What to watch in 2017?


Photo: Egdon Resources

DrillOrDrop’s round-up of likely action in the next year for onshore oil and gas sites, applications, legal challenges and company operations.

Please let us know if information in this post is missing, inaccurate or out-of-date. We want to make this as complete and accurate as possible. Contact here.

Planning applications

Wressle drilling 2014 Egdon

Testing at Egdon’s Wressle site

Wressle, North Lincolnshire

Egdon Resource’s application to produce oil and gas from its Wressle-1 well in Lincolnshire to be decided on 11 January 2017 by North Lincolnshire Council.

Tinker Lane, Nottinghamshire

IGas’s application for a shale gas well at Tinker Lane, Blyth, Nottinghamshire could be decided at a special meeting on 24 January 2017 by Nottinghamshire County Council. Date to be confirmed.

Horse Hill, Surrey

UK Oil & Gas Investments (UKOG) has submitted an application for extended well testing and new wells at the site near Gatwick Airport. The earliest decision date is thought to be 22 February 2017. A consultation on changes to the site’s environmental permit continues until 2 February 2017. A revised work programme for the licence area, PEDL246, requires the operator to drill a side-track to the Horse Hill-1 well by 30 September 2017.

Markwells Wood, West Sussex

UKOG has also applied for permission for new wells and oil production for 20 years at its existing well site at Forestside, in the South Downs National Park. Planners have asked for more information on the application and a new public consultation is expected. UKOG is required to submit a field development plan to the Oil and Gas Authority by 30 June 2017.

Baxter’s Copse, West Sussex

UKOG has said there are plans to apply for permission to drill a well at this site near Graffham in the South Downs National Park. Interest in the well is shared 50% by UKOG and 50% by the operator, IGas.

Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire

A Freedom of Information request revealed that INEOS is considering drilling a shale gas well at Theives Wood on Forestry Commission land in north Nottinghamshire. INEOS said it would put in between five and 30 planning applications across its licence areas in the East Midlands, Yorkshire and North West England.

Legal challenges


Campaign signs near Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site

Preston New Road, Lancashire

Preston New Road Action Group is seeking a statutory challenge to the ruling by Local Government Secretary, Sajid Javid, to overrule Lancashire County Council on this site. Mr Javid granted planning permission to Cuadrilla for drilling, fracking and testing. Campaigner Geza Frackman is seeking a separate challenge to the permission. No date has been set for either case.

Roseacre Wood, Lancashire

Roseacre resident, Jules Burton, is seeking to challenge Mr Javid’s decision to reopen the public inquiry on Cuadrilla’s application for drilling, fracking and testing at Roseacre Wood. The inquiry is to examine traffic safety issues. No date has been set for the case or re-opening of the inquiry.

Licence extension, Cheshire

Campaigner, Ben Dean, has succeeded in bringing a judicial review of the government’s decision to extend the first term of exploration licence PEDL189 near Chester. Government lawyers said they would appeal against the judge’s ruling that the case can be heard under the Aarhus Convention, limiting Mr Dean’s liability for costs. Details


North Yorkshire

Kirby MispertonKirby Misperton

A judge upheld Third Energy’s planning permission to frack its KM8 well in a challenge by Friends of the Earth and Frack Free Ryedale. The company has to reach agreement with North Yorkshire County Council on seven remaining planning conditions before work can start. A protection camp has established nearby.


Planning and environmental permit consents have been issued for this site to reinject waste produced water from its gas production well into an abandoned well.


Preston New Road

Two statutory challenges have been submitted to Cuadrilla’s planning permission for this site. See Challenges above


Under a condition of its planning permission, Cuadrilla has until May 2018 to restore this site next to the Ribble Estuary (right). But in practice, restoration must be completed by 31 October 2017 because another planning condition prevents work during the wintering bird season (31 October-31 March). Restoration would take longer than the month remaining from 1 April 2018 to 1 May 2018, when the permission expires.


North Kelsey

Egdon Resources has said it expected site construction work to begin at this exploratory oil site near Brigg during this winter. It also said it would “shortly submit” an environmental permit application. The exploration licence for the area, PEDL241, has been extended to 30 June 2017.

Biscathorpe (Louth)

Union Jack Oil, one of the investors in this site, said drilling of the Biscathorpe-2 oil well was expected in the first half of 2017. Planning permission was granted in March 2015 but DrillOrDrop can’t find a record of an environmental permit. The exploration licence for the area, PEDL253, has been extended to 30 June 2017.


