Politics

Fracking moratorium doesn’t cover proppant squeeze – minister

The energy minister has confirmed that a small-scale form of fracking, planned for a site in Lincolnshire, is not covered by the moratorium on hydraulic fracturing.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan (left) and Alexander Stafford

In a written parliamentary answer, Anne-Marie Trevelyan said the moratorium, imposed in England on 2 November 2019, applied to fracking that met a definition based on how much fluid it used.

She was asked by the MP for Rother Valley, Alexander Stafford, whether it covered the process known as proppant squeeze.

This injects fluid and proppant into a rock formation to improve the flow of hydrocarbons. The Environment Agency (EA) regards it as a form of low-volume fracking because the injection pressure is high enough to fracture rocks.

The process is expected to be used by Egdon Resources to improve oil flows at its site at Wressle near Scunthorpe.

The minister said the moratorium applied to operations defined as associated hydraulic fracturing that required Hydraulic Fracturing Consent from the secretary of state for business, energy and industrial Strategy.

The definition, originally used by the European Union, was included in the 2015 Infrastructure Act and inserted in the Petroleum Act 1998. It comprises operations that use 1,000m3 of fluid per fracturing stage or 10,000m3 of fluid during the whole fracking process.

The minister said:

“Activities outside of this definition are not included in the moratorium.”

Alexander Stafford told DrillOrDrop he hoped the definition of associated hydraulic fracturing would be “tightened up even further”.

Proposals for the Wressle proppant squeeze indicate it will not meet the definition of associated hydraulic fracturing and will not need Hydraulic Fracturing Consent.

The environmental permit for the site said the operation would use 150m3 of gelled liquid and ceramic beads.

The Wressle proppant squeeze will, however, need an approved Hydraulic Fracturing Plan, which states how the fracking process will be controlled and monitored.

DrillOrDrop understands this is being considered by the Environment Agency (EA) and Oil & Gas Authority. According to the EA the Wressle proppant squeeze will be the first time a proppant squeeze has been used in England on a deviated well under a town.

42 replies »

  1. “no reliable poilfield enginnering terminology”? Ha! Ha! You see how easy it is to get the terminology words wrong? Talk about a case in point? Maybe the UK oilfield engineering terminology is just that? A spelling mistake?

    That should be “oilfield engineering” terminology. Of course. At least god and my spell checker have a sense of humour!

    could that be changed please?

    Thanks

  2. How did that happen?

    Oh dear, now someone will be really pee’d off? It’ll be the old obsessive fixated “dead weasel” joke for the next month now?

    While I was doing some reference to “proppant” and “squeeze” definition research, I came across a sentence in a Desmog UK in May 15, 2015, in an article that described proppant as not using water, and there was a comment regarding the use of proppant as that:-

    “we don’t use water, and proppant now consists of crushed unicorn hooves rather than 20/40” I thought at the time, that was a little harsh, and possibly innapropriate considering the more appropriate parameters that could be discussed, but as an engineering definition, at least it “injects” some humour into the proceedings, which is always something to be grateful for isnt it.

    So perhaps the precise constituents of proppant are also up for some debate?

  3. I wonder if this magical process under discussion will be effective in achieving it’s hoped for aims and also whether causing ‘Propant Squeeze Earthquakes’ will cause it’s ultimate demise?
    Or will they just be classified as Hydrofrac Earthquakes by the BGS like at Cuadrilla’s test fracking fiasco on the Fylde in Lancashire?

    • Perhaps Peter this non engineering cobbled together “proppant squeeze” terminology, following the energy minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan’s comments, will be seen as the panacea to the “fracking” moratorium for the operators?

      Even though the discussion so far proves without a shadow of a doubt, that the UK definition of “fracking” and the cure all “get out of shale free” cobbled together “proppant squeeze” phrase are equally contravening or combining unrelated USA definitions, and hence cannot be called the same thing without confusing the UK definitions and rendering them inconsistant, innefective, or just plain wrong. The terms used in the USA definitions are already defined as to be within the “fracking moratorium” restrictions inside the UK.

      Considering the blatantly litigious legal situation in the USA, its surprising that some USA corporation hasnt taken the UK government to court for contravening and highjacking the terminology out of context of the original USA definitions? Except perhaps that it may be those same USA corporations that are influencing the UK situation? So litigation would be counter productive for them? Maybe that is why the weakest and most innacurate loose terms are the only ones allowed to be used in the UK? Because they are not technical oilfield engineering terms and therefore cannot be litigated against or for without forcing the UK government to very precisely define all the terminologies and to re-assess whether the terms then do, or do not fall within the moratorium restrictions.

