Time is running out for eight oil and gas developments

Wednesday 21st August 2013. Balcombe South East England, UK. Cua

Cuadrilla’s Balcombe well in 2013. Photo: David Burr

Consents for eight oil and gas projects in England and Wales are due to expire within months, DrillOrDrop has discovered.

The proposals include a gas processing plant at Thornton-le-Dale in North Yorkshire and flow-testing at Cuadrilla’s Balcombe well in West Sussex. One site in Nottingham, where the operator has until September to drill two wells, has seen no work, despite five renewals of planning permission.

May 2017

Balcombe, West Sussex

Planning permission for flow testing at this site, which saw a summer of protests in 2013, requires work to begin by 2 May 2017. The site, operated by Cuadrilla, must be restored within six months of the start of work. Cuadrilla has said it will inform residents before operations begin. The approval of planning permission was the challenged in an unsuccessful judicial review by Frack Free Balcombe Residents Association. Decision notice

June 2017

Thornton le Dale, North Yorkshire

Opponents of fracking in Ryedale have voiced concerns about plans for a gas processing plant, granted permission in June 2012 by the then Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles.

The site is in PEDL120 acquired in December from Moorland Energy by a new INEOS company, INEOS 120 Energy Ltd.

Frack Free Ryedale said the takeover “significantly increases” the threat of fracking in the area just south of the North York Moors National Park and revives concern about the process plant, which was opposed by many local residents in 2010.

The approval of planning permission, issued after an appeal on 28 June 2012, included a condition that the development shall begin within five years. Decision notice

David Davis, of Frack Free Ryedale said:

“Planning permission for the gas processing plant at Thornton le Dale is still valid until later this year, which is a gift to any company wishing to frack Ryedale. INEOS can easily apply for an extension to this permission, and may want to use this processing plant to process gas from nearby fracking well-pads.”

A spokesperson for INEOS said:

“We have only recently acquired the licence as part of our regional interest in shale gas. We will review the existing data and permissions in due course.”

Markwells Wood, West Sussex


The Oil and Gas Authority extended the initial term of PEDL126 covering this site until 30 June 2017. The site, operated by UK Oil & Gas Investments PLC, has applied for planning permission for oil production and additional wells. Another round of public consultation is expected on new information on the application requested by the South Downs National Park Authority. A decision on the application is now expected in March or April.

North Kelsey and Biscathorpe, Lincolnshire

The Oil and Gas Authority also extended the initial term of PEDL241, where Egdon Resources has permission to drill its North Kelsey well, near Brigg. The initial term of PEDL253, where the Biscathorpe-2 oil well has consent, has also been extended to 30 June 2017.

September 2017

Broadford Bridge, West Sussex

Broadford Bridge site preparation

This site at Wood Barn Farm, Adversane Lane, near Billingshurst, was granted planning permission in February 2013. Under the conditions, consent expired three years from the start of construction. Site work began in September 2014 but no other operations were carried out because of a legal dispute between the then operator, Celtique Energie, and its partner, Magellan Petroleum.

The exploration licence, PEDL234, is now held by Kimmeridge Oil and Gas Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of UK Oil & Gas Investments. The company said it would begin work in the first half of 2017. Decision notice

West Nash Road, Newport

Work on this site operated by Sonorex Oil & Gas must begin by 7 September 2017 under the terms of planning permission granted in 2012. Within six months of starting work, all machinery, buildings and earth bunds must be removed. Decision notice

October 2017

Grantham Road, Radcliffe on Trent

This Hutton Energy site, also known as Harlequin 3, has permission for two 950m oil exploration boreholes and site restoration until 31 October 2017. Planning consent was first granted in 1999 and has been renewed five times without any drilling. Decision notice

10 replies »

  1. Caudrilla looks likely to run out off time. Poor management despite the high powered and experienced director they have on their board. It looks like they will have to give up this license.
    What a waste of time and money. With this record noone can believe they can run a highly complex shale operation. Maybe the local protesters were right all along about how sloppy these guys are.

      • Sorry my apoplogy. There is no basis in my knowledge to make comment or judge the Caudrilla as poor management. But in 4 months they will lose their license after spent millions of dollar and a lot of work. They don’t seem to have a plan to inform the local of what’s going on either.

        • Cuadrilla don’t believe in informing local people of their intentions. Despite their PR proclamations of ‘engaging with the community’ the local community are treated as an irritating nuisance and ignored and insulted at every opportunity. The slogan ‘Putting Lancashire First’ which is emblazoned on their site and even on the back of their jackets is a sick joke. When they started work at Preston New Road in January they didn’t inform local residents or even local councillors until 2 days after they started work.

  2. Good work in keeping them at bay and not operating in UK; have any exploratory boreholes been done and did these produce any evidence of enough profitable gas in that area….?

  3. The level of public opposition is now so great that none of these ‘Mickey Mouse’ Companies have any chance of completing their exploratory objectives. Theresa May will surely be very relieved when they renounce their intentions to FRACK anywhere in the UK. She inherited this ‘Poison Chalice’ from the Cameron/Osborne administration and desperately wants shot of it … as she knows it is going to hurt most in the traditional Tory Constituencies of Yorkshire and the South East.

    • Who should frack if not these “Mickey Mouse” companies, Ian? Aliens?

      Is Centrica Mickey Mouse? How about Ineos? Total? Obviously no one would question your judgment, given all of the evidence behind your dire predictions about chemtrails and alien invasions, but I would love to know what market cap cut-off you’ve established to qualify a company as “Mickey Mouse”.

      Hope you’re staying warm out there during the “protection camp” protest!

  4. Thank goodness time is running out and finally now the national press are onto the disgraceful performance of tarnished regulations that are showing oil drilling produces heavy pollution in the north sea and it will clearly be up to the tax payer to foot the bill.
    Conventional drilling is bad enough but when Total have yet another drill disaster, after the 2012 one, say they might have to plug and ”ABANDON” the well in the North Sea due to so any leaks.
    I notice in their quote to one national news outlet they haven’t any plans, nor undoubtedly do the EA or Marine government arm, to continue MONITORING it.

    Sloppy regulations, appalling inadequate PEDL due diligence and government complacency are the real cause for concern, let’s hope something gets done before Cuadkilla et al get their chance to wreck our land mass via exploitation of the sloppy slipshod PEDL regulatory loopholes.

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