An oil exploration site in Lincolnshire, where only limited work has been carried out since 2014, will be allowed to operate for another 16 months.
County councillors backed another request by Egdon Resources to extend planning permission at the company’s North Kelsey site.
An opponent said she was “deeply disappointed” by the decision and predicted the company would seek even more time in the future.
Egdon Resources welcomed the permission and said North Kelsey would be drilled in 2021.
This is the second time Egdon Resources has been granted more time at North Kelsey.
Lincolnshire County Council approved the original permission six years ago (2014) and later allowed an extension of three years until December 2020. Today’s decision, approved by 11 votes to 2 at a virtual planning meeting, extends consent until December 2021.
“Covid to blame”
So far, no work has been carried out at North Kelsey, apart from the site entrance and two laybys in the lane nearby.
Egdon Resources blamed the Covid-19 outbreak for its latest failure to construct and drill the site. It had previously said a low oil price, withdrawal of a partner and delays at another site were the reasons for no work at North Kelsey.
Paul Foster, speaking for Egdon, said the company regretted the uncertainty about work at North Kelsey:
“Egdon fully intended to construct the site before this summer. The seriousness of the impact of Covid 19 only became evident in mid-march. Covid-19 has certainly contributed to the delay in restarting works.”
Mr Foster, a consultant with Aecom, said the outbreak has meant there was no pool of skilled operators ready to step in to a project:
“When rigs stop operating, personnel go elsewhere.
“People have been put on furlough or laid off and contractors and suppliers are not up to speed.”
He said Covid-19 had also delayed approval of a permit from the Environment Agency. The permit should have taken four weeks, he said, but was not issued for six months, until the end of July 2020.
County Councillor, Hugo Marfleet, who represents people living around Egdon’s Biscathorpe site, said Egdon had used Covid-19 as a “smokescreen” for the delay. He said:
“They were given this extension a while ago and Covid has only just happened in March.”
He also said:
“[Under planning conditions] they are not allowed to do any exploration work during the bird nesting time, which in effect goes from March to August. So, when he [Paul Foster] says that Covid has delayed this whole thing, that is absolute rubbish because he wouldn’t have been allowed to have done anything.
“It has nothing to do with Covid. It would not have been allowed to have done the work.”
Amanda Suddaby, another speaker against the application, described the claim that Covid-19 had caused the latest delay as “disingenuous” and “clearly untrue”.
A member of the committee, Cllr Marianne Overton, said there was no evidence before the council that Covid-19 had delayed the work and the extension should be refused.
The six years of the development had “caused a lot of unease and disruption to the lives of local people”, she said.
Another councillor, Daniel McNally warned Egdon this should be the last extension and the company should “have a very, very good reason to extend it again”.
Mr Foster told the committee that oil from the North Kelsey would help the UK reduce its need for imports and meet the target for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050:
“The reality is that fossil fuels still remain the dominant source of energy supply for the vast majority of cars, HGVs [heavy goods vehicles] and aircraft in the UK still use oil.”
But Ms Suddaby said:
“Misrepresentations have characterised this project, including hollow claims about oil prices, jobs, taxes and energy security.”
She said future production at North Kelsey was estimated at 50 barrels a day. This was less than 0.003% of UK consumption, she said.
“It is negligible but the harm to local communities and habitats is significant. It could so easily be replaced by renewable energy, benefitting the economy and the planet.
“This is no longer sustainable development. Covid has proved that we can change and that people are willing to make sacrifices for the greater good and for the safety of the young and vulnerable. We must do the same with climate change.”
Cllr Marfleet questioned Egdon’s professionalism and accused the company of taking a “cavalier approach” with local people.
“We have given them time. We have given them extensions. We have actually done everything to support them correctly. And here we are still, today, six years later [the company is saying] we need another extension.
“Unless we stand up and actually demand professionalism from these large organisations and stand up for the people of Lincolnshire, we are getting walked over by these guys.”
Councillors also voted by 11-nil with one abstention to extend permission for Egdon’s security compound next to the well site until 31 December 2021. But the committee agreed to Ms Suddaby’s request to bring the working hours of the compound into line with the well site, from 7am-5.30pm on weekdays, and to require Egdon to update an ecological survey.
“Pleased to progress drilling plans”
Speaking after the decision, Mark Abbott, managing director of Egdon Resources plc, said:
“We are pleased with today’s decision to extend the planning permission as it enables us to progress our drilling plans at the North Kelsey conventional oil prospect which have been delayed by COVID-19 restrictions. We will now progress our plans for drilling during 2021, providing a further potentially material near-term value catalyst for Egdon”
Ms Suddaby said:
“I am deeply disappointed.
