Ineos sought to drop fracking and extend deadlines for Barton Moss licence

PEDL 193 ukogl

Licence PEDL193 covering parts of Salford in Greater Manchester. Map: UK Onshore Geophysical Library

Britain’s biggest shale gas company told officials it needed more time to carry out agreed work on a drilling licence in Greater Manchester.

Ineos Upstream, owned largely by Britain’s richest man, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, hinted that it did not have the capability to complete its commitments on time in the Barton Moss licence, PEDL 193, while also doing work in the East Midlands.

In a letter to the regulator, the Oil & Gas Authority, Ineos said it needed extra time for items in the work programme in PEDL193 because of “unexpected delays” in acquisition of data beyond its control. It also left out a previous commitment to frack in the licence area.

The company said in the letter its immediate priority was to “progress consented operations in the East Midlands”. It was probably referring to its interests in IGas shale gas sites at Misson and Tinker Lane in north Nottinghamshire, and its own site at Harthill in south Yorkshire, approved a few days before the letter was written in June 2018.

The requested six-month extensions for seismic testing, a planning application and drilling an exploration well in PEDL193 would be “the most effective schedule”, it said.

It proposed acquiring the seismic data by 31 December 2020, submitting an application to drill a new well by 31 December 2022 and drilling the well by 31 December 2024.

The company said these changes would “on current understanding”  be “within our control and capability to discharge”. The OGA approved them in a reply in September 2018.

Ineos also asked the regulator to extend the length of this phase of the licence until 30 June 2025. But the OGA reply put the expiry date at 31 December 2024.

The correspondence was revealed in the OGA’s response to a Freedom of Information request released yesterday.

The contents have surprised anti-fracking campaigners, who have been watching for developments at the Barton Moss exploration site in Irlam, scene of protests in the winter of 2013-2014.

It also contradicts information given to parliament earlier this year.

Information in a parliamentary answer by the energy minister, Claire Perry in February 2019 said the PEDL193 work programme included fracking one well.

Ms Perry quoted dates from an OGA report dated December 2018. This referred to drilling, fracking and flow testing a well by 30 June 2024.

But based on the correspondence between Ineos and the OGA, this information appeared to be out of date. Ineos no longer sought to frack or flow test and these operations were no longer included in the approved work commitment in the OGA letter. The deadline for drilling, agreed by the OGA, was six months later than the date given by the minister. Summary of changes to work programme for PEDL193 (pdf)

Previous extensions

The Ineos request is the latest extension to the deadlines for PEDL193.

A previous report by the OGA, issued in July 2016, required the PEDL193 licence holder to:

  • acquire new seismic data by June 2018
  • submit a planning application to drill a new well by June 2020
  • drill, frack and flow test the well by June 2021

The OGA reports are regularly revised. But the 2016 details for PEDL193 were unchanged in an update from June 2018.

The most recent changes to the work commitment for PEDL 193 do not mean there will be no fracking at Barton Moss or elsewhere in the licence. But it would mean that Ineos was not obliged to frack and would not risk losing its licence if it did not comply.

  • A separate FOI response on Barton Moss by Salford Council confirms that the well has been suspended but not abandoned.

34 replies »

  1. Looks Gold Standard. Concentrate upon selected areas first and then be able to move on to others with more efficient and effective operations gained through experience.

    Seems to be just what the oil and gas industry has done for a very long time in many different areas of the world.

    • Excellent informative article. Thank you Ben. Looks like a company unable to understand the abilities needed to become a start up onshore oil and gas developer.

      Seems to be a case of ‘talk the talk’ but can’t ‘walk the walk’

      • May look like that to you John, but I suspect their experience in the N.Sea means they have experience you may not.

        A Ponzi scheme from a very profitable privately owned company TW? Interesting.

        Gosh. There is a whole lot of desire for the fracking to accelerate in the UK-from the antis!! Maybe some are worried if it doesn’t their lives will be left empty? Good job Sir Jim has no worries in that respect. LOL.

