing but problems and will be long gone when the cracks start to appear. Ponzi scheme for the company executives and polluted land and aquifers for the local people is there any wonder why fracking is banned in so many other countries!

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