Shale gas and hydraulic fracturing (fracking)
- Shale gas and hydraulic fracturing (fracking)
- Fracking in Rotherham (You are here)
- The planning process for fracking
- Have your say on fracking
Fracking in Rotherham
Fracking has never been carried out in Rotherham but companies licensed by the Oil and Gas Authority are investigating the potential for fracking schemes in some areas of the borough.
Rotherham has a long history of industry, in particular coal mining. It has significant reserves of oil and gas from unconventional sources like coal bed methane and shale gas.
The UK's national oil and gas regulator has issued licences, for onshore oil and gas exploration in 10km x 10km blocks, to various companies (including CUADRILLA, IGAS, INEOS) in the Rotherham area.
The licences (issued by the Department of Energy and Climate Change - DECC) grant exclusive rights to oil and gas operators in a given area. Operators must also get the necessary consents and planning permission before beginning any activities on that land.
The Council was recently contacted by INEOS, which submitted a screening request in relation to potential future development of a "vertical exploration well" on private land in the South of the Borough (Harthill and Thorpe Salvin). The Request has been considered by the Council which has now issued a Screening Opinion.
Following a challenge to the Council’s original Screening Opinion, this was subsequently reviewed by the Secretary of State. On 13 July the Government's Planning Casework Unit (PCU) confirmed that the Screening request was acceptable and that in the option of the Secretary of State, the application does not represent EIA development. The Council’s original Screening Opinion is therefore valid.
Notification of Seismic Survey
Rotherham Council has received formal notification from INEOS that it intends to undertake a 3D seismic survey across part of the borough for six months, starting in early June.
The company has submitted details about the areas to be surveyed and how the survey will be undertaken. The full survey area covers approximately 250 square kilometres and also includes parts of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.
Subject to certain restrictions and giving prior notification to the Council, planning permission is not required for the survey as Government planning rules state that it is 'permitted development'.
The survey will help INEOS to gain a better understanding of the geology and rock formations below the ground to understand where shale gas might be located. This will help the company to identify sites where future shale gas development could be undertaken. Any future development would require full planning permission.
Woodsetts Screening Request
On 25 July 2017 the Council received a screening request from INEOS for a future test drilling planning application on land adjacent Dinnington Road, Woodsetts.
The Council is required to express a formal opinion on whether a planning application for potential drilling would require a statutory environmental impact assessment.
At this stage there is no planning application required.
The Council has now considered the request and the screening opinion can be viewed here:
INEOS have also submitted a planning application for an exploratory well.