In December 2012, the gate to Unconventional Gas exploration in South Wales was opened, with the granting of permission to drill in the Vale of Glamorgan. The same company has since applied for planning permission for test sites across South Wales.
The company holding the license to drill in Wales is a Bridgend company named Coastal Oil and Gas Ltd. In this article on the BBC news website in December 2012, Gerwyn Williams explains what the company hopes to achieve.
The planning documents submitted to the Rhondda Cynon Taff council state that:
The works for the boreholes will include:
• Install 2m diameter concrete ring up to 3m deep
• Drilling a surface conductor hole at approximately 30cm diameter a sufficient distance into rock head.
• Cementing the surface completion in place.
• Pressure testing the surface completion.
• Drilling at approximately 25cm diameter into the strata, steel casing will be set to the necessary depth to protect any groundwater present.
• Drilling rig 1 will then leave site, to await the arrival of rig 2.
• Drill to the base of the Westphalian and Namurian measures and collect samples utilising suitable Well Head Protection and Diversion System to a suitable vent system.
• Utilising suitable monitoring systems
• Geophysical logs will be completed in the borehole
• Upon completion of the drilling, casing will be installed in the borehole with a suitable well head assembly fitted
• Pump tests to indicate the permeability and suitability of the strata to produce gas will be undertaken
If the site proves viable, the well would be left in place, capped, and planning permission sought for a production well. If the site is not found to be viable, the site will be returned to its previous state from a visible viewpoint, but the underground construction will remain.
There has no fixed schedule published yet, but we expect from information presented to us that if all conditions are met, the site will start becoming operated around September 2014.
Consent was sought for a temporary period of one year during which time establishment and site clearance would last 4 weeks, drilling and associated operations – 8 weeks, laboratory testing 4 weeks and gas testing 36 weeks. Hours of work during site establishment and site clearance would be from 08:00 – 18:00 hours and during the drilling period – 24 hours, seven days a week.
Pant-Y-Brad is a narrow country lane that runs North from the Royal Mint in Llantrisant. The lane connects to Coed Ely and Tonyrefail, and Beddau, and is part of the network of old lanes that expand to Beddau, Pontypridd and beyond. The site lies at grid reference ST037854, and can be explored using the Google Map and Streetview below.
Immediately to the South of the site location is a Public Right of Way (Llantrisant 273)
Available data on the Namurian strata indicates gas initially in place (GIIP) of 49,870 billion cubic feet (49.87 trillion cubic feet), and an estimated recoverable recourse of 18tcf+ has been indicated over the whole of the Namurian Strata in South Wales. It has been postulated that this would help extend the time available to switch to renewable energies. We believe that Shale Gas is not an interim fuel source, but is dangerous to the environment, both in its natural form of Methane, and due to the intensive processes used to harvest it.