Opposition

Updated: Anti-fracking camp relocates from Derbyshire drilling depot

170713 Chesterfield Reclaim the Power3

Protest outside Marriott Drilling, 13 July 2017. Photo: Reclaim the Power

Campaigners against fracking who established a camp outside a drilling supply company in Derbyshire have relocated.

The camp, at Danesmoor near Clay Cross, was set up three months ago in protest at the activities of Marriotts Drilling Ltd. The company has been supplying Cuadrilla’s fracking site at Preston New Road in Lancashire and is part of the supply chain for the shale company, INEOS Upstream.

In a statement, the campaigners said the camp, on land owned by Worcester Bosch, was being relocated.

“Worcester Bosch have been tolerant and accommodating of the protectors, for which the frack free movement is very grateful.

“The company now wish to develop the area at the front of their premises in accordance with long established plans. Worcester Bosch are functional in the expanding domestic renewable energy sector, which will play a key role in reducing demand for fossil fuels and combating climate change.”

The statement said members of the camp, most of whom were local, had made the “strategic” decision in response to changes in the regional and national anti-fracking campaign.

“It does not indicate any retreat or backing down by the movement. Marriotts will still be regarded as legitimate target for protest action whilst they are active in or supporting the fracking industry.”

Marriotts of Fire Protection Camp 17 August 2017

The camp in August 2017. Photo: Ben Marshall

The Marriotts depot was the scene of ongoing anti-fracking protests during the summer. They made national newspaper headlines in July when a police officer was filmed pushing a campaigner to the ground.

The statement from the protection camp said the decision to leave was also a response to what the anti-fracking movement regarded as an increasing threat from companies such as INEOS Upstream. INEOS has applied for planning permission for two shale gas sites in the East Midlands (Marsh Lane in Derbyshire and Harthill in Rotherham) and has identified a third (Woodsetts in Rotherham).

The statement continued:

“It has been decided that time and resources dedicated to the camp at Danesmoor can be better allocated to enhance the increasingly popular campaign against the fracking industry in the East Midlands and South Yorkshire.”

A spokesperson said the camp had raised public awareness about fracking in the region. A number of local anti-fracking groups had been established locally in the past few months, he said.

INEOS and opponents of shale gas exploration held rival exhibitions today in Woodsetts. In a recent survey in the village, over 90% of residents who responded said they were opposed to fracking locally, with just over 1% in favour. The response rate to the survey ws 90%.

The Marriott depot was covered in an interim injunction against anti-fracking protests, obtained by INEOS Upstream at the High Court in July. The order, extended earlier this month, will be contested at a three-day hearing in November.

Updated 26/9/2017 to make it clear that the camp has relocated

39 replies »

  1. Well, Cindy you do raise a question that no one on DOD was willing to ask-too busy welcoming any group no matter what their agenda was-and the repercussions will continue for quite a while. Fracking in UK has no flames at all yet, but it is certainly attracting many “moths”-good job the bats are around.

    Is Sellafield full now, Adum? If it is we should send some of the EU waste back. Anything happening below ground and the same bit of speculation is started. I observed it at the development phase for Sirius Minerals. They will end up with a much bigger space! It received very little serious consideration there.

    • Ha! Ha! What Rubbish, I have mentioned both issues many times prior to this.
      But wait a minute!
      Dear dear, but of course! Those industry blinkers! What was I thinking?
      Just goes to show doesn’t it? Or not, if so encumbered, of course,
      I thought that the Emu burying it’s head in the sand was a myth? Kind of explains the onshore o€$¥£&g industry in a nutshell though, doesnt it?
      Thanks for the clarification.
      Funny that!
      Always a pleasure……I said! Always a……oh well…..never mind.
      Wait! Here comes another Emu!

