We have received a visit report from IGas, of a site visit and report by NCC undertaken on 1st May 2019. The visit was as part of a routine monitoring programme to check compliance with the Conditions attached to the planning permission and legal agreement. The last inspection was carried out by NCC on 26 February 2019 with the site remaining unchanged from this date. For completeness the report is attached here.
A Non-Material Amendment to remove the blocks in the layby during both the Evaluation and Restoration phases has not been approved. Highways rightfully pointed out that the Layby is within the Visibility Splay and as vehicle movement will be high during the Restoration Phase it is important that drivers views are not hindered by vehicles parked in the layby. The blocks will remain in the layby and the layby closed until Restoration is completed.
- Restoration Schedule – the intention remains to restore the site during the Spring and Summer of this year. An Invitation to Tender is currently out with a number of potential suppliers. Tenders are to be submitted before the end of this month.
- Vandalism – on 1stApril the site was broken into and locks injected with Silicon sealant. The damage has since been repaired.
NottsCC will be informed 7 to 14 days prior to the commencement of Restoration (see Condition 2f) and the Tinker Lane CLG at a similar time.
IGas released its 2018 financial year results to the stock exchange this morning.
Included in the Chairmans Statement the following on Tinker Lane:
We spudded the Tinker Lane well on 27 November 2018 and reached TD on 17 December 2018, significantly ahead of schedule. Whilst we did not encounter the Bowland Shale, the preliminary tests on shale samples from within the Millstone Grit Group are encouraging for the potential gas resources in the Gainsborough Trough basin. The analysis of these samples is still subject to further testing and validation. The results of this well will help calibrate our geological models of the region and importantly has demonstrated further improvements in drilling performance, which will be an important component of commerciality.
The well has now been plugged and abandoned and preparations are being made to fully restore the site.
With regard to Springs Road (Bloodhound Missile Site as per image above from Jackson’s site entrance):
We mobilised the equipment to Springs Road in early January 2019 and spudded the well on 22 January 2019. In mid-February, we encountered shales on prognosis, at c.2,200 metres depth and drilled through a hydrocarbon bearing shale sequence of over 250 metres, including the upper and lower Bowland Shale. TD has been reached at 3,500 metres after encountering all three targets – Bowland Shale, Millstone Grit and Arundian shales. Significant gas indications were observed throughout the shale section and additionally within the Millstone Grit sequence and the Arundian shale. The cores and wireline logs will now undergo a suite of analysis, the first results of which should be available in the second quarter of 2019.
In an interview of 19th March 2019 on CORE TV channel, IGas CEO Stephen Bowler (SB) talks about Tinker Lane and Springs Road. SB explains that drilling the Tinker lane well was all about fulfilling the contractual commitment (by way of the Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence). Having only 2D seismic data (Editor: from 1980’s) “IGas were never going to go back to flow that well.” The outcomes at Tinker Lane were:
Drilling speeds better than hoped.
Took some sidewall cores (not full cores) and some preliminary data looked encouraging.
More data expected in due course.
Tinker lane well is now officially abandoned and it will be restored to agricultural land.
Of Springs Road, a much deeper well to 3,500 metres, three targets of which 2 had been encountered. Taken 250 metres of core (later said 150 metres). The drilling speed had surpassed even that of Tinker Lane and were now drilling to a deeper interval. IGas expecting an initial indication from laboratory testing of the cores in Q2 and full analysis in Q3. The factors that will be of importance are rock properties, gas content and fracture characteristics. Will the gas flow? Drilling costs and gas price. In a couple of months time a second vertical well will be drilled with a 1,500 horizontal section off it. IGas might then look for regulatory/planning approvals to frack the well.
SB says that the second Springs Road well is also an exploratory well and implied that the fracking investigation would be undertaken within the existing Traffic Light System. For commercial development the .5 limit is prohibitive. IGas and others are looking to the Oil and Gas authority to raise the levels.
