British oil and gas explorer IGas’ application to flow test a gas wellsite in northwest England has been recommended for approval by the Cheshire West & Chester Council, prior to a decisive meeting this Thursday.
Planners at the local council recommended on Jan. 17 the planning committee grants permission on Jan. 25, as the proposals offer “no unacceptable adverse impacts” to the environment and human health.
Local authorities have a number of requirements to follow when considering a planning application for onshore oil and gas exploration, including the benefits of mineral extraction to the economy.
The site, located in an industrial area, has a borehole and a wellhead, drilled in late 2014. IGas now wants to check if the well can produce commercially viable volumes of gas. It will apply a drill stem test (DST), but not carry out hydraulic fracturing activities, Kallanish Energy learns.
According to the proposal, the work would be done in five stages and take up to 104 days. Condensate, gas and produced fluids will be separated at the surface and no further drilling would take place.
IGas said it was “pleased” with the planning office’s recommendation to grant consent to carry out further tests on the rock formation encountered in the Ellesmere Port-1 well, including a flow test, “to better understand the volumes of gas it contains.”
The petroleum exploration and development license (PEDL) area 184 is operated by IGas and jointly held with INEOS.
The council received over 2,000 written objections to the application, but a number of them relate to issues surrounding fracking – which planners noted “does not form part of the proposals.”
One of the objections stated the well on site has been drilled to a depth in excess of that previously outlined as part of the planning process, and additional development on top of this breach shouldn't be allowed.
Horizontal wells may also have been drilled without permission. "It was never the applicants’ intention to drill for coalbed methane considering the depth of the existing well into the shale bed,” according to the objection.