      Sort of a “lose lose” situation. Interesting isnt it.

      • Good to see the Government proposals to re open onshore wind contract auction schemes but planning hurdles have been conveniently placed. Maybe onshore wind power developers should change their planning applications and submit wording to avoid the traps. Replace ‘onshore wind farm’ with ‘Sustainable energy transition project’. Councils would then not have to apply the conditions they have been bound to.

        https://theconversation.com/onshore-wind-farm-restrictions-continue-to-stifle-britains-renewable-energy-potential-147812

        • John

          The onerous stuff which prevents wind farms according to the article are

          First, it must be located somewhere that’s identified as suitable for wind farms in a local or neighborhood plan.

          The first hurdle looks like a no brainer (why build them where there is not much wind, unless an eye watering subsidy goes with it) and the other is – people have worked hard on their neighborhood plans, but as its wind, they will all welcome it with open arms – so no trouble there.

          Updating these plans is a laborious process (because you need to ask people) and many local authorities lack the staff or resources to do it (so says the article), but just get the protectors to do it for free?

          Second, all planning impacts identified by local people must have been addressed and there must be community backing. Heavens, best scrap all that stuff for wind farms, housing, chicken farms, eyesore high rise flats (aka the Lincoln eyesore), roads, rail, coal mines and so forth. But I note in our Parish Council planning meeting – lots of people do not like anything being built – and it only takes a few protectors (protecting the view from wind turbines / vibration / traffic ) to put a spoke in the works. People are concerned that turbines might cause health problems.

          But I am hopefull. Multiple wind turbines along the ridge from Lincoln to Gainsbrough – good for steel and cement / civils (lots of holes to dig), roads (never mind one oil well) – plus lets build lots of access roads and they can be tarmac forever). And the lincs wolds are a bit short of turbines as well. Never be out of sight of a turbine should be the slogan – be it at home / work or on holiday in the UK (anywhere).

  4. Not a chance, hewes62. How do you get a wind turbine to the site without it causing traffic issues. IOW has some issues with that currently?! Is there enough spare landfill to plonk the redundant blades into? How long will the current pandemic last, and will the relative silence then expose the noise issue-as in France?

    Sorry, jP, maybe look for another source of income? I have booked my layby on the A303 ready for the days of all EVs, stuck in a traffic jam for hours on their way to the SW with the kids demanding the aircon is kept on. All those EVs out of power and requiring recovery to the nearest charge point. Probably about £100 per recovery, based on todays values. Then add a bit of commission from the charge point owner. Kerching. Only issue is I will have to evict the strawberry sellers, although they know how to make money, so maybe there is a franchise option, as well! A lot more profitable than the current option of selling fuel cans.

    • Still tilting at windmills old thing? Or was that a self generated fog obscured lighthouse? Tilting at oneself must be tricky? Being in two places at once so to speak. Persona confusion maybe? [Edited by moderator]

      A bit Quixotic dont you think?

      Miguel de Cervantes would be amused. Too early for the South Sea bubble though. And too early for aluminium keyboards as well, let alone computers.

      I see also you still attempt to salt these little “contributions” around in other comments on Drill or Drop, and well outside of the relevant subject matter too?

      Why not just come out with these odd little irrelevancies and converse “Mano a Mano”, (see what I did there?) or rather “keyboard a keyboard”? (plastic keyboard to aluminium keyboard that is….). Funny that, since aluminium is all too easy to recycle, and has none of the concomitant hazards of further pollution in doing so. We have got to be careful not to increase the statistics of one in five deaths being due to fossil fuel pollution havent we?

      Even Bill Gates says so. Not that I find much to recommend from that direction, him being a self declared eugenicist and all?

      Oops!

      That was fun!

      Have a nice Sunday, with at least some digital contact with family and friends, or perhaps support bubbles?

      • Well, I think the same Bill Gates, said that large subsidies (ie. the consumer pays) would be required to encourage movement away from fossil fuels!! And then Maersk have stated that the consumer will be happy to pick up the cost of the shipping companies reducing their emissions.

        All very interesting. It will be more interesting to see whether the consumers agree when they get much larger bills than those they are already paying for the transition. Based upon the recent reaction in Australia, I would expect that the electorate might have very different ideas and they can easily moderate via their votes.

        So, it seems, the old one sided equations can only go for so long, and the full costings will emerge. There will undoubtedly still be the green/blue/grey/pink or whatever colour hydrogen sort of waffle, but it will increasingly come down to what the consumer is willing to pay when the payments can’t be hidden any more.

        [Edited by moderator]

  5. Shocking news again MPs a waste of space Should resign Rob Redford on Lincoln

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