INEOS Shale has told Rigzone that it is not fracking in Sherwood Forest, despite statements from environmental group Friends of the Earth on the contrary.

"INEOS Shale is not fracking in Sherwood Forest. Friends of the Earth have unnecessarily alarmed the public by misrepresenting information made available to them by the Forestry Commission under Freedom of Information,” INEOS Shale Operations Director Tom Pickering said.

“We keep offering to meet with Friends of the Earth on the subject of shale gas but they do not respond. The public may wish to ask themselves why not,” he added.

In order to build upon its existing knowledge, INEOS stated that it is currently preparing to carry out seismic imaging surveys across its wider license area in the East Midlands, which includes part of Sherwood Forest. 

“This process does not include fracking in any form. Seismic imaging involves transmitting soundwaves into the earth and recording the corresponding soundwaves reflected back to the surface,” Pickering said.

“The data acquired helps us understand the subsurface layers and fracture systems and determine potential drilling locations from a geological perspective. Further analysis of surface constraints is required before a drilling site can be considered suitable,” he added.

Developing such an extensive data acquisition program is an iterative process with many moving parts, explained Pickering.  

“With regard to Sherwood Forest there is guidance for working around ancient/veteran trees and we would have a site visit with Natural England and Notts CC Country park department to propose the route and any specific safeguards needed to feed into the arboricultural method statement,” Pickering said.

“We anticipate that some areas will be straightforward while others may require adjustment to take account of specific environmental features,” he added.

INEOS told Rigzone that it believes energy provision is currently a key issue for the UK. 

“As we close our coal and nuclear power stations, we will need to find environmentally friendly alternatives if we want to keep our homes warm and the lights on. Gas is one of these environmentally friendly alternatives, and potentially we in the UK have a huge supply of indigenous gas under our own feet,” Pickering said. 

“We plan to explore the viability of this natural resource and determine, in collaboration with local authorities, whether it can be accessed without significantly impacting the local area,” he concluded.