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
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.
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.
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.
- Pre-stimulation workover (2 weeks)
- Remove equipment in well
- Appraise depth of target formation
- Puncture the well in five fracturing zones
- Construct 8.7m high noise barrier from 42 shipping containers (or 9m with alternative system)
- Hydraulic fracture and well test (6 weeks)
- 3 initial or mini fracture in each of the 5 zones
- Main fracture in 5 zones lasting 5 hours per frack treatment
- Production flow test (90 days)
- Production (9 years)
- Site restoration (6 weeks)
Responses to the application
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
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
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.”
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
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.
On 11 April 2016 the Environment Agency granted permits to KM8 for:
- Mining waste
- Discharges into groundwater
- Radioactive substances
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 www.northyorks.gov.uk/shalegas