INEOS, which now has more than 1.2 million acres of land in the UK to explore for shalegas, is hoping to move from planning to execution this year. And its initial sights look setto focus on Derbyshire
INEOS remains committed to pursuing shale gas exploration in the UK.
It hopes to drill its fi rst vertical, coring well this year at a site near the Derbyshire village of Marsh Lane to test the nature of the rock thousands of feet beneath the surface.
In March Derbyshire County Council ruled that INEOS did not need to carry out an environmental impact assessment before submitting its detailed planning application to drill in Bramleymoor Lane.
“We were very pleased with that decision,” said Tom Pickering, INEOS Shale Operations Director. “But whilst screening demonstrated that there was no need for an assessment on this occasion, we will of course carry one out when there is a clear need for us do so.”
Despite the ruling he sought to reassure villagers, who might be concerned about the impact on the environment, that their views would still be considered.
“Although we are not required to complete a formal impact assessment, all relative environmental concerns will be addressed as part of our planning application,” he said.
The plans, which will be drawn up after meeting members of the local community, will include a report about the use of water, ecology, noise, landscape and visual effects, and cultural heritage.
“We want to ensure that the important issues have been discussed, considered and are understood before we submit our planning application,” said Tom.
Once the well has been drilled, samples of the rock will be analysed in a laboratory.
“We need to identify the geological characteristics of the rock and its gas-producing properties,” said Tom.
INEOS believes Britain needs to consider where it will get its energy from as coal and nuclear power stations close. Britain’s last coal mine, Kellingley Colliery in North Yorkshire, closed in December 2015, bringing to an end centuries of deep coal mining in the UK.
“Extracting shale gas is not about using more fossil fuels,” said Tom. “It’s about displacing coal, and using our own gas rather than imports.”
Earlier this year Friends of the Earth admitted it had misled the public over fracking.
The Advertising Standards Authority found the group had no evidence to show that the fl uid used in fracking contained chemicals dangerous to people’s health.
The authority’s exhaustive 14-month investigation also showed the environmental group could not prove claims that a US fracking site had caused an increase in asthma rates, and that the public in Britain would face a similar risk by living or working near a fracking site.
FOE also wrongly claimed that fracking would lead to falling house prices and increase the risks of cancer.
“These false claims have formed the heart of the FOE’s wrongheaded opposition to fracking,” said Tom.
He said INEOS wanted a ‘grown-up science-based discussion’ based on truth.
“Britain’s energy and manufacturing sectors are too important to allow fake facts to infl uence the debate,” he said. “Unfortunately, Friends of the Earth and Friends of the Earth Scotland don’t want to engage with us.”