  2. Fuel cells driven by hydrogen from air using graphene in a proton seive.

    http://petrolworld.com/headlines/item/22059-proton-conducting-graphene-membranes-enhance-fuel-cell-performance

    If this can remove or even reduce the requirement for hydrogen storage, then graphene fuel cells may be the gap power source that the world needs to wean itself off fossil fuels.
    Hydrogen from air, perhaps mixed with other gasses, and make clean heating gas too. That could be done on site at the point of requirement, no storage, no pipes, simple technology. And then there is the generation possibility, driven by graphene fuel cell hydrogen, a clean power source for electricity generation.
    Graphene is relatively easy to make though so far only in small quantities, but that is just a technical problem and should be easy enough to overcome, given the proper degree of funding and investment.
    The source material is common carbon, and hydrogen, and is not a rare element or gas. Why are we wasting time by not investing in this and all the other applications? Inertia mainly, so many possibilities and here we are still in the fossil age, pretending that is all there is, or can be.

  3. Phil C
    Looks like a good idea.
    My cash in Graphe Nano expands and shrinks on a daily basis.
    A diverse portfolio helps to cushion the blow

    • Hi Hewes,

      For what it’s worth, several years ago I managed to find a VCT that invested in nanotechnology, rather than an individual company. Done very well so far! The advantage is that they can split money into several seed Companies, so it doesn’t hurt so much if one of them doesn’t make it – effectively having a more diverse portfolio, but specialising in one area.

      I’ve been looking for something similar in Hydrogen Fuel Cell technology for around a year, as I believe this is a longer term answer (and applicable to less developed Countries) than the current dash for electric only or hybrids.

      The UK Govt, Shell and Toyota are developing a containerised Hydrogen generation system. It can be powered by solar / wind / mains and essentially uses electrolysis to split water from the air into Hydrogen and Oxygen. The Hydrogen is stored on location, ready for the next vehicle to come along and fill up. As it’s containerised, it can go anywhere – particularly useful for the many small villages in less developed Countries that currently rely on a diesel generator for their power – or have no power at all.

      A Toyota Executive at the Frankfurt Motor Show last week said that Toyota thought this would be the long term solution for transport.

      • Injuneer
        Thanks. Yes, looks like a good solution where there is wind and the sun shines, plus no grid. For cities, electric driverless cars run by council approved companies?

  4. Very sobering listening today on BBC Radio4’s ‘Costing the Earth’. With the Environment Agency increasingly being unable to monitor and enforce those regulations under it’s remit – with the cutbacks and ongoing centralisation limiting its independence – it is evident nonsense to talk about how well regulated the unconventional gas industry will be here:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b095rrzv

  5. Just listening to BBC Radio 4 is very sobering-indeed it is downright depressing. Wasn’t it one of their “lot” who was censored recently for trying to get an MP removed from a committee because he had different views regarding climate change?

    • Philip P / Martin,

      So did I – we obviously all have great taste ;)!

      Very disappointing to hear that the EA appear to be being slowly absorbed by DEFRA, as their original remit was that they would be completely independent of them.

      On the bright side, at least they are not headed by a political appointee (a climate change denier) who is currently trying to ban the use of the phrase ‘climate change’ from all US EPA documents….

      It does raise an interesting point though, is it really possible to have any Agency that can be – and seen to be – truly free from Govt. interference? After all, no matter what their remit says, ultimately their funding will have to come from Govt. in some form or other.

      Philip P – we shall have to agree to disagree on how well regulated the Oil & Gas Industry is UK. The UK Regulations we work under certainly exceed all other jurisdictions I have worked in (including the USA) and have been (or are being) adopted by other Countries because they are regarded as being ‘best in class’. That’s not to say they are perfect – they never can be.

      In the meantime, as the Radio program indicated, the EA certainly needs more funds & legal authority to be able to tackle things like the epidemic of illegal waste tipping which was covered prominently. (I missed the first 5 mins or so, so I don’t know what the issue with Farmers polluting a stream was about).

  6. Goodness, anyone would think there was a budget shortly, with Agencies wanting more money. Oh, silly me-there is-next month. Perhaps a vibrant on shore gas and oil industry would provide some more tax revenue to be distributed to such Agencies?

