The petro-chemical company, Ineos, plans to drill its first exploratory well in Scotland this year and could start fracking in 2016.
The company’s technical director, Gareth Beamish, gave details of the timetable to the Shale UK conference in London this afternoon.
Ineos has acquired two Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence areas in central Scotland. PEDL 133, which the company shares with IGas, is 331 km2 and surrounds the Firth of Forth. PEDL 162, which is 80% Ineos-owned, is 400 km2 and to the south and west of PEDL 133.
Mr Beamish told delegates the company planned to do a series of tests in both PEDLs this year. Gravitational and magnetic surveys would be carried out in the second and third quarters and 3D seismic testing in the second half of the year.
If Ineos got planning permission and environmental permit consents, a vertical exploration well would be drilled in PEDL 162 in the second quarter of this year. Another vertical well would be drilled in PEDL 133 in the first quarter of 2016.
If the results from the vertical wells were encouraging, Mr Beamish said, the company planned to frack lateral wells in either PEDL later in 2016 or early 2017.
The Scottish government has declared a moratorium on fracking while it undertakes research and a public consultation.
Mr Beamish said “We can get these [vertical] wells drilled because they are not going to be fracked.”
He said the company aimed to use the moratorium period to collect as much data as possible.
Ineos uses gas to make ethylene and propylene. It also needs large quantities of energy, Mr Beamish said. The Grangemouth plant in Falkirk uses the same amount of energy as the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow combined.