Who wants to drill where? Summer 2015 update


Summary of recent activity, applications, consultations 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.) For reports on the results of the 14th round of oil and gas applications, click here and here. Please let us know if information in this post is missing, inaccurate or out-of-date. We want to make this as complete and accurate as possible. Contact here.

Merseyton Road, Ellesmere Port
IGas held a community day on 11th August 2015 in Ellesmere Port. Parts of the area are included in seismic testing being carried out for IGas by Tesla this month (August 2015). Anti-fracking campaigners criticised information provided by IGas at the meeting.

Salters Lane, near Mickle Trafford
IGas says it plans to drill to approximately 1,200m to remove a core of coal for analysis of the gas content and permeability of the coal seams. Planning permission for a coal bed methane exploratory well was granted in 2010, with a three-year extension added in September 2013.

Dutton’s Lane, Upton
IGas’s website says the proposed exploratory well on the edge of Chester will provide information about coal bed methane content. The time on site is expected to be three months, the company says. The site has planning consent until 2016. Campaigners who established a camp outside the site say they will stay until IGas states publically it would not frack at Upton.

Doe Green, Warrington
Research has revealed that this site, the only coal bed methane production site in the UK, is operating legally without an environmental permit. Details The Energy Minister, Andrea Leadson, visited the site on 6th August 2015. The government said this was “to see what a potential hydraulic fracturing site would look like”. Anti-fracking campaigners said Ms Leadsom was uninformed on the subject of fracking. Doe Green is a pilot site which covers only its costs, producing enough methane to generate electricity for around 1,200 homes. The operator, IGas, said it has been useful as a research and development facility for trying out different techniques.

Also in north west England
IGas told shareholders today (26th August 2015) it was undertaking a 3D seismic survey “that will give us essential data to further inform near term site selection”.

Dark Lane, Calow, Chesterfield
Alkane Energy
Campaigners are waiting to hear the outcome of an appeal by Alkane against the refusal of planning permission to drill into a gas reservoir and build, operate and maintain a “gas to power facility” at Dark Lane. A planning inspector visited the site on 4th August 2015. Margi Senior, of Callow against Gas Extraction told the Derbyshire Times this month the Planning Inspectorate had dealt with the appeal by written submissions, despite 700 letters asking for a public inquiry. Opponents said the site was greenfield land, outside the development zone. If drilling went ahead it would become a brownfield site that could then be used for other development. The scheme was rejected twice by Derbyshire County Council in 2012 and again in 2014.

Crawberry Hill, Walkington Heads
Rathlin Energy
On 12th August 2015 Rathlin Energy announced it was abandoning Crawberry Hill for technical and commercial reasons. It cited the low oil price and said the costs of testing could not be justified. Campaigners declared victory in their opposition to Rathlin’s operation at Crawberry Hill. The company was granted an extension to its planning permission in October 2014 to allow testing and drilling another well. But no work, other than routine maintenance, had been carried out and the permission was due to expire in October 2015.

West Newton-A
Off Fosham Road, West Newton
Rathlin Energy
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive is still underway into allegations of unsafe working at West Newton-A. Rathlin suspended West Newton-A in November 2014 after completing flow testing but not a planned mini fall-off test (also known as a mini-frac). Following complaints about a smell coming from the site, our investigation revealed that the site breached 14 conditions of its environmental permits between July and October 2014. Seismic testing covering 52 sq km was carried out in December 2014 and led to complaints to the February 2015 meeting of the residents’ liaison group, set up by the company. The May 2015 meeting heard that West Newton-A remained temporarily suspended.

West Newton B
Crook Lane, West Newton
Rathlin Energy
East Riding of Yorkshire Council granted planning permission on 4th June 2015 for drilling up to two boreholes to a depth of 2,100m to explore for gas, and possibly oil, in Permian age rocks. No work has started yet.

Coastal Oil and Gas
The company no longer holds licences in east Kent (see latest DECC map). Leaked emails in November 2014 suggested it proposed to drill for coal bed methane around Tilmanstone but it did not submit a planning application. In 2013, it withdrew applications for exploratory wells at Guston, Shepherdswell, Woodnesborough and Tilmanstone after local concerns about contamination of the aquifer.