  7. Injuneer – I’ve seen the regulations on paper for unconventional onshore (hydraulic fracturing, waste disposal etc) but haven’t seen how you would substantiate the claim that ‘The UK Regulations we work under certainly exceed all other jurisdictions’. Firstly regulations are only as effective as the powers of enforcement and there were examples given (on R4) of regular environmental offenders running rings around the EA. Their likelihood of ending up in court was practically zero. It seems obvious that the EA would not have the funding or stamina to legally battle with deep pocketed corporations and wouldn’t even have the means to independently monitor the things which the industry is meant to monitor for itself. Even the regulations on paper weren’t that impressive. As there is no experience yet in the UK of actual onshore HVHF for shale gas. The guidelines are pretty thorough but cite several american guidelines as their source of reference. When I followed those up I could see that some had already been superseded by tighter controls (in the US).

    • Philip P
      I am digging out the headphones for the program.
      However, in my experience, in the U.K. ( in HSE ), the large O&G companies are not the problem when it comes to compliance, once the regulations are written. That goes for monitoring as well.

    • Hi Philip P

      It’s from personal experience, plus discussions with other colleagues when we compare ‘war stories’.

      Basically I’ve spent the last 25 years working Overseas in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, the USA and Australasia.

      The only jurisdiction that came close was Australasia, as they were in the process of adopting the UK Safety Case legislation that was brought in after the Cullen Report into the Piper Alpha disaster.

      The Cullen Report finally allowed the UK to get away from the US dominated work practices that had been prevalent up until that time.

      Incidentally, one thing that was instigated after the Cullen Report resulted in the UK Oil & Gas Industry becoming unique under UK law. In the event of a major HSE incident on an Oil & Gas Installation, there is NO presumption of innocence – we are guilty until proven innocent.

      The regulations behind the UK Safety Case legislation have been adopted by (so I believe) nearly all other European Countries, plus several in SE Asia and Australasia.

      The USA only finally adopted similar legislation a couple of years ago, after the Macondo disaster.

      Wherever I have worked and it’s been in my power to do so, we have used the UK Regulations as a basis for working in other Countries as they have always exceeded those in place. The exceptions were where I was working for US Companies who used US practices – which are much more ‘relaxed’ when it comes to HSE – especially the E..

      I don’t think France has adopted the same legislation – or of they have, it’s not enforced at all. A couple of years ago, an Operator I was working for imported a Drilling Rig into East Africa. The Rig had been working Onshore France for several years and we were utterly shocked at not only the appalling condition of the Rig, but that the Drilling Contractor had none of the policies and procedures in place that we expected. It took 2 months of hard work (and considerable expense) before the Rig, Crews and Contractor were in a condition where we felt it was safe to let them start working.

      With regards to enforcement, yes, it was very disappointing to hear on the R4 report the difficulties that the EA were having in bringing to Court the serial offenders in the waste management industry.

      However, they do have an additional power over the O&G Industry that isn’t applicable to other Industries.

      In other Industries, the EA have to get Court approval before they can stop them from operating. This is not the case with the O&G Industry.

      The EA are one of the Regulatory bodies that have to give approval before a Well can be drilled. If they are not happy with the performance of an Operator, they can either deny that approval, or put additional conditions on the operating permit.

      The EA could still end up in Court, but the onus is now on the Operator to show that they are competent to Operate, not the EA having to prove that they are unfit.

      There is another additional step that other Industries do not have.

      Anyone can set themselves up as an Oil or Gas Company, but before they can get awarded an Exploration or Development License (e.g. PEDL), they have to show that they have all the required documentation, policies and procedures (never mind being financially sound, having the correct insurances etc) in place before the DECC will consider awarding them a license.

      With regards to ‘self-reporting’ (ignoring things like automatic noise, air & water quality monitors), as I pointed out in my response to the guest post by Mr & Mrs. Mager, this is how the UK operates as a whole, not just the O&G Industry.

