Daily headlines

Cuadrilla gets extension to its Balcombe exploration licence – but stands to lose neighbouring licence

5th June 2014

The Department of Energy and Climate Change has confirmed it has extended Cuadrilla’s licence for oil exploration and production in the area which includes Balcombe in West Sussex. But the company is likely to lose its licence for the adjoining area, around Heathfield and the Ashdown Forest in East Sussex.

The Petroleum Exploration and Development Licences (PEDLs) for both areas were granted in 2008 and the initial terms of six years expire on June 30th this year. Under the terms of the licences, Cuadrilla had to drill a well in each area before the end of the initial term – known as the Drill-or-Drop commitment. Cuadrilla also had to inform DECC by the end of May about its intentions for both licence areas.

Last summer, the company drilled vertical and horizontal exploratory oil wells at Balcombe, in PEDL area 244. It also extended its lease for the Balcombe well site at Lower Stumble. On April 29th this year, West Sussex County Council granted planning permission for the Balcombe wells to be tested.

In the other licence area, PEDL 247, to the east of Balcombe, Cuadrilla has carried out no work and there are no records of recent drilling.

A spokesman for DECC said this afternoon: “For PEDL 244, the company has met its obligation and has been given an extension to the licence of two years.”

On PEDL 247, the spokesman said: “The company has not clarified its intentions for this area”.

Asked what this meant, the spokesman said if Cuadrilla did not clarify its intention and it had not met the Drill-or-Drop commitment, it would relinquish the PEDL licence for the area. He said PEDL 247 would then be added to the 14th round of exploration and development licence sales, which DECC has said is due to go ahead before the end of this year.

Cuadrilla’s PR spokeswoman told us last week that the company had no plans for work to take place in its PEDL areas in southern England. “Our focus”, she said, “is on our two proposed sites in Lancashire”.

Is Cuadrilla planning to pull out of the south?

6 replies »

  1. Interesting. So Cuadrilla has 3 years for the flow testing planning permission from WSCC and a 2 year extension on the PEDL so effectively Cuadrilla has to return to flow test within 2 years not 3?

  2. Hi Louisa. It very much looks like it. It would be interesting to know if the extension had been finalised before or after the planning permission was granted.

      • As a late entrant to this interesting website and with an interest in the PEDL247 site (I am contemplating the purchase of a house in the vicinity) I cannot find any information as to whether Cuadrilla or any other fracking company renewed or bought the license for this site.Are you able to tell me where I may get this information please?
        Any help would be appreciated.

        • Thanks for your comment.
          My understanding is that the PEDL 247 was included in the 14th license rouund, which closed in October 2014. The results of the round have not been released but reports in the Sunday Times yesterday suggest an announcement is imminent, at least for some of the licence blocks. See http://wp.me/P3OyVh-kk for our Daily Headlines (19th July 2015).
          We’ll report on any new information on this and other PEDL changes as and when they happen.
          I hope this is helpful.

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