What are you doing here and why?
We have submitted a scoping report to Cheshire West and Chester Council to begin the process of a planning application for a temporary wellsite on land off Grinsome Road in Elton.
The proposed well site is situated in Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence (PEDL) 190 on an existing IGas site, off Grinsome Road in Elton. This location has been chosen after thorough analysis of the 3D seismic data and existing well logs that show the geology in this area may hold natural gas reserves.
We want to further test the rock formations for detailed information and to establish the quantity and quality of natural gas within the rock.
The proposed development would be for one new well, initially to be drilled vertically and then horizontally. We also intend to hydraulically fracture and flow test the target formation.
We will enter into pre-application discussions with CWaCC to determine the scale of the environmental protection measures appropriate for this site, 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.
At this stage we are not applying for production, only for exploratory investigation and testing.
As part of this project, we will also be applying to the Environment Agency for the relevant permits.
Don’t we need to keep gas in the ground – Shouldn’t we be investing in renewables?
The UK’s Committee on climate Change says gas will play a key role through to 2050 and that extraction of shale gas could be compatible with our carbon targets.
We need all forms of energy, a balanced energy portfolio, and home-produced gas is 50% cleaner than coal and more environmentally-friendly and secure than current energy imports. Much-needed investment in renewable energy will not stop because of onshore oil and gas, as evidenced by other countries. In the US for example, wind and solar generation and shale gas production have together grown quickly.
Will you pollute the Sherwood acquifer?
The site and well construction will be designed and operated to ensure protection of groundwater resources. Any drilling and subsequent fracking will occur between 1600-2500m underground well below the Sherwood Aquifer.
Contrary to the common perception that fracking is a threat to groundwater, it is the well construction that is the most important aspect of ensuring that the freshwater aquifers are isolated and protected. Well integrity is achieved by cementing steel pipes in place, known as casings, to provide a multi-layered barrier to protect fresh water aquifers. Compliance with Environment Agency permits to protect groundwater and the surrounding environment will be required, as will inspection of our well design and construction by the Health & Safety Executive.
When and how does an exploratory site become a site that produces gas?
There are three main stages with the development of a site for natural gas extraction:
-Exploration stage: Where we identify a site and construct a well to take samples of rock called cores which would be analysed to show if gas is present.
-An appraisal stage: Where we would flow test the well to see if the gas is commercially recoverable. This stage is likely to be first at which any hydraulic fracturing process would take place.
Finally, and assuming the results from the testing were positive, we would move to:
-The production phase: Where a number of wells may then be drilled on the site and gas produced. A site could be in production for up to 30 years.
Each of these stages requires separate planning applications and other associated permits from the Environment Agency and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. We would, of course, in addition carry out a full environmental impact assessment before any hydraulic fracturing to assess and manage any potential risks to the environment.
What financial benefits could IGas bring to the local area?
The Government has already announced plans to give communities that host these new gas sites £100,000 per site at exploration, and 1% of all revenues from production.
Local councils will now receive 100% of our business rates instead of 50%.
A recent research report by EY revealed that the development of onshore gas in the UK could create a £33bn investment opportunity for British business.
We’re also very aware that the strength of our relationships with local communities is vital to our ongoing success and we are committed to continuing to work with them to ensure that that our activities have benefits for the community. We have a long track record of giving back to the communities in which we operate. Over the years, our Community Fund has donated thousands of pounds to various community projects in and around the areas in which we operate. Find out more about the community fund here.
What about traffic and the impact on roads and villages?
Traffic movements are organised to ensure the least possible amount of disruption. Should a drilling operation go ahead, it would only last for a maximum of roughly three months so any disruption caused would only be for a relatively short period. There would be a number of truck movements during the day while we drill. IGas will put all measures in place to ensure that traffic and delays are kept to a minimum.
Won’t your operations affect house prices and insurance?
We have been operating in the area for 30 years and have not seen any of our operations influence house prices.
Are you going to frack in North Nottinghamshire?
If we drill an exploratory well and the results are positive we would be interested to further explore the potential for production using the process of hydraulic fracturing. But before doing this, we would consult with the local community and of course, we would need separate planning permission and a number of permits.