      I’m not saying that to change this would be bad (although the UK HSE statistics show we are amongst the best in the World when it comes to HSE), just that to change this would mean changing how the entire UK Industry works.

      I’ve looked at the attempted definition of a frac in the legislation. I’ve seen various attempts by those against frac’ing to try and define ‘unconventional’ fracs in terms of volume (BTW, there is no such thing in the Industry as ‘HPHV’ or similar – that’s been made up) and HM Govt has tried to carry this over.

      The problem with this approach is that there really isn’t anything to definitively distinguish between a ‘conventional’ and ‘unconventional’ frac. – it’s the Well density that counts which means that there are more fracs done in a particular area.

      Incidentally, industry estimates that +/- 65% of ALL Wells drilled in the last few years have been frac’d.

      Given the current state of play in the UK (i.e. early testing phase), I feel it would have been simpler just to state that any ‘unconventional’ Exploration or Appraisal Well would have to have the testing program approved by the HSE /OGA / EA prior to execution.

      In the event (which is by no means certain) that the testing shows it will be economic, then by that time there will be sufficient information on things like the Well Density, length of horizontals, number of fracs per well and the size & design of frac required to have a much clearer idea of the water & chemical requirements for development and these can be fed into the approvals process.

      I haven’t looked closely into the guidelines, but bear in mind there is already a considerable body of legislation / regulation that covers the O&G Industry.

      The problem with US legislation is that it’s a poor mish-mash between local, State and Federal jurisdictions – and that’s even before their current administrations attempts to roll back improvements put in by the last administration.

      However, having spent a fair amount of time over there, I am very comfortable that what we currently have in place far exceeds US regulations.

      To give a couple of specific examples, the case in Wyoming where contamination of a water source occurred was due to the use of unlined pits to store fluid – something we have not been allowed to do since before I started working in the early 1980’s. In addition, they are allowed to drill and frac into shallow formations which also have drinking water wells in them – something we would never be allowed to do.

      Finally, I am still considering your earlier suggestion of a guest post, but if I do it, it won’t be in the near future!

      • Thanks for the detailed response Injuneer. HVHF has been pretty widely adopted shorthand for High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing but maybe out of convenience or habit rather than as technically terminology. I generally observe the drift in related practices towards longer horizontal laterals and tighter clustering of wells. Refricktion (appearing on these threads) says Cuadrilla is anticipating going up to 60 wells per pad! I haven’t seen any pro-frack person challenging that.

        What I’m not seeing is the details on how industry will contain emissions before well completions eg around periods of drilling, flaring and so forth, or convincing flowback and wastewater treatment plans. Nor any QS analysis on the haulage (water, sand, pipes, pumping gear …) and the intrusion factors and time scales of establishing say a 60 (or whatever) well site. Still trying to imagine the scale of pipelines linking such a dense site to mains injection points too. When a risk assessment says risk=low that is not the same thing as risk=0 and as there must be so much data available now it should be a straightforward (applied maths) calculation to compound all the risk factors and come up with a probability figure for incidents regarding the likelihoods of incidents and accidents of various descriptions.

        • Phil P

          I too, wonder if the small companies ( so far Cuadrilla and Third Energy ) will do everything right. More on that later no doubt.

          Longer laterals and tighter clustering makes sense. That means less pads, less pipework ( not snaking all over the patch ), less compressor stations ( only one connection to the grid ), but one big pad. Sounds good to me, but not on a narrow road, of course. I look forwards to finding out in the technical press. A Wytch Farm for Fracking?

          Re risk, yup, sounds interesting. If you have a 60 well pad, you may well reach COMAH requirements in terms of the quantity of HC on the site. Cue COMAH case ando so on. But if not, the law does not require it.

          I do not think one well, especially a frack well is an issue, but a decent presentation showing likely blast radius for a blow out, should things go wrong would help. Flare calcs are already done.

          The things that get you are HC inventories, be it in separators or ( the big one ), export pipeline failure.

