N Lincolnshire planners back Egdon’s Wressle oil production plans – again

Wressle drilling 2014 Egdon

Planners at North Lincolnshire Council have recommended approval of plans to produce oil at Egdon’s Wressle site near Scunthorpe – for a second time.

Their first report backing the scheme for 15-years of production failed to convince councillors. At a meeting in January, North Lincolnshire’s planning committee refused permission saying there was not enough information to allay concerns about risks to the environment and economy. DrillOrDrop report

Since then Egdon has appealed against the refusal and submitted a new application for the same site and almost the same development. The new application is due to be discussed at a special committee meeting on Monday 3 July.

In a 70-page report published today, the planners recommended that planning permission was “merited” for the new application. They said:

“There are no material adverse impacts of the development that would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits.”

They have recommended 17 conditions covering issues such as traffic, noise, working hours, protection of wildlife and restoration of the site.


Plan of the proposed Wressle oil production sites

Proppant squeeze and acidisation

At the January committee, objectors to the scheme and some councillors raised concerns about two production techniques which Egdon proposed to carry out at the site: proppant squeeze and acidisation.

In a proppant squeeze, a slurry of sand and gelled water is injected under pressure through perforations in the well casing into the surrounding rocks. The sand proppant keeps the fractures open and allows oil and gas to flow out more easily.

Acidisation involves injection of acid solutions through perforations into the surrounding rocks – in this case Ashover Grit sandstone – to again improve the flow of oil or gas. Egdon said it proposed to use about 50 cubic metres of dilute hydrochloric acid, ammonium biflouride and ammonium chloride. The mixture would create hydrofluoric acid underground, dissolving particles and solids that are blocking pores in the rock and the well perforations. The company says the acid reacts with the rocks and flows back to the surface to be treated with soda ash.

Both these techniques remain in the new application. Egdon has also said it still wants to include the option of a drilling a 20-30m sidetrack off the main Wressle-1 well. But the company has removed the option of radial drilling.

The application still includes installing oil and gas production equipment, electricity generating facilities, and a tanker loading plinth and replacing a temporary storage tank containment bund with a masonry version.


Is it fracking?

Egdon said it was not applying now nor in the future to carry out high volume hydraulic fracturing. Opponents said the proppant squeeze and acidisation amounted to an unusual and untested form of fracking that could not be monitored effectively.

The planners concluded in their report:

“It is considered that the proposed development does not constitute an application for “fracking”, but relates to conventional oil and gas production.”

British Steel objected to the previous application because it was concerned that the development could affect the quality of volume of water from its nearby abstraction borehole that supplied Scunthorpe Steelworks demineralisation plan. British Steel has since confirmed that its concerns have been addressed and it has not objected to the latest application. There has also been no objection from the Environment Agency.

Broughton Town Council has objected to the application and called for more research on acidisation and proppant squeeze before a decision was made.

At the time of writing the report, planners said they had also received more than 100 letters of objection. These covered issues including the proposed operation and the impacts on climate change, groundwater, ecology, landscape, noise, air quality, public health, highways, lighting, the local economy.

The objectors include Frack Free Lincolnshire, which said today the acid would be injected through a principal aquifer.

“This is for an unusual form of fracking into sandstone not shale. All the usual major concerns over fracking apply.

“It’s only the obscene quantities of fresh water which is not applicable. Here they will use ‘only’ a tenth of the volume and therefore can slip below the radar of technical fracking.

“So the risks posed by high pressure hydraulic fracturing into deep sandstone formations using the vast array of hazardous chemicals with the addition of hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acids is arguably greater than typical fracking into shale.”

The group is organising a demonstration before the committee meeting.

Meeting details

2pm, 3 July 2017, North Lincolnshire Council Civic Centre, Ashby Road,
Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, DN16 1AB. The demonstration is due to begin a 1pm.


44 replies »

  1. With deepest and sincere apologies to the estate of
    Ian Dury and The Blockheads

    They ain’t half been some shifty bas?ards!

    Proppant squeeze is not a charmer.
    Acidisation it is Karma.
    Hi Vis jackets and the dharma,
    Had a May Day divorce and other dramas.

    They ain’t half been some shifty bas?ards!
    (Acid bleeders, Proppant Squeezers)
    They ain’t half been some shifty bas-t-ards!

    To Wressle wont be eyeball pleasers.
    They dont want the proppant squeezers.
    Egdon won’t do a Tower of Pisa,
    That was an Italian geezer.

    They ain’t half been some shifty bas?ards!
    (Acid bleeders, Proppant Squeezers)
    They ain’t half been some shifty bas?ards!