      • Well good morning ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it is Sunday 5th May 2019, it’s the Early May Bank Holiday, though its a bit late for your own, your very own Theresa May isn’t it? And its the 30th Sunday since fracking was supposed to have justified all that time effort and expense for everyone, or at least getting it out of the ground? But propane flares and fizzing cores seem to have fallen on stony ground and the truth is much much different.

        Now that the government have officially declared that they will not be reviewing the TLS limits, Cuadrilla are packing fracking operations up and “mothballing” the site “to prepare it for future operations” Hmmm…..maybe they are not retreating, they are just advancing in another direction?

        Then of course there was the resignation of the shale gas commissioner Natasha Engel last week, having effectively decommissioned herself due to her inability to meet anyone but her paymasters, and petulantly stormed off in a fit of pique, because “the government would rather listen to a teenager than her”?

        Yeah right, a more pertinent question would be:

        Who would you listen to, Greta, Anna and all the 1.6 million children and adults in 140 cities across the world including London, who it might be added were refused by the likes of Claire Perry to hand in their petition, and Natasha Engel, not to mention Theresa May, were nowhere to be found, too busy selling England’s security by the Yen to the Chinese perhaps?

        Then there were the countless thousands of adults in the Extinction Rebellion London protests and the science of climate change warning us we do not have any time left to frack the planet up and prevaricate with yet more fossil fuels, that are causing the problem in the first place, and the growing evidence for the fact that we are in the sixth major extinction event in history.

        Or a petulant non communicative about turn mind changer failed mp, who took the blue pill and then saw only money and personal gain rather than the future of people in her own country and the planet?

        Hmmm, difficult one that…..

        Did she fall or was she pushed”? Perhaps, like Gavin Williamson she was given a choice of, resign or the order of the boot. And like Gavin Williamson, there is certainly more to that little spat of “The Night Of The Chinese Long Knives” than meets the eye, or the press, or the indeed police, as yet, maybe there is a connection with those two there?

        However, back in the real world, and speaking of all those of us who are saying that change must be now, while we still can change, there is an appropriate song by Neil Young and it requires no alteration. This is for Greta, Anna and everyone who stood up to speak truth to power.

        “Who’s Gonna Stand Up?”

        Protect the wild, tomorrow’s child
        Protect the land from the greed of man
        Take out the dams, stand up to oil
        Protect the plants and renew the soil

        Who’s gonna stand up and save the Earth?
        Who’s gonna say that she’s had enough?
        Who’s gonna take on the big machine?
        Who’s gonna stand up and save the Earth?
        This all starts with you and me

        End fossil fuel, draw the line
        Before we build one more pipeline
        End fracking now, let’s save the water
        And build a life for our sons and daughters

        Who’s gonna stand up and save the Earth?
        Who’s gonna say that she’s had enough?
        Who’s gonna take on the big machine?
        Who’s gonna stand up and save the Earth?
        This all starts with you and me

        Damn the dams, save the rivers
        Starve the takers and feed the givers
        Let’s build the green and save the world
        We’re the people known as EARTH

        Who’s gonna stand up and save the Earth?
        Who’s gonna say that she’s had enough?
        Who’s gonna take on the big machine?
        Who’s gonna stand up and save the Earth?
        This all starts with you and me


        That was fun!

        Then there has been the Tour De Frack…..sorry….Tour De Force……sorry…..Tour De Yorkshire….sorry Tour De SPINEOS? with Ineos and Jim Ratcliffe sponsoring the former Sky Cycling team who now say:

        “IN, IN, IN, IN, IN-EOS!”

        “Oh no! Not Team IN, IN, IN ,IN , INEOS!”

        “The Same!”…..

        During that little greenwashing event we saw dear old disingenuous Jim saying that “fracking is just pumping water into the ground”!!!??

        Perhaps the SPINEOS moto should be: Vini Emi Yorka Cursoriam Fracka Suilla Picas……

        I know we are in the “post truth” and A “fact free” generation, or should that be “ghost truth” and “frackt” free” situation where only pseudo fracking science is allowed to be publicised anywhere, not the growing evidence that we are in the sixth extinction event on planet earth and we have royally cocked up the planets climate. But that little effort by Jim was so far from the truth, that even fake news doesn’t begin to cover that little avoidance of reality and as im everything frack, it descends into farce and falsity.

