Legal

Farmer joins National Trust as Ineos shale gas access case heads towards trial

Seismic Harthill 170627 Richard How HAF2a

Vibroseis trucks used for seismic testing by Ineos at Harthill in South Yorkshire in June 2017. Photo: Harthill Against Fracking

A tenant farmer has joined the National Trust in its challenge to the shale gas company, Ineos, in a court case over land access.

Ineos is demanding it be allowed to carry out seismic testing at the National Trust’s 3,800-acre historic Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire.

Seismic testing is used to establish the most suitable places to drill and frack for shale gas.

The National Trust has refused access to Clumber Park on climate change and planning grounds. If it holds to this position, it faces a five-day trial at the High Court.

The case took another step forward at a procedural hearing this morning.

The court official, Chief Master Marsh, confirmed that the case should go to trial, in the period March-May 2019. He said it should be classed as a category A case – one of great substance or of public importance – and would be heard by a High Court judge.

Today’s hearing was told that an unnamed tenant farmer was joining the case in opposing access to Ineos. Another 30 tenants of the Clumber Park estate would also to be notified about the case and given the opportunity to join the objections.

Clumber ParkNottinghamshire

Clumber Park lake, Nottinghamshire. Photo: Richard Watson

Trial focus

The trial is likely to focus on:

  • Was the refusal for access unreasonable?
  • Was Ineos’s need to access the land in the public interest?

Ineos has argued that it is required to carry out seismic testing by 2021 as part of its work commitment for Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence 308.

The National Trust has said previously that Ineos did not follow proper planning processes, which should have involved fully considering the potential environmental impacts. It has also said it had no wish for its land to “play any part in extracting gas or oil”.

Site of Special Scientific Interest

Another key issue is likely to be the impact of seismic testing on the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), which covers more than 1,300 acres (500ha) of Clumber Park. This was referred to in a witness statement by Lynn Calder, the Chief Executive of Ineos Upstream, the hearing was told.

Scott Lyness, the barrister for the National Trust, said it may submit evidence on the consequences of seismic testing on the lake in the SSSI.

Master Marsh said:

“Miss Calder’s witness statement said they [Ineos] could avoid the SSSI altogether. The question is whether they would avoid the SSSI.”

Evidence

Ineos was ordered to provide its evidence by 31 October 2018 and the National Trust by 14 December 2018. Another procedural hearing is to be held in mid-late January 2019.

Master Marsh told both sides:

“I do not expect you to call a panoply of witnesses, nor do I think it is necessary”.

James Hanham, for Ineos, said the National Trust should be required to demonstrate “what was going on internally when the decision [to refuse] was made”. He said:

“What was written down doesn’t necessarily reflect what was going on behind the curtain and the other party is entitled to know”.

But Master Marsh replied:

“It doesn’t matter what they were thinking. It is what they were expressing”.

Mr Hanham also asked for the right to apply to move the timetable forward if Ineos felt there had been “no material progress”.

Master Marsh allowed the request but said:

“There is nothing to stop you submitting [your evidence] earlier. You would have to have served your evidence. It would not be viewed very sympathetically if you applied to the court before then.”

Oil and Gas Authority

Today’s hearing also removed the Oil and Gas Authority, an industry regulator, from the case. It had been listed as a party because it gave permission to Ineos to bring the case against the National Trust.

Reporting at this case was made possible by individual donations to DrillOrDrop

46 replies »

      • This was interesting:
        “Evidence

        Ineos was ordered to provide its evidence by 31 October 2018 and the National Trust by 14 December 2018. Another procedural hearing is to be held in mid-late January 2019.

        Master Marsh told both sides:

        “I do not expect you to call a panoply of witnesses, nor do I think it is necessary”.

        James Hanham, for Ineos, said the National Trust should be required to demonstrate “what was going on internally when the decision [to refuse] was made”. He said:

        “What was written down doesn’t necessarily reflect what was going on behind the curtain and the other party is entitled to know”.

        But Master Marsh replied:

        “It doesn’t matter what they were thinking. It is what they were expressing”.