    Acid will be tested on lit-i-mus.
    They claim impact is the littl-est.
    When you do a bit of splitting-ing-ness
    Frighten everybody shit-ing-less

    They ain’t half been some shifty bas?ards!
    Probably got help from the blue nun?
    (who had help from haven tax free sum).
    They ain’t half been some shifty bas?ards!
    Now that they’ve had some,
    They hope that there’s lots more to come.

    They ain’t half been some shifty bas?ards!
    (Acid bleeders, Proppant Squeezers)
    They ain’t half been some shifty bas?ards!

    Da-laa la-laa da-daa da-lee
    De dump di dump de dump-dump-fiddle di-fee.

    They ain’t half been some rotten bas?ards
    (Acid bleeders, Proppant Squeezers)
    They ain’t half been some greedy bas?ards!
    (Acid bleeders, Proppant Squeezers)
    They ain’t half been some wicked bas?ards!
    (Acid bleeders, Proppant Squeezers)
    There ain’t half been some silly……..

  2. Apologies accepted (channeling Ian Drury). The Blockhead can answer themselves – still alive and touring our neck of the woods. Like most aging rockers they probably forgot to address their pension pots.

    • Yeah! ‘The Blockheads: Beyond the Call of Dury’, Thanks “Ian-from-beyond-the-call of Dury”! I saw Ian and the Blockheads in Colston Hall many moons ago.
      Reasons to be cheerful!

  3. A ghastly chemistry experiment with dangerous substances in the hope of making wormholes through rocks for oil to flow.
    “The mixture would create HYDROFLUORIC ACID underground “

    Scientists are wary of hydrofluoric acid which will attack most substances.
    Some scientists report that it is so dangerous that it is not allowed to be kept in labs.
    A HSE scientist told me that one little drop on flesh will cause a wound which will never heal.

    I’d suggest letting this chemical go freely underground and risk entering aquifers would be terrorism.

    • I thought they pumped Hyrdofluoric acid from surface as part of the acid mix for mud acid / SST matrix acid – at least thats what we used to do in Industry when I worked there? They are getting soft and pumping a benign mix so that the HFl forms underground. Perhaps pressure from the antis is working or this way it is cheaper. Better to make it underground than truck it in?

    • Muriel, If HFI is even banned in labs, what precautions are in place for transportation and delivery and handling on site? Do the residents know any of this? I would guess separate chemical deliveries of slow moving (walking pace?) trucks guarded and preceded and followed by escort vehicles with spill clean up precautions and chemical hazard measures? Trained handling staff? Breathing Gear, full hazmat and chemical protection gear? What about the site staff?

      And they want to pour this evil stuff into the ground?? The change in the laws to prevent us stopping ANYTHING being put in the ground beneath our feet are not in place yet, that is just as well it seems, now perhaps we see why they want that?

      What about security?

      Public warnings to stay indoors and close all doors and windows?

      What public safety precautions will be put into place?

      Not just a toxic smell is it?

      This is serious stuff!

      Suggest all this gets put to the local authority lickity split.

  4. Hi Muriel, yes, you are right, its not just the poisonous and highly reactive caustic effects of resulting hydroflouric acid. It will also break down any other element in the rocks releasing more pollutants including radon emitting gas. An acid it will react with any present highly caustic brine which is a strong alkali and is several times as strong as ocean water,

    The result will be a highly reactive toxic cocktail that will quickly erode and weaken the steel casings, chemically break down the alkali cement bond, travel up the fissures and the cracks and further erode those, weaken the structural integrity which could lead to subsidence and collapse. if the cement bond and the steel casings fail that would enable any water to then be free to flow up and down the failing casings and cement plug, into the aquifer and if artesian, right up to the surface.

    Sheer insanity!

    The industry astro-turfers will tell you it just harmlessly dissolves and the amounts are tiny, that is sheer smoke screen and not even a very good one, i suggest they drink a glass of it and see how they get on. Chemistry is not so simple, try any acid reaction and see if it all just dissolves away into nothing, what nonsense.

    We must as a matter of urgency get the government to stop this, and that means now. Then enforce a complete re-evaluation of the process controls and ensure full time independent on site monitoring.
    To ensure enforcement of the existing regulations and draw up precise regulations and set up a governing body with real teeth that has properly trained staff with specific knowledge of the processes and enforce compliance on site and employ sanctions for any failures to observe the regulations.
    Take them from the industry if necessary and turn poachers into Gamekeepers and ensure they are completely independent.

    There is an enormous storm brewing with the fire regulations and not only enforcing existing regulations but ensuring they are fit for purpose and fund a complete regulatory monitoring and paper chain.

