Regulation

Oil production plans for Wressle include new measures to protect water supplies and keep small-scale hydraulic fracturing

1807 Wressle site plan

New site plan for Egdon’s Wressle site near Scunthorpe. Source: planning application to North Lincolnshire Council

The latest planning application for oil production at the Wressle site near Scunthorpe overcomes the objections raised by a government planning inspector, Egdon Resources has said.

The company has submitted a third application after two previous schemes were refused by North Lincolnshire Council and the inspector.

But this latest application again seeks permission for controversial techniques to improve the flow of oil, including small scale hydraulic fracturing.

The company has added features, such as a new impermeable membrane and two extra water monitoring boreholes. The application also seeks to construct a new bund, tanker loading plinth, security facilities and roadway, increasing the size of the site by 0.12ha.

Improving oil flow

Egdon said it needed to improve the flow of oil at Wressle because fine particles had stuck to the perforations in the well casing during previous drilling and testing.

The planning statement, submitted with the application, said this would be tackled first by acidisation. This involves injecting dilute hydrofluoric acid into the well to dissolve particles in the surrounding sandstone, 4-6m away from the wellbore.

If this didn’t work, Egdon said it would then try a proppant squeeze. A slurry of water, chemicals and tiny ceramic beads would be pumped under pressure into the well, fracturing the surrounding rock. When the pressure was reduced, the beads were designed to prop open the fractures and allow the oil to flow.

Egdon said in the application:

“The Proposed Development relates to conventional oil and gas production and no High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing operations for shale gas or oil will take place.”

But the company’s environmental permit, issued by the Environment Agency, describes the proposed proppant squeeze at Wressle as “small scale hydraulic fracturing activity” and said it would require a Hydraulic Fracturing Plan.

Egdon said the proppant squeeze would be carried out once, rather than multiple times with high volume hydraulic fracturing. It would also use less liquid, the company said. It predicted the operation would use up to 150m3 of liquid – considerably less than the 735m3 per stage planned by Cuadrilla at its Lancashire site at Preston New Road.

The fractures would be spread up to 40m vertically and 40m laterally, Egdon said. This compares with fracture heights of 25-154m and lengths of 64m-313m predicted for the Preston New Road well.

Egdon said it would monitor the operation to ensure that fractures remained with the Millstone Grit formation.

If the proppant squeeze failed to improve the flow, Egdon said it would then drill a 25m sidetrack well.

1807 Wressle location

Site location for Egdon’s Wressle site near Scunthorpe. Source: planning application to North Lincolnshire Council

Addressing concerns

Egdon said the new application addressed the main concerns of the planning inspector, who dismissed the company’s appeals earlier this year.

The inspector concluded that Egdon had not shown that “unacceptable adverse impacts to groundwater resources and water courses would not arise during the life of the development.”

But in the latest application the company said:

“The proposed development has demonstrated that it has comprehensively addressed and overcome the inspector’s reasons to dismiss the previous two appeals.”

Two key issues at the inquiry were the lack of a ground condition report and doubts about the suitability of the liner.

Egdon said it had now carried out geotechnical investigation of the site and proposed to install a new impermeable membrane and protective geotextiles.

A new reinforced concrete roadway on the site would provide greater weight distribution and protection, it added.

The inquiry also heard concerns about whether pollutants from the site could reach the main aquifer in the Lincolnshire Limestone.

Egdon said it had commissioned Envireau Water, the consultancy that gave evidence at the public inquiry, to do a hydrogeological risk assessment of the site.

This took core samples from two new boreholes and concluded that there was an impermeable claystone cap above the aquifer, protecting it from contamination. Egdon said the risk assessment concluded that all identified hazards ranged from “low” to “none”.

The new application also includes construction of a bunded area for oil storage tanks and a tanker loading bay. It further seeks to deepen three of the four existing groundwater boreholes to “ensure full penetration of the Sutton Sand formation”.

1807 Wressle section plan

Section plan for the Wressle site near Scunthorpe. Source: planning application to North Lincolnshire Council

Community liaison and fund

The application has new plans for a community liaison group to include representatives of Broughton Town and Appleby Parish Councils. This was intended to provide information on planned operations and respond to local concerns, Egdon said.