        Mr Hanham also asked for the right to apply to move the timetable forward if Ineos felt there had been “no material progress”.

        Master Marsh allowed the request but said:

        “There is nothing to stop you submitting [your evidence] earlier. You would have to have served your evidence. It would not be viewed very sympathetically if you applied to the court before then.”
        “Oil and Gas Authority
        Today’s hearing also removed the Oil and Gas Authority, an industry regulator, from the case. It had been listed as a party because it gave permission to Ineos to bring the case against the National Trust.”

        —————-

        Well, its a beautiful sunny morning here on the veranda breakfast was more than enough to get us out and walking again today, and i sat and thought about writing something, this came up from a conversation with my family, and also some other links just for your information, so, before we set off, here it is.

        “Demons run when a good man goes to war

        Night will fall and drown in the sun

        When a good man goes to war

        When reason dies and government lies

        Night will fall and the sun will rise

        When a good man goes to war

        Demons run, they will count the cost

        When the battle’s won, and the fracture’s lost

        When a good man goes to war”

        With apologies for some wordplay to:

        Steven Moffat

        The future, far from being relatively free energy, looks like it will be tightly controlled and dribbled out over a time period, but meanwhile they would have to get rid of all the present systems of society and belief systems and government, because we are dangerous to their control in our present free and relatively powerful state, and we can still make choices, choices are counterproductive to the new control system, there must only be one choice, take it or leave it or die. We see the chaos in local and international politics and corporate greed systems now.

        Just a coincidence?

        So is it that we must be brought to our knees to the point where they can step (or stamp) in as totally owned total control “saviours” and it will be 1984 all over again. Individuals will be nothing more than drones or slaves in a “hive” state Brave new World Order, where individuality is forbidden and corporate control is everything.

        Notice every resource being bought up, land, water, food production, the law, governments, social systems, banks, financial institutions, media, newspapers, the internet, entertainment, you name it, all moving into the hands of a few.

        Just a coincidence?

        Do you really think that is an accident or coincidence? Just how awake are we?

        You think this is science fiction? look at the digital social licence in China and elsewhere, and its coming here, tow the line, or you get nothing, no travel, no ability to purchase, no where to live, no food, no water, comply or else.

        Big brother replaces Big Oil and Big Gas, and you will be as nothing without them if we let this happen.

        Read this and take a good hard look around you and see where all your freedoms are disappearing and central control (government is now only a front) is tightening its grip daily to the point where you will be reduced to “nothing” with no power of any kind, just a slave, and then when you are very compliant and chipped, you may be offered a position as slave master, or if not, just a compliant barely fed slave.

        Stop complying however and the chip is blocked, no more access, nowhere to go, no food, no water, no freedom of movement or thought or action or speaking, you are effectively sidelined, and no doubt sectioned and drugged to demonise you and cart you off to a reprogramming gulag.

        You think this is impossible? Look at Stalinist Russia and Cambodia, and many other examples before and since, look at Australia, and it is coming here too, look at Sheffield councils totalitarian injunction against its own people and see where injunctions will lead in your location.

        “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever”

        George Orwell.

        The moral to be drawn from that dangerous nightmare situation is a simple one.

        Don’t let it happen, It depends upon you.

        What is the betting? Conspiracy theory? Personal attack? That will be interesting to see wont it?

        This is the opposite view to the descending peak oil view, since it was very mildly objected to, but it doesn’t let the Big oil and gas corporations off the hook, in fact it indicates fraud, interesting choice of interpretation, take your pick, either way it is damning.

        ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvoSuRXsklQ&authuser=0 )

        This proves that standard lead acid car batteries can be cleaned out and filled with distilled water and activated with alum and cars can be run on HHO, no “gas” required. the exhaust is H2O and oxygen, no carbon footprint.

        ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1EzOB3sfq4 )

        Have a great Sunday with family and friends and be careful out there, its a mined field.

