Step forward for INEOS plan for second shale gas well – no environmental impact assessment needed

Harthill Kerry Eades 170410

Proposed INEOS shale gas site at Common Road, Harthill, 1 April 2017. Photo: Kerry Eades

Plans by INEOS for a second shale gas well in the East Midlands will not need an environmental impact assessment, according to the local council.

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough ruled yesterday that the company’s proposals for a vertical core well at Common Road, near Harthill, would “not be likely to have significant effects on the environment”.

An opinion, published on the council’s website, said any impacts would be localised, temporary or not significant.

The council’s director of planning, regeneration and transportation service, Chris Wilkins, said there were no known environmentally-sensitive sites and features nearby that would be affected. He said the site was not in an area of important landscape designations and there were no national or international ecological or historic designations covering the site or the immediate neighbourhood.

The opinion agreed with INEOS that the well site should not be regarded as an integral part of a more substantial project. The council said:

“Whilst there is potential to lead to a more substantial future development, it is not inevitably the case since the data obtained from the exploratory well may not support a more substantial later development.

“For this reason, it is considered that the development is capable of being classed as a standalone development and should be screened in isolation in this case.”

INEOS Harthill location

Location of the Harthill site.

A decision on the Harthill site is now likely to be quicker than if an EIA had been required. Planning applications that do not need an EIA are required to be determined in 13 weeks. Producing the Environmental Statement required by an EIA can take up to a year.

In February, Derbyshire County Council came to the same EIA decision on INEOS’s first proposed shale gas well at Bramleymoor Lane, near the village of Marsh Lane (DrillOrDrop report).

Since then, there have been at least three challenges to that decision to the Communities’ Secretary and INEOS has also asked for a ministerial ruling. This won’t be announced until after the general election on 8 June.

INEOS said this morning that it had not decided yet whether it would ask the Communities’ Secretary to rule on the Harthill scheme.

The company’s operations director, Tom Pickering, said:

“We are very pleased that the latest step in the process has now been completed. While we are not required to complete a formal EIA, all relative environmental concerns will be addressed as part of the application and we are looking forward to continuing to work with the Council and community to discuss these as the project moves forward.”

Harthill details

The Harthill proposal, which does not include fracking, has five phases:

  1. Site development and establishment (3 months)
  2. Drilling and coring (5 months)
  3. Establishment as a listening well and suspension (1 week and then until restoration)
  4. Undertaking listening well operations (3 weeks)
  5. Abandonment and restoration (1.5 months)

According to information supplied by INEOS, the site is 1.14ha, in open countryside near the villages of Harthill and Thorpe Salvin. It is within a landfill gas consultation zone and within the western side of the Netherthorpe Airfield buffer zone. Drilling the well to 2,800m would use a 60m high drill rig and would take place 24-hours a day.

During stage 1, there would be up to 40 days with more than 10 heavy goods vehicle (HGV) movements per day and three weeks with 50-60 HGV movements a day (5 per hour over a 12-hour period).

In stage 2, at the beginning and end of drilling, there would be 20-42 HGV movements daily and another 16 movements by HGVs of more than 32 tonnes when the rig was mobilised and demobilised.

The well pad would be surfaced with 9,000 tonnes of aggregate, which would be trucked into the site. It would be surrounded by a 2m high planted soil bund and industrial cabins, stacked two high.

DrillOrDrop will report on the application when it is submitted to Rotherham Metropolitan Borough.


DrillOrDrop key facts and timeline for Common Road, Harthill

INEOS screening request

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council screening opinion

17 replies »

  1. So glad we have Ineos on the scene. A far more professional outfit to take this industry forward and plenty of financial resources.
    Cuadrilla and Third have laid the foundations but I don’t see them being able to progress at the speed required to get this off the ground.

  2. GBK-just wait for the posts about Ineos being a rubbish company (prompted by 5% Len) and that Jim is a “nasty person”. That last one has been used before and it made me smile, because most successful entrepreneurs may be seen as “nasty” by their competitors and others, but IMO, can be really charming outside of their business. This seems to be a difficult area for some to understand.

