UKOG should lose licence for Markwells Wood and restore site immediately – opponents


Opponents of proposals to drill for oil in woodland in the South Downs National Park have called for the site to be restored immediately after news that a planning application had been withdrawn (details).

UK Oil & Gas (Investments) plc issued a statement to investors this morning saying it would resubmit its application for Markwells Wood, near Rowlands Castle, later this year after it had acquired new data about the hydrogeology of the area. DrillOrDrop report

But campaigners against the scheme said today the site wasn’t suitable for drilling and UKOG had failed to provide evidence that its operation would be safe. They also called for the exploration and development licence to be revoked.

The Markwells Wood application for four new wells and 20 years of oil production had been due to be decided by the South Downs National Park Authority next week (11 May 2017). The Environment Agency had twice objected to the plans, saying they could pose “an unacceptable risk” to a nearby source of drinking water. DrillOrDrop report

Emily Mott, who lives in nearby Forestside and has opposed the plans, said:

“I’m not surprised that UKOG has slinked away from facing the Planning Authority vote which had been scheduled for next week. They had been given 8 months to submit a sound Groundwater risk assessment and failed to do so.

“Our aquifer is vulnerable and nothing can change that. They can do all the tests they like and the conclusions will be the same.”

An independent report commissioned by Markwells Wood Watch, a local opposition group, criticised evidence presented by UKOG. It concluded that UKOG’s groundwater risk assessment contained “significant shortcomings”, “factual errors”, “misinterpretations of basic sources of information” and omissions”.

The Environment Agency said the company’s risk assessments had failed to provide site-specific evidence to support the conclusions that there was no threat to groundwater from drilling four new wells and producing oil for 20 years.

Emily Mott said:

“Markwells Wood Watch’s Hydrogeological report showed that this is not a suitable site for drilling and any risk is unacceptable. In addition, I would now like to see UKOG fulfil their obligation to restore the drilling site to woodland immediately.”

UKOG’s Executive Chairman, Stephen Sanderson, said this morning it was in the public interest to investigate the chalk groundwater system as thoroughly as possible.

But Reed Paget, a member of Markwells Wood Watch, said he didn’t believe UKOG could be trusted.

“Given the shoddiness of their application it is no surprise that UKOG is backing out.  What remains disturbing is that an oil company which has claimed they are trustworthy has twice failed to produce the research to prove their drilling is safe; they have further failed to disclose which chemicals they will be using despite stating they are fully transparent, and they now want us to trust that additional research they claim they will do will be of a high standard.

“It seems they have tried to cut every corner and only make a proper effort when caught out. I think they have lost all credibility and should have their license to operate revoked.”

Planning permission was first issued for the Markwells Wood site for a period of three years in January 2009. The existing oil exploration well was drilled in November 2010. Since then planning permission has been extended three times. UKOG sought a scoping opinion for its current application in August 2016, a month before the most recent planning permission expired. (see DrillOrDrop’s Markwells Wood timeline)

In July 2016, UKOG announced it had adopted new terms for the exploration licence for the Markwells Wood area (PEDL126). The licence work programme included obtaining planning permission for an appraisal well by 31 December 2016 and drilling a horizontal well by 30 June 2020.

  • UKOG’s subsidiary, Kimmeridge Oil and Gas Ltd, has faced criticism for its application for a variation in an environmental permit for Broadford Bridge after opponents revealed mistakes in it.


14 replies »

  1. Another one bites the dust , great work getting the news out previously before the company RNS Ruth

  2. Says some unofficial opponents. Think the council, oil and gas authority and Co will be deciding their future, not pressure groups.

    • Paul Tresto wrote:

      “You antis just don’t get it do you?
      You are not relevant to the planning process.”

      Well today you can prove him wrong!
      Remember what has been done to you these last months

      • Phil C – perhaps you are having problems telling the difference between “antis” and “EA & Portsmouth Water”. The former are irrelevant to planning, the latter are Statutory Consultees and are very relevant to planning.

        Any developer for any type of development who knows the week before the Planning Committee that one or more of the primary Statutory Consultees is maintaining an objection will pull the planning application. It happens all the time. They will then seek to overcome the issues of concern and resubmit. If they can’t agree then they will not resubmit / move the location / or in this case possibly default or withdraw from the licence.

        But the antis will not decide what pans out here, the EA will ultimately be the decision maker.

        Don’t forget wells have been drilled here before and no one is drinking crude oil?

        • I have should have added that the reason they withdraw (remember, more of this will help solve the world’s population problems) is that they start again with a clean sheet i.e. no planning refusal. If they went to Committee and it is refused then they have to Appeal and in this case would probably lose as the Officer will have recommended refusal based on the EA objection. But you know all this…..

