Category Archives: water supply

An Informed Opinion – by former VP of Mobil

Link to the opinion and fears of Fracking by an ex VP of Mobil.


3rd letter to residents


The final session at the Rathlin 21/12/11 meeting (started at about 18:45 hrs) was quite revealing as to Rathlin’s intentions: Some interesting questions were raised and the answers that followed are summarised below:

1 Rathlin have insisted all along, that the controversial and environmentally damaging technique known as Hydraulic Fracturing is not part of their plans. Fracking was brought up by a concerned resident. The resident asked Rathlin a direct question. “Will you (Rathlin) be using Hydraulic fracturing“. The answer from Rathlin was- “NO” Another resident then followed up asking Rathlin, if they were not going to be ‘Fracking’ then would they be willing to sign a Section 106 to legally bind them to their verbal undertaking ? ( Planning Obligation & Section 106 Agreement is a legal document that is binding) The Rathlin chairman Mr Montague Smith replied that they would have to speak to their lawyers.This obviously could be construed, as a disingenuous intent on Fracking in the future
Currently – Rathlin have NO working installation in Ireland, now NO operational/establishment experience in U.K !

2. Looking to the future and at the big picture of a commercially viable gas find at Crawberry Hill. Rathlin were asked whether a gas processing plant would be required at Crawberry Hill. Rathlin were not sure how to answer this. However, oil and gas professionals will tell you that a gas processing plant will be required to enable the gas to be dehydrated and compressed prior to forcing it into the national transmission system. The plant required will inevitably generate vibration and noise 24/7.
Rathlin seem keen to promote the idea of oil being the prospect target with visions of a benign ‘nodding donkey’being situated at Crawberry Hill. However gas has now been mentioned too !

3. A concerned resident having previously worked on related projects expressed concern at the ability of the road infrastructure to cope with the amount and size of vehicles that will be required. He related the current experience with Stoneledge, who have the right to come through the villages being a local business. Rathlin were quite happy with the current arrangements as they feel as they have approached the Highways Department and have their blessing. However Rathlin cannot be certain as to the exact volume of traffic that will be generated with respect to any hydrocarbon liquids and waste water produced. They cannot estimate it at this stage.

4. A concerned resident raised the financial standing of Rathlin, with data indicating it being heavily indebted. Rathlin are operating as a Limited Company with limited liability. Other credible Canadian Oil and Gas Companies do not operate in the UK in multiple company layers. Other credible Canadian companies operate in the UK under their own international name, with the backing of a big company resource. Why not Rathlin?

5. Rathlin during their presentation aimed to give the audience confidence that their planned operations would not pollute our aquifer (our drinking water supply). Another concerned resident directed a question specifically at senior executive Mr Selkirk and chairman Mr Montague Smith .The question was, “if you are so confident of not polluting our aquifer would you be willing to sign personal financial guarantees backed by your personal assets that this will not occur. The answer from Mr Montague Smith was a resounding and immediate NO! so Rathlin are probably not so confident after all…..and this was probably the straightest answer to a question all night!

Please remember we are all custodians of Walkington village, no matter how long you have lived here, one month or several generations, your voice counts, together we can speak as one and protect our village for this generation and future generations. Stop Walkington village becoming a casualty.

What you can do if you OBJECT to Rathlins planning application 11/04441/STPLF ?
Despite Rathlin’s PR campaign it can still be stopped! we must Mobilise public opinion, lobby E.R.Y.C. p/committee.
1.Insist noise levels and noise distribution areas are re- assessed, it could have unacceptable impact on residents.
2.Submission of Traffic volume and logistics not accurate, re-assessment required, unacceptable impact on village.
3.Querry why the Planning Section 106 agreement has not been attached to Rathlins current application regarding Fracking (to confirm denial of Fracking now in the public domain) protecting Walkington village, residents + assets.
4.Insist E.R.Y.C. employ a specialist oil+gas Expert to re assess Rathlins drilling proposals as this could actually include the prelude to Fracking , opening the door to- major permanent impact on our village of WALKINGTON.
The planning decision advisers / imposers web link contact details are here: The Planning Committee councillors of E.R.Y.C. are:

Mrs P.Pollard (Chairman)
Mrs K.West (Vice Chairman)
Mr C.F.Bayram
Mr C.Chadwick
Mrs M.R.Chapman MBE
Mr T.Galbraith
Mrs K.L.Harold
Mr B.Pearson
Mrs D.Sharpe

Lib Dem
Mr P.Davison

Mr J.Whittle

Mr Boatman

These people are a Must for contacting:

MP Beverley and Holderness
Mr Graham Stuart

Mr S Parnaby OBE.
Leader of E.R.Y.C + Walkington ward councillor

Mr B Birmingham + Walkington ward coucillor

Mrs P Pollard + Walkington ward councillor

Mr Menzies
Chief executive E.R.Y.C.

