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. PhilC . Wouldn’t it be great if all those self appointed chemistry experts and home garden environmentalists would present a simple formula for the reversal of species extinction, coral bleaching, sea level rise and polar ice disappearance. They seem quite happy ‘rearranging the deck chairs’ while the great majority of environmental and climate scientists point a finger of culpability at their beloved industry.

    • It is very difficult to have any respect for Drill or Drop given the lack of journalistic integrity and intellectual honesty on the part of those who run this site. The idea that Drill or Drop remotely lives up to its claim of “independent journalism on fracking” is so absurd that even many of the anti-frackers admit it. How do Ruth and Paul expect to establish trust with an audience when their site description is such a blatant untruth?

      • I think everyone coming onto the site realises it is predominantly an anti o&g site however, it is a good source of information for pro frackers alike. It may be a good idea to bring a pro fracking journalist on board the team to even things up slightly.

      • DrillOrDrop is independent because it takes no money from organisations on either side of the fracking argument – thus its pieces are not constrained by the fear of upsetting its sponsors. We do welcome donations from individual readers, but again these donations do not influence our output.

        Please draw our attention to any inaccuracies via the Contact page – we are always happy to correct any mistakes or amend pieces where a misleading impression may have been given.

        We strive to present the views of the Oil and Gas industry as well as those of protestors. Recently we carried an in-depth interview with the commercial manager of Ineos ( and are hoping for more interviews with industry figures soon. We also spent a day at UKOG’s Broadford Bridge site ( and carried substantial quotes from the UKOG boss defending their operation.

        • What a pathetic display of attacks on our hosts Ruth and Paul, typical of the o$€¥£g attempts at intimidation, we all see that. We all get moderated without fear or favour or financial pressure, that is exceptional, few other sites can say that. Yes, we all get heated (not by gas) and moderated every now and then and I don’t detect any bias in that in any degree.
          The attempts to drown out this site in anti anti epithets and sarcasm at all times of the day, just goes to prove its the anti anti Astro Turfers job to do just that, most of the protesters have busy lives families and jobs and far too busy to sit behind a keyboard all day and post multiple ID tsunamis of personal attacks and epithets.
          That is an anti anti privilege.
          Now you can all sit behind your o$€¥£&g keyboards and get bitter and acid to your lack of hearts content.

        • Thank you, Paul. Any disclosure as to what percentage of sponsors identify as anti-fracking? Personally, I wouldn’t be comfortable with identifying my organization as “independent” if I knew that we drew a large proportion of our sponsorship from those identifying with one side of an issue on which we were reporting. I would love to get your thoughts on the subject.

          • We have received donations from many different people, and are very grateful for their support. Donations make it possible for Ruth to travel to meetings (such as the one in Lytham tonight) and to planning meetings (such as the upcoming one in Wressle), and improve the depth and quality of the coverage we are able to provide. However, donors don’t seek to influence the blog, and we don’t keep records of donors’ attitudes to fracking. We are happy to take donations from individuals of all beliefs and none – how about it, Fibonacci?

      • Exactly. Stopping all hydrocarbon production tomorrow will greatly assist in doing exactly that.

        • This is something else that emerges malformed from these o$£&G fracker posts and that is this eugenics cry to reduce the worlds population to what was it? Back to the level it was in the 15 th century, or earlier?
          I bet these posters do not intend to be one of the “reduced”? One wonders if the rest of us are expected so compliant and be grateful for the sacrifice?

          Forgive me for getting off subject, but it has been proposed, so it is worth exploring for a moment dont you think?

          There is an interesting connection to The Georgia Guidestones is a granite monument erected in 1980 in Elbert County, Georgia, in the United States by a man using the self-professed pseudonym Robert C. Christian.

          A set of 10 guidelines is inscribed on the structure in eight modern languages, and a shorter message is inscribed at the top of the structure in four ancient language scripts: Babylonian, Classical Greek, Sanskrit, and Egyptian hieroglyphs.

          Clearly there is some reference that the designers and commissioners of these stones propose to “maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature” One wonders what would happen to any who by accident or design, became number 500,000,001?

          What is not said is how this genocide would be achieved? Consider the present population, according to whatever census figures you may believe, are currently around 7.5 billion, to achieve….sorry…..”maintain” 500 million only, that would require…..removing? eliminating? exterminating? culling? genocide? of around 7 billion individual human beings, each with their own unique and valuable contribution to the human species, not just in terms of cultural, social and racial diversity, but genetic diversity too?
          When you consider that Albert Einstein was not a remarkable man, had many vices and did not have a remarkable brain and accelerated the human race understanding of physics by many decades? ask yourself if one or more of those…..eugenised…..were such a remarkable person? And similarly consider how many genius’s are sacrificed in wars and conflicts and desease and starvation across the world before and at the moment, how many mother Teresas? How many Gandhis? How many Buddhas?

          Hitlers and Atillas and Pol Pots we have a glut of, but once in every while someone special comes along, maybe there are 7 billion of them?

