Updated: What’s happening at Brockham oil site in Surrey?


Photo: Colin Gong

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.”

Side-track plans

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’.


Source: Google Maps

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. 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

50 replies »

    • Statuses? Plural of status perhaps? Spell checker must be having a nap.
      Thinking about this masked man event, are we seeing a new aspect of industry policy in operation here?
      Lets see, how to describe such an attitude? Extremist? Yes, Terrorists? Certainly threats were made, that constitutes terrorism in the police Prevent documents. Perhaps the police should modify the phraseology in the Prevent document to “terrorists, extremists, and pro-oil activists?” We shall see if this behaviour begins to show itself in the tracking fraternity?

        • You just have no sense of humour, silly reply, brilliant answer! and a cinematic reference too.

          Frankly your question was somewhat unspecific regarding any particular subject one could be exact about in a reply, its a politicians trick to make a question so vague as to illicit any type of answer the questioner has is his mind, but remain unspecified and hence impossible to answer. It could refer to many things, it could be to the actual words you used in the question, something you are referring to we cannot see, it could even refer to the question mark after the question? Like that?

          ‘The infamous example is ‘when did you last stop beating your wife?’ There is no answer to the question that doesnt incriminate and as such is unanswerable. Answering any open ended question like yours is simply ‘silly’ as you put it.

          If you cant ask a specific question about a specific subject, dont blame me if the answer is equally obscure.

          So……whaddya got?

  1. BELFIELD, N.D. – Belle Fourche Pipeline Co. estimates that 130,200 gallons of oil spilled into a tributary of the Little Missouri River last week and another 46,200 gallons leaked into a hillside, the North Dakota Department of Health said Monday, Dec. 12.

    The spill discovered by a landowner on Dec. 5 was not detected by monitoring equipment on the pipeline, which is owned by of True Companies of Wyoming.

    The spill has contaminated 5.4 miles of Ash Coulee Creek but does not appear to have reached the Little Missouri River, said Bill Suess, spill investigation program manager for the health department.

    The spill estimate of 4,200 barrels, or 176,400 gallons, is a “rough estimate” provided by the company, Suess said. Cleanup crews had recovered 983 barrels, or 41,286 gallons, of oil as of Monday, the company said.


    (remove the parentheses swipe and to view)

    The pipeline is owned by True Companies, a different company than the one looking to build the Dakota Access oil pipeline, but the protestors view the leak as an example of the instability of any pipeline. “The spill gives further credence to our position that pipelines are not safe,” Tara Houska, a Native American environmental activist involved in the protests, told NBC News. “Oil companies’ interest is on their profit margins, not public safety.”

    Not only were the pipeline’s safety measures unable to prevent the leak, the systems in place to detect one when it occurs also failed to issue the proper warnings. “They can say they have all the latest technologies to safeguard against a leak, but when that leak happens, and it will, all those safeguards will go out the window,” Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II told NBC News.

  2. What the heck has the US to do with drilling in the UK?? There are dozens of wells producing oil, on land, in the UK and have been doing so for decades without any issues. Many locals do not even know they are there as they are so unobtrusive. Many started during the second world war to help keep the UK going.
    These new wells are so small there will be NO pipelines, but oil will be transported in tankers. Quite safe, I see petrol tankers on the road every day.
    However, I am sure that there is potential for the world to be brought to an end by it, if some “experts” are to be believed! Sorry, but this sort of protest will simply devalue any that may be more valid. Keep it going, you are just hurting your own credibility.

  3. Martin – objections appear to be to any oil and gas drilling & production. It must be interesting living without either and without any products manufactured from them. Perhaps they think petrol, diesel, heating oil & gas, plastics are beamed down from Mars? Is that what the Mars Rover is really doing up there? The real world appears to be something that does not exist…….

  4. I think Phil must have been rejected for a job with one of the drilling outfits because he believed in “carry on drilling even when it is clear this particular well is dry!”
    There is a very obvious constant to his posts-he loses the debate so deviates on to a totally different subject, or country, or tries sarcasm.

    Quite amusing really, takes me back to when my kids were young.

    • God it takes you all so long to crawl gout of the woodwork doesnt it? Keep up the rhetoric guys you just cant bear opposition can you? I’m enjoying this, just to see how much you reveal of yourselves and the attitude that sickens your industry so that we all may see you the way you really are, no public imagery here.
      Whaddya got? Not a lot!

      • Phil C – the point is that you are not making any difference – at least not to what the O & G industry does and what it will continue to do. Your thoughts are sometimes interesting, thought provoking (?), amusing occasionally, but irrelevant.

