IGas defends depth of Ellesmere Port gas well


IGas has defended its well at Ellesmere Port against allegations that it was more than 1,000m deeper than had been approved in the planning permission.

DrillOrDrop reported on Monday that Cheshire West and Chester Council said planning consent for the site at Portside was for a well drilled to 900m but the company had actually drilled to more than 1,900m. DrillOrDrop report

The council’s cabinet member for environment, Cllr Karen Shore, said:

“We have requested that IGas explain their actions and advise what confirmation they believe they had to drill to such a depth.”

This afternoon IGas released its response to the council. IGas response to Cheshire West and Chester Council on Ellesmere Port well (pdf)

The company, through its agent Zetland Group Ltd, said the planning statement, submitted as part of the planning application in 2009, proposed two boreholes drilled to an estimated minimum depth of 900m.

The letter said:

“For further clarity, the planning statement made no reference to the maximum depth of the boreholes”.

The planning permission was granted in 2010 and was subject to a condition requiring the development to follow a set of plans and diagrams, including an indicative well profile showing the borehole reaching a depth of 900m. Opponents of IGas have argued that the application clearly stated an average depth of 900m.

IGas drilled one of the two proposed wells, which became known as EP-1, in 2014 to a depth of 1,945m below ground level.

The letter released today said:

“I can confirm that our client did drill the EP-1 well under the extant planning consent, to a depth exceeding 900m, therefore, consistent with the minimum depth of 900m stated within the planning statement and officers report.”

It continued:

“It is also worth noting that, prior to drilling the EP-1 well in 2014, our client met with representatives of CW&CC and advised those present of its intention to drill the well beyond 900m”.

The planning application was for the exploration of coal bed methane but the letter to the council said the objective was to target the Dinantian limestone within the upper limit of the Lower Carboniferous geological series.

It also added that the environmental permit for the site, issued in 2014, indicated that the well would be drilled to more than 900m. The letter continued:

“The [permit] application was subject to public consultation prior to the Environment Agency determining the application.

“Both the OGA [Oil & Gas Authority] and Environment Agency consented to the drilling of the EP-1 well.”

In a separate development, the Health and Safety Executive told DrillOrDrop today:

“HSE is content requirements of the health and safety regulations were complied with and that the depth of the well is consistent with the information supplied in the notification provided, both before the well was drilled and in the weekly operations reports provided during drilling. Officials from Cheshire West and Chester council have been made aware of this.

“HSE will continue to work with other regulators and local authorities to regulate the onshore oil and gas industry in a robust and proportionate way.”

The apparent disparity about the depths came to light when IGas submitted a new application to test the EP-1 well. DrillOrDrop will follow the application’s progress through the planning system. We will publish a review of the application proposals and comments from the scheme’s opponents.

7 replies »

  1. “Oops we went though the coal bed methane depth that we had planning for(thanks!) and accidentally drilled another 1000m to the shale gas level.yep exactly the same as we did at Barton Moss” [edited by moderator] igas at it again,when will councils learn,cbm planning is the ‘in’ stop giving it😡

  2. Still perplexed as to where the phantom “disparity” is Ruth. If the 900m was a minimum and there was no maximum, this seems to be a waste of everyone’s time.

  3. Well (excuse the pun) Grant, not so much of a rant now!

    Perhaps you will be a bit more reluctant to do a Bernard Cribbens now, and actually contemplate that communication, many years ago, may have clarified the whole situation, and that parties then knew what was going on, and agreed or accepted it. (“Weekly operations reports”-could these not have been accessed subsequently?)

    This is not the first time certain activists have utilised their councillor status to suggest wrong doing before they have appropriate evidence, or they have ignored it. I feel sorry for the council officers who have to pick up the pieces, and the locals who have to pay the allowances for sub standard work.

    Whether that continues, without someone getting their fingers burnt, will be interesting. I suspect there will be no chance of an apology. However, the two situations this week in the area will give some locals some useful information to help them make up their minds, whether to follow spurious proposals or facts. The bad PR keeps mounting up, and will come back to bite.

  4. This is another “none” story. Planning is for surface impacts not sub surface. The Council (and the Public) knew before, during and after the well in 2014 how deep the well was being drilled (check page 12 on the link below). Shale 5,000ft, Limestone 10,500ft.

    Click to access 0812_IGAS-EP-A4-WEB.pdf

    “This brochure contains all the information from the exhibition held at the Holiday Inn, Ellesmere Port on Thursday 10th July 2014”

    “In the coming months we will be drilling an exploratory well at the Ellesmere Port site. The primary objective of this well is to identify the
    resource potential including Coal Bed Methane in the underlying rock formations. By drilling, we’ll gain lots of data, including:
    • Measurement of the total thickness of potential energy-bearing rock formations
    • The retrieval of rock samples to determine their potential to hold hydrocarbons, such as oil or gas
    • Information to help calibrate regional seismic data
    • Improve sub-surface understanding”

    “including” implies that other targets are to be drilled. Very clear. What are you antis missing? And why raise this now, 3 years after the fact? Have the Council been investigating for 3 years?

    OGA, HSE, EA grant the subsurface consents and they clearly did for this well, when and as required. Planning consent the surface impacts. Another example of why they should stay within their area of expertise.

    The Council should go to Court – but they won’t because they will lose.

  5. Jeez this really is clutching at straws to find a story out of zilch. I think we are all intelligent enough (apart from the antis) to understand there is no maximum cited only a min. Thank god we have the CoA coming up for some proper news. Hopefully it will be a one liner “CoA dismisses case”. Roll on exploration…..oh yeah 😀

  6. My expectation:
    Future stories on this website;

    Seagull flies over PNR site and feels slightly drowsy

    Lush to remove fracking chemical from all its products

    Council refuses 1% pay out from shale gas revenues

    People near fracking sites feeling sick

    Drill hole stuck in ground

    Milk near gas site turns sauer

    The reason giving this overview is that the editors of the comments section seems more active then checking stories before running them. This results in highly speculative stories, only later followed up by counter reaction or explanation. This story as well. It should clarify now that the original claim of the Councillor was untrue, as Igas has proven this with evidence.

    A gentleman called Mike Hill claimed for an audience that he stopped drinking tap water because of PNR fracking. Ludicrous. Now even the water company send him s letter that his drinking water is sourced from completely different areas. Interesting for an article perhaps… but probably won’t happen..

  7. Darwineurope-you missed the other one:

    Mass leaping near PNR causes earth tremor.

    It is the silly season. But footy season started, politicians returning from holidays, Brexit negotiations to restart, so there will shortly be a little more to occupy minds, and stories will need a bit more substance to gain attention. Big Ben Bongs show it is a widespread phenomenon-why not record it before they dismantle and then play it over loudspeakers? (Maybe a little along the Embankment to protect workers ears.) I’m sure N.Korea could assist with the technology.

Add a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s