Springs Road, Misson

Nottinghamshire County Council said the legal agreement on this IGas site is due to be completed by the end of January 2017. The council’s planning committee approved the application for two wells in November 2016.


leith-hill-campBury Hill Wood/Holmwood, near Dorking

Europa Oil & Gas is still complying with conditions of its planning permission granted in August 2015 for this oil exploration site near Leith Hill. The company has separately applied for planning permission to install extra fencing and to enlarge the area of the site. The application could be decided by Surrey County Council’s planning committee meeting on 22 February. A protection camp (pictured above) has established at the well site. The company has not yet applied for an environmental permit. One of the investors, Union Jack Oil, said drilling was expected during the first half of 2017.

Brockham, near Dorking

Angus Energy has said it is preparing to convert a non-producing well at its Brockham site to a production well to extract oil from the Portland reservoir. It estimates production could be 140 barrels per day in the first year. It also plans to assess potential in the Kimmeridge and Upper Corallian layers. A protection camp has established near the site.

Albury Park

IGas was granted planning permission in July 2016 to convert this exploration site to gas production.


IGas received planning permission in March 2016 for oil and gas production at this site for 15 years.

West Sussex


Flow testing Cuadrilla’s oil exploration well must begin by 2 May 2017 to comply with the planning permission. The site must be restored within six months of the start of work. Another condition of the planning permission requires Cuadrilla to establish a residents’ forum, which we understand is not yet in place.

Broadford Bridge

UKOG said it planned to drill this oil exploration well near Billingshurst in the first six months of 2017. Planning permission expires in September 2017.


Angus Energy is planning to drill a new horizontal production oil well at Lidsey, near Bognor Regis. The company predicts this would bring gross production from the Lidsey oil field to over 250 barrels per day.


The South Downs National Park approved a series of planning permissions last year for extending the life of this IGas site. The permissions include: drill two new wells; install oil storage tanks, a compressed natural gas unit, tanker loading area and offices; export gas by road.

East Yorkshire

West Newton B


Photo: Jon Magers

This site, operated by Rathlin Energy, has planning and environmental permit consents for drilling, testing, flaring gas and discharge of surface water run-off. Some archaeological survey work has been carried out (see above) but according to East Riding of Yorkshire Council the written scheme for archaeological investigation has not yet been approved. Three other pre-operation conditions have been approved.

Seismic testing

INEOS has been negotiating with landowners in Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire and Derbyshire for access to carry out seismic testing in its licences.

Horse Hill Developments, the operator of PEDL246 in Surrey, is obliged to acquire new seismic data by 30 June 2017.


Third EnergyThird Energy

Third Energy has until 6 February 2017 to file its accounts for the year to 31 December 2015 (due on 30 September 2016) or face being dissolved. This is the second notice of compulsory strike-off issued to Third Energy in the past three years. A spokesperson for the company said: ““The 2015 accounts are in the process of being finalised. The company, and others in the Third Energy Group, have always and will continue to file their accounts in the proper manner.”


IGas has been having talks with investors about restructuring of the company. It expected to breach its leverage covenant up to 31 December 2016. It has also forecast a breach of daily liquidity covenants for late March 2017. The company expects an agreement with investors, if reached, would solve these problems.

Europa Oil and GasEuropa

The company reported a £1.9m pre-tax loss for the year to July 2016 and is hoping for 500 barrels of oil a day from the Wressle well in North Lincolnshire.

Advertising ruling

The Advertising Standards Authority has yet to issue its final ruling on a complaint about a leaflet by Friends of the Earth. A leaked draft ruling said the leaflet was misleading.

Consultation outcome

The government is expected to announce the outcome of its consultation on a shale wealth fund.

Please let us know if information in this post is missing, inaccurate or out-of-date. We want to make this as complete and accurate as possible. Contact here.

3 replies »

  1. They are all hopelessly late in their compliance. Just an indication of how hopeless their management and team are. Investors would lose money if their license is revoked.


    Hi Ruth, You may have listened to this R4 program on communication and barriers of ideology. To me, as I’m thinking about speaking to 3 local Rotary clubs, this is key. Your work in independent journalism is highly valuable,our work in using your material must heed insights such as the echo chamber (anti Fracking groups v insular) and awareness of audience prejudice. I am frightened by the feeling we are actually losing ground in our battle to reach mainstream with concern about Fracking. We blame the mass media but we need to examine ourselves. Over 500 antifracking groups but the basics are not known generally. How can we break through? The Frack Free Lancs people are great. Informed, serious but I sense, so worn down. We need a new voice. Someone like Brian Cox. How to approach him though? Thank you and apologies if this disheartening, just trying to grasp the nettle! Katy Marshall

  3. [edited by moderator] take a look at BP Witch Farm , fracked for years with problem , you would not even know its there.

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