Concerns were raised at the Minerals Planning Authority (MPA) decision meeting yesterday, 21st March 2017, at Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC) that outdated seismic data was analysed by Dart to bolster their Application to Drill an Exploratory Well at Tinker Lane.
We expressed surprise that a possible impact from previous coal workings in the immediate vicinity of the site had been so readily discounted by the regulatory authorities as was mentioned in the Officers report.
A decision in Dart’s favour was made at the Meeting of the MPA and Dart now has authority to drill the exploratory well at Tinker Lane.
Time to move on perhaps, but there are plenty of other applications in the pipeline and a good number will be in areas with a history of previous coal mining and subsidence. We learnt at the hearing from Officer and County Solicitor that it is seemingly the HSE that bears sole responsibility for the assessment of underlying geology and it is to their door that we need to address our concerns in future.
The situation that prevailed at Tinker Lane as follows:
There are abandoned coal workings approximately 1 km from the centre of the Tinker Lane site, that were mined from British Coal’s Harworth Colliery in 2002 and 2003.
In 1984 seismic testing was undertaken by BP that embraced the Tinker Lane site in its analysis.
BP postulated that on the basis of these test results a possible fault ran through the Tinker Lane site.
Dart and TOTAL (IGas’s partners at Springs Road) have recently analysed the same 1984 data set and purport to show there is no evidence of faulting.
The 1984 data set collected by BP is now some 33 years old. We asked what changes might have taken place in the 33 years since, to the underlying strata at Tinker Lane?
What of a possible impact from the coal workings in 2002 and 2003?
The BP data of 1984 pre dates coal mining & should not in our view have been accepted by the regulatory authorities as representative of current conditions underground.
At the meeting, we presented the flyover image (above) of a local oilwell, taken earlier this year. The well is currently used for “oilfield monitoring purposes” (nodding donkey removed) in a Nottinghamshire oilfield licensed by NCC MPA in 2014.
The oilfield, close to colliery workings abandoned in 1993, shows damage to pad and cellar. We believe that the damage is likely subsidence damage at the surface and fear for what unseen damage there might also be to wellbore and casing below ground. Our fears of course for a similar occurrence on a Tinker Lane wellpad and through underground stimulation of what has laid dormant since colliery abandonment, earth movement and subsidence to a much wider area.
We argued that Dart had failed in a duty of care to offer evidence from a contemporary seismic investigation of the area of search, in an area where deep mine coal extraction had taken place.
That such a survey had not been undertaken prior to drilling the exploratory well, is foolhardy and of great concern to our community.
An unease that had been reported and minuted repeatedly at sessions of Tinker Lane Community Liaison Group and disregarded by Dart.