Becconsall, Off Bonny Barn Road, Banks
In May 2015 it emerged that pink footed geese feeding on a wildfowl refuge set up by Cuadrilla, as mitigation for the Becconsall site, were shot by hunters who had leased the same fields. Our report Previously, Cuadrilla breached three conditions of an earlier planning permission designed to protect the birds (see our investigation). Cuadrilla was granted planning permission on 1st May 2015 to retain its Becconsall Exploration site at Banks until 2017 to allow pressure monitoring, plugging and site restoration. Planning application

Grange Road, Singleton
Lancashire County Council’s development control committee confirmed on 20th May 2015 its reasons for refusing Cuadrilla’s application LCC/2014/0084 for a three-year extension of its permission to install seismic and pressure monitors and undertake seismic and pressure monitoring. (Our report) Cuadrilla said the refusal left the site in planning limbo. There has been no planning permission in place for the site since 19th January 2012.

Preese Hall, Weeton, nr Kirkham

Cuadrilla’s planning permission for restoration of the Preese Hall exploration site expired on April 30th 2015. Planning application

Preston New Road, Little Plumpton
On 29th June 2015 Lancashire County Council refused Cuadrilla’s application to drill and hydraulically fracture up to four exploratory gas wells at Preston New Road. The council’s planning department had recommended approval of the plans. The council also refused permission for monitoring works in a 4km radius of the proposed site, also against officers’ advice. Cuadrilla has lodged an appeal against the refusal of the monitoring works. It will be dealt with by a public inquiry. Both sides have to submit their cases by tomorrow (27th August) and interested parties have to make their comments by 17th September. Cuadrilla is expected to lodge its appeal on the fracking refusal soon. More details

Roseacre Wood

On 25th June 2015, Lancashire County Council refused Cuadrilla’s application to drill and hydraulically fracture up to four exploratory gas wells at Roseacre Wood. The council’s planning department had recommended refusal of the application on traffic grounds. On 23rd July 2015, Cuadrilla said it would appeal against the refusal. There are no details yet about the appeal.

The council approved the company’s application for monitoring works in a 4km radius of the proposed fracking site. Cuadrilla has appealed against the conditions on the permission and this appeal has been linked to that for Preston New Road (see above). Roseacre Awareness Group is seeking a judicial review of the planning approval process on the monitoring scheme.

Egdon Resources
On 16th March 2015, Lincolnshire County Council granted permission for a conventional exploratory oil well west of Biscathorpe, about 9km west of Louth. The company says it will not frack the well. The proposed site replaces another about 1km to the east where the company says it withdrew a temporary planning application last year “after listening to the feedback from local people”.

Kiln Lane wellsite, Mauxhall Farm, Immingham Road, Stallingborough DN41 8BP
Europa Oil and Gas, Egdon Resources
On 23rd March 2015, Egdon Resources announced it was abandoning its Kiln Lane-1 exploration well after failing to find oil. It previously estimated 2.9m barrels of oil were recoverable. 

North Kelsey-1
Egdon Resources, Celtique Energie, Union Jack Oil
On 5th June 2015, Egdon announced it had acquired an extra 40% interest in PEDL 241 from Celtique Energie. The PEDL includes the North Kelsey prospect, which has planning permission for an exploratory well.

Wressle-1, Scunthorpe 
Europa, Egdon, Celtique Energie, Union Jack Oil
On 18th June 2015, Europa announced the start of an extended well test. On 21st July, the company said the results from the Penistone Flags Zone 3A had been encouraging. Due to what it called “problems experienced with the downhole testing equipment”, the pumped flow test of the Ashover Grit oil reservoir was not undertaken as “originally planned”.

North Yorkshire
Ebberston Moor South Well Site
Third Energy and Moorland Energy Ltd
On 20th August 2015, the North York Moors National Park Authority approved plans by Third Energy to extract up to 15 million standard cubic feet of gas per day and reinject 556m3/day of waste water. The plans also allow Third Energy to drill a second borehole and construct an underground pipeline from the site to Knapton Generating Station. Campaigners described the approval as “the thin end of a very dangerous and toxic wedge”. The Environment Agency approved Third Energy’s permit application on the same day. More details.

