Wednesday, June 15, 2022

News: Ineos timed out at second Rotherham fracking site


Planning permission has lapsed at a test drilling site in Rotherham.

Oil and gas exploration and production business, INEOS secured planning permission for a drilling rig to test for shale gas at Harthill following a public inquiry in 2018.

Years later the development has not started and now planning permission is no longer in place.

It comes at the same time as Ineos was refused planning permission for a second site at Woodsetts when the Secretary of State disagreed with a Planning Inspector’s recommendation and decided to dismiss the company's appeal.

INEOS appealed to the Planning Inspectorate over the non-determination of the application at a Greenbelt site between the villages of Harthill and Thorpe Salvin.

During the course of the public inquiry, Rotherham Council was satisfied by the proposed mitigation from the applicants having previously offered reasons for refusal on transport and ecology grounds.

The application provided temporary permission for a maximum of five years and the operation would involve various site investigation surveys and site preparation before a period of drilling, coring and testing. A well would have been drilled to approximately 2,800 m using a drill rig of maximum 60 m rig height followed by three months of testing.

Applications were made in 2019 to discharge some of the conditions attached to the planning approval but they were never all approved by the local authority.

Chris Wilkins, development manager at Rotherham Council, explained: "The one at Harthill was approved on appeal but because they [Ineos] didn't implement the permission within the time period - becasue they couldn't discharge conditions with three years - basically the permission has run out. So that one has fallen by the wayside too.

"The two sites they had in the borough, at Woodsetts and Hartill, have now gone. Who knows if they come back with a revised scheme at one of those sites."

The government ended support for fracking in November 2019 on the basis of a report by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), which found that it is not currently possible to accurately predict the probability or magnitude of earthquakes linked to fracking operations.

Ineos website

Images: INEOS / Turley


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