    • Martin, I think the negative comments about Mr Ratcliife are more to do with his aggressive approach to HR issues than anything about his character on a personal basis. Of course the two may be related I guess.

      Is it correct that the international HQ used to be in Britain, moved in 2010 to Switzerland for tax reasons, and now they have just made London their UK HQ? Googling “Ineos HQ” gives Rolle in Switzerland. Mr Ratcliffe refers to Knightsbridge in London only as their UK HQ in the press reports I’ve read. It’s all a bit confusing!

      They haven’t actually moved the international HQ back here have they?

      • If you’re not happy with the tax arrangements of international business then moan at the g8 summit as only an international agreement will change situation.
        You cannot blame individual companies that follow the trend in order to remain competitive.
        I don’t like the big guys not paying their fare share either but it’s governments that need to be held accountable for it not them.

    • Oh I know Martin. I’ve been running own company since my teens and you’ll always have a ‘jealous’ element from some people when they see you’re doing well but they don’t understand it’s by no means an easy ride getting there. I take no notice of them.

      • And where is your company based for tax purposes Peeny? I’m fine with businesses being successful but I’m not so keen on the ones who flounce away offshore because they have a large tax bill. #justsaying

        • Company is based in UK Hobson and pays UK tax.
          No one likes multi nationals paying less than the rate they’re forced to pay but like I said take it up with the international G8. Only an international agreement can close the loopholes however, it’ll never happen as every country competes for a slice of the cherry.
          One thing that could help is massive investment into startups, genuine creativity (not even plod along SMEs that actually soak up huge amounts of govt investment to keep them merely solvent) in this country but labour and the anti type are completely adverse to risk hence why I don’t bother with them.

  3. Oh dear refracktion! Are you not the individual who wanted to challenge Ineos accuracy, yet you do not seem to have a clue about where they are based, now and previously, and where taxes are paid. Suggest you do some research on why they moved to Switzerland previously-afraid you will find it was due to the efforts, or lack of them, by one of 5% Len’s pals.

    “Aggressive stance to HR matters”. Well, if you think that is the definition of him standing up to Unite and refusing to invest money if it was going to disappear through their activities you would be correct. A strange concept, but I expect he needs to get a return following investment. Oh, silly me. We have already been told his economics investing in UK shale are flawed, so a pattern is constructed.

    However, rather than get hung up about company taxes, because a company investing heavily will accrue a huge amount of tax credit and therefore a tax bill will often be out of context, may be easier just to look at the numbers employed, in fairly high paid jobs and assess what taxes they pay, and how much they spend in their local communities. Even some new jobs advertised here recently for seismic testing. Yes, jobs from fracking! And who will gain his car factory? Place my bet that it will not be Scotland!

    I would have thought your resources were a bit more extensive than Giggle, and surprised you utilise them when “they flounce away offshore because they have a large tax bill.” Thought you would be locked on to their UK office-but then you would need to utilise them again to locate that. Life is such a challenge.

    • Gosh Martin – I could almost feel sorry for billionaire Jim Ratcliffe the way you tell it ;- )

      I’ve done my research on why Ineos left the UK thanks. Are you saying that the reports that Ratcliffe moved Ineos to Switzerland were because Brown “would not let his firm defer a £350million VAT payment” are inaccurate? If so perhaps you can provide some evidence to counter those reports?

  4. I see we have a FULL PAGE advert in the Sunday Times for senior positions for Ineos Automotive today. Pretty expensive “vanity project”.

  5. I see the Dong acquisition has gone ahead now. Now for the taboo subject-just think of all that lovely PROFIT-to help fund other projects like UK fracking, and creating all that lovely TAX to help pay for social care and the NHS!

    Shame if Corby gets in, because they will be off to somewhere like Dublin to avoid a massive hike in Corporation tax. So, the burden would transmit to the general tax payer, and our kids, for repaying the borrowing.

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