Third Energy warned over two permit breaches at Kirby Misperton fracking site

1711 KM KMPC

Third Energy’s Kirby Misperton site, November 2017. Photo: Kirby Misperton Protection Camp

The company waiting to frack at Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire has received an official warning about operations at the site.

A document released by the Environment Agency (EA) shows that Third Energy breached two conditions of its environmental permit last month. It was given five days to correct procedures.

The breaches concerned:

  • Not operating to approved management procedures
  • Not maintaining records on monitoring the site

The warning followed an unannounced visit by the EA to the KM8 well in Kirby Misperton on 20 October 2017.

There had been complaints about an unpleasant smell coming from the site earlier that week. After the incident, monitoring data showed a rise in hydrogen sulphide levels, although alarms on the Kirby Misperton site did not go off. One woman attended hospital  and has received ongoing medical attention. DrillOrDrop report

Details of breaches

171024 CAR KM8

Extract from Compliance Assessment Report for Third Energy’s KM8 site at Kirby Misperton

According to a report of the visit, management plans held in the site office were out of date. The EA recorded:

“Clarifications and minor changes had been made to the plans before subsequent approval and therefore it is vital that Third Energy operate to the latest revisions and these are held on site”.

The report also recorded that the operating procedure for dealing with surface water was not on the site and staff were unfamiliar with it. The EA officer wrote:

“We were assured by the wellsite supervisor that surface water checks were taking place and records were available to demonstrate this. However, the operator had devised a checklist as part of the Emissions Monitoring Plan and had committed to using this during operations. No checklists in this format were available for review.”

The surface water management procedure also required Third Energy to keep a consolidated inventory of materials on the site at all times. The report recorded:

“Significantly there was no consolidated chemical inventory held on site”.

It called for a “joined up approach” on managing the inventory between the different members of staff.

The report explained:

“This is particularly important in the event of any incident on site where the emergency responders would need to know immediately what was currently on site and where it was.”

Third Energy was required to

  • Ensure that the latest approved versions of management plans were available at KM8 and that all staff were aware of the commitments
  • Ensure that the staff is using surface water management operating procedure and checklists and maintain an up-to-date chemical inventory.


Opponents of Third Energy’s operations at Kirby Misperton have criticised the company for breaching planning conditions. A study commissioned by Friends of the Earth concluded that the company had failed to carry out proper monitoring. DrillOrDrop report

Sue, who lives less than a mile from the well site, said:

“They tell us that they follow the regulations and take safety seriously. It doesn’t look like it.

“How dare they run such a cowboy operation and expect no repercussions. If they don’t act responsibly, it will be my family who pay the price.

“They can’t even get the simplest of things right! How can we trust them with this untested new operation?”

DrillOrDrop invited Third Energy to respond to the criticism of its operation at Kirby Misperton. This report will be updated with any comment.

Wind direction should be “greater consideration”

The report of the visit also recorded that the smell from the Kirby Misperton site was probably caused by washing tanks.

The EA officer said the pipeline to KM8 had previously carried produced water from sour gas activities which was to be discharged at the KM3 water disposal well.

The wind was blowing directly towards Kirby Misperton on the day the tanks were cleaned out, the report recorded.

The officer said:

“This work should have been organised when the meteorological situation meant that offsite odours were less likely and this needs to be a greater consideration in work planning.”

Waste water involved in this incident was not covered by the waste permit for KM8, the report said. The EA proposed to take no further action but the information would be shared with Ryedale District Council and Public Health England.

Updated 16.55 to amend “one woman needed hospital treatment” to one woman attended hospital  and has received ongoing medical attention.

20 replies »

  1. And yet are councils and Government are just letting it happen, intervention is too late after an event. We need to stop this now. In the meantime happy to advise on what to do in the event of an earthquake!

    • Yes, it seems eve the EA cant actually do anything about it but complain, and that is the problem, no punitive penalties, Third just laugh and go and do it all over again, Barclays banksters without any police around, its going to be far far worse if they get a go ahead.

    • Paula
      I think you are right to be concerned. Outwith any fracking activity they need to up their game for normal operations, operations which would continue no matter who wins the next general election.

