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. Its called the national intrest = GREENS POSITION makes no sense they want massed immigration . but no way to resource such a population except by importing natural resources from elsewhere except littering the entire country side with wind turbines or put them out to sea which impacts fishing etc

    They supported the Navitus Bay wind farm s near poole saying it would create jobs – what they dont say is would t hey be british jobs since the turbines are built by germany or china . apart from a few management of course

    I would support any move to see WINFRITH NUCLEAR back and drilling sites near weymouth in dorset

    THEN PEOPLE go on about the FRACKING In the weald – where no one is doing or needs to do fracking – MORE FAKE NEEDS By nimbies/swampies (Who probably drive vehicles using fuel imported from MIddle east and thus hypocritical). They probably no mind massed immigration – as it suppresses wages of their underlings, because most of the people who can afford such houses are probably from the management classes.

    Wytch farm in poole has been going for years in an area of natural beauty and is non intrusive


    • Anyone who does not support the immediate reduction of fossil fuel and the immediate acceleration of energy saving and the maximising of renewable energy is a supporter of mass immigration.

      Climate change is and will cause millions to migrate from areas of flooding, drought, and starvation to safer areas.

      Basic survival.

      If you think millions won’t head to Europe and the UK you are totally detached from reality.

      Let President Obama and the Pentagon spell it out to you.

      Time for this Government to do a bit of root cause analysis and get real on climate change.

      That would be in the national interest.

  2. Where did the “indigenous leader” come from who was filmed outside PNR? Honorary local? And, how did he get there-fly on the big white eagle? (Probably- American Airlines.)

    Fawley Oil Refinery producing aviation fuel for Gatwick and Heathrow. Both expanding to meet increased demand from people who like to holiday, and travel on business-remember we need to establish new trading relationships=more big white eagles.

    Tankers being brought up the Solent from all over the world-I know the pilot- (very few from N. Sea)- risking another maritime disaster on the scale of the Torrey Canyon. So, we may have oil local to a major oil refinery and there is a debate as to whether we should examine whether it is significant and commercial, whilst an existing local oil field pumps out 15k barrels per day into this same refinery?

    As long as this site meets the necessary technical and planning criteria it is a no brainer. To try and stop this is a nonsense akin to trying to stop a farmer planting a field of wheat because some don’t like the colour when it ripens.

  3. [Edited by moderator]

    UKOG have a pretty loyal band of followers hence the action being noticed for the first time by the pros. What will happen is when more people become aware of the positives of onshore O&G you will have a surge in this type of activity. Even taking a website like this which generally promotes the green side, Ruth is an environmentalist after all, (I have no issues with it I like the quick information) you can see there are plenty of people supporting the industry. The eco warriors and NIMBYs will once again be the minority preaching to the majority.

    • [Edited by moderator]

      UKOG are not fracking just yet – if they don’t this is just conventional drilling for oil – sure there are some environmental issues here but it’s not fracking. If OTOH they claim they won’t be fracking and then they end up doing so then that will be interesting won’t it?

    • And yet another independent, advance scientific study has confirmed that despite massive surge in natural gas production, methane emissions from o&g operations are actually FALLING. So much for Philip’s far flung theories! From a description of the study:

      “Stefan Schwietzke, a researcher and methane expert at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, a collaborative effort between NOAA and the University of Colorado Boulder, told that attempts to link rising methane levels with the expansion of hydraulic fracturing in the United States over the past decade have produced results that are “counter-intuitive.”

      In an email to, Schwietzke explained that his research showed that while methane was rising, the percentage of the methane increase due to fossil fuel production laden with rare, carbon-13 isotopes is falling across all parts of the globe.”

      Incidentally, the rise in methane emissions world wide is once again blamed on agricultural development and tropical wetlands.