Mr P Ashcroft
Head o planning E.R.Y.C

Mr D Hendley
E.R.Y.C Rathlin case officer

Please take the time to write or email lobbying all the 18 above people to reject this application. The next planning committee meeting is at 14.00 hrs.12 January 2012 so time is running out. If your write please allow 5 days for processing at E.R.Y.C, Remember we each have to do this independently ( unfortunately a petition is seen as only one name) Your personal objection is vital for the future our village and beyond.

Thank you.

3rd letter to Walkington residents

Call on Scottish Government to ban fracking after process found to cause Blackpool earth tremors

Environmental campaigners have called on the Scottish Government to ban a controversial technique for extracting gas deep underground after an industry report concluded it was the “highly probable” cause of earth tremors in Lancashire earlier this year.

The report by shale gas firm Cuadrilla Resources found that the technique is likely to have triggered earth tremors near Blackpool earlier this year. Hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’, involves injecting water, sand and chemicals under high pressure into shale rock or coal beds to release trapped gas.

Risks to the aquifer

The following is a copy of comments sent to the Planning Committee about the risks to the aquifer:

I have some concerns relating to potential for both harmful and malodourous gas emissions, plus possible contamination of the local water supply with cancer inducing chlorinated organic products.

Whilst it is highly likely that any reputable company will be well aware of these potential issues, I think it is well worth emphasising the potential risks and I strongly suggest that all members of the
planning committee are completely satisfied that adequate precautions are in place before any approval is granted

1) Gas emissions

Very many natural oil and gas deposits will contain the element sulphur in one form or another. Sulphur can react easily to produce many different compounds one of which is hydrogen sulphide ( the ‘bad egg’
gas). The presence of hydrogen sulphide in oil gives rise to the term ‘sour oil’. This is a highly toxic and foul smelling gas even in minute quantities, and the prevailing wind will blow any such fumes in the
direction of both Walkington and Bishop Burton.

The other range of compounds that may be formed come under the heading of mercaptans. These are even more toxic and foul smelling than hydrogen sulphide, although likely to be present in much lower
quantities. Mercaptans are normally produced commercially as an additive to processed natural gas (odourless) to make it smell as a warning of leaks.

Any such emissions can easily be dealt with by the use of chemical scrubbers, but these themselves involve the use of harmful chemicals with consequent concerns over safe handling and disposal in a rural

Before any planning application is approved I would suggest that ERYC ensure that air quality ( particularly the amount of hyrdrogen sulphide and sulphur dioxide) is being monitored 24/7, that all monitoring equipment is calibrated accurately and regularly and that all records are available for public inspection at any time

2) Contamination of water supply

All oil and gas bearing strata will contain a range of organic chemicals ( chemicals based on carbon) If these chemicals leach into the water supply it may be in the form of phenols ( based on the benzene ring)

As Yorkshire Water chlorinate the water, which they are legally bound to do, there is the potential for the formation of tri-chlorinated phenols or TCP in the water. Whilst this product is harmless when used
for gargling, it is designed to kill bacteria and prolonged exposure at even very low levels can be considered harmful and possibly carcinogenic.

The formation of TCP or other trihalomethanes (THMs) is a widespread problem in old industrial areas such as Bradford due to oil contamination of the water bearing aquifer. This is why Yorkshire Water carefully monitor the amounts of THMs in the drinking water supply

Procedures should be in place to monitor drinking water quality at at least 5 sentinel outlets in both Walkington and Bishop Burton on a weekly basis by independent Companies. The most important parameter will be the level of organics in the water

It should also be borne in mind that any contamination of the aquifer will affect an area stretching from Market Weighton, through Pocklington amd Stamford Bridge and into Beverley

3) Carbon footprint

The use of drilling equipment will produce carbon dioxide – Rathlin have conceded that diesel engines will be running 24 hours per day.
Have they provided information on the likely CO2 output over the expected lifetime of the project? There are strict Government guidelines on such emissions – without this essential information any planning application of this nature must be considered incomplete.

4) Life cycle anaylsis

All installations of this nature will have a quantifiable cost to the environment to set up, operate and break down. Any reputable company should provide such analysis before any consideration can be given to
approval – this is standard practice within the NHS for example (sometimes known as ‘cradle to grave’ costings)

5) Water abstraction

How much water will be required to formulate the drilling muds? Where will this be drawn from and what is the likely consequence on aquifer levels, particularly during times of drought?

6) Effluent disposal

What types and volumes of effluent are likely to be produced? What are the likely hazards of such effluents – have COSHH sheets been provided for any chemicals that may be stored on site. Without COSHH sheet data it would probably be considered illegal for any operation of this type to continue.

Further information on these points can be gained from a simple internet search.

I would suggest that if the above points are not addressed any planning application must be rejected. Incidences that may arise where sufficient precautions are not in place could lead to involvement of the HSE with consequent costly claims by both the HSE and any residents that may be affected.

Peter Rolinson