Shale gas sites in Nottinghamshire
Exploratory tests for shale gas have been undertaken at two sites in Nottinghamshire.
Misson Springs, land off Springs Road
Planning permission was granted in May 2017 (Planning Permission Ref: 1/15/01498/CDM) for the development of a hydrocarbon wellsite and drilling of up to two exploratory hydrocarbon wells (one vertically and the other horizontally) on land off Springs Road, Misson.
Following the drilling of the vertical well, IGas announced on 11 March that the drilling had encountered a hydrocarbon bearing shale sequence of over 250 metres, including the upper and lower Bowland shale. IGas report that significant gas indications were observed throughout the shale section and additionally within sands in the Millstone Grit sequence.
The drill rig was subsequently removed, and the site mothballed. A national moratorium on hydraulic fracturing was enacted by the Government in November 2019.
In November 2020, IGas submitted an application to vary Condition 4 of the extant permission to extend the evaluation and restoration period of the site for a further three years until November 2023. This was refused in August 2021.
The site is therefore required to be restored to its original condition in accordance with the 2017 planning permission and the single vertical well will be plugged and abandoned in accordance with regulatory requirements.
A planning condition however restricts restoration works during the bird breeding season (in this case defined as February to August) owing to the proximity of the Misson Carr SSSI. The Council were informed that it would not be possible to undertake restoration works in time for the autumn/winter 2021 period and is therefore now expecting these works to commence in autumn 2022.
Tinker Lane, near Barnby Moor and Blyth
Drilling at the exploratory shale gas site off the A634 between Barnby Moor and Blyth (Planning Permission Ref: 1/16/00773/CDM) was completed in January 2019. All drilling equipment was removed from the site with the exception of the well pad and the site entered into an evaluation phase.
IGas subsequently released operational updates that confirmed that a shale interval was encountered before penetrating the key Dinantian limestone geophysical marker, but the shales encountered did not include the primary target, the Bowland shale.
Subsequent to this, IGas confirmed that the well would be plugged and abandoned and the site restored back to its original agricultural use. Restoration works were undertaken during the summer of 2019 and, in October 2019, the County Council formally confirmed that restoration works had been completed to its satisfaction and in accordance with the planning permission. The site is now in a five year aftercare period and officers will continue to monitor the site during this period to check the condition of the arable land and the perimeter planting that was also undertaken.
In light of the above, the final Community Liaison Group meeting was held on 25 September 2019.