Fracking to commence later this year just 8 miles from Deeside
iGas, the UK based onshore gas and oil producers have announced they will start test drilling in Ellesmere Port later this year after securing a drilling rig.
The company originally received planning permission from Cheshire West and Chester Council to test drill the well off Merseyton Road in Ellesmere Port in 2011.
Exploratory drilling will commence in late 2014, evaluation tests will then be carried out on the underlying rock bed formations for Coal Bed Methane (CBM)
Commenting iGas Chief Executive, Andrew Austin, said;
“We are delighted to have secured a suitable rig for our exploration well at Ellesmere Port. This well, similar to the one we successfully drilled at Barton Moss earlier this year, is to further appraise the geology in the North West and another step in unlocking Britain’s onshore energy resources.”
CBM is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon gas and has become an important source of energy in the US, Canada and Australia.
To extract the gas a hole is drilled into a coal seam anywhere between 100 and 1,500 metres below ground, water from the coal seams is then pumped to the surface and the gas is extracted.
The 30 to 40 meter high drilling rig is expected to operate 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
The extraction of CBM often relies on the fracking of coal seams to extract the gas.
Two small earthquakes in Blackpool back in 2011 were blamed on fracking a report by Department of Energy & Climate Change concluded, the earthquakes were induced by the hydrolic fracture treatments at the Preese Hall site.
Other environmental risks from CBM gas extraction include methane migration, toxic water contamination, air pollution and increased carbon emissions.
It’s estimated that there are around 2,900 billion cubic meters of CBM in the UK however , it may be that as little as one percent might be economically recoverable.
The Ellesmere Port test rig will be closest site to Deeside so far, its unclear when any test drilling will start in Flintshire however, given the fact we are sat on top of vast mineral resources in the region, the whole of Flintshire has been or is in the process of being licensed for fracking.
With so much noise around council budget deficits at the moment, ‘community cash sweeteners’ from energy companies will see councils put up little resistance to planning applications in the near future.