“We’re not being listened to”, campaigners say outside planning meeting

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Opponents of exploration at Broadford Bridge outside West Sussex County Council offices in Horsham. Photo: DrillOrDrop

Campaigners against drilling for oil at Broadford Bridge in West Sussex are gathering outside council offices this morning as a committee prepares to decide on the future of the site.

Local community groups say their views have not been properly taken into account by planners who are recommending that permission at the oil site should be extended for another 12 months.

If the application is approved it would allow the site operator, Kimmeridge Oil and Gas, to complete tests on the flow and quantity of oil in a well drilled earlier this summer.

The meeting, which begins at 10.30am in Horsham, is expected to hear statements from actor, Sue Jameson, for Broadford Bridge Action Group,  Dr Roger Smith, of CPRE Sussex and Jim Kelsey, of the campaign group, Keep Billingshurst Frack Free.

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Opponents of exploration at Broadford Bridge outside West Sussex County Council offices in Horsham. Photo: DrillOrDrop

They have raised concerns about the impact of oil exploration on local water, air and roads.

They have opposed the proposal by KOGL to use a 15% solution of hydrochloric acid to stimulate the flow of oil in the Kimmeridge limestone rocks. KOGL has said this is a routine operation but opponents fear this could contaminate local water supplies. Opponents have also raised fears that flaring gas from the well could affect air quality. Local people had funded monitoring of air and water to establish a baseline.

The original application, submitted by a previous operator, had sought to explore for hydrocarbons in a deeper sandstone rock. Some opponents said there were enough differences between plans by KOGL and the previous operator to justify a new and full application.

The meeting is expected to hear a statement in support of the application from Stephen Sanderson, the Executive Chairman of KOGL’s parent company, UK Oil and Gas. Others speakers in support are expected to be Matt Cartwright, of KOGL, and Nigel Moore, of the Zetland Group, KOGL’s agent.


23 replies »

    • Isn’t it curious to see how quickly the anti anti leap to unsubstantiated claims of “outright lies” to divert attention away from the subject of the post?
      The text Nick, is this,
      “Local community groups say their views have not been properly taken into account by planners who are recommending that permission at the oil site should be extended for another 12 months.”
      Are you accusing all the local residents of being “outright liars”?
      Perhaps you would care to provide proof that unsubstantiated claim?
      I suggest you await the outcome and not leap to unsubstantiated epithets.

    • Nick are you saying that there is no prospect of multiple oil wells in the area then? That will come as welcome news to many I’m sure.

      • Evening refracktion!

        There have been multiple producing oil Wells on multiple sites in the area for several decades, so…..

        • Evening Injuneer!

          So how would we define an “oil field” then?

          Wikipedia’s definition: “An “oil field” or “oilfield” is a region with an abundance of oil wells extracting petroleum (crude oil) from below ground. ” would seem to fit your bill.

          • Evening refracktion!

            I posted a detailed explanation for you. For some reason it showed as ‘awaiting moderation’ and then disappeared all together and I have no idea why.

            I’ll try again and see if it gets through this time.

            • Morning / Afternoon / Evening (delete as appropriate) refracktion!

              The Wikipedia definition is lousy, and I thought this would be easy; a quick search on the magical internet, copy the links and all done and dusted in 5 mins.

              Click to access DEUTSCHEBANK-AGUIDETOTHEOIL%EF%BC%86GASINDUSTRY-130125.pdf

              Click to access Oil%20and%20gas%20production%20handbook%20ed3x0_web.pdf




              But it turned out to be a lot more difficult than I thought it would be and just leaving the above for you to read would amount to cruel and unusual punishment – the first one alone runs to almost 500 pages..

              The Wikipedia description is more like the description of a ‘play’ than a ‘field’, so I’ll try and explain the difference between the two.

              BTW, now would be a good time to get a cup of coffee, sit down and make yourself comfortable….

              I’ll use the Southern North Sea as the example – my memory of the Geology of the Weald Basin is rusty and I need to refresh, since it was the early 90’s the last time I drilled there. The SNS is gas, but the principles are the same as oil.

              I’m presuming you know the basics about needing a source rock, reservoir rock, sealing rock and a trap?

              In the SNS, the principle mechanism is; the gas is produced by the Carboniferous (source), migrates up into the Rotliegendes Sandstone (reservoir) and cannot migrate any further up as it is blocked by the Zechstein (seal).

              This sequence of formations was widespread over the SNS.