“I wager that Egdon Resources will come back with another request for an extension and North Kelsey will not be restored by the end of next year.”
Categories: Regulation, slider
More BS from the industry who just want to cream wages from pitiful production of oil that is insignificant when it comes to helping the economy or the dependence on imports, Covid has become the go to excuse for epic failure
Approved by 11:2 but only the negative comments included!
I will go with the silent VERY LARGE majority.
So, do tell us Mystic Meg, what the production level will be. You claim to have an insight into that. A puddle? But then, the Atlantic is a pond!
1. There were no positive comments to report. No-one made any.
2. Egdon have clearly stated Egdon they expect 50 bpd (or 200 bpd if it far exceeds their expectations). It’s out there in writing – you just have to stop dreaming of get-rich-quick schemes, and look.
Small scale onshore oil has never been a get rich quick scheme.
Like most Lincs and Notts wells, just small stuff.
So you are correct.
But who here on DoD believe it is such a scheme?
Ahh, so a few losers whinge, and those who supported are happy to move on, Alex! Still11:2-a VERY LARGE but silent majority.
I think you will find the get-rich-quick scheme idea is a fiction of the antis trying to keep the anti capitalist element engaged. Just like they try and present those who support local production of goods/resources to be investors, but will happily support the local farm shop themselves.
(My birthday today, and wifey and I will sit down this evening to a nice Dexter steak, sourced direct from the UK farmer. “Alternatively” we could have bought some imported steak. However, I suspect there may be a few who would object to me consuming any meat, or a UK farmer having animals making a noise, and procreating in the UK countryside. Yes, that happens, too.)
Reference the output, obviously still to be determined, but priorities for any company will be based upon expectations, so pretty well explains the situation for this site.
Another fine day for the small but resilient Lincs oil industry.
Local oil for local people and all that.
But yes – there may be another extension depending on oil price and how other wells get on no doubt.
But I am not sure that Ms Suddaby need worry as the site does not yet exist as such.
Plus I am not sure about the comment below from Cllr Marfleet.
“Unless we stand up and actually demand professionalism from these large organisations and stand up for the people of Lincolnshire, we are getting walked over by these guys.”……
Large organisations? Compared to the local corner shop maybe.
Stand up for the people of Lincs – your not standing up for me.
Getting walked over? Wait until they build a few hundred houses then – or a large chicken factory farm, or maybe establish a haulage firm on a narrow lane, or build a distribution warehouse complex next to you, or maybe a large wind farm or solar farm – so on and so forth.
All good fun for local politics, but the oil (if there) will not be going anywhere in a hurry.
Interesting that a Cllr demands professionalism, yet based upon the Wressle nonsense they are exempt from such considerations!
Standing up for the people seems to be an oxymoron for wasting their money, even when you have been told that is what will happen, ignore that advice and it happens.
This is happening. As we speak tonnes and tonnes of prime peatland habitat are being irreparably decimated for a windfarm project that the people of Shetland did not have the chance to vote for, or against. An industrial wind farm, so large that we don’t know if our roads are even big enough to handle the trucks to get the windmills here, is being built – against our wishes and on land that has been undisturbed for millennia. This is just the beginning.
Miles and miles of the heartland of Shetland is to be dug up, glacial valleys, grade one peat lands and blanket bog – bulldozed away, hundreds of tonnes of concrete added into peat hills we have no way of really knowing if they can support the weight of the 103 turbines to be placed upon them. In all honesty I feel massive land slips are inevitable – and then who cleans that up? How is that green? How do you put habitat back that is completely destroyed?
One of the smallest communities in Europe, one of the few truly wild, undisturbed habitats in the UK is being ripped apart. Those of us who have spoken out against this project have been met with silence or disdain. For the record I am not against wind farms as a source of renewable energy, I am against the Viking Energy Project as I feel this has been repeatedly pushed through, despite our own planning department stating over a decade ago that the size and scale of this project was too much for a peerie place like Shetland.
Despite all the sensible, well thought out arguments given by folk who are desperately worried about the effects on the land, the local bird population, the local lochs, not to mention the potential long term health effects for those living near windfarms – this madness goes on.
Shetland will be littered with super quarries (conveniently labelled borrow pits – much more palatable than calling them what they are), electricity pylons (of which there are none at present) and 103 massive turbines. There will be very few places in Shetland that will recover from this and yet we are met with silence when we offer our concerns, or spin about “energy hubs” and “exciting opportunities”. There is no coming back from this. Undoubtedly the developer will make a lot of money from this venture and we will be left paying for it, in more ways than one.
There are other ways to produce energy!, this is the price to pay for a lower carbon net zero future?, Bring on the Fracking Revolution…