SB envisages a single pad might supply enough gas for half a million homes and that 60 pads might deliver a meaningful quantity of gas. Editor comment: 60 pads with 12-14 wells per pad (INEOS estimates) thus 720 – 840 wells, presumably across IGas licence area in the East Midlands.
A final comment from SB on the “Eureka” calls from INEOS on the initial findings at Tinker Lane. SB said that he was more conservative, but said that they were correct! The Interviewer also stated during the interview that the gas show was from the Millstone Grit interval and not from shale. This was not contradicted by SB.
IGas have made application for a non material amendment for Tinker Lane. The documents are available on the NCC website here:
In effect IGas are asking if they might remove the bollards in the lay-by (image above) and restore the signage, opening up the lay-by for re-use. This follows a recent meeting of the CLG calling for same and is somewhat contrary to what is referred to in the accompanying letter from IGas consultants. The lay-by is in fact situated within Torworth Parish Council and it would have been appropriate therefore for Torworth Parish Council to make this request. Blyth Parish Council in fact asked for a few of the bollards as free issue and this was agreed by the IGas representative. It is however in everyones best interest that the lay-by is re-opened as soon as possible. The bollards will in the first instance be removed from the lay-by and stored temporarily on the Tinker Lane site.
In addition IGas would like to leave the tarmac hardstanding, the bell mouth, for use as a permanent access. Local people might just have a view on this request and your views should be submitted to NCC before 29th March. The plan view of the proposed retained bell mouth and site restoration is available here.
Some of you have commented on the final sentence in the previous post which reads: Image above taken of Misson Springs drilling rig, 11th March 2019, shows drilling rig in foreground and gas vent to atmosphere (presumably also effervescing gas) in background.
It should be noted that this sentence was not from IGas, rather from this writer!
I am rather hung up about methane venting or perhaps better described free gas emission to atmosphere (Environment Agency (EA) definition see below) that undoubtedly occurs during drilling. My view is that such flows from the vent stack on the mud gas separator should be metered. It is not beyond the wit of man, or indeed exploratory drillers, to install a gas flow measuring device on the vent stack (venturi perhaps) to measure the gas as it exits the vent stack. Perhaps the gas flow is already measured somehow. That gas flow has an impact on global warming, it affects us all and the volumetric flows from hydrocarbon drilling operations should thus be made public.
We have consulted the EA about our concerns on free gas emissions during the drilling phase at Tinker Lane and their response, to clarify the issue, follows:
“However, if you are concerned about how any gas encountered in an exploratory borehole during the drilling phase is managed then the following extra information may help explain how this would be dealt with if any were encountered during the drilling process.
In general terms venting may be considered as an option for managing gas from an exploratory borehole only if it was carried out in a managed and controlled way and only if the quantities involved were below the threshold whereby using another form of abatement such as using a flare would be feasible.
Waste gases, including fugitive emissions, are considered an ‘extractive waste’ underthe Mining Waste Directive. As such the management of fugitive gas emissions is reflected in the mining waste permit that was issued for the site.
Operators submit a Waste Management Plan as part of their permit application which sets out measures to control the waste on site to make sure it does not escape in an unmanaged fugitive way.
The Operator provided a specific risk assessment for this scenario which includes monitoring and proposes abatement and emergency control measure specific to gas management. These included:-
- mud weight will be adjusted as required to control formation fluids and pressures;
- a blow-out preventer will be in place while drilling against formations withpotential to produce hydrocarbons;
- monitoring of surface returns will be undertaken to detect gas and oilcontamination;
- monitoring of methane using an explosive atmosphere monitor. We have no evidence to suggest there were any quantities of “free” gas found duringthe drilling of the borehole at Tinker Lane that required the deployment of these control measures.
IGas is pleased to announce an update regarding the SR-01 well at Springs Road in North Nottinghamshire.
