Guide to Third Energy fracking application

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North Yorkshire county councillors meet tomorrow morning (Friday 20 May) and on Monday next week to decide on Third Energy’s planning application to frack at Kirby Misperton. Here’s our guide to the meeting, the plan and the issues.

Top 5 facts

  • Third Energy wants to frack for shale gas at its existing KM8 well near Kirby Misperton, North Yorkshire
  • North Yorkshire County Council planners have recommend approval
  • 99% of public comments on the application object to the scheme (up to 4 May 2016)
  • The 11-member Planning and Regulatory Functions Committee meets at County Hall, Northallerton for two days to decide the application.
  • Friday 20 May: Presentations by council officers and the public. Monday 23 May: councillor discussions and decision are expected to be on Monday 23 May

Key links

Committee membership -who will decide the application?

What happens when?

What are the key issues?

Application timeline

More details

The site

KM8 is on a wellsite, just outside the small village of Kirby Misperton between Malton and Pickering in the Ryedale district of North Yorkshire.

The well was drilled in 2013 to a depth of 3,099m (10, 167ft).

KM8 is on an extension of the KM-A wellsite. Another well, KM3, is a disposal well for re-injection of produced water and condensate.

The site is connected by pipes to the Knapton gas-fired electricity generating station which opened in 1995. This is capable of supplying 41.5MW, enough for 40,000 homes.

Nearby homes

The nearest properties to the well is Sugar Hill (150m) and Kirby-0-Farm (210m). The nearest homes in Kirby Misperton are 600m or 1/3 mile away. The nearest caravan park/camp site is slightly near at 500m.

KM8 radius

Protected landscapes

The North York Moors National Park and Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty are just over 5km (3 miles) away.


The site lies above the Corallian aquifer, a principle and regionally-important source of water. But the KM8 site is not in a Groundwater Source Protection Zone.

There are about 26 private water supplies within 2km of the site.

In September 2015, North Yorkshire County Council granted planning permission for five groundwater monitoring boreholes at the KM8m site. Third Energy notified in November 2015 to say work would start.


Third Energy proposes to frack five areas in the Bowland Shale. There is a geological fault across the northern part of the KM8 wellsite.

Proposed operation

5 phases

  1. Pre-stimulation workover (2 weeks)
    1. Remove equipment in well
    2. Appraise depth of target formation
    3. Puncture the well in five fracturing zones
    4. Construct 8.7m high noise barrier from 42 shipping containers (or 9m with alternative system)
  2. Hydraulic fracture and well test (6 weeks)
    1. 3 initial or mini fracture in each of the 5 zones
    2. Main fracture in 5 zones lasting 5 hours per frack treatment
  3. Production flow test (90 days)
  4. Production (9 years)
  5. Site restoration (6 weeks)

Responses to the application

Public consultation

4,200 letters and emails submitted by 4 May 2016.  Of these:

  • 11 had no address
  • 342 individuals sent multiple representations
  • 3,907 (99%) opposed the proposals. Of these, 1,408 specifically opposed the work on the wellsite. The remainder were said to be more general representations
  • 32 supported the proposals
Responses to KM8 application NYCC

Image: North Yorkshire County Council


Frack Free Ryedale handed in a 2,500 signature petition to Cllr Peter Sowray, the chairman of the planning committee on 17 May opposing the KM8 application.

Response from statutory consultees


  • Ryedale District Council
  • Town Councils: Malton, Pickering, Helmsley, Norton-on-Derwent
  • Parish councils and meetings at Kirby Misperton, Great and Little Barugh, Rillington, Habton, Heslerton, Normanby and Marishes,
  • Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

No objection

Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water, Rye Internal Drainage Board, Northern Gas Networks, HSE, PHE, North York Moors National Park, Hambleton Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, North Yorkshire County Council’s local flood authority, public rights of way team and advisers on landscape, ecology, and archaeology.

North Yorkshire Police Authority requested the temporary closure of a footpath alongside the site and no HGV access to the site outside the hours of 9am-4pm Monday-Thursday in phases 1-3.

Statement by Third Energy

Rasik Valand, chief executive of Third Energy, said on Friday morning:

“Today sees the start of determination by North Yorkshire County Council’s planning committee of our application to hydraulically fracture our existing vertical well that was drilled in 2013 near the village of Kirby Misperton, on a wellsite that has been operational for decades.

“The Planning Officer’s positive recommendation comes after very detailed scrutiny of the application by the Planning Officer and statutory consultees and taking into account representations by members of the public and other groups.