The company also said it would set up a fund from proceeds of oil production at Wressle that would support “an agreed range of uses”.

It said the fund could “total a significant sum over the planned years of production”.

The application does not give details of what proportion of revenue would go into the fund. But it said the fund would be operated at “arm’s length” from the company.

Lorry traffic

Egdon said there would be more heavy goods vehicles visiting the site under the new plans than previously predicted.

The company said the number of HGVs (not movements) involved in site configuration was now 88 (up from 50 in the previous application), production 32 (up from 20) and decommissioning 288 (up from 232).

Oil production

Egdon is seeking permission for 15 years of oil production at the Wressle site.

It said any gas produced would either be flared or used to generate electricity for export to the mains.

A site map of a different wellsite included with the application has now been replaced with the correct version.

Links

Planning application documents and details and council consultation

DrillOrDrop page on the Wressle site

DrillOrDrop page on the Wressle inquiry

28 replies »

    • Oh dear guys……Oh deary me? Ooops! What do we have here? Do i spy that forbidden word “fracking” here?

      So Wressle isnt fracking is it? It was only a matter of time guys, so much fun these word games aren’t they?

      “But this latest application again seeks permission for controversial techniques to improve the flow of oil, including small scale hydraulic fracturing.

      The company has added features, such as a new impermeable membrane and two extra water monitoring boreholes. The application also seeks to construct a new bund, tanker loading plinth, security facilities and roadway, increasing the size of the site by 0.12ha.
      Improving oil flow

      Egdon said it needed to improve the flow of oil at Wressle because fine particles had stuck to the perforations in the well casing during previous drilling and testing.

      The planning statement, submitted with the application, said this would be tackled first by acidisation. This involves injecting dilute hydrofluoric acid into the well to dissolve particles in the surrounding sandstone, 4-6m away from the wellbore.

      If this didn’t work, Egdon said it would then try a proppant squeeze. A slurry of water, chemicals and tiny ceramic beads would be pumped under pressure into the well, fracturing the surrounding rock. When the pressure was reduced, the beads were designed to prop open the fractures and allow the oil to flow.

      Egdon said in the application:

      “The Proposed Development relates to conventional oil and gas production and no High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing operations for shale gas or oil will take place.”

      But the company’s environmental permit, issued by the Environment Agency, describes the proposed proppant squeeze at Wressle as “small scale hydraulic fracturing activity” and said it would require a Hydraulic Fracturing Plan.”

      What? “small scale hydraulic fracturing activity”??

      So now we do have “fracking” at Wressle do we? And joy of joys, i also see we have the illusive “proppant asqueeze” to make up the flat cat fat cat hat trick?

      Like i said before, and will keep on saying, it is fracking and always will be fracking, because that is always the fall back position when all these illusive avoidances of the word dont work, and they wont work, and now we have that oh so illusive proppant squeeze too?

      I think the very humlest of humble porkie pies are in order guys? i shall expect delivery presently, but no ceramic beads please, they make me laugh!

      Well, i can enjoy my weekend now, knowing we are in such self effacing knowledgeable superior expert company of anti antis, that actually knows what it is talking about………?

      Ha! Ha! Not fracking indeed!

  1. Phil C – To get proppant into a fracture you need to pump above the fracture pressure – to open a fracture and keep it open with the proppant. 2nd last para 2nd comment from July 9th:

    Phil C – if you are executing a matrix acid stimulation the last thing you want to do is fracture the rock you are acidising. The clue is in the word “matrix”. If you inadvertently fracture the rock then all your acid goes down the induced fracture which is not want you want. You want the acid to contact as much as of the rock matrix along the welbore as possible. If you frack the rock the job has failed. It is not “fracking”.

    Acid fracture stimulation is a completely different operation. With this you have very limited perforations (matrix you have lots to cover a wide area of the matrix) to channel your acid into the rock to make one large fracture, the acid needs to go into this fracture to etch it out so that when the pressure is removed the fracture cannot close. This works with carbonates only for obvious reasons. Same as with shale / sandstone but sand proppant is used to hold the fracture open when the pressure is removed.

    Generally matix jobs are much smaller in volume and are often performed with a CTU.

