Autumn update of onshore oil and gas plans, permissions and permits

Summary of recent activity, applications and decisions on UK onshore oil and gas. The list is organised alphabetically first by country, then county and site. (Spool down for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.)

Ellesmere Port – IGas
Campaigners established a protection camp in Ellesmere Port in September in protest at the granting of a waste permit by the Environment Agency to IGas for its exploratory borehole at Portside North in Ellesmere Port. Campaigners at the camp reported on October 21st that Cheshire West and Chester Council had attempted to serve eviction notices. Permit application and eviction report (spool down to October 21st)

Upton – Dart Energy
A street survey this month by Frack Free Upton found over 87% of the 864 people questioned wanted Upton to be free from Coal Bed Methane and shale gas development. Dart Energy has planning permission and a mining waste permit to drill a Coal Bed Methane exploration well at Duttons Lane in Upton, on the edge of Chester. A protest camp established in April.

East Yorkshire
Crawberry Hill, Walkington Heads – Rathlin Energy
Rathlin Energy and its contractors are preparing the site for flow testing. A protection camp is established along the grass verge outside the site. On October 2nd East Riding of Yorkshire Council granted the company an 18-month extension to its planning permission. More details

West Newton – Rathlin Energy
Rathlin is testing the flow of its exploratory well. Residents and campaigners have complained about releases of odorous gases. The Environment Agency said the problem has been resolved but local people disagreed. Seismic testing covering 52 sq km is due to start soon. A small group of campaigners and local residents are monitoring the site and an ad hoc residents’ association has been formed locally.

Becconsall – Cuadrilla
On September 23rd, Lancashire County Council planning committee granted Cuadrilla permission to retain its Becconsall Exploration site at Banks for another three years to allow pressure monitoring, plugging and site restoration. Planning application

Preese Hall – Cuadrilla
On 23rd September, LCC also granted permission to Cuadrilla to extend the period of restoration of its Preese Hall exploration site at Weeton, near Kirkham, until April 30th 2015. Planning application

Preston New Road – Cuadrilla
Cuadrilla has applied for planning permission to drill and hydraulically fracture up to four exploratory gas wells. The application is expected to be heard by Lancashire County Council in December. Fylde Borough Council voted to oppose the application. More than 20,000 people have objected to this and the similar application at Roseacre Wood (see below). Council press release

Roseacre Wood – Cuadrilla
Cuadrilla has applied for planning permission to drill and hydraulically fracture up to four exploratory gas wells. The application is due to be heard by Lancashire County Council’s planning committee in January. Fylde Borough Council voted to oppose the application. More than 20,000 people have objected to this and the similar application at Preston New Road. Council press release

Burton on the Wolds – Egdon Resources
Egdon Resources began drilling on October 21st at its Burton on the Wolds-1 exploration well. The company says it is a conventional well, to be drilled to 1,000m, targeting an estimated 3.8 million barrels of oil. Egdon has a 32.5% interest in the well, along with Celtique Energie (32.5%), Terrain Energy and Corfe Energy (12.5% each) and Union Jack Oil (10%) Company press release

Stallingborough – Europa
On October 22nd, North East Lincolnshire Council approved the application by Europa Oil and Gas Ltd for an exploratory conventional oil well in the Kiln Lane prospect at Mauxhall Farm Immingham Road Stallingborough. The company has also applied for mining waste and radioactive substances permits. Planning application and permit application

Wressle-1 – Egdon Resources
Egdon Resources announced on September 2nd the preliminary results of its conventional exploration well at Wressle, east of Scunthorpe. The company said elevated mud gas readings were observed over large parts of the interval. The well is operated by Egdon, which has a 25% stake. Celtique Energie and Europa Oil and Gas Ltd each have 33% stakes and the remaining 8% stake is held by Union Jack Oil plc.

North Yorkshire
Ebberston Moor South Well Site– Third Energy
In August, Third Energy submitted identical planning applications to the North York Moors National Park Authority and North Yorkshire County Council for its Ebberston Moor South Well site, at Ebberston Common Lane. The applications are for natural gas production and water re-injection, an underground gas pipeline to the Knapton Generating Station and a gas reception module. The consultation period closed on October 24th and the applications are scheduled to be decided by December. The company also applied for a radioactive waste water disposal permit on September 15th. The permit consultation period closed on 14th October. Independent on Sunday article

Barton Moss – IGas
IGas says it is acquiring 100 km2 of 3-D seismic data after completing exploratory drilling at Barton Moss. The well has been suspended and analysis of cores is underway, the company says. Company webpage

Ellesmere – Dart Energy
Shropshire County Council is due to decide tomorrow (Friday October 24th) whether to grant planning permission to Dart Energy for a Coal Bed Methane exploratory borehole at land near Brooklands Farm, Dudleston, Ellesmere. Planning officers are recommending approval, despite what are described as “significant” objections from local people. The consultation on a mining waste permit application, submitted by the company, ended on September 16th.

