Regulation

Consultation on Wressle oil production: 100% public opposition

Wressle drilling 2014 Egdon

All the comments from members of the public in a consultation on oil production in north Lincolnshire oppose the plans, analysis by DrillOrDrop has revealed.

The consultation by North Lincolnshire Council on a planning application by Egdon Resources closes tomorrow (31 August 2016), after a five-week extension.

The company wants to produce oil, and possibly gas, at the Wressle-1 well near Scunthorpe for 15 years.

egdon_logoEgdon has said it has no plans to hydraulically fracture the well. But the application includes options for proppant squeeze (where water, sand and polymers are pumped at high pressure to fracture rocks) and acidisation (where dilute hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acids is injected into the well to improve the flow of oil). Some opponents of the plans have said these techniques amount to fracking.

See DrillOrDrop report on the plans. Link to planning application

Public comments

DrillOrDrop has analysed the responses from members of the public recorded on North Lincolnshire Council’s website up to 4pm today.

Objections

Of the 112 responses, all were objections. One respondent wrote:

“I feel this is the start of a disaster!!!”

Another said:

“There are no precautionary measures that can make this process safe, indeed it is known that most of these fail over a period as short as 20 years.”

What opponents said

Key points made in objections included:

  • Increase in traffic on rural roads and risk to safety of cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders
  • Impact on ancient woodlands and nature reserves around the site
  • Risk to food crops grow next to the site
  • Increased risk of contamination of water courses and the aquifer, relied on by some local properties
  • Production of hydrocarbons contributes to climate change
  • Risk to public health of people near the site
  • Egdon’s plans amount to fracking

Local comments

Of the 109 comments which included an address, 99 (91%) were from Lincolnshire. A further 10 (9%) were from outside the county.

Women in majority

Of the 99 comments which indicated the gender of the writer, 63% were from women, 35% from men and 2% were joint responses signed by a man and a woman.

Petition

As well as the public comments, the council received a petition of 340 signatures opposing the application.

What organisations said about Egdon’s plans

North Lincolnshire Council’s webpage on the application also includes responses from organisations. These include the Environment Agency, Natural England, parish and town councils, National Grid, British Steel and groups including Frack Free Lincolnshire, Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust and Friends of the Earth.

Local councils

Brigg and Broughton Town Councils both support the application. Brigg asked North Lincolnshire Council to impose a condition to limit increases in traffic through the town, while Broughton said its support was subject to:

  • No fracking
  • Investigations to ensure there was no danger of tremors or contamination of ground water
  • The land was fully returned to normal at the end of the 15 years and monitored after this period
  • Edgon Resources UK Ltd provided a bond to North Lincolnshire Council

Environmental organisations

Natural England and the Environment Agency have also not objected to the plans. The ecology officer at North Lincolnshire Council said direct impacts on protected and priority species were unlikely but he proposed measures to prevent pollution of water courses.

Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust objected to the application. It said it was concerned about possible ground and surface water contamination and the impact this would have on nearby wildlife sites, including a site of special scientific interest.

Friends of the Earth was concerned that the council had not carried out a screening exercise for an Environmental Impact Assessment. It also said the application did not provide evidence of its impact on climate change and any mitigation.

Heritage

Egdon proposes to drill two or more drain holes through the casing of the existing well to create boreholes into the Ashover Grit up to 100m long. The historic environment officer at North Lincolnshire Council said:

“There may be temporary adverse impacts on the setting of the Scheduled Monument at Thornholme Priory during side track drilling. The applicant has submitted insufficient information to assess this impact contrary to NPPF [National Planning Policy Framework) 128-9.”

Industry

British Steel has raised what it called “initial concerns” because the proposed site is 300m from its Clapgate pumphouse and boreholes, which supply the demineralisation plan at Scunthorpe steelworks.

The company said:

“Any loss of or reduction in supply of demineralised water … would have a significant adverse impact, potentially halting steelmaking and other operations for a number of days.

“We consider that there is a serious risk that any exploration and/or production borehole by Egdon at the planning application site could result in reduction to the water yield at our Clapgate borehole. This would result in insufficient raw water for our site demand.”

The company added there was “a serious risk” that chemicals used in oil production could contaminate groundwater to the Clapgate borehole.

National Grid commented that there were gas pipelines near the site and it was carrying out further investigations.

Health

The environmental health officer at North Lincolnshire Council said there was potential for noise nuisance at the nearest homes within 500m of the site. The officer recommended a noise management plan and a construction environmental monitoring plan to deal with light and dust problems.

Frack Free Lincolnshire

The group described Wressle-1 as a “fracking well” and the development as “extremely dangerous” with “major risk and repercussions locally, regionally and globally” for climate change.

Frack Free Lincolnshire said:

“It is disingenuous of Egdon Resources to assert that ‘Our operations at Wressle will not now or in the future involve the process of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for shale gas or oil’ as this part of Lincolnshire does not have the specific rock formations that contain shale gas or oil. This, and their use of the term “proppant squeeze” is clearly intended to distract us from their true intentions.”

