Fracking in S18?

The beautiful, tranquil photo above is of Bramleymoor Lane, near the peaceful village of Marsh Lane, just outside Eckington. This is the field where INEOS want to spend 3 months installing a 60m high drillrig to start exploratory drilling for shale gas, all day and all night for another 3 months. If they find what they’re looking for they will come back and start full-scale fracking for years to come.

pedl-map

Coal Aston, Dronfield and the surrounding areas are part of the PEDL300 licence area (see right), sold to INEOS, who are currently trying to find the best place (most profitable or productive) to start fracking from.

They do this by carrying out surveys using vibrations sent deep into the rock to form a picture of the rock layers below. These are called Seismic surveys.

tester-trucks

After the seismic testing has been done, INEOS will move to the next phase – drill site acquisition

early-stages

earth1

This is the point that the Marsh Lane community on and around Bramley Moor Lane are currently at – the site being considered is shown on the image to the right, within the central blue box.

To do exploratory drilling, INEOS need to set up a drilling rig. The following information is taken from their application to Derbyshire County Council for the site at Bramley Moor Lane, so this is the best you can expect. In previous drills they have worked outside stated times.

There are 5 stages to this phase.

Stage 1 – Site development and establishment

This takes approximately 3 months

7am to 7pm, 12 hours a day Monday to Friday and 7am to 1pm 6 hours a day Saturday

  • The site will be around 100 x 100 metres (120 x 120 yards) or 2 football pitches
  • There will be a “bund” (like a giant swimming pool) installed across the entire site to collect surface water. This water will have to be removed by tankers, thus increasing INEOS’ estimated vehicle movements.
  • It will be surrounded by 2 metre (over 6 feet) high screening fence
  • There will be portakabins stacked 2 high, so not hidden by screening
  • Water will be shipped in with tankers. Waste water and surface water will be removed the same way

Stage 2 – Drilling and coring

This takes approximately 3 months

Drilling will be ongoing for 24 hours a day (Click HERE to listen)

Mobilisation, demobilisation and routine deliveries 7am to 7pm, 12 hours a day Monday to Friday and 7am to 1pm 6 hours a day Saturday

  • They will erect 9 metre (30 foot) high towers for lighting
  • The drilling rig will be 60 metres (200 feet) high
  • Click HERE to listen – remember this will be 24/7 for 3 months with no volume control

Stage 3 – Establishment as Listening Well and Suspension

Activities to suspend the well (once the rig is removed from site) and maintenance visits would take place 7am to 7pm, 12 hours a day Monday to Friday and 7am to 1pm 6 hours a day Saturday

A flange and well monitoring pressure gauge would be fitted to the well and it would be sealed using a wellhead ‘Christmas Tree’, or wireline blow out preventer.

Constant visits to check:

  • Integrity of pipework and site surface
  • Integrity of fencing and security arrangements;
  • Site drainage and containment, including tanks;
  • Wellhead structure and pressure monitoring.

CCTV only monitoring

Stage 4 – Undertaking Listening Well Operation

INEOS make great play of the fact that they want “only” to explore the Bramleymoor Lane site to see if shale gas is present. This in itself would take only six months. So why are INEOS asking to use the proposed site for five years? Here’s the answer. Once the exploratory phase has been completed, INEOS have declared their intention to convert the exploratory well into a “Listening Well”, for up to the remaining four-and-a-half years of the five years’ tenure they are applying for. So what is a “Listening Well”? What does it do? The answer is simple: to establish a “Listening Well”, geophones are placed in the ground to listen for seismic activity and – crucially – to listen to other drills within its range to ensure that they are operating safely and no cracks are appearing in the drill mechanism itself or in its casing. It’s a bit like the way that radar or sonar systems work. But here’s the crunch: a Listening Well has to listen to something. And what it would be listening to is other wells, other drilling operations that INEOS intend to carry out. And since they’ve already done the exploration by that time, the Listening Well would have to be listening to actual fracking operations. The range of the geophonic microphones used by Listening Wells is, by INEOS’ own admission, 1,000m AT MOST. Their optimum range is UNDER 500m.

So there we have it, once they’ve completed the exploratory phase, INEOS are intending to start fracking within 500m or so of the proposed Bramleymoor Lane site.

Stage 5 Abandonment and Restoration

Any potentially contaminated equipment would be removed from the site (this acknowledges a potential for contamination)

There are additional stages after this point – you can read more about them here.

Coal Aston and Dronfield against Fracking and Eckington against Fracking are trying to stop the process before it gets to the drilling and extraction phase. Please come along to one of our meetings to find out more and see what you can do to help.

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