          One wonders how this eugenics would be planned to be achieved? And what conditions that remaining 500 million would be expected to live in? 500 million mindless drugged up slaves? or 500 million planetary masters? Perhaps the 500 million only refers to the intended masters and rulers? what of he rest, do they count? The thinking concealed behind this notion is horrifying in the extreme? And yet it is spoken here in plain sight, just as it was in Germany and across the world in the 1930’s, and several similar attempts since?

          Maybe that was just a practice run? Can we expect mercy or humanity or even intelligence from such?

    • Hi Philip P, yes you are quite right, i dont think they are even capable of re-arranging the deckchairs, that requires some thought and planning, so instead all they can do is sell the deckchairs off to the highest bidder, knowing perfectly well they will soon go down with the rest of the ship, i expect that was where all the lifeboats went?

      Its the same with the environment, these types have destroyed or are in the process of destroying all the carbon and heat sink lifeboats the earth, in its abundance has built up for hundreds of millions of years. the polar ice is melting fast, water levels are rising, all or nuclear facilities are at sea level, and what about fukushima, that is a radioactive elephant that gets more massive every minute. We have acidified the oceans, that was the biggest carbon sink, the atmosphere is expanding and becoming more volatile, the carbon sinks of the forests are all but gone, we have polluted and despoiled our way through ever natural ecological safety valve the earth has built up for millions of years and hoped that it all would never end. well it is ending and just more of the same old same old despoiling of what little remains of the earth’s defences that protect us, and everything on this planet, is simply suicide.
      We have now destroyed so much that the oceans, the atmosphere and the land that they all are failing all around us, but the hydrocarbon imperative now wants the craziest things in its desperation to maintain the profit cash flow, it now wants the very land beneath our feet and to hell with the consequences for those of us that live on it and depend upon it for our life, our health and our food and water.

      They simply don’t care, and anyone who dares to say stop is instantly leapt upon by the o$£&g astro-turfers to crush anything being reasonably discussed, because that must not happen. You see right here that its all about derision, personal attacks and turning everything that dares to challenge the o$£&g imperative, and then act all hurt and above such things if we do that back to them. you will notice they will always do that in concert, as many as possible, fake or multiple ID’s add their silly little sarcasm to back themselves up. Its all a fake, [edited by moderator], nothing more.
      Oh they will make al sorts of excuses about driving cars and heating homes, but that is only because all the viable and now more efficient and affordable alternatives are deliberately sidelined and funding and tax concessions and even increased, like

      Politics, economics are all in turmoil, that is deliberate, because they think it keeps our minds off the o$£&g imperatives and the sheer ecological insanity of it. when was the last time there was a real truthful tv radio or indeed any film or official documentary on fracking and now proppant squeezing and acidisation? Not that i know of.

      On the bright side we have seen some remarkable results in the elections and brexit and the loose canon trump, though frankly he seems more of an o$£&g executive than a President. his overruling of the standing rock embargo was simply dictatorial and against his own Army Core of Engineers recommendations.
      This election has been a terrible but telling expose of the sheer incompetence, criminal activity and almost pathalogically uncaring actions and non actions of government and councils since the 1980’s.

      That is now the focus to be put on this o$£&g alternatives are now showing themselves to be as viable if not more so than the o$£&g imperative and are emerging in spite of the system efforts to sideline them.

      Am i hopeful of major change? Yes, i would have to be, or i would not bother to fight or post here., its going to be tough on everyone, but its tough on everyone all ready, and without turning this all around to some semblance of common sense and intelligence in energy and ecology matters its just going to get worse, so in my view it is the only way we CAN go, and that is out of this stranglehold monopoly of insane o$£&g same old same old proliferation and pollution and lets start to do something that actually reflects common sense and intelligence, not recidivism and stagnation.

      • Yes, this century could be the planet’s darkest ‘hour’. What we’re left with (the next generation at least) at the end, or even by mid-century, is of huge concern. All these oil and gas interests have come to a concentrated head under the Trump bandwagon. I see it like a gigantic boil full of puss that will have to get lanced one way or another and boy, it’s going to get messy for a while!

  2. Long live your independence D and D. I think these criticisms are largely because you often get behind the usual smokescreens. Many of the controversial aspects of the industry, particularly regarding fracking, rely on public concealment, or ignorance of the realities.

  3. Who is up for crowdfunding the UK based anti frackers for a one way trip to countries that actually have zero respect for the planet, they will find the UKs contribution to pollution is a mere pittance. Then once they are educated on world affairs they can return happy and content that they live in a lovely part of the world all brought about by thoughtful capitalists like myself. I suggest they start off with some genuine fact finding in China, they will be able to see just how genuine their renewable sector is (take breathing apparatus for the smog though!).

  4. D&D is doing a good job of coverage the general issues of UK onshore and not just fracking. While the coverage is mainly concerning ‘issues’ of the industry which lend itself to being more antis in its coverage I find on the balance it is fair amd neutral and resourceful (especially with photos coverage). So imo keep up the good works and remain true to your philosophy.
    BTW Tory and DUP signed an agreement so no major policy change for frackers in the next 5 years.

    • Hopefully Comrade C will kick the bucket during the 5 years however I reckon a change of Conservative leadership and early election will be before the 5 years are up.
      If the Conservatives don’t shift to the right they will lose their core voters and the UK will end up a larger basket case than it already is.

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