“This work is reflected in the Planning Officer’s Report together with the planning conditions proposed.  We believe that this thorough report will enable North Yorkshire County Council to reach a positive determination on our application.

“Third Energy has been drilling wells, producing gas and generating electricity safely and discreetly in North Yorkshire for over 20 years and we will continue to maintain the same responsible approach in the future.”

Fracture details

Fracturing zones

Zone A 2,123m-2,129m – using 425m3 fluid.

Zone B 2,247m-2,253m – using 442m3 fluid

Zone C 2,652m-2,658m – using 475m3 fluid

Zone D 2,760m-2,766m – using 700m3 fluid

Zone E 3,037m-3,043m – using 1,250m3 fluid

Materials for each fracture stage

  • Water 425-1,249m3 – supplied by pipeline and stored in tanks onsite
  • Sand 48-80 tonnes
  • Potassium chloride 8.5-25 tonnes
  • Gelling agent 2.2-4.5 tonnes
  • Bonding agent of aluminium sulfate and sulfuric acid 3-5.7m3
  • Viscosity reducer of hemicellulose enzyme & sulfuric acid 0.1 tonnes
  • High temperature viscosity reducer 0.4-1.2m3
  • Surface tension reducer of sodium lauryl sulphate 0.4-1.25m3
  • pH buffer

Fracking pressures

6,000-7,000psi, pumping 4.8-8m3 per minute


Estimated 30-50% of the volume of fluid will return to the surface. The rest will stay in the rock formation.

Proposed equipment on site

During different phases of the work there will be:

  • Workover rig of max height 37m
  • Coiled tubing unit of max height 25
  • 9m noise barrier made up of 42 shipping containers (or 9m high combination of containers and acoustic barrier)
  • Hydraulic fracturing pumps
  • Office accommodation
  • Annulus truck
  • Well testing equipment
  • High pressure flowline
  • Temporary flowline pipe supports
  • Permanent high pressure flowline and permanent pipe supports
  • Lighting towers (8m high)


Third Energy says 388 Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) movements in total to mobilise and demobilise equipment. On peak days there would be up to 48 HGV trips. During fracking, there would be 12 days when HGV trips were 15-48 a day. But Third Energy has not submitted an updated traffic management plan and opponents of the scheme have criticised the company for not giving details of total traffic movements.

Methane content of produced gas

Estimated at 91%

Greenhouse gas emissions

Estimated by Third Energy at 2,602 tCO2 or 0.0014% of UK total (2013). But this figure does not include burning the gas at Knapton Generating Station.


Greatest impact at Alma and Kirby O-Carr Farms during fracking. Third Energy estimates 70-75db without the noise barrier and 60db with.

Environmental permit

On 11 April 2016 the Environment Agency granted permits to  KM8 for:

  • Mining waste
  • Discharges into groundwater
  • Radioactive substances

More details here

How to follow the meeting

DrillOrDrop will have live updates from both days.

North Yorkshire County Council will publish a live YouTube video stream of the meeting at

North Yorkshire County Council will publish updates on the meeting via twitter at  #nyshale  and facebook at

Key links

Committee membership -who will decide the application?

What happens when?

What are the key issues?

Application timeline

This report is part of DrillOrDrop’s Rig Watch project. Rig Watch receives funding from the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust. More details here

7 replies »

  1. It is very interesting to see the map showing where opposition and support to this application originates from. It is clear that the majority of the objections are from Yorkshire. I have read many reasons on this forum from the supporters of fracking about the lack of support: the so called silent majority, that people seldom write in support of planning applications etc. I have also seen the frequent accusations of Nimbyism made against opponents as well. So I thought I would look at the York Potash Mine as a comparison – because this is a large industrial development, it will create 1000 permanent local jobs and is situated in the North York Moors National Park. If we are to believe the reasons given by the supporters of fracking then one would assume that the anti progress Nimbys of the area would have objected and there would have been very few letters in support of the Mine:

    Of the 882 third party responses received and recorded at the time of writing 92.9% of responses were in favour of the development, with 6.8% being against and 0.3% expressing neither view. This will be a changing scene and further comments may be received prior to the Special Planning Committee Meeting. Updated figures will therefore be provided at the meeting.
    7.2 Comments in support of the application
    7.2.1 Of the third party comments received so far 819 letters expressing support have been received, this equates to 92.9% of the total number of representations received at the time of writing. 124 responses have been received from those living in the National Park boundary. 81% (100) of those responding and residing in the National Park support the application.

