INEOS boss reveals £9million cost of Derbyshire fracking plan

A director of the company behind plans for exploratory mining in the Derbyshire countryside has spoken at a landmark public inquiry in Chesterfield.

Wednesday, 27th June 2018, 9:20 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th June 2018, 9:23 am
Ineos chief Tom Pickering giving evidence at the hearing
Ineos chief Tom Pickering giving evidence at the hearing

During the fifth day of the debate at the town’s assembly rooms, Tom Pickering revealed that the overall cost of the project could total £9 million.

Mr Pickering also said that mining for shale gas remains essential to cater for the shortfall of power supplied by renewable energy sources.

The operations director of INEOS said that his dealings with members of the public were, at times, “intimidating”.

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His testimony formed part of the second week of a public inquiry into proposals from petrochemical company INEOS to drill in a field off Bramley Moor Lane, north of Chesterfield.

These exploratory mining plans could lead to fracking, but this would require further applications.

Fracking involves the creation of small fractures in rock thousands of metres below ground by using millions of gallons of high-pressured water, sand and chemicals, to release shale gas so that it can be collected.

Mr Pickering said: “At the first meeting with residents there were 150 people shouting ‘get out Tom’, which is pretty intimidating if you are Tom.

“I do have sympathy for the community and I think you will find very few company directors that consistently attend public meetings.

“It is not possible with current technology to run an industrial site solely on renewable energy.

“The UK needs to rely on gas in the transition process towards renewable energy.

“It would aim to significantly reduce the carbon footprint. It would underpin the UK’s manufacturing sector.

“There would be no income stream generated by this exploratory well, the commitment to drill is expensive.

“If further production applications were to move forward, further planning applications would need to be submitted.

“INEOS would keep the community informed and would continue to actively engage with the local community.”

INEOS has applied for planning permission to use the site for five years and exploratory drilling would take place for three months.

Once the application permission expires, the well would be filled with concrete plugs and the area returned to its original condition, say the applicants.

The drilling rig would be 60-feet tall and would dig 2,400 metres down into the ground.

The £9 million total breaks down as £6 million for drilling, £1 million for measures to lower noise from the rig such as soil barriers, and a further £2 million if drilling can only take place during the day.

INEOS is up against campaign group Eckington Against Fracking and Derbyshire County Council at the public inquiry which is being held at Chesterfield Assembly Rooms.

The inquiry began on Tuesday, June 19 and is set to conclude on Friday.

INEOS filed for an appeal in December last year due to “unreasonable delays” in having their application ruled on by the county council.

The county council subsequently ruled to object to the plans by nine votes to one – against the recommendation of its own officers.

Government planning inspector Elizabeth Hall is overseeing the inquiry and will have the final say.

The final result of the application would be decided within the next few months.