The MP and the driller make their case for fracking in Sussex

The driller
The CEO of energy exploration company, Celtique Energie, told the West Sussex County Times if his company doesn’t drill in the county another will. Geoff Davies said: “We shouldn’t be having to battle to find out what the nation has got, but we are. We’re battling to put a hole in the ground.”

Celtique Energie has plans to drill exploratory wells at sites near Fernhurst, Billingshurst and near Kirdford and Wisborough Green.

Mr Davies said the geology would not go away. “What goes away is the licence holder. If we don’t find oil someone else will come in and have a look because of the advances in technology. This isn’t going away.”

Mr Davies told the paper the average Mr and Mrs Sussex were not “climate change” people. “They put petrol in their car and they use planes to fly away on holiday.” But he admitted there would always be people he could never convince. “Dealing with these people is like banging your head against a brick wall. We will never convince them, and they totally dislike us.”

The MP
Francis Maude, MP for Horsham, told the West Sussex County Times “In an ideal world we would meet all our energy demands from sustainable clean sources but, wedded as we all are to our electronic equipment, devices and tools, this is an unrealistic hope. We live in a crowded small island where a constant supply of affordable energy is seen as a basic human necessity.”

Mr Maude said he remained open-minded about shale gas. “As energy demands continue to increase year on year, we have to consider every potential source of supply while insisting that the activity is properly regulated.”

He said: “Should fracking ever be granted permission in West Sussex, it will not result in scores of wells close to each other, as the technology now allows for much greater distances between them.”

And a plea for caution
John Butcher, in a letter to the West Sussex Gazette urged the government to learn from the US and Australia. “If the Lower Stumble site in Balcombe was in Dallas, Texas, drilling for gas there would now be banned (The closest residence is about 1,300 feet from the Lower Stumble site). It is the same situation at the Fernhurst site. The nearest home from the Fernhurst proposed drill site is only 1,100 feet away. Again under the new regulation introduced last month in Dallas, this site would be not be permitted to be drilled for gas. So much for regulation in the UK being tougher than in the US.”

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