UK Oil & Gas (Investments) PLC made this statement this morning to investors about its planning application for oil drilling and production at Markwells Wood, due to be decided next week.
“In order to progress the acquisition of new site-specific hydrogeological data over and around the Markwells Wood drilling pad, the Company has temporarily withdrawn its planning application to the South Downs National Park Authority (“SDNPA”).
” The application is now planned for resubmission later in 2017 after the completion of the planned data acquisition and upon the conclusions of ongoing technical conversations with the Environment Agency (“EA”).
“In order to address the EA’s last-minute submission of 4 April requesting that new site-specific data be acquired over the site to confirm the validity of the submitted Groundwater Risk Assessment, UKOG requested that SDNPA delay the determination of the Markwells Wood project from their planning committee meeting of 11 May to the 13 July 2017.
“This period would have enabled necessary acquisition and dialogue to be completed. Disappointingly, this request was refused by SDNP. Data acquisition has commenced, and is expected to be completed before the summer.
“The Company now also intends to take this opportunity to apply for a full EA permit covering the first phase of the proposed development, with a view to including this as part of the resubmission of the planning documents.”
Stephen Sanderson, UKOG’s Executive Chairman, said
“Given the potential sensitivity of the Markwells Wood site to the adjacent chalk groundwater system, it is in the public interest that this subject be investigated as thoroughly as possible prior to any further site activity. Whilst the refusal of SDNPA to accommodate this important step is somewhat unsatisfactory, we look forward to concluding this matter with the EA and resubmitting the application as soon as practicable. Our target of drilling Markwells Wood by Q2 2019 is unlikely to be affected.”