Further to our announcement on 15 February 2019, we have now encountered a hydrocarbon bearing shale sequence of over 250 metres, including the upper and lower Bowland Shale. Significant gas indications were observed throughout the shale section and additionally within sands in the Millstone Grit sequence.
We have now completed this phase of data acquisition which included the recovery of approximately 150m of shale core and an extensive wireline logging program across the Millstone Grit, and Upper and Lower Bowland Shale. Petrophysical and core analysis is currently being conducted, which will give us further insight into the resource potential and shale characterisation that will be utilised for future appraisal and development of the wider East Midlands area.
We will give a further update following the completion of the majority of the analysis in Q2.
Having encountered both primary and secondary targets on prognosis we are now drilling into the tertiary target, to prove up the potential for multiple hydrocarbon bearing horizons within the Gainsborough Trough.
The rate of drilling at Springs Road has been quicker than anticipated, building on our learnings and operating efficiencies from Tinker Lane.
The analysis of the Tinker Lane core samples is still ongoing.
Commenting, Stephen Bowler, CEO said:
“I am delighted to report that we have recovered high quality hydrocarbon bearing cores at our Springs Road site. The data gathered to date shows that there are significant prospective resources in our East Midlands acreage and is another important step for the UK onshore industry.
There is the potential for the gas beneath our feet to contribute materially to the UK energy needs. Gas is important for our energy requirements, not least because over 80% of the homes across the country are heated by gas. These results come at a time when we are importing more and more gas from overseas and could stimulate investment in the East Midlands basin as well as improving the country’s balance of payments.”
Ross Pearson, Technical Director of IGas Energy plc, and a qualified person as defined in the Guidance Note for Mining, Oil and Gas Companies, March 2006, of the London Stock Exchange, has reviewed and approved the technical information contained in this announcement. Mr Pearson has 18 years oil and gas exploration and production experience.
Image above taken of Misson Springs drilling rig, 11th March 2019, shows drilling rig in foreground and gas vent to atmosphere (presumably also effervescing gas) in background. (this closing sentence editor comment!)
We were asked to comment today by the Nottingham Post on an article that appeared today in the Sun newspaper. The Sun article referenced what appears to be a press release issued by INEOS who have a 45% interest in PEDL 200, the licence area that includes the Tinker Lane borehole site. It is not so obvious from the Sun article (reports a find of 30 years worth of gas) what test results are being referred to by Tom Pickering of INEOS who is featured in the article. The reporter from the Post confirmed that it was actually the Tinker Lane borehole results but was unable to share the press release with us. Now that information, that there was gas in vast and commercial quantity came as something of a surprise to me as its runs counter to what the Tinker Lane CLG had been lead to believe. We were told that there was some “quite light crude” in evidence but not in a commercial quantity, certainly not from a 7 inch borehole. IGas did not encounter the Bowland Shale, (an earlier IGas Trading Statement confirmed/lamented that) but they informed us at CLG that they had evidenced a “quite light crude” coming from the Millstone Grit. It seems that the press release seeks to extrapolate from the findings at Tinker Lane “Tests found an average level of 60.7 standard cubic feet per tonne of gas (sic) – compared with an average 39 (scf) at a vast shale field in Texas.” to what might yet be available in the Bowland Shale reserves. We have commented to the Nottingham Post that had gas been found in such quantity that IGas might have made great play of the fact and not have released such a downbeat Trading Statement and if gas had been found in such quantity at Tinker Lane that the borehole might not have been abandoned and plugged top to bottom with concrete.
IGas released the following trading update today:
The preliminary tests on shale samples from within the Millstone Grit Group at Tinker Lane are encouraging for the potential gas resources in the Gainsborough Trough basin. The analysis of these samples is still subject to further testing and validation. As previously stated, the well, which is part of a wider exploration programme in the basin, has been plugged and abandoned and preparations are being made to fully restore the site.
