Third Energy, a small, independent, British shale exploration company has applied for a fracking permission at a site in the Vale of Pickering in Yorkshire. The company has already carried out exploratory tests at the site, which is near the village of Kirby Misperton in Ryedale, and has a pipeline in place as well as a power station on the grid to turn shale into electricity.
Third Energy is the second shale exploration company to apply for a fracking licence in Britain, the first being Cuadrilla Resources, which is currently awaiting the council decision when it comes to shale exploration on its two sites in Lancashire.
Third Energy’s well is located in the Bowland shale formation, where in November 2014, another UK shale – IGas Energy – updated its estimates to somewhere between 50 and 352 trillion cubic metres of gas after positive results from it’s exploration well.
IGas estimated gross gas-initially-in-place (GIIP) in a range between 50 and 352tcf, with the ‘most likely’ estimate set at 192tcf. The net GIIP is estimated between 34 and 263tcf, and the ‘most likely’ figure is 147tcf.
The company’s prior estimates were pitched between 15 and 172tcf, with 102tcf deemed ‘most likely’.
On top of that, shale deposits in the south of the country, in the counties of Hampshire, Sussex and Surrey, are also estimated to hold 4.4 billion barrels of shale oil.
Despite these potential riches, according to a recent YouGov poll, shows that support for hydraulic fracturing has fallen amid concerns over environmental impact.
To assuage these concerns, Third Energy’s Operations Director John Dewar, said operations would be “conducted safely and environmentally”, adding: “We are proud of our 20-year history of safe and low-key operations in North Yorkshire, and this project is designed to continue in the same way.”
He is, however, adamant that in order to assess the actual viability of the deposits, in particular in the context of currently low oil prices, exploration is needed.
“We know that the gas is present but it is only by actually hydraulically stimulating the rock that we can understand the potential of the gas to flow and the likely volumes that can be produced.”
As was to be expected, environmental groups are opposing the development. Chris Redston of the group Frack Free Ryedale said in an interview with the local Gazette & Herald: “[we] are very disappointed to see that Third Energy is continuing with their application to frack at Kirby Misperton, and we will be vigorously opposing the application.”
The application documents will be available to view at North Yorkshire County Council offices in Northallerton and online once the application has been validated.
According to BBC News website, if planning permission is granted KM8 would be fracked for six weeks, though not continuously. What happens after that depends on how and if the gas flows.
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