          • Well well, here we go again,
            “I have should have added that the reason they withdraw (remember, more of this will help solve the world’s population problems) is that they start again with a clean sheet”
            “You have should have” mentioned that planning authorities are getting wise to the lies and the tries to pull the wool over the eyes of the EA guys, open flies gets no prize.
            This is no mere refusal, its a rejection and will be the same rejection to another site since the operator seems unable or unwilling to address the problem, creating a new application will not fix that, since the same problem pertains as they will increasingly find elsewhere.

            “Coulda shoulda woulda” it doesn’t wash.

            As for the odd…..very odd…. obsession with population “problems”? and clean sheets, the infamous o&g industry has not had a ” clean sheet” since the parent company Standard Oil refuelled German u-boats in mid Atlantic in the first and second world wars, while they were sinking American and British ships thereby deliberately murdering thousands of sailors, soldiers, and civilians, and sinking countless thousands of tons of shipping, food, raw materials and guns and ammunitions to sustain Britain throughout the war, then made to pay for it through lend lease.
            36,749 seamen and women were lost by enemy action. Until May 1941 merchant seamen sailing aboard British vessels attacked and sunk by enemy action received no wages from the moment that their ship sank. If the seaman was fortunate to survive the sinking only to spend days or weeks in an open lifeboat hoping for rescue, it was regarded as “non-working time” and the seaman was not paid for that time because their employer, the shipping company who had owned the lost vessel, no longer required their services…..was that a thanks for their sacrifice? The german u-boats developed an interesting population problem measure, they started machine gunning sailors in the water, thereby reducing the surplus population and reducing the bill to the US shipping magnates.
            The war for Britain was actually funded by war bonds and lend lease loans from Canada and the US, the last payment was made on 29 December 2006! for the sum of about $83m (£45.5m), the 29th being the last working day of the year. The final payment was actually six years late, the British Government having suspended payments due in the years 1956, 1957, 1964, 1965, 1968 and 1976 because the exchange rates were seen as impractical. Ask yourself what then happened in 2007 and 2008 and why?
            Yes folks, we paid the Americans and the Canadians for the second world war right up to 2006 plus interest of course, not to mention what we paid to the oil companies that fuelled the u-boats that sunk the supply ships that we were paying for with our sailors lives let alone British tax payers money.
            Ask yourself where the Luftwaffe got the kerosene and lead substitute for their bombers engines and the oil and lubricants for their bomb factories? Ask the Bush family, the Rockefeller’s and JP Morgan Bank, Sacrifice indeed!
            Funny how sacrifice keeps emerging isn’t it? An interesting o&g axis eugenics policy that? I see no change in the attitude displayed by them or by these replies now? It is interesting to see who actually funded the nazi war machine, the results are not just surprising, they are positively horrifying, see below.


            Standard Oil continued to supply oil and lead substitute to both sides of that murderous conflict through various back doors throughout the war and has acted similarly right up to the present day with many changes of identity but not of policy, something else which is a familiar aspect of activity on these posts. If you have any doubt, witness Iraq and Syria, in fact anywhere you see conflict in this sorry world, Iran is next on the list and so on across the world, UK is just “Airstrip One” for these activities. No doubt it will continue the furthering of the Oceania petro dollar hate week, but you see, its only business and business is business…..isn’t it?

            Maybe you say, ahhh, but that was then, this is now and aren’t we all civilised now? I would have thought so until i see the posts on these pages, and i see its no different now to what it was then, maybe even worse because we should know better…..don’t we?

            Not much of a clean sheet to be had there is there?

            This refusal is far more than you try to make out, its a fundamental refusal of the industries failure to address even the most basic tenets of its claims, this will not be forgotten, try as you might to whitewash over the “sheet” (did i spell that right?) with whitewash to make it “clean”.

            Lesson number one, understand what you are dealing with, lesson number two, deal with it accordingly.

            No sale, no contract, return to sender, i would advise the EA to do the same.

            • Phil C – [edited by moderator]. Clearly you have very little experience of the planning system. You can advise the EA to do what ever you wish but they won’t listen to you or any other anti.

              [Edited by moderator] watch what happens. They start with a clean sheet (in planning terms) and they try to address the reasons two Statutory Consultees objected. If they don’t overcome these objections they will not get planning permission. [Edited by moderator ]
              I am a Catholic – hence the joke about withdrawal……

