York & North Yorkshire

Kirby Misperton fracking: Third Energy sells business

Anti-fracking campaigners Image copyright PA
Image caption The site at Kirby Misperton was the focus of numerous protests

A company that planned to frack for shale gas in North Yorkshire has sold its onshore business.

Third Energy was given approval to carry out fracking at its site near Kirby Misperton, in Ryedale, in 2016.

However, the operation failed to get consent from the government and the firm began removing equipment from the site last year.

A statement from Third Energy Holdings Limited confirmed it had sold to York Energy (UK) Holdings Ltd.

The news comes as the UK's shale gas commissioner announced she was to resign after just six months.

Natascha Engel said fracking was being stopped by rules preventing mini-earthquakes, as current government rules mean fracking must be suspended every time a 0.5 magnitude tremor is detected.

York Energy is an affiliated company of Alpha Energy, a US energy company focused on acquiring and operating oil and gas assets.

Third Energy was told in 2018 it would face financial checks before fracking could go ahead, but the approval was never granted.

The site at Kirby Misperton has been the focus of numerous protests by those opposed to fracking since planning permission was granted.

Fracking in North Yorkshire

Fracking is drilling into the earth and directing a high-pressure water mixture at the rock in order to release gas inside.

Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure which allows the gas to flow out to the head of the well.

The term fracking refers to how the rock is fractured apart by the high pressure mixture.

Gas company Third Energy was granted permission to begin hydraulic fracturing at Kirby Misperton in May 2016, at an existing well sunk in 2013.

Anti-fracking protesters gathered day and night until March, when the company moved some equipment from the site.

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