          There is an ongoing discussion here re frack returns and disposal. If fracking grows, I personally expect it to be reinjected, or maybe sent to sea ( where most of the UKs produced water ends up at present ). I do not see onshore treatment being the cure, other than during the appraisal stage we are in at present. Just my opinion.

          We already treat a portion of offshore produced water ( with no frack chemicals ) onshore, complete with its radioactivity. Courtesy of the Gas Terminals dotted around the coast.

          • According to EA guidelines 12 months of baseline monitoring on any location should be established before first frack takes place. Happening? Do we know? Independently and professionally cross verified? I doubt that it.

            • Philip P

              For the following reasons I am confident that the baseline monitoring is taking place. Outwith the requirement for it in the Permit ( before drilling ) and in the Infrastructure Act ( before fracking ).

              1. Cuadrilla notified Lancashire County Council of the intent to drill the 4 monitoring wells.
              2. Cuadrilla wrote to local residents informing them they were going to do this.
              3. A number of anti groups complained, saying they should wait until planning permission was granted for fracking … so believed by them that wells were to de drilled.
              4. The boreholes have been drilled A number of frack off pictures of borehole drilling are on the web.
              5. The results ( in brief ) of the monitoring are on the Cuadrilla website
              6. I believe the information contained in the EA information sheet March 2017. Preston New Road … Groundwater Monitoring.
              7. Monitoring has been mentioned and confirmed in the Community Liaison Meetings ( minutes thereof ).

              So, overall, I feel assured that the boreholes are there, that Cuadrilla are following their Groundwater and Surface Water Monitoring plan, and doing the monitoring.

              Re Independantly and professionally cross verified? I am heartened that the EA are happy to publish the data on their website and that, during their inspections they check compliance with the requirements of the permit.

              There is no legal requirement as far as I can see, for a third party to verify that the data.

              What I would ask is, given the data available at present, does anyone feel that the data is not representative of what would be expected on the site? Maybe by comparing this to any relevant data from the BGS Surveys in Lancashire.

              It could be an issue raised at the Community a liaison Group, an independent check once the well has been fracked?

              On another note, while trawling the web, I note that there was a lot of fuss about Cuadrilla drilling prior to 12 months of monitoring. As you note it is 3 months prior to drilling and 12 months prior to fracking.

            • Hi Philip P

              Hewes 62 has covered this below, but from my perspective on the drilling side;

              Ideally I would like 12 months before we started drilling, as there are obviously seasonal variations in surface and water well levels & quality.

              In addition, we used to monitor the local wells irrespective of whether or not it was required, because in may areas of the Weald & Wessex basins, the local aquifer was not suitable for use because it either already had raised levels of salt and / or contained minute traces of oil when fluid has has seeped up over geological time, as traps have been breeched by faulting etc.

              However, we are always caught between a rock and a hard place on this one. To start monitoring for a year in advance usually means before we have approval for the site location and permission to drill the Well, so if we start monitoring early, we get yelled at that the planning process is a sham, we know we are going to drill etc etc.

              If we leave it until after we have approval, then inevitably the time constraints placed on us by the licence terms and conditions mean we can’t wait a full year before starting drilling.

              It’s the same at the back end – we have to restore the site by a particular date, but if (as has happened on one of the Cuadrilla well pads) and endangered species of bird chooses to nest on the site so it can’t be restored in the required time-frame, then we get accused of not keeping to the licence T’s & C’s….

        • Hi Philip P,

          I’ll dig into the 60 Well claim – it’s an extraordinarily large number for an Onshore site, especially in Shale because you are effectively only going in two directions due to the frac lobe orientation – i.e. if the Geomechanical stresses mean the frac lobe is in an East – West orientation, then you only drill Wells in a North – South orientation.

          We can go out remarkable distances (the record horizontal well went 35,000′ – and that was almost 10 years ago), but just because it can technically be achieved doesn’t mean it’s going to be cost-effective – the optimal length will be worked out during the testing phase.

