Angus Energy said today it had not been notified formally by Surrey County Council that it had breached planning permission at its oil production site at Brockham near Dorking.
The company remained adamant that it had done nothing wrong and said it would not apply for retrospective planning permission.
Speaking at the company’s AGM, Executive Chairman Jonathan Tidswell-Pretorius said the first he knew about the breach allegation was from a website.
The issue had initially been reported on 9 March 2017 by the BBC regional TV news programme for London. The item included a statement from the council that it was “extremely disappointed” that Angus Energy had “acted without planning permission”. (See also DrillOrDrop report)
Mr Tidswell-Pretorius said today:
“When we saw the BBC News recording, that’s when we got a bit of a shock.”
Answering questions, he said had received no communications from the council about a breach:
“We still have no formal correspondence from them”.
He said if there had been, the council would have put the company “on notice” straightaway. He added:
“We’re not in breach”.
Afterwards he confirmed to a person at the meeting that the company would not apply for retrospective planning permission.
Permission in place for “even more wells”
The company said its planning permission covered production from existing wells “and even from more wells”.
Managing director, Paul Vonk, said drilling a side-track was covered by the existing planning permission. It was approved under “maintenance of on-going production”.
The company hinted that confusion over the side-track may have arisen because the council had diagrams of the Brockham site that were different from those provided by the Oil and Gas Authority.
Angus also said it had “constant engagement” with the Brockham community, which was fully-informed and “up-to-date”.
It said it had invited the parish and county council to the site, as well as people who had protested against the operations at Brockham.
OGA seeks further information from Angus
A spokesperson for the Oil and Gas Authority told DrillOrDrop today:
“The OGA held a meeting with Angus Energy on 16 March to discuss the operations at Brockham and has subsequently sought further information from the company about its operations.”