Woodsetts shale gas drilling site proposed

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Woodsetts near RotherhamImage source, Google
Image caption,
The firm is yet to submit an application for test drilling and has said it will consult with people

An energy firm has said it wants to drill an exploration well for future shale gas extraction in South Yorkshire.

Ineos wants to drill near Woodsetts, near Rotherham, based on "existing geological data".

The proposed site is west of the village and south of Dinnington Road.

Rose Dickinson, of Friends of the Earth, said: "It is concerning this is the first stage of a potential fracking application."

"There has been no fracking for six years and it is not a viable technology, it poses many risks to people and the environment," the energy and climate campaigner added.

The firm is yet to submit an application for test drilling and said it would consult with people.

Any well would be designed to extract a sample of the rock for laboratory analysis to see if it has gas-producing properties and test whether conditions are encouraging for shale gas extraction, said the company.

Construction of the rig could take up to three months and drilling, coring and testing could take up to five months, it added.

The company submitted planning applications for exploratory drilling at Common Road, Harthill, in Rotherham and Bramleymoor Lane in the village of Marsh Lane, Derbyshire, in March.

Before any shale operation can begin in the UK, operators must pass rigorous health and safety, environmental and planning permission processes, according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Shale gas could be recoverable through hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

Media caption,

The BBC's David Shukman explains how fracking works

What is fracking?

Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside.

Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure which allows the gas to flow out to the head of the well.

The process can be carried out vertically or, more commonly, by drilling horizontally to the rock layer and can create new pathways to release gas or can be used to extend existing channels.

The term fracking refers to how the rock is fractured apart by the high pressure mixture.

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