Industry

Work starts at West Sussex drill site

Preparation for Celtique Energie’s Broadford Bridge well

Celtique Energie announced today that it had begun work on a temporary access road to its hydrocarbon exploration site near Billinghurst in West Sussex.

In a press release, the company said the preparatory work would take around six weeks. It said it had yet to finalise the timing of the drilling stage but added: “We expect drilling to commence in winter 2014/spring 2015”.

Celtique Energie received planning permission from West Sussex County Council in February 2013 to drill a temporary borehole at Wood Barn Farm, Adversdane Lane, Broadford Bridge, near Billingshurst. Earlier this month, the council delegated powers to its officers to approve planning permission to install cabins, gates and security fencing at the site. The Environment Agency granted a mining waste permit in June.

The company said today: “As we have stated publically on a number of occasions, this is a conventional exploration well and this site will never undertake shale oil or shale gas hydraulic fracturing.”

Celtique said it planned to drill to approximately 3km (10,000 feet) below ground level. It said it would be using what it called “tried and tested methods of exploration” and that “these had been used in the UK for decades, in many surrounding oil and gas fields including Singleton and Storrington in West Sussex, and Wytch Farm in Dorset”.

Last week, after the refusal Celtique Energie’s application at Fernhurst, the company’s chief executive, Geoff Davies, said in a statement it appeared that drilling operators were being “deliberately prevented” from exploring in south east England.

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