    Lets get the same processes going with oil and gas exploration and extraction by whatever means now, especially fracking and proppant squeeze and acidisation, before we have another bad lesson to learn and hundreds killed and thousands forced to leave their homes at ten minutes notice. Demand it from your MP and don’t be fobbed off, keep insisting on action from them, not just cheap words

    or will the anti anti’s just emulate Boris Johson’s erudite reply to the fire departments demand for enforcing existing regulations and strengthening them in relation to multi story buildings?

    ( )

    ( )

    • Phil C – your knowledge of chemistry is lacking this time – you cannot put HFl acid in a glass (to drink it as you have recommended) – it will dissolve the glass……

      • Ahhh, Yes! Actually, I was wondering if anyone would spot that!!? (said Captain Mainwaring to Sargent Wison!)

        Quite right!

        Quod erat demonstrandum or what?

        Perhaps Egdon will employ a few aliens to spit down the well bore every now and then? i used to ask myself, if the alien has acid for blood, then what was it made of? and why didnt they make the spacesuits and ships out of the same stuff? Perhaps Ridley Scott is an Egdon consultant?
        Where is Ripley when we need her? Was that an in joke? Ridley/Ripley? Never noticed that before?

  5. Yes, Muriel, but as your last sentence shows the reality of chemistry and the fiction of fear are very different indeed.

    If this is an experiment, I think you will find it has been conducted many times before with great success and safety. I even did similar things in the chemistry lab. (many) years ago, and as a result, learned a little about chemistry so that at one time later in life marketed truck loads of acids to be added to animal feed, for various purposes. The only accident I came across was on a pig farm in USA where the plumbers connected some pipes the wrong way round so the drinking water passed though the showers for the workers.

    Maybe have a Giggle at where and when cobalt is utilised by us humans, yet it is categorised as a carcinogen. Even saw it referenced recently as a huge increase in potential usage via alternative energy, believe it was linked to electric vehicles, but I did not investigate much further than to think my last employer removed it totally from their factory where it was a major item because they could not risk future litigation from an ex employee. Also, the skull and crossbones on their finished product was a little disconcerting to some customers.

    I suspect the councillors will be provided with better references this time, and expected to read the information and act upon facts, otherwise they could find it costly. But, as we have seen with recent tragic events, localism seems to be as flawed a system as centralism, which we all have observed over many years as local roads are resurfaced only to be dug up shortly afterwards to put something under them, so it comes as no surprise.

  6. Click to access acidizing-oil-natural-gas-briefing-paper-v2.pdf

    Wow – it is even used in dentistry and house hold cleaning products. And make sure you throw your Teflon pans away – they may kill you…..

    Hydrofluoric acid has a variety of uses in industry and research. It is used as a starting material or intermediate in industrial chemistry, mining, refining, glass finishing, silicon chip manufacturing, and in cleaning.

    Oil refining

    In a standard oil refinery process known as alkylation, isobutane is alkylated with low-molecular-weight alkenes (primarily a mixture of propylene and butylene) in the presence of the strong acid catalyst derived from hydrofluoric acid. The catalyst protonates the alkenes (propylene, butylene) to produce reactive carbocations, which alkylate isobutane. The reaction is carried out at mild temperatures (0 and 30 °C) in a two-phase reaction.

    Production of organofluorine compounds

    The principal use of hydrofluoric acid is in organofluorine chemistry. Many organofluorine compounds are prepared using HF as the fluorine source, including Teflon, fluoropolymers, fluorocarbons, and refrigerants such as freon.

    Production of fluorides

    Most high-volume inorganic fluoride compounds are prepared from hydrofluoric acid. Foremost are Na3AlF6, cryolite, and AlF3, aluminium trifluoride. A molten mixture of these solids serves as a high-temperature solvent for the production of metallic aluminium. Given concerns about fluorides in the environment, alternative technologies are being sought. Other inorganic fluorides prepared from hydrofluoric acid include sodium fluoride and uranium hexafluoride.

    Etchant and cleaning agent

    Wet etching tanks

    In metalworking, hydrofluoric acid is used as a pickling agent to remove oxides and other impurities from stainless and carbon steels because of its limited ability to dissolve steel.[citation needed] It is used in the semiconductor industry as a major component of Wright Etch and buffered oxide etch, which are used to clean silicon wafers. In a similar manner it is also used to etch glass by reacting with silicon dioxide to form gaseous or water-soluble silicon fluorides. It can also be used to polish and frost glass.

