By Dan Robinson
February 09, 2017
The company that holds a licence to test Nottinghamshire land for shale gas says it will begin surveys in the coming months – with a view to submitting planning applications for fracking this year.
Ineos has a Government remit to carry out tests in parts of the county, including in Sherwood Forest and the Clumber Park tourist attraction.
Despite being denied permission for pre-fracking surveys by the National Trust, which owns Clumber Park, the international chemicals firm says it could take legal action.
But Ineos said it will not go ahead with fracking – a controversial deep drilling method to extract oil or gas – without consulting residents or planning permission.
It has yet to go public on sites in the county that it is interested in but, in an interview with the Post, Ineos' shale operations director Tom Pickering said: "We are looking in Nottinghamshire and will start surveys this year.
"You could expect to see 10 planning applications for vertical core wells across our entire licenced areas – some will definitely be in Nottinghamshire but we don't know where yet.
"Clumber Park is within the licenced area and so is part of Sherwood Forest, but all our applications have to go through the planning process.
"Where there's an environmental designation, we're conscious of that, and we recognise Sherwood Forest is a precious landscape.
"We'll be spending a lot of time in the region so there's a lot of opportunity for people to come and talk to us, and tell us their concerns, because we're here to listen and help mitigate them."
Ineos was awarded a Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence, which allows it to purse a range of oil and gas exploration activities, from the Government in December 2015.
Its geographical area covers as far north as Sheffield down to Eakring, just south of Ollerton, and the area also includes Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Mansfield Woodhouse, Shirebrook, Worksop and the outskirts of Retford.
The company must still gain permission from landowners to carry out tests. They could come in the form of seismic surveys – which can detect oil and gas through artificially-induced shockwaves into the earth – and vertical "coring" drills that take samples of the earth.
Test results will then determine whether Ineos applies to councils for planning permission to set up fracking wells and begin drilling to a depth of one to two miles, which could begin by mid-2018…
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