    Any “squeeze” stimulation should also be conducted below the fracture pressure.

    By the way you may be interested to know that some companies fracture the formation at each casing point when starting to drill the next hole section. These tests are known as LOTs Leak off Tests and provide well control information for the shoe integrity and drilling the next hole. Some companies conduct a limited test which is to a predetermined pressure below the fracture pressure – these are FITs Formation Integrity Tests. These tests also test the cement integrity behind the casing and are far better than cement bond logs for none reservoir casings.

    Phil C – matrix stimulation should be below fracture pressure – not at or above fracture pressure. You can see when you are pumping when you get to fracture pressure as the volume will increase rapidly at the same pump pressure. I don’t recall ever having done a proppant squeeze so probably not very common. However I have done plenty of cement squeezes which are always done below fracture pressure otherwise you are wasting your time and money (also has particles in it).

    But if you want to get proppant into a fracture you will have to open communication to the natural fractures. So the proppant squeeze you are talking about at Egdon should be above the fracture pressure of the near wellbore damage as it is targetting existing fractures in the matrix.

    In my experience all of the stimulations I have managed / executed, acid fracks, proppant fracks, matrix acid jobs, mud acid washes have been conducted safely and successfully (from an operational standpoint). One or two did not increase productivity but this was formation related. The only issue of concern for onshore UK is the additional traffic that comes with a large volume job.

    • This entire “word fear” of “fracking” issue would not have been necessary at all if you guys had not been so hypersensitive to it in the first place and using it to avoid the issue and simply criticise on a mere fear smear word now would it?

      Much of what you say above, however interesting, and i notice you still are avoiding that dreadful word until it is carefully minimised is somewhat overturned and contradicted by the simple phrase referred to by the EA :

      “But the company’s environmental permit, issued by the Environment Agency, describes the proposed proppant squeeze at Wressle as “small scale hydraulic fracturing activity” and said it would require a Hydraulic Fracturing Plan.”

      I suspect that we have at last extracted something actually relevant and useful from the EA rubber stamp comfort blanket approval brigade of “Yes guv, whatever you say guv, three fracks full guv” attitude? I am sure there have been a little flurry of “stiff letters” flying over the single one way desk in the basement behind the door marked “Beware Of The Fog” and “Abandon Hope All You Who Enter Here”.

      Much of this tract above you so kindly contribute seems to be all very well in theory, if somewhat repetitious and unsupported. Carefully referring I notice to the illusive “proppant squeeze” that still seems to have no history or engineering definition, and is, as fracking once was, a series of unrelated operations to access the gas trapped in shale by any means possible, even nuclear weapons and ex navy torpedoes it seems, and then we come to “matrix stimulation”, which is also only to be “tried” and if it does not work, then “small scale hydraulic fracturing activity” is to be “tried”. That is “fracking” guys, and the EA licence allows them to do so any time they please doesn’t it?

      The remark about acid being lost down any fracture is amusing on the surface, but alarming in practice? The only concern seems to be losing the acid, not worrying about the consequences of such loss, that seems to be the entire M.O. of the industry, no concern about consequences, only about cost.

      And the claims that pressures are “just below” fracture pressure is simply insupportable, since there is no possible way anyone could know what is fracture pressure at 1.5km down or deeper or higher, and natural fractures and hollows and faults will make that weak claim simply ridiculous. How close to fracking pressure? oh dear, we just fractured the shale and lost all the acid, dear dear how sad never mind, its fracking folks! And they will have permission to do just that.

      And then of course there is the cost and time imperative of the operators, and the lack of on site presence by regulators and the frankly outrageous concept of “self regulation” in a complex heavy engineering project, I am afraid I simply don’t believe that such considerations will be either practical, nor adhered to. I can assure you, we are quite aware what goes on at a site when no one is watching or monitoring or recording or asking the relevant questions of activities on site, particularly when the few regulators that do have any oversight will simply roll over and play dead and maybe if we are lucky, send a “still letter” six months after the operators even bother to tell them.

      Let’s examine this hypersensitivity to the word “fracking” for a moment?

      Lets ask a simple question shall we?

      Why the hypersensitivity?