    SiO2 + 4 HF → SiF4(g) + 2 H2O
    SiO2 + 6 HF → H2SiF6 + 2 H2O

    A 5% to 9% hydrofluoric acid gel is also commonly used to etch all ceramic dental restorations to improve bonding. For similar reasons, dilute hydrofluoric acid is a component of household rust stain remover, in car washes in “wheel cleaner” compounds, in ceramic and fabric rust inhibitors, and in water spot removers. Because of its ability to dissolve iron oxides as well as silica-based contaminants, hydrofluoric acid is used in pre-commissioning boilers that produce high-pressure steam.

    Niche applications

    Because of its ability to dissolve (most) oxides and silicates, hydrofluoric acid is useful for dissolving rock samples (usually powdered) prior to analysis. In similar manner, this acid is used in acid macerations to extract organic fossils from silicate rocks. Fossiliferous rock may be immersed directly into the acid, or a cellulose nitrate film may be applied (dissolved in amyl acetate), which adheres to the organic component and allows the rock to be dissolved around it.

    Diluted hydrofluoric acid (1 to 3 %wt.) is used in the petroleum industry in a mixture with other acids (HCl or organic acids) in order to stimulate the production of water, oil, and gas wells specifically where sandstone is involved.[citation needed]

    Hydrofluoric acid is also used by some collectors of antique glass bottles to remove so-called ‘sickness’ from the glass, caused by acids (usually in the soil the bottle was buried in) attacking the soda content of the glass.[citation needed]

    Offset printing companies use hydrofluoric acid to remove unwanted images from printing plates. Felt-tip markers called “deletion pens” are available to make the process safer for the worker.[citation needed]

  7. Dentists, yes, i stopped trusting dentists after finding out they put mercury in the fillings, i had them removed and replaced with non toxic equivalents and sent the old dentist the bill, he was not amused. Later i was told that inexpert removal can increase the mercury levels in your body, so had some tests, fortunately they came back as low to background.

    If they put HFl acid in my mouth, i am surprised i cannot spit acid too?

    Or perhaps looking back at some of my posts, maybe i can?

    it just goes to show we use these things because they are expedient and convenient, not necessarily that they are very clever or safe, like the rush to put radium in everything in the 1920’s? Now the museum exhibits are behind thick glass locked cabinets? I dont think we will be doing the same, as you say, with HFl acid?

    Will we ever learn? Obviously not yet.

    • Sorry Phil C (and Muriel) to post about Hydrofluoric acid and what it is commonly used for. Spoils your day no doubt [edited by moderator] Perhaps you should no longer use / purchase anything that is made using Hydrofluoric acid (or oil or gas for that matter…). A complete world wide ban is required ASAP….

        • I only liked the first two. Not impressed with 4 (or3). Just finished Planet Oil 2 & 3. Didn’t realise it was fairly old and a repeat but still a good program.

  8. I guess these anti frackers don’t go to the supermarkets for fruit or veg either ? They’d have kittens if they started researching what farmers put in the ground :s

    • [Edited by moderator] Do you know what polluters like Egdon and all your heroic corporations put in the ground? better or worse than farmers? Oooh that’s a hard one? This is quite interesting i detect a distinct anti anti….acid spin against farmers? Do they threaten o$£g profits so much? Or do you just have a general down on anyone who stands in the way of your $$$£££!!! industry?

      • [Edited by moderator]
        Don’t worry about a bit of acid, plenty used in water wells, swimming pools, and lots coming up from the earth naturally. You probably use acid to clean your patio?

        • I’m wondering if North Lincolnshire Council should invest in about 45 million gallons of gaviscon when Gaia gets a stomach ache? Or one giant rennie? (there are other “anti” acid treatments available!)

  9. I do remember my Simpson days fondly but, wrongly, I thought Homer and Marge would have been off to Glastonbury this weekend!

    Never mind, tomorrow seems like a good gardening day. A little bit of NaCl on the dandelions, and then into the hard-stuff-glycophosphate. Would have liked to utilise some horse manure on the roses, but I think it has been washed into the local brook. Brussels are looking magnificent, thanks to plenty of lime,and the artichokes are like a forest in Sussex (lots happening below ground) thanks to a regular dose of recycled Sauvignon Blanc.

    This science stuff really is a challenge!

    Must leave you to your own devices until next week, as I think the EA are about to turn up. Play nicely.

  10. You do have to love the eccentricity of our beloved anti that is PhilC. Right chaps lets get the bets in, is it a yeh or a nae for Egdons appeal ? The council have decided to put it on the agenda quicker than they needed to so that might be giving a little insight to which way it is going, Egdon also have a new application in on top of this appeal. A couple of the councillors that knocked it back last time were lobbied by BS which has dropped its objection. If the council rejects it there could be a hefty penalty down the line plus any future O&G planning decisions may be taken out of their hands which would be rather embarassing. Get your bets in 😉

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