  4. I think you will find refracktion there has been a great deal of information produced by UKOG/Angus/Solo and others regarding the sites under exploration in the Weald. All is available and in the public domain and shows that the modern exploration techniques being used indicate the rock they are targeting is naturally fractured and the oil flows quite readily without the need for fracking. Flow tests have been conducted at Horse Hill that demonstrated this clearly.
    However, ignoring all of that you have a group led by the Greens who continue to claim this is all about fracking. Even ignoring the depth HH was drilled to in order to make the claim. But that is the sort of fake news that is widespread and will do it’s own damage.
    I suspect if this develops there will be the use of octopus drilling and long horizontals, both of which will make such development as no more intrusive than Wytch Farm.

    Meanwhile, inflation dropped last month, mainly due to a decline in oil prices. No wonder people are supporting UKOG. Reduce individuals essential expenditure and it is a tax free pay rise. Just wait until it has an impact upon flight costs from Gatwick!

    • I guess only time will tell Martin. We are all familiar with the foot in the door planning permission scenarios which play out across all types of development. This may or may not be an example. I’m reserving judgement, but I do find it terribly amusing that they are using the same pro-forma method to generate support that the pro-frackers tell us in meaningless. Irony is a wonderful thing.

  5. Yes, irony like “local” native Indians.

    I have written to the council supporting, as I have a share holding in UKOG. The reasons why I have a share holding is not just to do with making a return but because I believe in what they are trying to achieve and the potential it affords to replace existing imported fuel with replacement local fuel which is more secure and ecologically beneficial. The position of this site is all to do with the underground structures and little to do with the above ground situation so, whilst the locals obviously have a say, there is no logic to say it is just their input that should be sought. They will not be the only people using the output. They should be well compensated for any disruption. That is a separate issue and the local antis should concentrate more on that.

    I have not made an investment into AJLucas as I would not invest in a company where their core business is facing demand problems which are nothing to do with their fracking business. Obviously, others can make other conclusions.

    • [Edited by moderator]

      In the 20th and 21st centuries, indigenous peoples in the Americas have been more vocal about the ways they wish to be referred to, pressing for the elimination of terms widely considered to be obsolete, inaccurate, or indeed racist. During the latter half of the 20th century and the rise of the Indian rights movement, the United States government responded by proposing the use of the term “Native American”, to recognize the primacy of indigenous peoples’ tenure in the nation. The term has met with only partial acceptance since the name originates from the white settlers, not the natives. Other naming conventions have been proposed and used, but none are accepted by all indigenous groups. Typically, each name has a particular audience and political or cultural connotation, and regional usage varies.

      If someone comes from France, the collective noun is French, someone from America post colonisation by the Europeans and genocide of the natives, they call America, hence American, from Amerigo Vespucci and is therefore Latin, and not in any native language.

      [Edited by moderator] May i suggest you at least call them by their correct given name, or their correct tribe at the very least.

    • I presume people who propose swapping imported gas with UK shale gas don’t drive cars that are foreign owned. I presume they never buy Chinese goods.

      I presume they regularly demonstrate against this….

      I presume the same bunch who drive foreign cars and use imported Chinese goods realise what we export to Qatar which gives us £1.5 billion a year in trade

      electronic equipment
      aircraft, spacecraft
      iron or steel products
      furniture, lighting, signs
      gems, precious metals
      medical, technical equipment
      salt, sulphur, stone, cement

      Do you really suppose our government or Qatar will allow us to stop buying their LNG?

      UK shale gas secure


  6. Whilst protesters have been campaigning about a small oil well site in Sussex have any campaigners thought about the
    huge amount of damage inflicted on the countryside over many centuries by farmers?, For example destroying wildlife habitats by ripping out woodlands and installing drainage. Not to mention the milk lorries and farm machinery that destroy our country roads creating potholes that make it difficult to drive along

    • Ah but farmers are not upsetting the status quo for the NIMBYs in fact they promote higher house prices due to providing a green belt.
      You’ll find the antis are full of contradictions.