The group added:

“Public debate has been stifled from the start by refusing to acknowledge that the Wressle Well proposal is indeed an unusual form of fracking. This would alert people to the fact that extreme hydrocarbon extraction methods, untried and untested in the UK, are proposed for Wressle: for a fifteen-year production period.”

Decision

The first scheduled meeting of North Lincolnshire Council’s planning committee when the application could be decided is Wednesday 21 September 2016.

Link

Planning application details and full links to consultation comments

Updated 1/9/2016 to include link to planning application documents and comments


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

17 replies »

  1. “Egdon has said it has no plans to hydraulically fracture the well. But the application includes options for proppant squeeze (where water, sand and polymers are pumped at high pressure to fracture rocks) and acidisation (where dilute hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acids is injected into the well to improve the flow of oil). Some opponents of the plans have said these techniques amount to fracking.”
    Proppant Squeeze? What utter nonsense, this is fracking pure and simple, i dont care what they call it. Do they think we are stupid?

  2. Acidisation is a process which has been used in oil production for a century including in many of of the 200 onshore oil wells in the UK. In sandstone areas it increases the permeability of the rock by cleaning up natural spaces in the formation, in carboniferous ares the rock is partially dissolved to allow increased flow. Once complete the acid is removed by a process of backwashing to the surface. Of course this is an “unnatural” process but one which is part of the oil production process on which we all depend. If you’ve used plastics or driven a petrol or diesel car then you’ve been dependent on these processes.

    By the way I’ve just spent the last fortnight in rural Northumberland and seen first-hand the besmirchment of the landscape by wind turbines, soon to be followed perhaps by a new open cast coal mine near Druridge Bay. Personally I’d rather fossil fuels came from relatively unobtrusive fracking than either of these monstrosities.

    For those who think we can rely on weather dependent renewables for our electricity then to quote the late eminent scientist, David Mackay, this is an “appalling delusion” at least until battery technology makes massive leaps forward and is universally available, which isn’t going to happen soon.

    • From myself, who delights in the majestic turn of the white giants which complement the rolling hills and dales and fill me with pride and a sense of wonder at the amazing clean and safe technology…

      …this may be of interest:

      ‘Aviva’s CEO, Mark Wilson, said: “Climate change in particular represents the mother of all risks – to business and to society as a whole. And that risk is magnified by the way in which fossil fuel subsidies distort the energy market. These subsidies are simply unsustainable.”

      But the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said this [the subsidies] doesn’t account for the damage to the environment and human health, for which governments carry the cost. The IMF estimates this to amount to a staggering $5.3tn a year, or $10m per minute.

      “We’re calling on governments to kick away these carbon crutches, reveal the true impact to society of fossil fuels and take into account the price we will pay in the future for relying on them,” ‘

      https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/30/leading-insurers-tell-g20-to-stop-funding-fossil-fuels-by-2020

    • I suggest you read up on climate change and the battery storage systems that will be with us in 10 to 15 years that will place any arguments about renewables in the lacking knowledge skip where they belong.
      Fossil fuels will not and cannot be the future. Fracking in the UK – in any meaningful capacity is 10 to 15 years away – too late, too polluting – the past.

        • Who on here has ever said we drop them overnight?

          We need to adapt or suffer the consequences. Paul, from your earlier posts it’s blindingly clear you have no love for the human race and it’s survival, but for those of us who do…

          “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” Leon C. Megginson 1963

          And even clean technology…
          “…from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved,” Charles Darwin

          • I agree 100% – we must adapt – this is what I have always believed and said. We must adapt for, and learn to live with, climate change because it is happening / has always been happening for the past 4.5 billion years, and will continue to do so until the end of our planet. Where we differ is that you believe switching to renewables on a much greater scale is going to make a significant difference to this process – and that the human race with it’s multi nationals etc. is capable and willing to do this. The other difference of opinion we have is the practicalities of renewables and how much they can realistically contribute over the next 30 years or so. There are no realistic scenarios that I have seen up to 2050 which do not include large amounts of gas. Even the greenest scenario forecast of the National Grid includes a lot of gas, almost as much as the least green scenario of free market – the big difference is the former does not use UK shale gas (but is happy to import any gas from any source), the latter assumes UK shale gas makes a contribution to decrease dependence on imports. Which scenario do you think is more likely with our current political system?

            • Progress:
              http://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/china-ratifies-paris-climate-change-agreement/ar-AAiqRCI?li=BBoPRmx&ocid=mailsignoutmd

              Paul, no one is disputing climate change as a natural phenomena, but it is now unanimously acknowledged that human industrialization is escalating the warming and by controlling (or as some believe eradicating the burning of fossil fuels ) we can keep the detrimental effects of potential loss of land for habitation and food production, famine and resulting migration/wars within acceptable levels. A huge task I agree, especially with members of the population who are skeptics like yourself. Fossil is as fossil does….

              Everyday that clean energy is produced, less fossil fuel is needed. The more clean energy we add, the less fossil fuel burned; for need not want or greed.