        Well have a good Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday with family and fiends, and perhaps spare a thought and put your hands in your pockets to support those millions of children and adults in this so called rich country, who cannot afford to eat and have to rely on food banks and food parcels.

        • This a documentary about Baltasar Garzón and Polly Higgins who may well become “The Earth’s Lawyer” since ecocide is not an illegal activity, and that must change or we get nowhere.

          Our world knows four international crimes: war crimes, genocide, torture and crimes against humanity. Spanish examining magistrate Baltasar Garzón and Scottish lawyer Polly Higgins believe that this list of serious violations of international law should be expanded with a fifth: ecocide. Will Higgins and Garzón eventually succeed in gaining enough support to get recognition for ecocide?

          Scottish Polly Higgins was laughed at when she first proclaimed that the Earth needs a lawyer. That those who cause ecological destruction should be held accountable, and therefore be sued, summoned and punished. Originally a trial lawyer, Higgins now entirely devotes her life and work to the Earth, as a legal eco-activist. Since 2011, she has been leading the international movement against ecocide. This is the large-scale destruction of our ecosystems.

          The fight against ecocide – VPRO documentary

          The documentary is well worth watching all the way through, there may yet be hope for us yet.

          • Phil C. Sadly Polly Higgins tragically died about two weeks ago. Her funeral was yesterday. Others have vowed to carry on her work.

            • My god, I didn’t know Pauline. Thank you for telling me, do you know what happened to her?
              If you are in contact with her family, please give them my respects and condolences.

              The move to make ecocide a punishable crime is so important to our recovery too.

              I will write to the Spanish examining magistrate Baltasar Garzón and ask if there are others who will carry on the fight.

              May you rest in peace Polly Higgins, you have shown us the way ahead, I promise you that what you have started will not end here.

              Thank you Pauline.

              • Thanks again Pauline, I have just found the report of Polly Higgins passing by George Monbiot.

                • Her illness was a great shock to us all. She was very strong right to the end. I’m sure her work will be carried on. I read today that there are plans to plant a forest in her memory too.

                • Thanks Pauline, a forest is an perfect epitath and also a celebration of her life’s work which we must continue whichever way we can.

                  I remember an animation short film called “The Man Who Planted Trees” about a man who planted acorns on a rocky windy mountain, and many years later the entire mountain had been turned into forested nature haven.

                  There are those who have done the same across the world, perhaps we all must learn from that.

    • Refracktion

      I suspect they are hanging back for bets. Waiting to see how Misson pans out under the existing seismic traffic light system.

  2. UK shale industry seem to be very good at delay and extension of permit. And they claim they can help to replace 50% of gas import by 2030. Sound more like a Ponzi Scheme to keep the players in their job. Lol.

    • Godzilla is very good at keeping their owners’ investors and speculators hanging on by misleading reports about their finds and intentions. I thought that withholding market sensitive information was a crime AJ Lucas / Riverstone / ASX?

    • JackTL

      The intro to the report says that the recent earthquake in Chingquin was caused by fracking.

      But there is no evidence provided that this is the case.

      The area is one in which such earthquakes are common.

      As are similar earthquakes globally

      I can understand why those who live in such a seismically active area would not be happy that fracking was taking place and take the opportunity to demonstrate against it.

      But wishing the quake to be due to fracking or wastewater injection is not proof it is, even though some news outlets and blogs ( such as the fracking farmhouse ) are happy to repeat such claims without checking their veracity.

      China dialogue has a more in depth view of the issue although they too need to be sparing with the truth in the headline to get a good click bait.

      Mates on the coal mining industry say …… Those in the Chinese coal industry are rubbing their hands with glee. Since the gov swallowed the greenwash about clean gas, their coal industry is having a tough time ( due to fracking being the answer to all evils ) But the protests are moving public opinion back to coal, which they have a lot of and have the engineering excellence to crack CO2 capture.

      And they have a few schemes planned ( courtesy of the world coal association who have an interesting front page to their website … leading the drive to zero emissions!).

    • Perhaps Vlad is also pretty desperate Jack? I would suggest a more reliable source might give you a little credibility.