    The above is taken from the planning report. Out of 882 letters received 819 were in support 92.9%

    So it would seem that people will write in support if they care enough about something and people in this area are not the Nimby’s that they have been accused of. Furthermore I would have thought writing a letter of support would have been an ideal opportunity for the “silent majority” to make their support known without having to raise their head above that parapet!

    There is clearly a huge amount of public opposition to fracking both close to where an application is made and across the UK, despite what industry and its supporters claim. And this is confirmed by the government’s own surveys, where the more people learn about fracking the more likely they are to oppose fracking. Again the industry and its supporters try to use PR spin on these facts but basically the industry is making no progress whatsoever, despite the millions spent on PR.

    • KT – thanks for this. The Potash mine experience of letters of support is the complete opposite of my own experiences in Lancashire with wind farms, housing developments, salt caverns, road infrastruture etc. Perhaps Cuadrilla and Third Energy should hire the PR consultants used by the Potash Mine? A relative of mine lives near KM-8 and has no issues with it – but they has not written in support. But perhaps he is not a typical resident – although he does understand the business having previously worked in it.

  2. Why is it surprising to anyone that an energy extraction project should not receive public support? In your life, have you ever heard of a community that was excited to have a nuclear plant built next door? A windmill farm? How about a coal mine? What about electricity lines, they’re really popular, right? No, no one ever wants any kind of industrial infrastructure added where they live. Yet, we all enjoy the benefits of that infrastructure quite readily. It’s pretty plain and simple nimbyism. Why on earth would you expect that the local population would be in favor of drilling for gas? The idea is ludicrous.

    Few people want gas wells drilled at a local level. But if you look at national polls, most are in favor of finding a safe and secure alternative to coal. This is why KM8 and the other shale gas projects must go forward. Don’t lose site of it.

    • You are right. Most are in favour of finding a safe and secure alternative to coal. We need gas. What we don’t need is the most invasive, dangerous, dirty, and by far the most expensive gas. Shale gas is exactly that.

      The president of the International Gas Union (IGU) has stated “the future of gas does not depend on shale gas – there is enough conventional gas [to meet demand] for more than a century”.

      With a century of conventional gas left I think our gas security issues are covered. Please view my numerous posts on Indigenous North Sea supply and costs. With that covered we can concentrate on our renewables programme. Germany have been doing well recently.

      Clean power supplied almost all of Germany’s power demand for the first time on Sunday, marking a milestone for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “Energiewende” policy to boost renewables while phasing out nuclear and fossil fuels.
      Solar and wind power peaked at 2 p.m. local time on Sunday, allowing renewables to supply 45.5 gigawatts as demand was 45.8 gigawatts, according to provisional data by Agora Energiewende, a research institute in Berlin. Power prices turned negative during several 15-minute periods yesterday, dropping as low as minus 50 euros ($57) a megawatt-hour, according to data from Epex Spot

      These figures do not mean that renewables can cover all energy requirements. What they do clearly point to is that renewable technology works in tandem with fossil fuels and can provide substantial amounts of our requirements thus reducing the need to burn fossil fuels making our proven indigenous conventional gas last longer.

      Shale gas from KM8 is not needed and clearly not wanted

      • Renewables peaking at nearly 100% for one part of a day (daylight only) means that for twice the equivalent time period the output from renewables was zero (2015 average from renewables was around 30%).

        More data for Germany in the link above. Figure 3 in the second link is the interesting one. Lignite and hard coal provided 43.2% electricity and gas 9.5% in 2014. Nuclear was stable at 15.8%, renewables 26.2% (apparently 32% in 2015 from first link).

        The UK electricity generation at this moment in time (2119hrs today) is Coal 6.3%, Gas 44.7%, Nuclear 20.4%, French ICT 6.1% (nuclear) leaving renewables at 22.4%. However it is getting dark now so solar is almost zero. Adding 5% for midday solar takes the ICT down and renewables to 27.4%. Demand is fairly low at 2119hrs however the increased demand in the morning is met by ramping up the CGGT. This can then be dropped slightly for a short time when some solar kicks in.

        So why is Germany in a better position than the UK ? They burn a lot more coal and we burn a lot more gas plus have more nuclear so it would appear we are in a better position regarding electricity generation and CO2 output?

      • Most people are in favour of renewable energy, not fracking if you look at the polls. Fracking does not fit with reducing our dependency on fossil fuels and as John Powney says we need gas but not shale gas. Fracking cannot provide any security because it will be 10 years at least before fracking could produce anything like meaningful quantities of gas. If the energy supply to the grid is in crisis now, fracking won’t be in a position to come to the rescue. And if we are to tackle climate change, tracking will come along too late for that as well – unless CCS is developed.

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