Fracking in Kirby Misperton could start later this year

Fracking at Kirby Misperton could start later this year.
Fracking at Kirby Misperton could start later this year.

Fracking in Kirby Misperton, near Pickering, could start later this year.

Third Energy, the company behind the plans to extract shale gas from the Ryedale site, said it's been working with the Oil and Gas Authority to update its licence and agree a work programme.

Under the revised terms of its exploration licences, the company is required to frack its gas well near Kirby Misperton by the end of 2019. Within the next 18 months, it must also drill a 1,000m lateral well and carry out another frack.

After that, Third Energy has said it will drill and frack a 3,000m deep well by 30 September 2021 and drill and frack a further well by 31 December 2022. This will be followed by two more wells in 2023 and 2024, taking the total new wells to six.

However, this can only happen if the company passes the government's financial resilience test, something chief operating officer Alan Linn feels optimistic about.

He said: "Our financial situation is not a concern to us. We would never go ahead if we thought we didn't have enough finances so at the moment we're doing what we can to prove to the government that we can meet all their requirements."

In November 2017, Third Energy told residents in Kirby Misperton that it was ready to frack the KM8 well. But two months later, the energy secretary delayed granting hydraulic fracturing consent until there had been a review of the company’s financial resilience and drilling equipment was cleared from the site.

Looking at the newly-published programme of work anti-fracking campaigners remain sceptical.

Local resident, Steve Mason, said: “This has come like a bolt from the blue after months of silence from Third Energy. But how are they going to follow this schedule when their financial stability still hasn’t been signed off by the Minister?

“Sadly these threats to frack by the company hang like a dark cloud over Ryedale, but residents are determined and we will continue fight them every step of the way.”