            • Oh, now you guys want to keep to the subject! You never have before? How ironic is that? Dear dear, how sad, never mind!
              Just showing how little the industry can be trusted in any negotiation, planning or otherwise judging from recent history, prove any of that wrong, but you wont will you? [edited by moderator] no, the worlds problems are not because of over population, it is because of the resources exploitation by the few of the many, most live in deprivation and near starvation because 4% own 90% of the wealth of this planet so the poor breed more children even though the mortality rate is high. The present population of the west is actually falling, mainly because it is getting too expensive to raise more than two children, i can vouch for that. Hence the present “importation” of new blood, though i understand the original source culture may take a bit of assimilation, or maybe they will assimilate us? What happened to the Brigantes, Caledones, Taexali, Carvetii, Venicones and about twenty others?
              It would be interesting to see the banking community give up usury? Perhaps the refugees would be happier at home anyway if the west had not turned their countries into a war zone and an oil grab? But perhaps only if wealth is shared by everyone, not just a privileged 4%. Probably only 500 million of the “right type of person” are wanted though? i would imagine only that 4% would consider that they themselves would qualify for that little population?
              Maybe its not the planning authorities and the EA that are the problem at all, perhaps there are just too many of them and they are just the wrong sort of person?
              [Edited by moderator]

        • The EA are in my opinion toothless box-tickers, once-upon-a-time environmentalists at best now subsumed in bureaucratic sludge. Thank goodness for the antis, giving up their time to defend the environment, not to mention the people within it. For too long there has been little scrutiny and monitoring of the oil and gas industry. British regulation is poor, tarnished, unfit for purpose. Markwell’s Wood lies over a water source too valuable to risk.

          • Doesn’t the Horndean oil field lie over the same water source? No issues, despite many years of production.

  3. “Scaremongering” used by the fracking industry protectors FIP’s a lot to denigrate any objection, but let us just examine this a moment.
    We read lot about so called “energy security” as if that is in danger, is that not “scaremongering”? The truth is that overseas commerce is vital to enable exports in the other direction, and is in fact vital to a post Brexit UK.
    Also, “we need gas to heat our homes” we produce north sea gas enough to cover our domestic needs, but in stead we sell it abroad, so that is scaremongering too.
    What about “if you oppose gas production by fracking here on environmental grounds then the issue is simply moved abroad? That is two scaremongering issues combined, firstly we produce enough north sea gas to fulfil our own needs, secondly the overseas market is all ready in place, nothing we do in this country will stop that. Each peoples need to stand up for themselves, we can support them in that if we stop importing their fracking gas, so using our domestic north sea gas at home is actually assisting other countries to stop it there too.
    Do we need fracking gas at all? No, we have one of the longest coast lines in the world and one of the windiest, optimise new innovations in wave, tide and wind power and we can cover a good deal of our energy needs. New cheap efficient solar panels on every rooftop will supply more and even sell back to the grid, yet this government just slapped an 800% tax on solar, ask yourself why, more scaremongering to say we need only o&g.
    What about browns gas to supply our domestic needs, look it up, we can produce this now its not rocket science, but it is ignored by this government? Ask yourself why?
    More scaremongering!
    Protesting is claimed to be scaremongering? Why? Lets see, the industry doesn’t want focus on themselves as being the problem due to its horrendous pollution history, so it is a political sidestep to shift focus in the media onto protesters, yet protesters are simply carrying out their legal right of protest. The industry try to say it is protesters who are the problem and they are “scaremongering” about the dangers of fracking, when in fact the dangers are true and can be verified anywhere you care to look. So the industry are scaremongering about protesters and in a typical backhanded political slight of hand, are calling the protesters scaremongers’! That is scaremongering about scaremongering, which is scaremongering.
    Claims of death threats, that is scaremongering too, that was proved to be a lie, but you wont find that in the media, they prefer to protect the industry by scaremongering and trying to tar all the protesters with the same brush, more scaremongering.
    The simple truth is that this country could be self sufficient in every way, but we are told we are at the mercy of overseas sources, that is not true and is scaremongering.
    Telling the truth about dangers to the ecology is not scaremongering, but the industry telling you we need them to protect us when the truth is we can be self sufficient IS scaremongering!

    [One correction by moderator at contributor’s request]

  4. Well look like the eco warriors and anti fracking want to run all government agencies according their own needs and unelected. A bit like back sear driver.

    Well. Get real. If you want to run the national policies on your own terms then put them nto policies and run on it in the coming election. If you are not elected or appointed as the expert to determine these matter then too bad you csn comment and howl as much as you want but you are not qualified for making these final decision. Myself included.

  5. How a modern marriage works!

    Past the stage of talking?

    I believed this site was to do with exploration for oil, nothing to do with fracking-and not much oil is used in UK for domestic heating or generation of electricity.. Also, very little to do with WW2 -although Pluto showed how control over your own oil resources could be of importance! Perhaps they could have plugged it in here, or Wytch Farm or IOW rather than risk those tankers with the U boats around?

    Encouraging others, or “fluffing”, is a rewarding occupation, but it seems the “others” have gone home! Yoga for couples may be an option?

  6. Why have you written this post like Emily Mott and the Markwells Wood Watch group are distinct voices when in previous posts you’ve acknowledged that she is a founding member?

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