Kirby Misperton-8, Ryedale
Third Energy
On 19th August 2015, North Yorkshire County Council began an eight-week public consultation into Third Energy’s planning application NY/2015/0233/ENV to frack its existing well at Kirby Misperton. The council twice refused to validate the application. The consultation ends on 14th October 2015. The target date for a decision is 18th November 2015. Details of the application. The final day for comments on Third Energy’s application for an environmental permit was 22nd August 2015.

Third Energy
Third Energy applied on 2nd July 2015 to the Environment Agency for a permit (EPR/BB3699EY/A001) to dispose of waste produced water from its gas production wells into an abandoned well at its Pickering site in North Yorkshire. A public consultation on the permit closed on 30th July 2015


On 21st August, Nottingham Friends of the Earth listed potential sites in the Nottingham-Derby greenbelt that could be drilled under licences issued in the 14th Round.

Grantham Road, Radcliffe on Trent
Hutton Energy
The Environment Agency granted environmental waste permit CB3300KR/A001 to Hutton Energy on 21st April 2015. Nottinghamshire County Council first granted planning permission for two boreholes at the site in 1999. Since then, according to the Nottingham Post, the application has been renewed five times but the wells never drilled.

Springs Road, Misson, Bassetlaw
A public consultation runs until tomorrow (27th August 2015) on IGas’s application to drill 12 groundwater monitoring boreholes at its proposed fracking site, near Misson, in Bassetlaw. Frack Free Nottinghamshire is calling for the decision to be delayed because it could influence any later application for fracking. This morning (26th August 2015), IGas’s chairman Francis Gugen, told the company’s AGM “In the near term, we are moving ahead with our planning application for two [shale gas] wells at the Springs Road site in the East Midlands”. The company has already submitted an environmental scoping report for the site to Nottinghamshire County Council.

Barton Moss
A court case involving more than 40 people who protested against IGas activities at Barton Moss is due to conclude on 7th September 2015. At a previous hearing, evidence was given of contamination next to the drilling site. IGas has said it has no plans to return to Barton Moss. But initial research has revealed the coal beds and shale formations have the “potential to hold very large amounts of gas”.

Brooklands Farm, Dudleston, Ellesmere
On 31st July 2015, IGas announced it was abandoning the proposed coal bed methane site at Dudleston. It also withdrew an appeal against the decision by Shropshire Council that it was minded to refuse planning permission. On 15th July 2015, it emerged that the company’s access agreement to the site had expired and the landowner, Paul Hickson, said he would not renew the agreement because of the stress involved. More details

Horse Hill
Horse Hill Developments Ltd (consortium including UK Oil and Gas)
UK Oil & Gas announced today (26th August 2015) an independent assessment by Schlumberger estimated 10.993 billion barrels of oil in place in the 55 square milies of PEDL137 and 246, which includes the Horse Hill well. UKOG said it would integrate the findings into the planned flow test of Horse Hill-1 well expected later this year.

Land at King’s Farm, Tilburstow Hill Road, South Godstone, Bletchingley
On 12th August 2015 IGas applied to Surrey County Council for planning permission to upgrade and extend Bletchingley Central and Bletchingley-2 wellsites: SCC ref 2015/0170. The application is for 15 years and includes the installation of a hydrocarbon production plant and equipment, including new oil and water storage tanks. There are no details yet for the start of the public consultation, the deadline for comments or the target date for a decision.

Bury Hill Wood, Leith Hill
On 7th August 2015, the Planning Inspectorate ruled in favour of Europa Oil and Gas in its appeal over the refusal of planning permission for an exploratory oil well at Bury Hill Wood. The appeal had lasted eight days, involved four barristers and heard from 25 witnesses. The Planning Inspector, Stuart Nixon, accepted that the development would cause short-term harm but said this would be outweighed by what he called “the reversible nature and the benefits of the scheme in local and national terms”. More than 20 conditions were imposed on the permission. The decision marks the end of a seven-year planning dispute between Europa, Surrey County Council and local residents. More details. Another Europa application for a drilling corridor is still before Surrey County Council.

West Sussex
Lower Stumble, Balcombe
The site remains suspended and the company told us it would inform Balcombe before testing work began. As part of the planning permission, Cuadrilla is required to establish a residents’ forum.