      • MARTIN ,

        The mighty Fracking Ponzi truth hard to stomach ?????
        Endless losses , except for the chosen few at the top who continue to draw their eye watering salaries, whatever the financial health of the industry .

        Please explain your above comment regarding Vlad being desperate .

        Which reliable source are you recommending MARTIN ????

        • Just about anyone but RT, Jack!

          Vlad being desperate? Well, as Russia is reliant upon oil and gas to keep it’s tiny economy from falling apart totally, and is being severely constrained regarding exports of oil and gas, then Vlad is desperate and anything coming out of RT needs to be viewed in that light. I am sure the Guardian readers mop it all up as confirmation of their own viewpoint.

          There are plenty of recent sound articles regarding the way USA is moving to control the world oil and gas markets now it is no longer reliant on imports and moving to become the worlds largest exporter. You may dislike that, and many will dislike the continuation of oil and gas controlling the world order as it has done for a very long time, but to declare it is all based upon a Ponzi scheme is simply desperate and laughable.

          • MARTIN ,

            SO just more ” wild of the cuff ” comments backed up by SWEET NOTHING then ……OK, the readers will take note that this is just your OWN opinion on the matter and nothing more .

            YOU need to start backing up your comments with evidence MARTIN .

            Here is a little snippit of my evidence, regarding the Fracking Ponzi.



            MARTIN , I can supply YOU with ” links ” ALL DAY that show , that Fracking in one great ponzi …… PLEASE ASK for more .

            PS…….Who do YOU thing will be left to pick up the tab of these multi billion $ debts when they go sour ?????????

            ANSWER …….. The good old American Tax Payer

            • You keep on thinking what you like Jack. You demonstrate time and time again you are not interested in anything other than posting links to selective and incorrect information. That is your right to do so. Others will look at the whole picture if they have an interest in the subject rather an interest in being excited.

              I am not going to continue to feed you information that you are unable or unwilling to follow. Others can do some proper research if they want to. Maybe they will find Mr. Buffet is interested in the current takeover in USA shale, and think to themselves whether he would be interested in a Ponzi scheme-or, alternatively (VERY), they would just think nah, can’t be so because Jack is in the know!

              By the way-you can still find “links” to Elvis working in a chip shop! Doesn’t “show” that he did. The joy of the internet.

              Even your “answer” is incorrect. If one of the big oil and gas companies produced a debt against such an investment they would simply write it off amongst their overall business. I think you are confused with the finances around Tesla! (Always be wary of continuous “next big thing” developments being spouted prior to the current “big thing” making a profit!)

              • MARTIN ,

                Thank you for your ” opinion ” on the US Shale industry … As I said before , one or two at the very top will see their obscene take home pay continue as they milk government cash / tax payers cash to prop up a negative performing industry .

                But let’s look at the facts , the real facts .

                US Shale is saddled with 100s Billion of debt . Don’t take my word for it , take a look what the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) has to say about US Shale .

                US Shale Companies Facing “Catastrophic Failure” over Ballooning Debt ( November 2018 )


                I also take note that the MARTIN default ( Tesla setting ) has kicked in . As I have previously posted , Tesla is doing well in some countries around the world …… WHY can’t you be HAPPY for a US company , employing US workers, that is keeping its head above water in difficult global conditions ….

                Are you anti American MARTIN ???????

                • Depends on your definition of “well” Jack. As a business that has been spending borrowed money for over 15 years and is still to make a PROFIT, it is certainly doing well for Mr. Musk. I would suggest it is not for those who may be investors. I’m not happy for the US workers recently laid off to try and cut costs as even Mr. Musk has stated his product is too expensive and needs to be made cheaper to make it competitive-so, he sees China as a solution!

                  Not anti things Jack-that’s your remit! (Mind you, I make an exception for FAKE NEWS. Give that a try, you could grow to like it.)

                  Certainly aware that USA is a very competitive market and you will find almost any industry has its failures as well as its successes. Survival of the fittest is very much an American business model.