Mendip – UK Methane
UK Methane has been given more time to carrying out exploratory drilling in PEDL 227. Local people say the company has expressed an interest in drilling in the Norton Radstock area and at Ston Easton and Compton Martin. Frack Free Somerset is organising 10 public meetings during November.

Horse Hill – Horse Hill Developments Ltd
HHDL has drilled to more than 6,000 ft at its well at Horse Hill, near Horley. A protection camp has established and yesterday two campaigners locked their arms together outside the site entrance. A public meeting held on October 13th heard presentations from, among others, Balcombe residents.

Bletchingley – IGas
IGas held an information drop-in session on October 15th about plans (not yet submitted to Surrey County Council) to expand part of the oil field and begin production of oil and gas. More details

Davyhulme – Igas
On October 9th, Trafford City Council voted to defer consideration of IGas’s application a coal bed methane drilling and production site at Davyhulme in Trafford. The council’s planning committee said: “This application has raised a number of detailed and conflicting environmental issues and it is important that the Council acts to ensure that its decision is fully informed in relation to these matters. The application will come back to committee once we are satisfied that these issues have been addressed.” Council statement

West Sussex
Balcombe – Cuadrilla
A judicial review goes ahead on November 6th and 7th into the approval by West Sussex County Council of Cuadrilla’s planning application to flow test its well at Balcombe. The application was approved on April 29th. No work has yet begun. The judicial review was brought by Frack Free Balcombe Residents Association.

Billingshurst – Celtique Energie
Work is underway on an access road and ditches at Celtique Energie’s site at Wood Barn Farm, Adversane Lane, Broadford Bridge, near Billingshurst. A local resident complained in September to West Sussex County Council that site staff were working on a Sunday, in contravention of planning permission conditions. The company denies the allegation. A public meeting is planned for Tuesday October 28th.

Fernhurst – Celtique Energie
The South Downs National Park Authority refused an application on September 11th by Celtique Energie for an exploratory well at Fernhurst. The company said it was considering an appeal but has made no announcement.

Kirdford/Wisborough Green – Celtique Energie
Celtique Energie announced on October 15th that it is appealing against the decision by West Sussex County Council to refuse planning permission for its site at Boxall Bridge, between Kirdford and Wisborough Green. The application for an exploratory oil well was turned down on July 22nd. Planning application and company’s appeal statement

Rathlin Energy told local papers on October 22nd: “We applied for a renewal licence from the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment (DETI) and were successful, enabling us to continue our exploration programme. Accordingly, we have submitted a planning application and we are currently preparing an Environmental Impact Assessment for submission to the Department of the Environment by January 2015.” Ballymoney and Moyle Times

Belcoo – Tamboran
In August, Tamboran Resources said it would pursue a judicial review of the decision by Environment Minister, Mark H Durkhan, to refuse planning permission for an exploratory borehole in a former quarry at Belcoo. On September 30th, the Northern Ireland Enterprise Minister terminated Tamboran’s exploration licence for County Fermanagh because the company missed its drill or drop deadline.

Airth – Dart Energy
On October 17th, the Scottish Government called in the appeal by Dart Energy against refusal of its plans for Coal Bed Methane development at Letham Moss, near Airth (Falkirk Herald report). This follows a public enquiry, which heard from more than 50 witnesses. Falkirk and Stirling Councils opposed the application on grounds of cumulative impact and the precautionary principle. The application was for a multiple well site, pipeline and gas gathering station.

Grangeview – Dart Energy
On September 12th, Falkirk Council granted planning permission to Dart Energy for an exploratory Coal Bed Methane well at land north east of Grangeview, Falkirk. Planning application

Neath-Port Talbot
Pontrhydyfen – UK Methane
Neath-Port Talbot planning committee voted on October 2nd by 17-6 to reject plans by UK Methane to drill an exploratory borehole at land in the Foel Fynyddau Forest, near Pontrhydyfen.

Borras – GP Energy
On October 8th 2014, the Welsh Planning Inspectorate ruled in favour of GP Energy, overturning a refusal of planning permission by Wrexham Borough Council for exploratory drilling at Borras near Wrexham. Planning Inspectorate decision

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