In the past few minutes, IGas has confirmed it will not be drilling for coal bed methane at Upton near Chester, where a protest camp was evicted last month.The company said the site at Dutton’s Lane and another at Salters Lane, Mickle Trafford, did not meet its criteria for commerical coal bed methane development.
The eviction operation at Duttons Lane involved about 175 officers from four police forces supporting High Court Enforcement Officers. Cheshire Police said it cost an estimated £200,000. Nine people were arrested.
This afternoon, a statement from IGas said the company would not be drilling at either Duttons Lane nor its site at Salters Lane.
An IGas spokesperson told DrillOrDrop the company would not be commenting on the eviction or the possession order sought in the High Court last year.
The statement read:
Between September and November 2015 IGas undertook a significant 3D seismic acquisition programme in the North West covering an area of 110km², this included the area around its sites at Duttons Lane and at Salters Lane in Cheshire. That data is in the processing and interpretation phase, the full results of which will determine the Company’s future exploration and appraisal work programme in the area.
Having considered some early results from this recently acquired 3D seismic survey and following a review of its coal bed methane (CBM) exploration work programme in the area, IGas has concluded that the sites at Duttons Lane and Salters Lane do not meet its criteria for commercial CBM development. IGas has therefore decided not to progress with these CBM exploration wells under the current planning permissions.
The land at Duttons Lane will now be returned to its former state including rectifying the damage caused to the area by the protest camp and the protestors.
This is the second time that IGas has pulled out of sites for commercial reasons. DrillOrDrop reported last month that the company had withdrawn from a planning appeal over its site at Dudleston Heath in north Shropshire because coal bed methane exploitation was not commercial viable.