      Could it be that this growing misuse of the phrase “permitted development” which is a purely local planning term for allowing a house owner to build a shed in the back garden without going through reams of planning consents so it frees the planning authority and the house owner from meaningless unnecessary paperwork. I believe we have David Cameron to “thank” for that, perhaps this misuse of the concept was always at the back of the change?

      Not, I might add, for a private heavy engineering Ponzi scheme operation to drill for oil and gas across the entire country? That is not what that purely local avoidance of planning permission is for, and the cries for oil and gas exploration and extraction to be classed as permitted development is patently obscene at best, and criminal misuse of a purely local planning condition at worst.

      And then we see the cries for the industry to be allowed to avoid all the responsibility for regulation and public accountability planning committees, by calling such operations “Nationally Significant Infrastructure” which is nothing more than the central government “get out of jail free” card definition for the purely local “permitted development”.

      This is the purpose to avoid the word “fracking” because even with this governments redefining of the word “fracking” in UK terminology, an interesting deliberate governmental redefinition that does not come close to the at least the more honest up front, or down the back USA definition of the word?

      But that is how things are done in this country and has connotations of the dropping of the phrase “global warming” to replace it with the more comfort blanket term “climate change”.

      So, all in all, I would say that the EA have rather blown the gaff in revealing that “small scale hydraulic fracturing activity” is a more correct engineering definition of “proppant squeeze” and “matrix stimulation” which will only be “tried” and then there will be permission for “small scale hydraulic fracturing activity” which would require a Hydraulic Fracturing Plan.”. That will surely end in being full scale high pressure hydraulic fracturing, because that will always be the fall back position when all these other experiments come to nought.

      Do you realise this whole discussion has resulted in the anti antis insistence that Wressle will not be that fear smear word fracking and that has been revealed by the EA to not be true.

      I suggest if you want to take this up further, then perhaps you ought to talk to the EA? You never know, they might have a rubber stamp for that too?

      That’s it guys, end of any further conversation on the word fracking in relation to Wressle, which has been defined by the EA as “small scale hydraulic fracturing activity” and said it would require a Hydraulic Fracturing Plan.”

      “The very concept of objective truth is fading out of this word. Lies will pass into history.” George Orwell.

      • Phil C
        I doubt they will be fracturing the shale and losing their acid.
        We must keep an eye on your assertion that they will fall back on full scale high pressure hydraulic fracking when all their is experiments come to naught.
        See above re past fracking in Notts and Lincolnshire.
        No HPHV required in those reservoirs, and not shale.

      • You say “there is no possible way anyone could know what is fracture pressure at 1.5km down or deeper or higher”.
        There is. It’s called a leakoff test.

        • Paul said something similar but different

          “By the way you may be interested to know that some companies fracture the formation at each casing point when starting to drill the next hole section. These tests are known as LOTs Leak off Tests and provide well control information for the shoe integrity and drilling the next hole. Some companies conduct a limited test which is to a predetermined pressure below the fracture pressure – these are FITs Formation Integrity Tests. These tests also test the cement integrity behind the casing and are far better than cement bond logs for none reservoir casings.”

          That would only test the cement integrity at each joint, not the rock fracture pressure, the one being outside of the other, i doubt you would want to fracture the cement and compromise the cement integrity at every joint except for the very last in the string, perhaps you could enlighten us on that?

          • You need to read what Paul said and what you quote above “some companies fracture the formation at each casing point when starting to drill the next hole section. These tests are known as LOTs Leak off Tests and provide well control information for the shoe integrity and drilling the next hole.” You drill through the cement in the bottom of the hole into new rock formation and then do the leakoff test.

            • I should have said (as Al has noted) that generally 3m / 10ft of new formation is drilled after drilling out the shoe track. The LOT or FIT is testing the cement and the new formation. The leak off if a LOT will be fracturing the formation unless annulus pressure is seen on the casing string. But most on this BB are not interested in what really happens when drilling a well safely….

            • A point of clarification ( as pointed out an interested reader who is not registered )

              Paul said

              By the way you may be interested to know that some companies fracture the formation at each casing point when starting to drill the next hole section.

              Phil C said

              That would only test the cement integrity at each joint, not the rock fracture pressure, the one being outside of the other, i doubt you would want to fracture the cement and compromise the cement integrity at every joint except for the very last in the string, perhaps you could enlighten us on that?