              I agree that the current government is still under the illusion that shale will be part of the mix (I am aware that other political parties are reviewing this stance).This is concerning considering the numbers do not add up and as has been posted on this blog many times from government’s own sources; it is clear we have enough North Sea gas reserves to add to our mix. Indeed, it has been stated by FOE that if all current world reserves are burned we will not be able to minimize the risk. Their figure, I believe, is 40% of the current world reserves as maximum.

              With G20 this week and the insurers recent comments and the consequences of losses having to be paid by the taxpayers as a result, it may hopefully make them reconsider their position.

              If you read the polls, when you ask the population to choose between clean energy and shale, the majority choose clean energy. Whatever you support, this cannot be ignored. More and more of the general public are enjoying the meter turning backwards with energy produced from their solar roof panels; increasing the use of the smart meter is curbing the lazy wasted energy burn.

              It has taken a long time to even reach this point with renewables and clean energy production, but just as climate change has escalated, so too will the deployment and advancement of the production of clean energy. Even oil and gas companies are turning to the technology. Dong energy were a fossil energy company, but have cleverly come out of the dark ages and have used the ‘sapiens’ and have adapted to survive. I and many others have joined them. Will you?

            • The US also ratified the Paris agreement (which as it stands is not binding). Which western country had reduced CO2 emissions significantly over the last 10 years? Which country has switched significantly from coal to gas? Which country produces the most shale gas & oil in commercial quantities?

              http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=19991

              http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=27512

              http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=26152

              Dong are chasing the money – currently CFDs for offshore wind. They never amounted to much of an oil and gas company due to the lack of reserves in the Danish sector. Previously they chased ROCs – again in the UK. Not unlike Banks Renewables of NE England who were heavily into onshore windfarms in England – until the ROCs were stopped. Now they have focused back on their original sector of interest – coal. Hence their application for a new open cast coal mine in Northumberland.

              The UK subsidies paid to / committed to renewables companies through to 2030 are estimated to be around £100 billion. The majority of this goes to wind farms. As far as I know this does not include CFDs, but only the now dead (to new schemes) ROCs and the ongoing FITs.

              No wonder Dong, Banks et al were keen to build wind farms onshore / offshore UK. Dire Straits rings a bell – “Money for Nothing…” You are kidding yourself if don’t think Dong’s number one motive is make money.

              But what if this money (or some of it) had gone into renewables and battery R & D instead of as profits to wind farm companies? We may now have a viable and cost effective carbon capture technology. We may have large, reliable batteries to store electricity on sunny and windy days. Instead we pay all this money, mainly to overseas companies for an intermittent electricty supply which will never be able to replace gas.

              My discussion with you is about gas – not shale gas in particular. You are probably correct in that UK shale gas will never amount to much. But we are going to need gas for a lot longer than most people on this BB will admit to. And it will be imported, it will not come from the North Sea. Greenpeace / FOE / EU and geology have seen to that. The big low cost fields have been found, produced and are nearing depletion. Total’s Laggen is unlikely to break even (one of the UK North Sea’s newest fields to go on production). If Total were to make the Laggen decision today they would walk away.

              You will also appreciate that I have no time for anything that comes from Greenpeace or FOE unless it is from a reliable third party. You refer to me as “fossil” – I prefer realist.

              It would be great if your hopes are proved correct but I just don’t see this happening, at least not before 2050. And do you really trust China?

            • We cannot leave it to ‘someone else’. Governments and business mainly have hidden and self interest agendas. It’s about what we do as individuals. Small steps make for interesting journeys.

              I would not call you a realist, but pessimist, but as I am an eternal optimist, maybe somewhere in the middle would be a good place for all 🙂

              You talk constantly about money and profit, but this issue is bigger than that. Profiteers have ground environments and ‘indigenous’ people into dust in the past. But people are changing.They are more educated and willing to stand up to those who would destroy their way of life.

              I am pleased you agree that UK shale will not amount to much and let’s hope that the gas stated to last for ‘decades to come’ is enough in our journey of change.

  3. A statistics lesson. population of North Linclinshire is 169,000. One can more accurately say that since only 99 residents objected, that clearly 99.9% of residents are in the I’m not really bothered category. So is it democratic that 99 people make policy for 169, 000?

    • Same occured in Balcombe with approx 1,800 resident’s! The anti fracking brigade said all in Balcombe were anti fracking…yet The Frack Free Balcombe Residents Association number 300 only!

    • Nick – Using your argument, the current government shouldn’t be in power because they were not elected by a majority of the electorate, never mind a majority of the population. So would you agree that their “all out for shale gas” policy is similarly undemocratic?

  4. I would have more respect for the objections of organisations like FOE and the RSPB if they had not been major players in stopping the clean energy development of the Severn Barrage (leading to the inevitable alternative of Hinckley). They object to fossil fuels, they object to clean energy development – what is their alternative. It seems to be small alternative energy developments which have no prospect of filling energy demand in a reasonable period. And then their leaders (Zac Goldsmith comes to mind) leave carbon footprints the size of a small country as they jet around pontificating.

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