Agreement has been reached between Ineos and Sirius Minerals over which areas in North Yorkshire should be reserved for potash extraction and which would be available for oil and gas exploration.
The two companies clashed at a meeting last year over the relative importance of shale gas and potash.
At that meeting, Ineos claimed the establishment of protected areas for potash mining amounted to a “prohibition” on oil and gas drilling.
But both sides compromised at an extra session of the examination in public of the North Yorkshire Minerals and Waste Plan yesterday (25 January 2019).
Sirius agreed to redraw the “safeguarded area” for potash mining so that it no longer included land in Petroleum Exploration and Development Licences or PEDL.
It also agreed to remove a 2km buffer zone around the safeguarded area.
Ineos dropped its objection to a proposed policy on drilling for shale gas in the potash safeguarded area.
That policy said permission for deep drilling for the safeguarded area:
“will only be granted where it can be demonstrated that the proposed development will not adversely affect the proposed future extraction of the protected mineral [potash].”
Ineos had wanted the policy to include the words “permanently sterilise”, in place of “not adversely affect”. It had argued that the proposed policy would block drilling the safeguarded area.
Sirius said the potash resource was unique in the UK and the company had already compromised. If Ineos’s proposals were accepted, it said, there would be a serious impact on the business and the ability to recover potash.
There will now be consultations on the proposed changes.
Reporting from the session was made possible by individual donations from DrillOrDrop readers