29/04/11 Oil-drilling at airfield expected to be granted permission

Oil-drilling at disused Lincolnshire airfield expected to be granted permission


Cirque Energy (UK) Limited believes a potential oil pool at Fiskerton could contribute to the domestic energy market

OIL prospectors are expected to receive permission to continue their investigations under a disused RAF airfield.

Cirque Energy (UK) Limited believes a potential oil pool at Fiskerton is capable of making a “useful contribution” to the country’s domestic energy market.

But the company is not allowed to proceed with drilling tests, after it ran out of time.

The energy firm blamed sub-zero temperatures in December and January and repair work to machinery for disrupting its investigations.

Lincolnshire County Council‘s planning committee will make a final decision on Monday, May 9, as to whether Cirque can finish its work.

The application is recommended for approval.

Representations have been made to the county council, calling for testing to last no more than six months.

Fiskerton Parish Council clerk Margaret Smithson said: “The parish council accepts the winter of 2010-11 could have made work on this site difficult.

“However, it is concerned the applicant continues to make applications for extensions to planning permissions. Given that the planning authority stipulated that work should have been finished by March, the parish council believes: an extension can be made, preferably for six months rather than a year; the applicant is made to understand this will be the last extension that will be granted; and the site should eventually be restored to its original condition.”

The first exploratory bore hole at Fiskerton Airfield was drilled in July 1997 with further ones proving the existence of oil to warrant production with pumps known as “nodding donkeys”.

Planning permission to carry out extended well tests was received in September 2008 until March 31 last year.

As reported in the Echo, Cirque Energy was given permission last May to proceed with testing at its Fiskerton No 1 well until March 31 this year.

It now wants this extending for another 12 months.

A company statement said underground checks also needed to be conducted to a depth of 2,300 feet as part of routine bore hole inspection and maintenance.

It said: “The extension will allow time to complete the programme of testing and also allow for time to prepare further applications for permission to move the site forward beyond the testing phase.

“To our knowledge, there have been no issues or complaints from the local authority or any statutory bodies regarding the Fiskerton site.”