Work is underway at Angus Energy’s oil site at Brockham, near Dorking, in Surrey. But the company appears reluctant to reveal details of what it is doing.
Last week, the company said in a statement it had received approvals from the Oil and Gas Authority and the Health and Safety Executive.
The statement (dated 15 December) said: “The rig is now on site and has started work on the approved program”.
A quote from Angus Energy’s chairman, Jonathan Tidswell-Pretorius, suggested the work was connected to plans for a proposed side-track well.
DrillOrDrop asked Angus Energy for details about the current operations at the site.
The company responded on 19 December:
“Thank you for contacting Angus Energy. Unfortunately, we will have to decline your invitation to answer these questions for your website.
“Angus Energy Plc. never comments on future operations, objectives and performance of the firm, to any individual or organisation (this includes any assumptions underlying or relating to such statements).
“We note in your letter your dedication to accuracy which we admire and respect. The most relevant, accurate and up to date information on the firm is available on our website for all to see.”
DrillOrDrop then asked Surrey County Council about the work, the current planning permission and what conditions applied to the operations on site.
A council spokesperson replied today (20/12/2016):
“The activity is being treated as what is known as a ‘work-over’ which is covered by an extant planning permission for production extending until 2036 granted in May 2007.
“The operator is to comply with the planning conditions attached to the 2007 planning permission. The company is using the ‘work-over rig’ under the 2007 permission.
“The work was planned to take place over working ten days, which with public holidays etc. is expected to extend into the New Year.
“Officers understand that the rig being used is some 16 m in height – this is compliant with planning permission.”
Angus Energy has proposed drilling a side-track well for exploration and production at Brockham. But DrillOrDrop understands planning consent has not been granted and no application has been submitted to Surrey County Council.
A protection camp was established near the site at Feltons Farm earlier this month and opponents of the operation have been carrying out slow walks in front of visiting lorries.
BBC Surrey reported on 12 December that its reporter and a campaigner opposed to the site had been threatened by a masked man. The reporter said on air that the man wouldn’t say where he was from, or where he was going but he did say ‘I will be back’.
Exploration and production
Angus Energy has said the new side-track well would allow it to explore for oil in the Kimmeridge and Corallian formations and prolong production from the Upper Portland reservoir.
Angus Energy’s chairman, Jonathan Tidswell-Pretorius, said:
“We are pleased to have received the required approvals from the UK Government to perform the new work.
“We have commenced with the abandonment of the required redundant wells in the upper Portland formation before re-entering the original Brockham-X1 well that BP drilled in 1987 down through the Portland, Kimmeridge, Corallian and in to the much deeper great Oolite formations.
“All the original BP wells at Brockham that passed through the Kimmeridge and Corallian formations were drilled without properly assessing their hydrocarbon potential. Angus Energy looks forward to update the market with the results of the assessment in due course”.
The operation received a mining waste permit from the Environment Agency on 14 November, the same day the company floated on the AIM share index.
On 16 December, Angus announced it has increased its interest in the Brockham oil field by 10% to 65%. A statement said it had paid £100,000 to Terrain Energy for the extra investment.
The Brockham site is in production licence area PL235. Oil was discovered by BP in 1987.
Angus Energy had interests in the Horse Hill oil exploration site near Gatwick but this year it gave up its final holdings to focus on Brockham.
It also plans to drill a new horizontal well at its other licence at Lidsey in West Sussex. ThisIsMoney.co.uk reported last month that the aim was to get production up to around 400 barrels a day.
Updated on 16/12/2016 and 20/12/2016 to include additional details