Daily headlines

Fracking timeline June 2013

Early June

New permits needed. Cuadrilla Resources Ltd announces “Shortly before rig mobilisation to the site the Environment Agency advised that it would now require CRL to secure a permit under the provisions of the European Union Mining Waste directive. … This is the first time that the Environment Agency has required such a permit for a UK onshore exploration well targeting a conventional reservoir. CRL requires an additional 6 months to the 36 month period set out in condition 2. These arrangements would extend the consent to March 2014.” See Supporting statement  http://buildings.westsussex.gov.uk/ePlanningOPS/tabPage3.jsp?aplId=1571


Environment Agency visits the site. A tweet from the Agency to the office of Keith Taylor MEP for South East England said this was to check that drilling the groundwater monitoring borehole was the only activity being carried out.


Water monitoring bore hole drilled. Francis Egan, CEO Cuadrilla Resources, makes a statement that Cuadrilla is drilling a water monitoring borebole at its site in Balcombe. The statement says this is “an additional and voluntary environmental monitoring measure on Cuadrilla’s part. It does not require permission from DECC to drill this water monitoring well. The water monitoring well is being installed to monitor the groundwater quality of the Ashdown Beds before, during and after operations. The well will go to a depth of approximately 160 ft to reach the top of the Ashdown Bed. The substances for drilling the water well are commonly used in any shallow boring operation and are all classed as non-hazardous at the concentrations being used.” http://www.cuadrillaresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Statement-to-Balcombe-Parish-Council-on-water-monitoring-well.pdf

Cuadrilla-Centrica deal. Cuadrilla announces that Centrica plc has become a 25% investment partner in the Lancashire Bowland shale gas exploration licence area, operated by Cuadrilla Resources. Before the announcement, the licence was owned jointly by Cuadrilla (75%) and the Australian energy and mining company, A J Lucas (25%). Centrica has paid £40 million cash and committed to fund £60 million on the Bowland joint venture. Francis Egan, Cuadrilla’s CEO, says Today’s announcement represents a significant step in our ongoing exploration programme for natural gas within the Lancashire Bowland Basin. Centrica, Cuadrilla and A J Lucas recognise the exciting gas potential that lies within the shale rock in Lancashire. http://www.cuadrillaresources.com/news/cuadrilla-news/article/cuadrilla-welcomes-centrica-as-new-investment-partner-in-lancashire/


Permit application. Cuadrilla Balcombe Ltd applies to the Environment Agency for an environmental permit (EPR/AB3307XD/A001 for the management of extractive waste resulting from prospecting for oil at Lower Stumble Hydrocarbon Exploration Site. Consultation open until 16/7/13


Permit consultation. Environment Agency opens consultation into application by Cuadrilla Balcombe Ltd for an environmental permit to operate a permit for the management of extractive waste from the prospecting for oil. Application reference number EA/EPR/AB3307SX/A001 https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/portal/permits/app/cuadrilla/balcombe (see Decision Document)


Councils keep their say on fracking. John Haynes, advisor to the Prime Minister, says granting planning permission for shale gas exploitation will remain with local councils, rather than being transferred to central government. “No longer will councils and communities be bullied into accepting developments because national energy policy trumps local opinion.” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/agriculture/geneticmodification/10134825/Bitter-taste-of-GM-humble-pie.html


Environment Agency questioned. Geoffrey Lean, in a blog for the Daily Telegraph, questions the competence of the Environment Agency for not requiring Cuadrilla to apply for a Mineral Waste and Radioactive Substances permit until June. He said “The Agency – as one Friends of the Earth expert puts it – has been found to be ‘asleep on the job’ at the very outset, to have fallen – to mix metaphores – virtually at the first fence. Suddenly all those reassurances look much more shaky. No doubt it is under pressure from ministers to smooth the path of shale gas and oil, but the whole point of a regulator is that it should impartially and conscientiously apply the rules – and if it fails to do so it will, rightly, lose public confidence. The Environment Agency urgently needs to get its act together, not just to regulate shale oil and gas better, but to be seen to do so. It is in the interests of the industry, as well as the environment, that it does so. – not to speak of being vital for its own credibility.” http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/geoffreylean/100222841/drilling-set-back-regulator-caught-out-as-fracking-opponents-draw-first-blood/


Meeting with Enviornment Agency. Balcombe Parish Council’s Oil Exploration Working Group meets Paul Batty and Simon Deacon of the Enviornment Agency. EA says it considers Cuadrilla’s exploratory drilling to be relatively low risk. EA confirms that applications for a Mining Waste Management Permit and the Permit under Radioactivie Substances Regulations exlude any form of fracking. To check compliance with Environmental Quality Standards, Cuadrilla will be required to monitor surface water, ground water and air before, during and after their activities. The EA will conduct its own sampling concurrently and the results will be in the public domain. The working group raised a concern that Cuadrilla is seeking permits from the EA in the name of Cuadrilla Balcombe Ltd – would this enable Cuadrilla Resources to abrogate responsibility in the event of pollution or other problems. http://balcombeparishcouncil.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/meeting-with-environment-agency-24-6-13.pdf

Timeline July 2013

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