        • That’s funny, i was thinking the same about yours and other posts here, Glad to keep you amused, hopefully we will see your sense of humour emerge soon? That is an interesting question about relevance, perhaps relevance, or irrelevance is relative to ones point of view, much like beauty is as i was saying before, its in the eye of the beholder, not a fixed concept at all.
          At the end of the day, it doesnt matter how differently we see things, we are all human beings, there are no ubermenchen or untermenchen, (spell checker just threw a fit) each of us is unique but not really that far apart. the main thing is no opinion is worth going to war for.

    • Yeah yeah, the old polarization argument, if i criticise just one aspect of the industry, then i must be some sort of oil hating medieval Luddite, plainly ridiculous. But hey, go ahead if it amuses you,

      Does the north pole hate the south pole because it is at the other end of the planet?

      If i dont like (or cant see) a particular colour of the spectrum, then i must be a light hater!

      If i dont like sprouts i must hate all vegetables, maybe even worse, i might hate Christmas!!

      Native people around the world suffered because of this attitude, if they didnt believe in christianity (mainly that they had not encountered it before and had their own strong beliefs) Then they must be evil savages worshipping Satan! the spanish inquisition nearly collapsed under the strain of torturing and murdering (sorry, converting, converting alive to dead that is) every innocent native they came across.

      But of course you guys are not like that are you? if i disagree with you, you just say, OK Phil, you are welcome to your belief, we just differ that is all?

      that is what you say isnt it?…..isnt it??

      Incidentally the Mars Rover runs on electricity from its solar panels, and even its tires are metal, i am sure there are some oil products involved in its manufacture and operation… least there had better be, it cost a cool $400 million!

  5. Oh dear-I forgot that one-the terrible tantrums!

    Opposition? David did ask what the objection was to, you are the one who can not answer it Phil.
    All I can understand from your post is that I (or someone) have an attitude that sickens my/their industry. Really? I am not in any industry. (I have been in marketing and respected the ASA, unlike some.) I have a viewpoint which is different to yours not because of employment but because of unbiased research. I know you have difficulty integrating that into your agenda but I can live with it. I would suggest you focus more upon your own credibility but I know that advice will not be taken. Just remember, Santa will not visit the naughty ones.

    • Well, such venom, do you have nothing else? It is said that money talks, what is so telling in these posts today, is that what it says and the venom and hate they portray, You illustrate that admirably. Like i said, keep going, get it all out, you cant keep all that nastiness locked up inside you for long, or it will poison you.

      Oh dear, i forgot, you guys are so squeaky clean, that there is no possibility of being wrong or full of venom or perhaps unwanted by the local and wider community is there? That cant be right……can it? Such impossibilities could not possibly exist, perish the thought?

      Oh dear, here we go again…for the umpteenth time, Unbiased research? like i said you dont read much do you? Its no good just reading Big Frackers monthly you know, there are vast reservoirs of information out there, live a little, have a splurge, absorb some wider views.

      These posts are full of objections in case you want to look, and links to other documents, you could start by having a look at some of them? Go on….you know you want to.

      I love the credibility remark, so funny, when your favoured industry is at rock bottom in credibility terms, credibility is a bit like beauty, its in the eye of the beholder, unfortunately the majority of people in this country hold the industry in such low regard, they do not want it in the UK, perhaps they dont see any beauty in the industry which is democratically thrust upon them?

  6. Another Phil here. Excuse Phil C’s gushing verbosity, I’m not sure what the fuss is about. Most protestation on this site is about the dubious practice of fracking.

    Is this lateral just a deviated bore hole to test further access to an existing oil reservoir or is it a shale fracking test (oil and/or gas)? Or something else? There’s not a lot of info.

    • Gushing verbosity,…..fascinating, perhaps Phil, if or when i ever need your help i will ask for it. But don’t presume so much.
      There, that’s the nicest i can be.

      • Sorry Phil I’m just wearing down my fingertip scrolling through endless stuff – so many comments are simply wind ups or trying to rub the other guy’s nose in something they’ve just said. You might treat getting wound up as a sport but other readers probably won’t be interested. I want to read what you’ve got to say normally, when the issue has been identified and when ‘on target’ . A lot of this thread has been apropos of nothing in particular. Then there’s a danger you’ll get people skipping you over your stuff in future if too trigger happy.

        Please don’t drop to the standards of some other wind up merchants – just saying – keep your powder dry for the big debates.

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