Ineos About to Start Moving with Fracking Plans in UK

By January 8, 2017 blog No Comments

News came in on Friday 6th January 2017 from the Drill or Drop website that the First INEOS shale gas exploration bid gets underway

Although this is planned for Derbyshire, and puts more pressure on communities there and in Nottinghamshire, as Ineos has PEDL licences in our local areas in Cheshire, it is worth watching what happens elsewhere and learning from the experience, it is also a reason to form links with groups further afield who share the common fracking company. People from the Frack Free Dee area have already been forging links with groups in Nottinghamshire, as shown in the picture above, take on 7th January 2017 at a rally in Sherwood Forest to raise awareness about Ineos wanting to conduct seismic surveys through the forest near the Major Oak.

We are all on a learning curve with this, because the industry is new to the UK and does not have a precedent, and because none of us are experts or have experience in this either, we are all simply concerned residents who have had this dumped on our doorsteps. As a mother and dental receptionist, none of this was what I expected to be learning about! So as always the reminder is to read as many articles as possible, do your own research, learn from and pass on anything that is useful or informative.

Reading through the information in the article, (and I encourage you to read it!) this seems at first glance to be another exploration well, and as usual, the site is planned at just under 1 hectare, this has been the case with all the exploratory drill sites so far, to bypass the requirement for an Environmental Impact Assessment, as this is a requirement for sites over 1 hectare in size.

However, looking at the proposed development stages….

Proposed development phases

  1. Site development and establishment 3 months working 7am-7pm Monday-Friday and 7am-1pm on Saturdays

  2. Drilling and coring, including mobilisation and demobilisation of the rig 3 months working 24-hour operations for drilling and 7am-7pm Monday-Friday and 7am-1pm on Saturdays for mobilisation and demobilisation of the rig

  3. Establishment as listening well and suspension 1 week with working hours in Stage 1.

  4. Listening well operations using geophones 3 weeks working 7am-7pm Monday-Friday

  5. Abandonment and restoration 1 month working as for Stage 1


Stages three and four are new to me and indicate that there is another area to this subject that needs to be looked at. This is a stage that “would take place only when a well on another separate site is hydraulic fractured, subject to such a consent for that separate site being granted within the period of planning consent for this well.”

So this indicates that further applications will be going in from Ineos in Derbyshire, which will include actual fracking. We are familiar now with geophones, used during seismic testing, so the purpose of a ‘listening well’ seems to be to listen or pick up on the vibrations sent out when fracking takes place elsewhere. What information this gives, and what the purpose of that information is, I have yet to find out, but the one definite lesson from this is to look at planning applications in detail as they get submitted, what might seem to be a simple application on the surface, could also be an indicator of other plans that the company has in the near future.

A bit of googling has revealed the purpose of a listening well. Similar to seismic testing, this listens when frack takes place nearby, and detects where the fractures are taking place, and how big they are. The information can be used for things like determining how near or far apart the lateral wells need to be to shatter all the shale.

Here is an interview from 2011  piece that explains about listening wells which  also serves as a reminder that modern high volume slickwater hydraulic fracturing is a relatively new process that only came about in the past 20 years as several different technologies developed independently that could be used together, a reminder that the often repeated line about fracking taking place since Victorian times is incorrect, to be polite.

“We ran frack maps in 1995 and 1997 and got encouraging results. The tools weren’t yet functioning properly. We couldn’t tell where these events were – “Is it northeast of the well, is it northwest of well, or what?”

With microseismic frack mapping you’re lowering seisemic tools into a listening well near the well you are fracking. You frack it, and the seismic devices pick up the noise of the frack where rocks are breaking, and you triangulate that noise and place it vertically and horizontally so you know how much frack growth and geometry looks like. DOE and GRI had the tools to listen to these downhole events while fracking. And they had to triangulate.

The displacement of those devices is a short distance, which is harder when displacement is long distance. You have to have tools that are extremely accurate and you have to have software and hardware that can take the readings and processing. That’s what DOE and GRI did.”

There are some good quotes in this piece, the last paragraph about renewables says  –
” I don’t bad mouth government involvement in solar and wind because we have to be experimenting with that. We’re not far enough along in them for solar and wind to provide much energy. Gas has bought us the time to develop the other things. Renewable and nuclear along cannot provide us the base load energy we need today, but we need to get started in developing them. Government has to be looking down the road. We really cannot wait to develop those other energies. Industry doesn’t look as far down the road as the government should. And politicians are often looking for their next election.”

As this interview is from six years ago, the renewables sector is now much further ahead. Even this industry man is saying back then that we need to get started in developing them. And that politicians are often looking for the next election – does this ring any bells with where we find ourselves now? Five years on and our government is looking to start a new fossil fuel industry that was described in 2011 more or less as a stop-gap

When I started writing this piece I didnt expect to get as far as I have done, I, and frack free dee and most groups in the frack-free movement, encourage you you read what you can and find out more, do your own research.

Now, as the fracking industry prepares to make moves on our communities, with this new industry that has not been used in our country before, on our specific geology, which differs very much from that in the U.S. I’ll end this piece with an industry quote from that interview,  from Dan Steward, Former Mitchell Energy Vice President…

There was trial and error. Frequently that’s what has to happen. You have to take best science and trial and error things. That’s how Barnett got started.

Back now to Ineos and their plans to drill the listening well in Derbyshire…  on 10th January 2017 following this information, local residents attended the Eckington parish council meeting to voice their anger.
At one point, it looked like the meeting would have to be abruptly ended as residents demanded answers from the parish council, and a representative from the firm behind the application, INEOS, was heckled.
Read more at:

Yet another community saying NO to this industry trying to force itself upon them. Angry residents can and do make a difference. If you don’t want it, stand up and say so. You do not just have to accept it


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