          WRT your 2nd paragraph, as I explained this is the testing phase. Should it be economic, then during the design phase all the queries you raised (including risk assessments) will be able to have definitive numbers put against them and that can then be fed into the project plan and approvals process.

          WRT the number of pipelines etc, you wouldn’t get 60 gas lines snaking across the countryside from one well pad – all the production from one site would be co-mingled into a single production header / line before leaving the site. If they do it right, then that line would go to the next well pad, the production from that pad co-mingled into that line and so-on, so effectively only one production line. Similarly, water (if they still use water as the frac fluid, nowadays more people are switching over to gas or even CO2) would be piped to the location, rather than trucked.

          I doubt the HC inventory kept on a well pad site would be large enough to trigger a COMAH case – that would be more likely at the main production facility. Also, the blast radius from a blow-out is actually negligible – again the main risk there would be at the main production facility or, as Hewes pointed out, the main export pipeline.

          • Thanks Injuneer and Hewes62. Yes I understand how it would all go into a feeder pipeline or two and am still learning how the timing of stages and choking of outputs would help control of delivery rates and extend the overall productive lifespan of a site. What has to be a major concern if pushing sites up to 20-60 wells is the concentration of risks and emissions (for that area) not to mention the relentless drilling, fracking and haulage that would be ongoing (over years) to get anywhere near say 30+ wells. How would a single blowout affect a tightly clustered bunch of wells?

            I struggle to see how gas fracking could work in delivering proppants to their target zones and cant find much on that. Gasses (being compressible) for fracking purposes would be a very different ballgame to (liguid) fluid hydraulics.

            • Phil P

              Yes, a more concentrated site would look busy. There would be a trade off, no doubt between that and the distributed sites one can see in Australia and the US.

              For a single blow out, escalation would be to any co located HC inventory rather than the wells. Onshore wells are benign compared to offshore wells where blowouts can affect the platform and exposed conductors under the platform. Offshore well bays have deluge protection ( the testing of which was always a damp affair ). Onshore, there is no platform and the wells are at ground level. Each well should have a down hole safety valve.

              Most blow outs occur during drilling or work over according to the statistics, not during normal operation.

              If you had a bunch of co located wells ( how near to each other I would not know ) then you might consider deluge protection if escalation between wells was possible. But as Injuneer notes, it would all be covered in the risk assessments. You could not just rock up and drill 20 closely spaced wells without some consideration of the issue. The risk houses in Manchester ( DNV for example ) would welcome the business.

              For gas fracking, that would be liquid Propane, CO2 etc unless Injuneer knows otherwise.

              Managing the well, in terms of flow and market ( demand and contract ) is a dark art against which mining and selling coal was child’s play.

  8. Umm I like the chat about Graphene… Hubby says that it is quite fragile, so any bump in a car can cause the structure to fracture and put power storage at risk. Plus it dissolves in water.

    RE: Reclaim the power. If the energy companies like UKOG were smart, they’d support an anti-reclaim the power group… in a copycat intersectional type manner. This group is gaining traction through association and certain parties which are starting to fan the flames. And again, I am anti-fracking….

    • Cindy

      I am sure Material Engineers will sort out such Graphene problems. Fingers crossed.

      I think that small oil companies are too focussed on their business to go for RTP. Larger companies would not see any value in it unless directly affected.

      I, like you, think they ( RTP ) are a bit politicised. If they were serious about it, they would picket service stations, or stop a few oil tankers from docking. Cue some Uber style petition to have them banned ( emoting is fine until it affects your way of life ). So far they picket coal ( better than frack gas it seems ) and fracking ( not yet producing ). Plus some activity in the Weald ( a few bbl soon maybe ). Impressive.

      I am pro fracking, but if you asked me on a scale ( 1 = Hate it with a passion, 10 =Love it with fingers in ears ) I would be 7. I was a 5 until I read an anti frac book by some author of fiction.

      I move around a bit depending on what JTL and other post. It’s not as if it’s a religion.

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