What is IGas doing in the East Midlands?
On behalf of our joint venture partners (Total E&P UK, Egdon Resources, Dart Energy and eCorp) we are currently appraising the potential of the gas resources from natural gas within Nottinghamshire . We were awarded the exploration rights for two blocks in northern Nottinghamshire known as PEDL139 and PEDL140 (Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence(s) from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Within this area we have carried out a ground-based seismic investigation and following appraisal of this data we have identified a site at Springs Road in the Parish of Misson.
Why North Nottinghamshire?
There are potentially extensive gas resources beneath much of the North Nottinghamshire coalfield. Our exploratory activities on PEDLs 139 and 140 will tell us more about what, precisely, lies beneath the area and what potential it may have for commercial production.
What does seismic data acquisition mean?
Seismic data acquisition is the process of gathering information about the composition of the earth below the surface. This data is acquired through the use of machines that create and then listen for vibrations. Once gathered, the data can be used to create an image of the various layers of rocks and minerals underground.
The data we gathered has told us that the underlying geology is likely to contain hydrocarbons and at a considerable scale.
What is IGas looking to find?
We are looking to assess the potential resources beneath the ground at PEDL 139/140. All the current studies suggest that the East Midlands is promising in terms of finding natural gas, either in coal measures, i.e. coal bed methane (CBM) and/or in gas associated with the deeper underlying shale formations.
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.
Isn’t this area too rural?
Oil and gas has been extracted in the area for decades. Onshore wells are not intrusive – most people are surprised to hear there are already some 250 active onshore wells in the UK. They take around three months to drill before leaving an unobtrusive wellhead that, more often than not, can barely be seen by local residents.
The industry has been producing oil and gas in sensitive areas for many years . A good example of this is Europe’s largest known oil and gas field at Wytch Farm in Dorset. It is set in one of the most environmentally sensitive areas of the UK, and produces 16,000 barrels of oil a day.
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.