    • Dianne
      As an NT member, and resident in the East Midlands ( a bit more east than before )and a voter, I think INEOS are doing the right thing. So, as it is a democracy, they should crack on.
      Conspiracy theory wise, maybe the Tensnts are worried that they will be out on their ear should they not toe the ‘party line’ …. they are the serfs of the NT after all, kow towing as they have to do so, in the insane need to feed the coffers of the NT.

      This may seem a bit harsh, but I was inspired by your badge.

      Actually I think the Tenants do a fine job, tilling the land like every other farmer…ie there is lots of space to do Seismic testing outwith the densely wooded areas, and contribute to the local beer and bread ( available at the Dukeries Shop ).

  1. Who is representing the Government after all it is they who have set these conditions as part of the Licence terms

    • For some strange reason the anti antis seem to think that a licence gives you legal access rights and you can do what you want.

      That is complete nonsense.

      An onshore licence states ‘ you will be required to comply with Local Authority/Mineral Planning Authority, planning controls and environmental legislation where applicable. It is the responsibility of the licence holder to ascertain what these requirements are’

      With up to 60% of the country potentially open to oil and gas development it is obvious that the granting of a licence does not give any access or overriding rights. It is simply allowing you the mineral if you can get the relevant permissions to access them. Clearly that is not happening.

      Looks like Ineos won’t be ‘coming home’ anytime soon.

      • John Powney
        No, I do not think that a licence gives you legal access rights, and that you can do as you like. As discussed a few times on this site, and as clearly demonstrated by the NT. You need the land owners permission, or you need to make the case in court to override an objection to pop something on the surface.
        It’s different for subsurface activity.
        It must have been some other group you were thinking of.

      • John – delays to licence commitments (wells / seismic etc.) that are outside the control of the licence holder will usually result in an extension of the licence period. This will include protest related delays and Court cases such as the NT one under discussion. I am also a NT member and would like the NT to allow INEOS to shoot seismic over NT land. It is hardly invasive if conducted with vibroseis / or even explosives. Of course if they drill with incomplete seismic you and the other antis will be the first to complain about lack of data……At least INEOS are not Chinese like Nexen, the biggest North Sea oil producer. One of your favourite North Sea companies I recall…..

        “Nexen is an upstream oil and gas company responsibly developing energy resources in the UK North Sea, offshore West Africa, the United States and Western Canada. A wholly-owned subsidiary of CNOOC Limited, Nexen has three principal businesses: conventional oil and gas, oil sands and shale gas / oil.”

        I haven’t seen your Cuadrilla / HSE CBL post for a few days??? Has the record player broken….

        • Nobody yet posted the list of successful fracking operations that Cuadrilla have carried out across the globe.

          Apart from the Preese Hall failures/ CBL issues/no 3D survey and the purchase of the already established non shale Elswick well surely there must be thousands of Cuadrilla shale wells that were commercially successfull and environmentally enhancing.

          I wonder if our Government have got that list to show that Preese Hall was just an ‘unlucky’ well and that usually everything works out fine?

          • John – Perhaps Cuadrilla’s staff have some experience in the issues you mention above John? [Edited by moderator]

            Perhaps the two new wells will be trouble free and very productive and development economic? That is really what you are worried about.

            The only issue of concern with Preeese Hall was the induced seismicity. The rest of the stuff you quote are none issues.

            • John – perhaps the staff have experience in the Eagle Ford in south Texas and the Fayetteville and Haynesville plays in Louisiana and Arkansas? And soon they will add two more UK wells to their fracking inventory….

  2. If Ineos are successful in winning this case, then what use is any protection afforded when trying to protect the environment and democracy.
    These places need to be protected at all costs. This industry has never been about energy security. It is about profiteering and keeping investors happy.

  3. The Government have other things to worry about . Hopefully the Tories will be out of power by the time the case is heard , bring on a Labour Government and moratorium . We demand that Ineos is refused .

    • The Labour Party in 2008 started issuing the exploratory drilling licences to kick start the shale gas industry in the U.K

      I live near the Cuadrilla site, Jeremy Corbyn has had a few opportunities to visit the PNR site whilst in the area but has chosen not to, even for a photo op?