  2. Guessing the above commentators haven’t worked on any construction type sites in their sheltered little lives.
    No biggie, a couple of paperwork procedures needing ironed out.

    • If this is how these companies intend to carry on then what other breaches will happen , yes its a biggie and your guesswork is worth diddly squat #GoldStandardRegulations ?

    • Clearly GottaBKidding, you have worked on construction sites and feel that simply rubber stamping all paperwork and turning a blind eye is absolutely acceptable practice and should be allowed. I wonder if you feel the same about if the garage that you get your MOT done and follows the same ideals is also acceptable. After all it’s a measure of your moral compass and intrgrity. After all it’s “ALL ABOUT MAKING MONEY” isn’t it !!!?

    • A reminder of correspondence between the HSE and Cuadrilla

      “Cuadrilla were looking for guidance on when a cement bond log was required and who was responsible for the interpretation of the logs”

      Now we see Barclays owned Third energy cannot carry out basic tasks.

      The threat to the public from this industry keeps on growing.

      About time we took an injunction out against the companies who cannot operate in a manner which guarantees public safety

    • [Edited by moderator]
      Perhaps you can astound us with your expansive knowledge of your no doubt extensive experience of the qualifications, processes, precautions and training you have under your ever expanding colonies belt?

      I think you will find that paperwork you are more familiar with is in the smallest room in the site hut?

    • No biggie when something goes wrong but the emergency services don’t have an up to date plan – thanks for sharing your experience of how to manage the shale gas frack site in England ……. since the last two went wrong at Preese Hall and West Newton A – wake up.

  3. The lack of robust action, does not just occur in the oil and gas industry. When they do take action, other than a written warning, the courts hand out, nothing but a slap on the wrist. When I worked on Greater Manchester Waste (GMW) waste incinerator, the Environment Agency (EA), would walk through clouds of dust, without any concern. When a large incident occurred, a strongly worded warning would be sent from the EA to the management. The manager, who did not know what he was doing, would rant and rave, threaten to sack people, then things proceeded as normal.
    And this lack of action did not happen at the incinerator, but the waste industry itself. A prime example was with Britannia Import & Export, who handled GMW waste fridges and freezers. Despite the company manager being fined, for not having accurate records regarding the fridges and freezers. He did not keep an accurate record of the CFCs (refrigerant gases), which is a requirement under the Montreal Protocol (protecting the ozone layer). Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority (GMWDA) and GMW, continued to use the company, citingthat the EA had not withdrawn the company’s license to operate They even continued to use the company, despite the growing evidence, it could not deal properly with the waste. I personally remember five very large fires at the fridge/freezer mountains. With their negative impacts on human health and the environment. Eventually the company was shut-down and the resultant mountains cleared at the tax-payers expense.
    I personally told the North Western EA manager, that he EA was ‘not fit for purpose’. Those who state with have regulations and an Environment Agency, therefore, things will be safe, do not know what they are talking about. Here is a link, to a short article about Greater Manchester’s fridge/freezer mountains:

  4. The sad thing is that NYCC are extremely strapped for cash, all government departments are, so companies like Third Energy know they can get away with murder with nothing more than a slap on the wrist! Gold plated regulations are not worth the paper they are written on, I wish our MP would realise that.

  5. History repeating itself. No visits from the regulators at West Newton A when the first shale gas well was drilled there. Eventually the EA had to visit because of complaints from residents as the mini-frac test got underway. EA found that the emergency plan was not held on site, staff on site were not trained and records had not been kept of any analysis of waste before it was transported from the site. These minor infractions ( according to Gottobekidding) were symptomatic of a sloppy management culture which eventually led HSE and EA to close the site down. Remind you of anyone? All the facts are there on Drill or Drop – What went wrong at West Newton.

  6. Good to see that Third Energy’s continuing disregard of regulations is being exposed. In a country with gold-standard regulations, one might expect there to be some repercussions for these breaches. Oh, wait, there was I thinking that the UK regulators had any control over what the oil and gas industry does. Silly me.

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