      • Paul – does your WP comment add in have an “ignore user” option hat can hide comments from certain people? #justasking

        • If not maybe you could consider this

          “Commenter Ignore Button


          Commenter Ignore Button (CIB) lets a user put one or more commenters “on ignore.” To have such an option enabled is a frequent request at blogs and other sites where comment threads are plagued by trolls or other problematic commenters, but where site operators prefer to err on the side of open discussion – or don’t want to get involved unless they really have to. Once users become generally aware of the option, people just seeking attention may either be more polite or move somewhere else, while regular commenters – and lurkers – may become more willing to engage.”

  7. I love the recent “discovery” of cobalt, and how it is so great because it fits the green agenda. Do people realise it is classified as a carcinogen, and the huge health problems to kids in undeveloped parts of the world who are labouring and handling the stuff?

    It used to be so dirt cheap it was added routinely as a trace element into animal feed because it was cheaper to do this than utilise more expensive alternatives. Then, the greenies “discovered” it and the price rocketed as new uses were developed. One of the consequences is that now there is such a huge demand fuelled from the price increase that we see virtual child slave labour and toxicity problems.
    Is this within the calculations for health issues created linked to climate change? I suspect not-far too inconvenient.

    Not really off piste, refracktion. Vehicles with batteries, vehicles with fuel tanks.

  8. In simple words-we largely use fossil fuels to drive cars/lorries etc. At the moment greenies want us to cease-“no need for fossil fuels” (see previous posts re Broadford Bridge) they type out on their plastic keypads- so the alternatives are promoted, as if there are car and lorry parks full of them waiting the call. (By the way, when I was driving 40k miles a year on business, I always looked for a vehicle that would take me 650 miles without refueling-not many alternatives around that would meet that spec.) When you start to look at the manufacture of such “alternatives” you soon find there are big problems with sourcing materials to make them attractive eg. cobalt, or conversely solar panels manufactured in China requiring huge inputs of coal for the production process and the pollution that causes, and the mortality that causes-but China does not need to sign any meaningful Paris commitment until 2030, so that’s all okay, we can just moan about Trump.

    So, I would currently prefer to use a vehicle with a petrol tank, where the oil has been sourced locally, and processed locally, rather than ask countries the other side of the world to cause ill health to many of their children so I could “entertain” ill informed people at a dinner party (with Shiraz of course) about my morality in switching to a vehicle utilising cobalt, certainly until there is a clear and honest tracking of individual sources of cobalt and how it is acquired and processed. That is possible, but certainly not easy, and always open to manipulation. I suspect cobalt sourcing could become the next big exploitative issue.

    Where I have stated currently, I would largely expect this to be a position maintained for the next 20-30 years, although gradual change will occur over that period. Neither do I see the Weald, in the near term, replacing all of the tankers being piloted up the Solent currently to Fawley Oil Refinery, so, my pilot friend should not lose his job, and if indeed that happened, he could always convert to cruise liners.

    Now that I have completed my homework on time, I trust you will find it enlightening-but somehow I don’t think that is your purpose.

    Do I get extra marks for pointing out that world demand for oil is rising again? (Easily solved-a world recession.)

    • Martin it’s all very interesting,and almost enlightening, just not particularly relevant to the subject under discussion (except via your tenuous link that we all use fossil fuels).

      Still I suppose these digressions keep you and Peeny amused and my comments seem to give him the chance to be rude to people who give him his only platform.


    • Martin, I’m not sure there are actually any ‘moderate’ antis as they all have one of two backgrounds; NIMBY or pink haired globe trotter that’s never held down a job for longer than 24hrs and found sanctuary for psychological reason(s) in a collective known as ‘eco warriors’.
      I’m probably the youngest poster on here and the capitalists in my generation will always overpower the; anti street wise, upper middle class, never had a paid job other than internship at daddy’s ‘property’ business, Corbychev lover.

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