              Issue

              Paul notes that the activity takes place at each casing point when starting to drill the next hole section.

              Phil queries this as ‘That would only test the cement integrity at each joint’. except for the very last joint in the string.

              Paul was not talking about casing joints, he was talking about the casing point which is described in the link (being indeed the end of the casing string)

              http://www.glossary.oilfield.slb.com/Terms/c/casing_point.aspx

            • Reporting now hewes62?

              Dear me guys, are you still trying to rewrite history?

              Some of us left this fracking word association football game dead in the water ages ago, are you still trying to bail it out below water?

              So its all reduced to a single letter now? So sue my smell chuckler, it will just love the toporpunity?

    • Thanks Paul, these headlines by Ruth are just to get the antis attention so they can copy and paste and make uneducated assumptions.

      Ruth posted another sensationalist article the other day to insinuate that Cuadrilla were going to frack using high volumes of water whilst a local hosepipe was going to be in place. This is not correct as Cuadrilla have an agreement in place with United Utilities that they will not conduct fracking if there is a water shortage. When I posted to say this Ruth replied that she had then contacted both Companies and was now waiting for a reply. Why run a story without getting the facts? This story would have created widespread anger within my local community

      People will take these stories at face value and run with these ideas which is not helpful to either local communities or industry.

      It begs the question what is the motivation behind these stories to incite anger and misinformation???

  2. Interesting there “seems” to be a fear of using correct terminology and definitions amongst the antis. Is it laziness, to prevent doing proper research? Don’t think so. Some seem to assume the newbies will not bother to check for themselves or that those who have experience of the industry will not clarify the realities. Sad really. Bit like a teenager who tries to convince his pals all girls are horrible because one was not nice to him! (Cleaned that up for the snowflakes.)

    • I seem to have rattled the usual suspect cages again don’t I? Dear dear how sad never mind?

      Wake up! The sun is still shining.

      Do you notice guys that it’s a bit like sticking you arm into a hornets nest only to find it’s full of half asleep drones whose only emergency defence is to bore you to death with silly angry buzz words and half formed patronising insults? And they don’t do that very well either?

      Not so much hornets nest as a borenets nest? That’s not an angry buzz, it’s a half awake snore?

      Its always interesting to see just how a brief beam of sunlight illuminating the truth for once brings out all same old same old prevaricators out of the woodwork in angry swarms to pour out the same old same old attempted boring mind fumbling personal insult diversions while simultaneously failing to produce any proof or substantiation, just a lot of angry noise? Ignoring of course the plain and simple fact that the EA have blown the whole sorry Wressle fracking gaff by accidentally spilling the truth for once in their report?

      And this sudden tirade of fake news is always followed by the weakest links in Frack Hall PR desk recidivists to attempt to impugne your ever generous host Ruth Hayhurst of Drill Or Drop in yet another anti anti conspiracy theory? Just not repeating the right approved reframed propaganda Ruth? Truth just isn’t on the anti anti agenda is it?

      And all over one nasty silly little word?

      Really bad form guys and pathetic desperation to boot.

      Sad, Sadder, Saddest.

      Talk to the EA hand, because the rest of us ain’t listening and we simply don’t care any more.

  3. Kisheny-the consequence of such excitement is the opposite of what is intended. hewes62 refers to an area where several oil wells are operating. I know the area well and have observed some of them. A little further to the west are ones that were drilled during WW2. The locals (some) know about them and find absolutely no problem with them. So, what happens when others try and make out “it is all fracking”? Simples. Those in the area shrug, and think, if that is so, nothing to be worried about.

    Meanwhile, the Giggle brigade who have been building up this image of an evil crossing the Atlantic that we don’t understand and will be horrified by the reality, have all their hard work destroyed!

    I used to refer to it as the Blunderbuss error when helping colleagues to realise why they were failing to obtain sales orders. Long may it continue.

  4. Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill! The report says:

    The proposed proppant squeeze at Wressle 1 is a small scale hydraulic fracturing at the lowest range of the fracturing spectrum that will be done only once to enhance the productivity of the conventional oil well drilled at Wressle.

