DrillOrDrop’s checklist of what to look out for in 2022 on UK onshore oil and gas
Loxley/Dunsfold, Surrey: The outcome is expected soon on the public inquiry into UKOG’s plans to explore for gas near the village of Dunsfold. Residents are planning an event on 8 January to demonstrate that large lorries will need to cross common land without permission to reach the proposed site.
West Newton-A and B, East Yorkshire: Rathlin Energy promised it would submit a scaled-back planning application by the end of 2021 for four new wells and 20-years of oil production at West Newton-A. A formal notice has been published at the site in Holderness. The company has also applied to vary the site’s permit to allow oil production. At the same time, Rathlin said it would seek to extend the life of the West Newton-B site, where planning permission expires in 2022.
Saltfleetby, Lincolnshire: Angus Energy wants to reconfigure this site to make room for more gas generators and a larger flare.
Brockham, Surrey: Angus also wants to produce oil from a well at this site near Dorking. A decision is also awaited on the company’s application to the Environment Agency to reinject radioactive waste water at Brockham
North Kelsey, Lincolnshire: Egdon Resources has applied to extend the life of this oil exploration site for a third time and change the target location of the proposed well.
Puddletown, Dorset: We’ll continue to monitor South Western Energy’s application to drill for oil, which has seen no progress in the past year.
We’ll also be watching for any appeals and public inquiries following refusals of planning permission in 2021 for operations at
- Balcombe, West Sussex
- Biscathorpe, Lincolnshire
- Arreton, Isle of Wight
Decisions on court cases are expected in early 2022 on:
- Sarah Finch’s judicial review about Surrey County Council’s approval of long-term production at Horse Hill
- Friends of the Earth’s challenge to government investment in a gas project in Mozambique
We’ll also be watching to see if three young campaigners appeal after failing to sue the prime minister on government climate change actions.
This week, a group of teenagers in Portugal said they would use human rights law to force European politicians to tackle climate change.
Shale gas and fracking
- Will 2022 be the year that the shale gas industry produces evidence that it can accurately predict and mitigate the effects of induced earthquakes from fracking?
- And, if so, will this satisfy the government that it can lift the moratorium on fracking in England?
- If the moratorium were lifted, would ministers follow advice from the Climate Change Committee and first carry out an independent review of the climate impact of shale gas?
- Will predicted higher gas prices encourage ministers to change their current stand that the moratorium should stay in force?
There are no current planning permissions for shale gas development in the UK. But we’ll be watching for a decision from the communities secretary, Michael Gove, on plans for a shale gas test by IGas at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire and exploration by Ineos at Woodsetts in South Yorkshire. The decisions had been expected in April 2020.A decision is also expected on Northern Ireland’s review into how firms get fracking licences.
Wressle, North Lincolnshire: Egdon Resources has said it will make a decision early in 2022 on the production rate for its Wressle well. The Oil & Gas Authority must also formally approve Wressle as a production site.
Horse Hill, Surrey: Plans for two new wells at Horse Hill were delayed in 2021 by UKOG’s operations in Turkey. We’ll be watching whether the Horse Hill drilling goes ahead in 2022.
Waddock Cross, Dorset: Egdon said it would decide in 2022 on a new horizontal oil well at this site. The work already has planning permission.
Keddington, Lincolnshire: Egdon also said production at Keddington could be increased by a new sidetrack, allowed under current planning permission.
Vale of Pickering, North Yorkshire: Third Energy has plans to use its old gas sites to develop renewables projects.
Misson, Nottinghamshire: IGas is said to be in talks to restore this shale gas site after permission was refused for a planning extension.
Other key issues
Emissions: Will the UK government introduce new policies on reducing emissions from the production and use of fossil fuels, as recommended by the Climate Change Committee?
Protests: Will ministers get support for the latest changes to the Police, Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill, which proposes new offences of locking-on and going equipped to lock-on?
Divestment: Will more councils and universities halt pension fund investments in fossil fuels?
Production: Will UK onshore oil production rise above 15,000 barrels per day, not reached in 2021 (on the most recent data)?
Repurposing and renewables: Will the trend continue for repurposing oil and gas sites for geothermal energy, renewables and hydrogen? Will research show that carbon can be stored in old wells?