IGas Energy the gas exploration company have today released a statement to the London Stock Exchange regarding the results of its exploratory test well at Barton Moss:
IGas one of the leading producers of onshore hydrocarbons in the UK, is pleased to announce results of its exploration well at Barton Moss and, following the acquisition of Dart Energy, revised shale GIIP estimates for the enlarged group.They may say they're going for the Coal Bed Methane but it is now clear from Andrew Austin's comments about the shale potential that it is the shale gas and not the CBM and that means 'fracking'. The basis on which the Planning Inspectorate upheld GP Energy's appeal therefore seems to be wrong when he states, "the drilling process is a well established, conventional methodology." Is drilling into the shale 'well established'? I think not.
The Barton Moss well was drilled as an exploration well in PEDL 193 in the North West of England, with the original key objectives of fulfilling the 13th Licence Round commitment obligation, assessing the CBM potential of the area and delineating the deeper Dinantian limestone horizon to better calibrate the pre-existing seismic interpretation which has confirmed our interpretation of the basin and so informed our 14th onshore licensing application accordingly.
The well, which was completed in March 2014, was successful in achieving all of these objectives and the results have helped refine our geological models and are consistent with our overall basin depositional model. The well encountered 15 gas bearing coal seams in accordance with the pre-drill prognosis. The well also encountered a Namurian Shale section, consisting of the Sabden Shale and the Upper and Lower Bowland Shales. Approximately 400 feet of core was recovered, including from the shale section.
Commenting on this release, CEO Andrew Austin said "The results of the well are encouraging in respect of the shale potential of the area as they have helped further refine the existing basin models and verify the earlier preliminary prognosis. The results were employed in our 14th licence round applications. I am also pleased to announce the revised GIIP numbers where more data has narrowed the range and increased the overall potential which, coupled with our funded work programme of $80 million, gives us the ability to demonstrate the commerciality of gas extraction from these prospective areas.
Specifically, our work in the northwest continues with seismic acquisition, site selection and the up-coming well at Ellesmere Port."
IGas's statement to the LSE has 'muddied the waters' even further and the Borras application should now be open to further challenge. I await my appointment with Planning Officers with interest.