    Most respondents raised objections to fracturing for hydrocarbons in shale deposits.

    The Wressle 1 site is not a shale gas exploration site. It is a conventional oil and gas site.

    • Thats what i said, this entire conversation would not even be happening if the anti anti protagonists had not tried to intimidate and insult anyone who dared to so much as have the word fracking printed on a tee shirt or on a banner or write it in a reply.

      Hypersensitivity that is in itself quite revealing and the reaction even more so.

      They only have themselves to blame for this entire ridiculous prevarication and denial process, just i said right from the beginning, all else is simply their refusal to accept something the EA wrote, i didnt write it and this whole sorry tirade is the result of that.

      What really emerges from this, is there are proposals to give operators free reign to do what ever they please under the cover of “permitted development” and “Nationally Significant Infrastructure”. I am far more interested in those avoidances of any regulation whatsoever than silly word play, no matter how enjoyable and revealing that is.

      I suggest we now move finally on to discuss those far more important proposals, and maybe the anti antis should try not to get stuck on silly logic chopping terminology in place of anything actually relevant or significant.

      • Phil C
        I think the ‘frack now’ T Shirts will be ok.
        But if there is surplus stock of ‘ stop fracking now’ T shirts still to shift, there is a golden opportunity to sell some in Lincolnshire before the Acidisation succeeds

        [Comment edited at poster’s request]

            • Maybe “Acid Sucks”, and at the back, lower down “Acid Hole” of course not exactly a 60’s tee shirt, more a 21st century tee shirt.
              Maybe a green earth image tee shirt with “Frack Earth Believer” on the front and “Fracking Fool” on a dead flat burned out brown earth image on the back.
              How about “Acid Dumb” on the front and “Acid Bum” on the back?

            • How about “Pale Blue Dot” on the front, and “Fail Black Dot” on the back?

              I can play this game forever if you want?

            • Phil C

              Same here, but remember its about the term fracking and the pictures of scorched earth should come from the existing fracked wells, many of those are in Lincolnshire.

              However, if you feel that the frack word is causing sensitivity then it may be because of the existing literature out there is pointed at HPHV shale gas fracking – which is then bridged over to any form of fracking rather than examining the individual points.

              To whit – here are the 10 myths from Frack free Nottingham shire – and my thoughts re wressle

              MYTH #1: “FRACKING WILL PROVIDE ENERGY SECURITY FOR THE UK.” – No one said it will – but home produced is better.

              MYTH #2: “FRACKING WILL LOWER UK ENERGY PRICES.” – No one says it will

              MYTH #3 “FRACKING HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR DECADES.” – it has in Lincolnshire and Notts – but not HVHP Shale Fracking

              MYTH #4: “FRACKING POSES NO RISK TO PUBLIC HEALTH.” – The info is all about shale wells.

              MYTH #5: “THE UK HAS GOLD STANDARD FRACKING REGULATIONS.” It has

              MYTH #6: “FRACKING WILL NOT AFFECT HOUSE PRICES.” it has not in Lincolnshire and Notts, rural depopulation is the main driver in Lincolnshire.

              MYTH #7: “FRACKING HAS NEVER CONTAMINATED DRINKING WATER.” It has not in the UK, and certainly Lincolnshire and Notts

              MYTH #8: “FRACKING IS A BRIDGE FUEL TO A LOW-CARBON ECONOMY.” No one says oil from Wressle will do that

              MYTH #9: “A FRACKED WELL CAN PRODUCE GAS FOR OVER 20 YEARS.” Not relevant to Wressle

              MYTH #10: “FRACKING WILL CREATE OVER 64,000 JOBS.” Not likely, but maintain existing ones in Lincolnshire, yes.

              There may well be issues re Wressle and fracking. No doubt people are wondering if the grit and flagstone comprising the reservoir will need further fracking. But it is not HPHV shale fracking – that is in Notts and Lancashire.

  5. And this week we have Brockham Oil Watch featuring “Local fracking and earthquakes”.

    Which followed on from Tour de Frack, which certainly highlighted fracking of the Weald on TV coverage. Oh, and our friend on the lorry at the Service Station objecting to what?

    “Almost” looks like a deliberate strategy. Nah, nobody will notice.

    Hmmm.

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