Drilling operations at Springs Road-1 are progressing well. We have encountered shales on prognosis, at c.2,200 m, including the Bowland Shale horizon and coring will commence imminently. The rate of drilling at Springs Road has been quicker than anticipated, building on our learnings and operating efficiencies from Tinker Lane and augurs well for the future.
So it appears they have found that elusive shale layer at 2,200 metres and will start to take core samples. Strange the reference to the preliminary tests on shale samples from the millstone grit layer at Tinkerlane. We were told that there were no cores taken, only what were described as side cores (?). (Image of IGas “cores from Ince Marshes”)
This is a brief summary of the points raised at the CLG that we believe will be of most interest to the communities we represent.
Although IGas are currently in the so called evaluation phase it was clear (to the writer) that as there was no Bowland Shale found the evaluation phase is better considered a lull before contracts are let and permissions obtained from the regulator Nottinghamshire County Council for the restoration/rehabilitation of the site.
The layby closure was required by Highways Agency for the duration of the construction, drilling, evaluation and restoration of the site. However NCC are looking at getting the layby back into use during the current evaluation phase. IGas will put an application into NCC Planning for their approval to remove the concrete blocks (from the layby) then subsequently an application into Highways Agency to sanction temporary traffic lights (for a day) to allow a Hiab to remove the blocks and place them temporarily on the concrete pad on site. The above application will be made as a “non material amendment” so as to action expeditiously but allows consultation between NCC, Highways and the Parish Council.
IGas advised that they did not take a core sample, save for some side core samples. It is apparent that the Bowland Shale is to the North West of the Tinker Lane site. IGas drilled through several “thick” coal seams at shallow depth, which tallies with the British Coal findings who at one time had aspirations to open cast the vicinity.
The exploratory well has been plugged and abandoned with the borehole cemented from bottom to top. The casing been cut off. The cellar is covered with a ventilated container. The adjacent spare conductor, which has casing down to 6o metres will also be cut off at the level of the cellar base as part of the restoration works and filled with concrete.
The water monitoring boreholes will remain in situ during the rehabilitation phase and monitoring of the waters will continue to a suite of analyses imposed as part of the permit.The boreholes were designed and drilled to a depth to monitor contamination from surface spills only. During the phase it is expected that with a set of results from before and after drilling the Environment Agency (EA) will then give permission for the boreholes to be filled and the permits as issued to IGas by the EA will be surrendered. The EA will advise the CLG if the results can be made available to the public.
De-manning of site is underway, security huts removed, two huts remain, HERAS fencing taken down, some hoarding remains, some already removed, internal gates taken down, wiring coming out, internet disconnected. A metal waste skip due on site for casing offcuts and damaged HERAS. By next week it is expected that site security will no longer be required, site secured with a gate and remaining HERAS. IGas then put an invitation to tender to (de)construction firms to rehabilitate the site expected tendering in February. This with a view to complete rehabilitation during the spring/summer, weather permitting.
The cellar will be broken down during the rehabilitation and removed in pieces, the subsurface water tank will also be removed. The hardcore (limestone) will be tested for contamination and if free of contamination will be recycled. 5 year aftercare involves restoring the site to meet the approval of NCC and the landowner and then visits by IGas to the site say once every 3 months in first year, then six monthly intervals after that to determine how the site is “ageing”.
A Hobby survey will be undertaken in March as restoration is earmarked for Spring/Summer 2019. The survey much as was undertaken last May will look for evidence of previous nesting sites in advance of the later hobby breeding season. During the season a further survey will be undertaken of any previously identified nest sites looking for evidence of activity.
The CLG has asked if there might be an overview of actual HGV movements compared to that projected in the application. It is hoped that NCC’s Enforcement Officer will come up with the figures as IGas have supplied him with vehicle movements every 4 weeks and it should be possible to present these to the CLG at the end of the restoration phase. We anticipate that future meetings of the CLG will be on a less frequent basis with perhaps 2 future meetings to tie things up.