UK approves Third Energy’s fracking plan for KM8 well

The UK’s Environment Agency (EA) on Tuesday approved Third Energy’s Hydraulic Fracture Plan for its well site at Kirby Misperton, in North Yorkshire, leaving the onshore explorer with one last hurdle before it can start fracking in England, Kallanish Energy reports.

Third Energy convinced the EA it has the right procedures in place to control and monitor the fracking process. The approval for the KM8 well, in northern England, is another regulatory milestone the company achieved before receiving Hydraulic Fracturing Consent from the Secretary of State.

The frack plan is a technical document that sets out how the company will meet a range of specific regulatory protections around fracking, said Third Energy CEO Rasik Valand.

"These measures are in addition to the established regulatory environment which coverall onshore oil and gas development,” he added. “We’re very pleased to have achieved another significant regulatory milestone towards hydraulic fracturing of our KM8 well. We will now be in a position to prepare and submit a formal application to the Secretary of State for Hydraulic Fracturing Consent (HFC).”

The company didn’t estimate exactly when it would be getting the consent, but said last week it expected to complete fracking before year-end. Then it would test gas flow from the well.

An EA spokesperson said the agency is satisfied with the company’s arrangements for monitoring during and after fracking KM8, noting it’s” committed to ensuring shale gas operations can only go ahead if they are safe for people and the environment.”

Third Energy’s plan has met protection requirements for groundwater, surface water, air quality, as well as safe storage, management and disposal of waste. It will also monitor seismic activity before and after fracking. It agreed with Cuadrilla to share operational information on each other’s fracking stimulation operations “to capture learnings and best practices and avoid pitfalls.”

The fracturing plan proposes to frack five zones of the KM8 well, drilled in 2013. They range in depth from 2,123 meters (1.32 miles), to 3,043 meters (1.89 miles).

“This is a sad day for Ryedale – only one more step remains until the district faces the reality of fracking and the devastation it will bring,” said Dinah Keal of opposition organization Frack Free United.