  3. A MUST SEE!!!

    No. Better to look at the bidding war currently in USA that Chevron appear to be losing. Certainly seems more than a few oil and gas economists seem to be willing to supports $ billions of investment whilst that icon of the antis, Tesla, launches ANOTHER fund raising attempt to compensate for ZERO profits.

    Perhaps you believe others have your blinkers, Jack? If they do, they are already converted to the Wonderland, so not much growth there! If they don’t, it all looks a bit desperate.

  4. NOW I know the MARTIN ” default setting ” is to always fall back and hit at TESLA when trying to bolster ANY of his , water weak, pro-Fracking arguments. BUT MARTIN , what about this then.

    TESLA booming sales in China ( April 2019. )

    I assume you are pleased that a US company is driving sales forward in China and continuing to employ American people paying US TAX .

    Shall we also talk about the BOOM growth in electric vehicle demand around the world and how leading car manufacturers are taking note ??????

    Now I’m aware the demand for electric vehicles will be a bitter blow to some PR lackeys of the fossil fuel industry , but TIMES are changing and people are changing and there’s nothing you can do to stop it .

    Talk about ” blinkers ” MARTIN , you need to take a look at yours . The American fracking industry, is one great plump ponzi ……. As the LINK to the above video clip explains. Last year in the land of near ZERO environmental regulations, with a PRO- Fracking government in place, giving all sorts of incentives to the industry …….Collectively the Fracking industry still ran up billions of $ debt …

    • JackTL

      Booming electric car sales will need lower prices and higher range to keep booming, Tesla are a play thing for the rich at present ( going by the number seen vs other makes here in Lincs ). In the rich places here ( Lincs ) you now get to see one parked against the Range Rover.
      But good that the Chinese are cracking on with electric transport
      Maybe we will get the opportunity to buy cheap electric cars here in the UK soon, once free of EU import Tarrifs?

      Good news for those invested in power stations and other electricity generating means I guess.

    • TIMES are changing!

      Well, Jack take a look at todays Times. “Green” car sales are slowing in UK!

      Probably a good job as Tesla are warning about a shortage of battery materials. Shortage of battery materials increases their prices that represent 60% of the cost of an electric vehicle. Check the results of the LV survey that states prices of electric vehicles are already putting off buyers.

      Meanwhile, the coldest May Bank holiday in UK for DECADES continues!

      Unfortunately Jack, the next bit of news is your P45:

      “Young people are more aware of the dangers of fake news and are turning away from questionable sources, research* has found”

      * Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University.

        • Ermm, because current electric vehicles are so expensive how can a company mitigate against that? Ohh-have them made in China and lay off staff in USA! And hope tariffs are short term-but with Donald enjoying record levels of approval in USA may not be. (Fracking good result that!)

          Meanwhile, China is mopping up much of the material needed to be included within the batteries. Suggest, Jack, you take a look at HOW they are doing that.


          (Interesting you always avoid the data regarding UK. Seems to be a bit of a blind spot.)

  5. Also the Keiser Report that JTL referred to: What fracking bonanza? (E1379)

    no doubt the Mail, who are mentioned here along with their history of supporting the brown shirts in the 1930’s are now supporting the brown trousers like their “contributor” Jeremy Clarkson and the other extremist fossilised fuel fools?



  6. MARTIN ,

    FAKE NEWS , what specifically are you talking about ??????

    OR is it any NEWS that doesn’t fit your Pro Fracking narrative ?????

  7. “Fracking is one great Ponzi” would do for starters Jack!

    Now, it is obvious that the antis can’t stand the possibility of fracking in UK showing that it is economical, but to try and build that upon such fake news regarding the USA is just a sign of the desperation surrounding the antis with regard to the overall economics.

    But, don’t let me stop you Jack. You add to the collection-like those crowing about the performance of Team INEOS in Yorkshire, only to find masses of media coverage a few days later regarding who had won! Collectively, giving those astute youngsters plenty of pointers whether sources are reliable, or not.

    Anyway, better get training. The attempt upon the 2 hr marathon barrier coming shortly. Lots of opportunity to build some stories around that. On the downside, INEOS could end up being sponsors for a Tour de France win, regaining the Americas Cup and a 2hr marathon!

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