On Tuesday, we reported on complaints made by people living near the Horse Hill oil site in Surrey about a hydrocarbon smell that coincided with a flow test of the well.
Several people reported the smell to the Environment Agency. DrillOrDrop asked the Agency questions about how many people had complained and where they had noticed the smell. We also asked about whether there was a condition in the site’s environmental permit controlling emissions.
The Environment Agency replied this morning. Here is the response in full:
“The Environment Agency takes the environmental risks associated with drilling for oil and gas very seriously. We are investigating reports of odour and water quality issues received over the last few days. As part of our investigation, we have made visits to the site and the local vicinity. We have not detected any odours or water quality issues and there is no evidence of any environmental impact.
“Assessment of the regular monitoring results from the site gas detection system shows no signs of gas release from the well. The site drainage is fully sealed and the water level in the drainage ditch is being controlled to prevent any water leaving site. Any excess water that accumulates is being tankered away to an appropriately licensed facility.
“The environmental permit issued contains a condition on odour management. If the operator breaches this condition, we may require them to submit and implement an approved Odour Management Plan. We will continue to carry out regular inspections of the local area and site checks during these short term operations to ensure the operator continues to do everything necessary to protect the environment and people.”
We also put the complaints to UK Oil and Gas Investments, which is handling PR for Horse Hill. So far we have had no response.