      • Kisheny. Labour may have issued the original drilling licences, but unlike the Tories who are led by greed and their debts to their cronies in the oil and gas industry, Labour are willing to take heed of the growing evidence of the dangers of fracking. Jeremy Corbyn may not have visited PNR but Labour MPs John McDonnell the Shadow Chancellor, Rebecca Long Bailey the Shadow BEIS Secretary and Cat Smith have all visited PNR. Caroline Lucas MP has also paid PNR a visit and Jonathan Bartley and Baroness Jenny Jones also of the Green Party have visited several times. However, surprisingly, given the Tory’s strong support for fracking the local Fylde Tory MP Mark Menzies or any other Tory MP have not thought fit to make an appearance at PNR.

  4. Are these the same tenants that the NT wanted to pay swinging increases into their coffers and had to back down because of the backlash? Lucky to find one that was not totally cheesed off after that little debacle.

  5. Nobody yet posted the successful-ie. profitable-business operations that Tesla have carried out.

    Maybe both Cuadrilla and Tesla will wither away? But, you start at the beginning and aim to get through initial hiccups. Just look at Jim Ratcliffe, John. Good read for the weekend. Enjoy.

    • Sorry MC, your request is not valid for this site; this is drill or drop (you know, oil and gas); if you want to discuss Tesla’s profits I suggest you contact them direct.

      Regarding Cuadrilla, I believe JP has a point. There is no evidence here or from staff or anywhere else for that matter that Cuadrilla have been a successful fracking company globally. The only revenue has been from ‘bought in’ existing production (not fracking). Curious as to why the governance are still allowing this tin pot firm to continue with such a contentious process with no positive experience?

      Looking at Jim Rat cliffe; now there’s a story unfolding……..

      ……’Some will think they have read it and miss most of the clues and say ‘crap, I didn’t see that coming’; or ‘that’s just a shit book’ because they are embarrassed they did not get it at all’……..

  6. Nobody made a “request” Sherwulfe. Just because you have to be instructed doesn’t mean the rest of us are not independently minded. Don’t let it bother you. I’m not sure though that Paul needs competition for his job-although it seems that job sharing is in vogue with the Greens.

    Life is full of surprises, if you broaden your horizons.

    (Well, it’s a line that worked for me!)

    Maybe the “contentious process” is being managed by Cuadrilla because the rig count in USA and Canada continues to increase? (See today’s Times.) Just, maybe, something to do with rising oil and gas prices, in spite of JP insisting cheap oil and gas are sloshing around the world markets?

    • ‘Just because you have to be instructed’ – there you go again…would give this a name, but would be construed as personal; but we all know what the meaning is…..

      ‘request’ is a turn of phrase; perhaps that word is not in the NLP book?

      So the starter for 10 today is… Cuadrilla, who the hell are they? ‘Permitted’ answers on a postage stamp. The truth may run to many volumes……

      Just a small aside; non of the rigs in the USA and Canada are Cuadrilla’s….

      Rising oil and gas prices? And they will rise and rise as the cost of renewable energy falls; simple economics will halt the gasheads.

  7. I assume that the seismic acquisition company and Ineos have done a full 3D design study. They might do some seismic testing to confirm sweep length, sweep design, geophone pattern, etc, but they will then acquire a seismic survey. ( As it is known everywhere in the world apart from on the Drill or Drop website).

  8. Oh dear Sherwulfe. Still excusing what you have stated!

    Don’t worry. We can read.

    Just a small aside, I think you will find most rigs are not owned by the licence holder but contracted by them. Again, don’t worry about it. As you stated recently you have no expertise regarding oil and gas drilling.

    “As the cost of renewable energy falls”?? Ahh, those figures for the Swansea Lagoon were a mistake, a mirage or fake news? Answers on a postage stamp.

    • Oh dear Martin, still excusing what you have stated?

      Don’t worry, you can read?

      Ah the fake news diversion; the Nappyman would indeed be proud to call you his own….

      Happily we touched on a nerve; the price of renewables falling daily, the price of fossil fuels rising as we speak; not long now.

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