Regulation

Investors back UKOG’s bid to extend consent for oil exploration at Broadford Bridge

broadford Bridge 170614 DrillOrDrop6small

Photo: DrillOrDrop

For the first time, there appears to be a concerted campaign by investors in an oil company to support planning proposals for exploration.

A month-long consultation opened on Thursday last week into a bid by UK Oil and Gas Investments plc to retain its Broadford Bridge site in West Sussex for a further 12 months.

Early on Friday, a subscriber to the UKOG share chatline posted a template comment backing the application.

UKOG share chat 1

By the end of the day, 62 comments of support had been submitted on West Sussex County Council’s consultation webpage. Of these, 19 were identical to the chatline template. Most of the others used similar words or arguments.

The share chat subscribers recommended: “Spread the word folks and fill in the form of support”, “everyone do the same”.

UKOG share chat 4

One said:

“Great idea if you happen to be a local resident but are they going to bother with our opinions if we live miles away? YES still worth doing as it may get the point over of National importance. I say this because the first question if you want to comment is your residential address. … now where’s that West Sussex phone book lol.”

UKOG share chat 5UKOG share chat 6

Another said:

“Sunday morning, surely you have 10 min to submit your planning SUPPORT. And then 5 min to do your wife/partners. Do it for you, them, me the UK economy, fuel security. To keep cute pandas warm at the zoo! You know it makes sense”.

Opponents of oil and gas projects have regularly encouraged social media followers to submit comments on applications and have provided template objections.

But in applications reviewed by DrillOrDrop since 2013, there’s been no evidence of a campaign among supporters. It’s also unusual to see supporters of a project outnumber opponents. At 10pm yesterday, of the 115 comments submitted, 76 were in support and 39 in opposition.

Local versus national

Analysis by DrillOrDrop of the postcodes given with comments suggests supporters were from across the UK and were not local. None gave postcodes for Billingshurst, Pulborough, Broadford Bridge or West Chiltington, the villages near the site. Only 8% of the total gave a West Sussex postcode.

Broadford bridge support

Postcode of people submitting comments in support of the Broadford Bridge application

View Support for Broadford Bridge application in a full screen map

In contrast, 46% of opponents gave a West Sussex postcode and 20% said they were from the neighbouring villages.

Broadford bridge object

Postcode of people submitting comments in support of the Broadford Bridge application

View Objections to Broadford Bridge application in a full screen map

Most of the letters of support were submitted on Friday (14 July), while most of the objections were dated Sunday 16 July.

Many of the letters of support said the site was of national significance and important to the UK economy, generating tax revenue and providing fuel security.

One comment from Cornwall said:

“private investor, essential for the revenue it will provide to the exchequer … essential for the provision of my care in old age”

Another said:

“We probably have the largest onshore oil field in the country if not Europe of national importance just as we are entering Brexit…This application must go ahead…”

The suggestion was made repeatedly that the application would prove the Weald Basin oil reserve was potentially worth many billions.

Most of the letters of objection mentioned concerns about acidisation (a technique used to stimulate flow in the well), new plans to store acid on the site, changes in the proposals since the last planning application, a lack of consultation and independent monitoring, impacts of flaring, threat of industrialisation and contribution to climate change.

  • Green Party MEP, Keith Taylor, is visiting opponents at the entrance to the Broadford Bridge at 11am on Thursday 20 July. Details

Link to application and consultation

DrillOrDrop report on planning application

DrillOrDrop timeline for Broadford Bridge

81 replies »

  1. I want to tell everyone that I am against fracking because there will be catastrophic environmental impacts regardless of how careful the fracking companies try to be in their operations. These effects are:-
    Polluted water supplies, poisoned food supplies, air pollution, liquid waste that cannot be got rid of, high noise levels,
    areas turned into industrial wastelands, possible earthquakes, water shortages and detrimental effects on people’s health.

    The Government should firstly allow a vote on fracking amongst the MPs and if there is a vote against the operation, then it should be consigned to history’s dustbin of bad ideas.
    Even if MPs do vote in favour of fracking, everyone in an area earmarked for operations should be made aware and allowed to express their opinion on it and if either the local Council or a significant proportion of people are against the proposal, then again the whole idea must be abandoned.

    Anyone who is tempted to accept a sum of money from a fracking company to allow them to do their fracking should think about the long term effects. What is the environment going to be like for future generations?
    We are all here to make things better for our children, our children’s children and so on, and fracking is definitely no way forward.

  2. Well Paul, thanks for that comment. But, of course, you do realise this site is drilling for oil, not fracking, and seeking no permission to frack?

    Just like many existing on land oil sites around the UK-most of which are so “obtrusive” even locals are unaware of their existence.

    Not being pedantic but it seems the anti thought police are suggesting only posts that are topical to the subject headline should be discussed under that subject. But then, all quiet currently on the fracking side, so quite understand it needs exposure somewhere.

    • Martin – I’d agree that Paul’s comment is as irrelevant to the main topic as the Peeny rants have been. I don’t think it helps a rational debate to have depth charges lobbed in to divert discussion on the topic at hand.

      Feel free to disagree – it’s not my site, so I am merely expressing an opinion and even after I have donated a whole ten quid it seems they won’t do as I tell them. LOL

  3. A good rant is good for the soul, and with a historical repetition by certain individuals that oil exploration in the Weald is connected to fracking, I’m sure that is also good for something. Eventually, the fog clears.

  4. Anyway, back to the main topic. Anyone noticed today’s RNS from UKOG? Probably explains the support by shareholders better than pages of our waffle.

    For further confirmation, check Angus Energy share price today.

    • Preliminary image log interpretations reveal a further, highly naturally-fractured Kimmeridge shale and limestone reservoir zone, designated “KL0”, from 5,508-5,640 ft measured depth (“MD”). Fractures on image logs coincide with lost circulation zones, oil in mud and wet gas shows.

      · Gross possible Kimmeridge fractured oil-bearing zone increased by 132 ft to 1,622 ft MD, a true vertical section of around 1,200 ft; spans five entire naturally fractured Kimmeridge Limestone and shale zones (KL0-KL4) from 4,018-5,640 ft MD. Zone may extend further upwards into fractured zones above 3,800 ft MD.

      · Schlumberger electric logging and fracture imaging completed, cement plug in deeper Corallian sandstone set and 7-inch steel casing currently being run in the hole. Flow testing of multiple zones over an aggregate 900 ft total perforated section to commence following setting of remaining 7-inch steel casing to TD and well completion.

      If the lost circulation zones are in the oil leg they are going to get great flow rates. Could be a huge lateral extending and very productive field.

      There will no doubt have to be a mass exodus of nimbys – free geological advice on where to move to (look for somewhere with basement at surface / outcropping) – contact Prof. David Smythe.

  5. The flow rates will indeed be interesting. Horse Hill (correct me if I am misremembering) recorded the highest flow rate for any UK on shore well ever tested, and this one looks big in comparison and equally should offer good data to further refine the next stage at Horse Hill.

    However, a long way to go yet before we get to a handful of Wytch Farm size operations, but that would be my hope with a refinery in close proximity and an existing high demand for the end products also in close proximity. That would be a good short term benefit in terms of carbon footprint, as well.

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