Consents for eight oil and gas projects in England and Wales are due to expire within months, DrillOrDrop has discovered.
The proposals include a gas processing plant at Thornton-le-Dale in North Yorkshire and flow-testing at Cuadrilla’s Balcombe well in West Sussex. One site in Nottingham, where the operator has until September to drill two wells, has seen no work, despite five renewals of planning permission.
Balcombe, West Sussex
Planning permission for flow testing at this site, which saw a summer of protests in 2013, requires work to begin by 2 May 2017. The site, operated by Cuadrilla, must be restored within six months of the start of work. Cuadrilla has said it will inform residents before operations begin. The approval of planning permission was the challenged in an unsuccessful judicial review by Frack Free Balcombe Residents Association. Decision notice
Thornton le Dale, North Yorkshire
Opponents of fracking in Ryedale have voiced concerns about plans for a gas processing plant, granted permission in June 2012 by the then Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles.
The site is in PEDL120 acquired in December from Moorland Energy by a new INEOS company, INEOS 120 Energy Ltd.
Frack Free Ryedale said the takeover “significantly increases” the threat of fracking in the area just south of the North York Moors National Park and revives concern about the process plant, which was opposed by many local residents in 2010.
The approval of planning permission, issued after an appeal on 28 June 2012, included a condition that the development shall begin within five years. Decision notice
David Davis, of Frack Free Ryedale said:
“Planning permission for the gas processing plant at Thornton le Dale is still valid until later this year, which is a gift to any company wishing to frack Ryedale. INEOS can easily apply for an extension to this permission, and may want to use this processing plant to process gas from nearby fracking well-pads.”
A spokesperson for INEOS said:
“We have only recently acquired the licence as part of our regional interest in shale gas. We will review the existing data and permissions in due course.”
Markwells Wood, West Sussex
The Oil and Gas Authority extended the initial term of PEDL126 covering this site until 30 June 2017. The site, operated by UK Oil & Gas Investments PLC, has applied for planning permission for oil production and additional wells. Another round of public consultation is expected on new information on the application requested by the South Downs National Park Authority. A decision on the application is now expected in March or April.
North Kelsey and Biscathorpe, Lincolnshire
The Oil and Gas Authority also extended the initial term of PEDL241, where Egdon Resources has permission to drill its North Kelsey well, near Brigg. The initial term of PEDL253, where the Biscathorpe-2 oil well has consent, has also been extended to 30 June 2017.
Broadford Bridge, West Sussex
This site at Wood Barn Farm, Adversane Lane, near Billingshurst, was granted planning permission in February 2013. Under the conditions, consent expired three years from the start of construction. Site work began in September 2014 but no other operations were carried out because of a legal dispute between the then operator, Celtique Energie, and its partner, Magellan Petroleum.
The exploration licence, PEDL234, is now held by Kimmeridge Oil and Gas Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of UK Oil & Gas Investments. The company said it would begin work in the first half of 2017. Decision notice
West Nash Road, Newport
Work on this site operated by Sonorex Oil & Gas must begin by 7 September 2017 under the terms of planning permission granted in 2012. Within six months of starting work, all machinery, buildings and earth bunds must be removed. Decision notice
Grantham Road, Radcliffe on Trent
This Hutton Energy site, also known as Harlequin 3, has permission for two 950m oil exploration boreholes and site restoration until 31 October 2017. Planning consent was first granted in 1999 and has been renewed five times without any drilling. Decision notice