Egdon Resources almost slipped under the 'fracking' radar but their interest in Westerdale within the North Yorkshire Moors, not far from Castleton, has sparked some debate.
The Gazette : http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/business/business-news/teesside-poised-pote... headlines
Teesside poised for potential onshore gas boom amid plans to sink new well ...
Plans for Westerdale were put on hold “At Westerdale we have planning permission in place to drill an exploration well to test the 1966 Ralph Cross gas discovery. We are currently in the process of extending this planning consent with any drilling being a year or two away. We drilled an unsuccessful exploration well at Westerdale in 2006."
Of concern is not so much Egdon's activities who say they will be using conventional gas extraction methods, but the gungho statements made by Stan Higgins: From the Gazette:
The potential to secure additional gas resources in the immediate vicinity, and the UK as a whole, has been welcomed by one of the Teesside’s leading industry figures.
Stan Higgins, chief executive of NEPIC, (North East Processing Industry Cluster) said: “Home grown raw materials are important to our economy and energy security and much preferable to buying Russian gas or French electricity.
“Look what has happened in the US where its shale gas industry has resulted in major international companies relocating to America, because of its cheaper fuel. If we have these raw materials, then industry will follow and it will create more jobs.”
WILL FRACKING BE USED?
Many of the onshore licences secured in the 14th round will use hydraulic fracturing or fracking - where water gas and chemicals are sent down a pipe to fracture rocks and release gas.
This is a controversial process although most respected UK organisations including; The Royal Society, the British Geological Society, the British Geological Survey, WaterUK, and Public Health England say it’s safe, if properly regulated.
While Egdon says it has no immediate plans to frack, it has not ruled it out.
The spokesman added: “Our existing activity is focused on conventional limestone gas reservoirs and there are no current plans to undertake high volume hydraulic fracturing for shale-gas in PEDL068.
“Indeed the Westerdale area is in the National Park where recent government legislation (The Infrastructure Act 2014) has introduced a ban on the method.
“If exploration for shale gas was to be considered in the future then clearly high volume hydraulic fracturing would need to be considered to enable extraction of any gas which might be found in the rocks.
“The British Geological Survey in their 2013 report did not include the area in their study of Northern England shale gas potential. However, although not currently proven by drilling, suitable rocks and conditions for shale gas may be present in certain parts of the area.”
WHAT DO GEOLOGISTS’ SAY ABOUT THE PLANS?
Nigel Smith, a geologist at the British Geological Survey (BGS) says that the best shale prospects in the North of England are in a belt that runs from North Yorkshire to Lancashire, where the reserves can be found in seams around 50 meters thick.
He continued: “Previously drilled wells in the vicinity of Middlesbrough (mostly those exploring for salt) have encountered shows of gas and oil confirming the presence of a migrated hydrocarbon system and with a large deep basin below we would expect petroleum generation.”
WHAT IS THE POSSIBLE IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT?
However one Teesside environmental campaigner has expressed his concerns at the proposals.
Stockton-born David Saddington, an environmental blogger for the Huffington Post, said: “These latest announcements come as no surprise to me as the Infrastructure Act 2015 and James Wharton’s idea of the Northern Powerhouse are both entrenched within an ethic of going all out for onshore reserves.
“From an environmental perspective the classic risks of fracking persist such as water contamination, but what is even more troubling is how undemocratic these energy decisions are being handled. The announcement last month to allow government ministers to fast-track fracking schemes if local councils were taking too long to decide is a mockery of the pledge to give decision making power to local people when it comes to energy.
“The announcement of these new license areas will cause unnecessary aggravation to local residents if fracking does end up being used to extract reserves. Regardless of whether fracking is used or not any investment in pursuing these onshore oil reserves is economic madness.”
WHAT DOES INDUSTRY SAY ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS?
Stan Higgins dismissed claims by environmentalists that we can operate energy and industry without fossil fuels.
“It’s nonsense. A lot of their claims are just made up. Renewable energy will never be the answer on its own. We need a mix of renewables and fossil fuels.
“It’s how we use the emitted carbon that’s important. It can be recycled for use in industry or stored safely.
“The sooner we extract our own shale gas and energy from underground coal gasification the better and more stable our own economy will be.”
So apart from dismissing environmental concerns as nonsense Stan Higgins introduces us to Underground Coal Gasification. Frack Off have a bit to say about Underground Coal Gasification : http://frack-off.org.uk/extreme-energies/underground-coal-gasification/
Indeed Underground Coal Gasification has been recognised by many as the 'what next?' element of the 'fracking' brigades adventures: reported here previously from : https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22129560-400-fire-in-the-hole-aft...
Setting fire to coal underground could answer our energy prayers, or start an environmental disaster on a bigger scale than ever before
IF YOU thought shale gas was a nightmare, you ain’t seen nothing yet. A subterranean world of previously ignored reserves is about to be opened up. These are the vast coal deposits that have proved unreachable by conventional mining, along with gas deposits around them. To the horror of anyone concerned about climate change, modern miners want to set fire to these deep coal seams and capture the gases this creates for industry and power generation. Some say this will provide energy security for generations to come. Others warn that it is a whole new way to fry the planet.
A primitive version of the technology behind this Dantean inferno of underground coal gasification (UCG) has ...
So, nope tis not the 'fracking' that is to be wary of but what comes next, one could say that the 'fracking' industry is merely prepping and the prequel.
The good news is that Biomass, percieved as a renewable energy source is also getting its feet under the energy mix table.
The Northern Echo report on a new biomass plant at nearby Port Clarence, Stockton : http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/13772867.New_power_station_to_be_b...
And, with Hugill on the Steel Ball, "Tata Steel says its Hartlepool Pipe Mill will support Maersk Oil’s $4.5bn North Sea Culzean project. The company added its Hartlepool site, known for offshore work, will deliver more than 18,000 tonnes of steel pipe, with work expected to start this month and last more than a year. The company hasn’t released the value of the deal, but says it is a multi-million pound agreement.
It added Hartlepool firm BSR Pipeline Services will provide coating for pipes as part of a joint venture. Maersk says the development, which will include a 53km gas pipeline, could cover about five per cent of the UK’s total gas use by 2020, with extraction expected to start in 2019." Source: http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/business/news/13777999.Offshore_gas_pip...
Meanwhile Edgon Resources will come under the radar.
Stan Higgins. Who's he then?
BTW all these % of UK energy supplies is anyone adding them up ... me neither.
Hell hath hounds ;-/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXbqJwtFC8c