Egdon to appeal on Wressle refusal

Wressle drilling 2014 Egdon

The company behind plans to produce oil at Wressle near Scunthorpe in Lincolnshire is to appeal against a refusal of planning permission.

Egdon Resources plc said yesterday:

“We can advise that we will submit a formal appeal against the refusal of planning consent at the earliest opportunity.”

North Lincolnshire Council’s planning committee voted last month against the plans for 15 years of oil production. DrillOrDrop

The scheme included options to carry out a proppant squeeze, which involves pumping sand and gelled water under pressure into the well, and acidisation, where, in this case, diluted hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acid would be injected to improve oil flows.

Egdon said these were standard conventional oil field techniques and council officers had recommended approval of the application.

But opponents of the scheme described proppant squeeze as an unusual form of low-volume, high pressure hydraulic fracturing and said acidisation was a huge risk. British Steel had objected to the application because it said there was a risk to water quality from a borehole it used to supply a plant at Scunthorpe.

Councillors rejected the application on the grounds that they had insufficient information to allay fears about the risk of contamination and damage to the environment and the local economy.

Egdon said yesterday it would also submit a new planning application for Wressle. In a statement the company said:

“This will include even more detailed information to address the specific concerns outlined by North Lincolnshire Council in their refusal.

“We will look to progress both the new application and the appeal through the Planning system as quickly as possible. We believe that this dual track approach will provide the best opportunity for a successful outcome with the minimum delay.”

Egdon has revised down its forecast for average production for the financial year ending 31 July 2017. It had predicted 165 barrels of oil equivalent per day but the revised number is now 100-110 barrels. But it said the impact on net cashflow would be negligible.

The Wressle project had been predicted to produce 500 barrels of oil equivalent per day. A partner in the Wressle project, Europa Oil & Gas, said this would almost double its existing production.

Europa’s chief executive, Hugh Mackay, said:

“We are keen to see this conventional oil field brought into production as soon as possible”.

Steve Staley, the chief executive of another partner, Upland Resources, said:

“We are pleased that Egdon Resources has chosen to prioritise both an appeal of the North Lincolnshire Council’s decision as well as a new application which will address the specific concerns outlined in the initial refusal.”

12 replies »

  1. Bad news but not surprising. Twin tracking is a typical practice of aggressive developers, design to bludgeon their wishes on an under-resourced planning system. It’s not illegal but it’s not what I would call ‘good practice’.

  2. What a surprise!!

    Before we hear cries against this being an outrage against local democracy, let’s remember the application was supported by the Planning Officer, ie. the “professional”.

    If this situation continues, where professional advice is overruled I would predict that it will not be long before either a company concerned decides not to be accommodating and seek to maintain relations with the local community but decides to seek compensation, or share holders within a company do the same for lost value, as is happening with VW.

    If this happens, the costs will be large to the local authority and would probably have to bring a change in Planning policy decisions for such projects, perhaps seconding a team of qualified persons into the group, as a comprise to taking the decision away completely from “localism”.

    Interesting to see that today it is also announced that the Brent Field in the north sea will be decommissioned and Nicola is supplying a £5m grant to help companies gain from the decommissioning work. How things change in a short period of time! Perhaps 500bpd begins to look a little more attractive?

  3. Like I said before once you start diluting the anti fracking argument by going after conventional oil you will lose even more credibility.
    [Edited by moderator]
    This application was refused for literally no reason other than some odd looking labour candidates (oh and a conservative) decided to post their “Power to the People” nonsense.
    The appeal or 2nd application will be passed with nothing gained by the councillor’s apart from being made to look incompetent once more.

    • And the local Council tax payers will be paying for the costs when the Appeal is lost. A lose lose situation. Don’t forget that Lancashire County Council’s refusal of both applications resulted in a worse situation than if they had approved the one recommended by the Planning Officer. If this had been passed the other would not have been appealed. Post appeal Cuadrilla have one approved and a second, totally unexpected, shot at the second. And of course our County Council has wasted a load of our money in the process. Trebles all round as they say in PE! This appeal will bring the score up to seven – nil John?

    • Your comment just makes it obvious that you weren’t at the meeting.
      The main points of concern were failure by Egdon to satisfy concerns about water contamination and associated risks to jobs (emphasised by a powerful objection from British Steel) and a lack of faith in the EA to successfully monitor the work.

      • Leigh that comment just proves you don’t understand the planning regime. I know a fair bit about council planning. The EA argument was thrown out by the councils own legal advisor as they cannot cite “lack of faith” in a Government agency as valid reason, the water contamination is not even an issue as that’s basically saying an impenetrable membrane might leak and British Steel confirmed their concerns had been answered and they had no further issue with planning.
        If they refuse the appeal they will be sued for a fair whack which will mean local cuts elsewhere. If they refused the 2nd application then the SoS will overrule and the council will never be allowed to vote again on O&G application’s. You see Leigh we can play at your game too but only better!

      • No, I wasn’t at the meeting. I forgot about the British Steel objection. Perhaps that will make it more difficult for Egdon to win the appeal. But perhaps British Steel will withdraw their objection. It will be an interesting appeal.

        • Paul the BS objection had been resolved before the meeting. It was brought up for no reason because the councillors literally couldn’t think of a reason to refuse that would sound remotely plausible. I’ll wager plenty of cash that Wressle is a goer…..eventually!

  4. Ruth, may I ask when you are going to run a headline article about the threats being made against workers at Cuadrilla’s site? You know, the article that the Times saw fit to give a headline, about the workers who received threatening notes. I thought that within this article you might reference back to the news of a few months ago when the anti-fracking mafia were listed as “extremists” and “terrorists” by the government, and members of the group were so upset at this characterization – claiming that they were just peace-loving Nanas and such. LMK? Thanks!

  5. I suspect we will see John still arguing the benefits of the North Sea, even though we have seen the independent land of milk and honey, funded by a huge wealth fund been converted in the blink of an eye to generating wealth for scrap dealers!

    That’s assuming he is still not fully employed trying to convince Ineos their maths. are not correct and do not justify importing fracked gas from USA.

    And, at last, we now have the Public Accounts Committee insisting that green energy schemes are fully examined for cost effectiveness. (Perhaps that should have been done initially, rather than just assume the taxpayer would be willing to fund without!)

  6. What never ceases to amaze me is the strange removal from reality such situations produce.

    If my neighbour wants to build an extension, I am informed by the Planning Department and informed what would be considered if I wanted to object, and what would not.

    Could I object that the Building Inspectors could not be trusted to check the construction of the drains would not result in a problem to me? Err. no!

    Egdon have been extracting oil quietly in this area for many a year, and obviously respect their local relationships. I suspect they will bend over backwards to assist a reversal of this decision on Appeal. However, my warning is that others in other situations will not take this view and it could end up with one gigantic cost to a local authority.

    Local planning is not UDI, and rules apply.

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