The North Yorkshire County Council approved an application for the first shale gas hydraulic fracturing (fracking) permit in Western Europe since 2011.
The Council authorised privately-held Third Energy to use fracking to extract shale gas from a natural gas well in Kirby Misperton, northern England.
“This approval, is not a victory, but is a huge responsibility”, Third Energy Chief Executive Rasik Valand, said.
UK Approves First Fracking Permit
The UK is one of the few countries in Europe where fracking is legally permitted, after the moratorium was lifted in 2012, but local governments had not awarded any permits to companies yet and all proposals had faced harsh criticism by environmentalists and local residents.
Last year, Lancashire Council rejected Cuadrilla Resources’ fracking applications, and the company is appealing the decision.
In the meantime, the UK government is working towards allowing government intervention in the permit approval process in the hopes of speeding up the procedure and compensating the decline in North Sea production.
The first Shale Explorer In The UK
“We will have to deliver on our commitment, made to the committee and to the people of Ryedale, to undertake this operation safely and without impacting on the local environment”, Third Energy’s Valand stated.
Despite the fact this permit has been granted, the executive explained that no activity is expected in the near future, as the company needs to get other consents and notifications prior from getting the final consent from the Secretary of State.
“The purpose of this application is to establish if the gas seen in some samples in this hybrid stone shale formation can be made to flow, at what process conditions and for how long. If this flows, then we will need to assess how it performs for some months before making any conclusions”, he said.
According to an EIA estimate, the UK holds enough shale gas reserves to triple its current annual gas consumption.