Wood Barn Farm, Adversane Lane, Broadford Bridge, near Billingshurst RH14 9EB
Celtique Energie/Magellan Petroleum
Magellan Petroleum told investors drilling was scheduled to start in spring 2015. But so far the only work carried out has been on site preparation. In May 2015 it emerged that Magellan and Celtique have begun legal proceedings against each other in the High Court. The case involves Magellan’s $2m contribution to drilling the Broadford Bridge well. More details

Boxal Bridge, between Kirdford and Wisborough Green
Celtique Energie
On 3rd August 2015 Celtique Energie was ordered by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to pay costs to West Sussex County Council and Keep Kirdford and Wisborough Green after abandoning its appeal over refusal of planning permission. The sum is expected to run into thousands of pounds. More details

Ballinlea 2
Rathlin Energy
The planning division of Northern Ireland’s Department of Environment says Rathlin Energy’s planning application for a second exploratory well at Ballinlea is on hold awaiting receipt of the environmental impact statement. The expiry date for standard consultations is listed as 14th September 2015. Application documents Local campaigners raised more than £10,000 to respond to Rathlin Energy’s application.

Woodburn Forest-1 well, Carrickfergus
On 25th August 2015, InfraStrata announced delays to its plan to start drilling the well. The company said all regulatory approvals and permits were in place but partner Larne Oil and Gas Ltd has pulled out and now InfraStrata needs to find £2.8m to drill the well. Opponents say the site – 400m from a drinking water reservoir and nature reserve – is ”highly inappropriate”.


INEOS has been organising public meetings about its plans for fracking in central Scotland. A moratorium on fracking applications is in place while the Scottish Government carries out a public consultation and review. No licences were issued in Scotland under the 14th round. Campaigners are calling for underground coal gasification to be included in the moratorium.

Kincardine underground coal gasification project
Cluff Natural Resources
Yesterday (25th August) the company said as a result of the Scottish Government’s review of energy needs and the call for the inclusion of UCG in the moratorium, “work on a planning application will likely be postponed until after such time as the political situation is more certain. Preparatory work including site selection studies, modelling and design work are however well underway.”


Campaigners have organised a petition calling for underground coal gasification to be included in the Welsh Government’s moratorium on fracking applications in Wales. No licences were issued in Scotland under the 14th round.

Neath-Port Talbot
UK Methane
Neath Port Talbot’s planning committee approved plans to test for coal bed methane and shale gas in the Pelenna Valley on 17th March 2015. The committee had rejected an earlier application on grounds of noise. On 13th February 2015, the Welsh Minister for Natural Resources, imposed a moratorium on fracking in Wales.

IGas has said it still plans to drill for coal bed methane at the Borras site at Holt, Wrexham, despite the moratorium on fracking passed by the Welsh Assembly in February. Campaigners continue to oppose development at the site.

Rhondda Cynon Taff
Hendre Owen Farm, Llanharan, Pontyclun
UK Methane
On 6th August, Llanharan Anti Frackers reported that the development control committee of Rhondda Cynon Taff council unanimously opposed application 15/0147/10 for an exploratory borehole to test for unconventional gas reserves. The decision is expected to go back before the committee in September. UK Methane is expected to appeal. Campaigners are due to meet on 1st September 2015 to plan their response.

Vale of Glamorgan
Unit 2, Sutton Spring Road, Llandow Trading Estate, Cowbridge
Coastal Oil and Gas
Natural Resources Wales issued environmental waste permit number RB3593HS/A001 on 15th July 2015.

Tyla Lane, Merthy Mawr
Coastal Oil and Gas
Natural Resources Wales issued environmental waste permit number JB3993HS/A001 on 17th August 2015.

Land off Bryntywod, Llangyfelach
UK Methane
Application 2015/1515 submitted to drill an exploratory coal bed methane borehole. The deadline for comments is 29th August 2015. But opponents are seeking to defer a decision on the application. They are also seeking for it to be decided by Swansea Council’s planning committee, rather than delegated to council officers. Opponents’ Facebook page.

Please let us know if information in this post is missing, inaccurate or out-of-date. We want to make this as complete and accurate as possible. Contact here.

Key drilling sites identified by Frack Off

Updated 27/8/15 to include details of Calow in Derbyshire and Woodburn Forest in County Antrim

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