              Over Geological time, the formations got broken up by folding and faulting, so instead of being one continuous reservoir, the Rotliegendes got broken up into smaller blocks.

              In some areas, this was so intense, the seal was broken and allowed the gas to escape.

              So some blocks of the Rotliegendes contained gas and others did not.

              BTW, for the sake of completeness, the folding and faulting may have happened first, and then the gas migrated up from the Carboniferous – off the top of my head I can’t remember which way around it was, but it’s irrelevant for the purposes of this explanation.

              Now, Millions of years later, along come the Rock Doctors (a.k.a Geologists and Geophysicists).

              They look at the history of the area, offset information from geologically analogous areas and decide that the Rotliegendes might contain gas (grossly simplified but you get the idea).

              This is called a play concept, the idea that hydrocarbons might be in a particular formation in a particular geological setting.

              Exploration drilling (often several Wells in different spots) will then take place to confirm if the play concept is valid. If they find hydrocarbons, it is valid. If none is discovered, probably not.

              In the example I’m using, the blocks of Rotliegendes Sandstone which are found to contain gas are called Fields. The early ones (e.g. Leman / Indefatigable, the ‘V’ fields complex, Rough, Viking etc) formed the basis of the gas industry as we know it today and led to the change over of the entire UK grid to natural gas.

              How many Wells and Platforms (Well Pads) it takes to develop a Field depends on numerous factors. Probably the best known Field in the UK is the Forties Field in the Northern North Sea, which took over 100 Wells and five platforms to develop. However, with modern drilling and completion techniques, a smaller number of Wells and Platforms would be used if it was found and developed today.

              So hopefully this explains the difference between a ‘play’ and a ‘field’.

              How does this relate to the Weald? Well (no pun intended), there are many Fields in the Weald Basin and most have been producing since the 1980’s. In no particular order, Humbly Grove, Stockbridge, Lidsey, Palmers Wood, Singleton, Storrington and Hordean are the ones that immediately come to mind. Palmers Wood is the one that you drive over when going along the M25 at the junction with the A22.

              Incidentally, Wytch Farm is not in the Weald Basin, it’s in the next basin along, the Wessex Basin, along with fields like Wareham, Waddocks Cross and the Kimmeridge Oilfield (which first started producing in the 1950’s!).

              Still with me so far?

              O.K., now lets look at the Horse Hill and Broadford Bridge Wells, how they relate to the Weald Basin and why it’s a new ‘play’ concept.

              When I was involved in drilling in The Weald, the Kimmeridge Limestones were primarily regarded as a potential lost circulation zone – if we drilled through a fracture, the idea was to block off the losses as soon as possible and carry on drilling. I don’t recall if anyone thought it might contain produceable oil

              With the tools and technology that was available back then, the Electrical Logs wouldn’t pick up the oil in the fractures and they lacked the definition to clearly identify that the very small pore spaces in the Limestone actually contained oil.

              Not only that, back then we lacked the technology to drill horizontal Wells – the first one wasn’t drilled Onshore the UK until about 1991, and even then, it remained an expensive ‘niche’ technology.

              This is why the likes of BP, Conoco etc missed it as a potential reservoir in the 1980’s and gave the licences up after the oil price crashed in the early 1990’s.

              Roll forward the clock a couple of decades, and what has changed?

              Well the technology available in many areas of the seismic, drilling and well evaluation process have taken giant steps forwards.
              For example, drilling horizontal wells is now commonplace ,and advances in Electric Logging mean that fractures can now be imaged and oil in the fractures and very small pore spaces identified.

              The huge advances in computing power have meant that the information that can be obtained from Seismic has grown exponentially as well – even by re-processing and re-interpretation of old seismic data, which is essentially what UKOG (or Magellan, to be pedantic) did to identify HH as a potential target.

              The drilling of horizontal Wells is particularly important. Drill into a naturally fractured formation vertically, and you might hit one fracture, or none at all. Drill horizontally in the right direction, and you will drill through many fractures, therefore increasing production and reserves per Well.

              When UKOG drilled Horse Hill, they found that there was, in fact, producible oil in the Kimmeridge Limestone fractures – i.e., it was a new ‘play’ concept. Whether or not this was actually an identified well objective before drilling, I don’t know – haven’t looked and it’s now pretty much irrelevant anyway.

              So, next comes the Broadford Bridge well.

              Recognising that the Kimmeridge Limestones were now a potential payzone, the drilling and evaluation program was modified to be able to more fully evaluate this – e.g. by taking full length cores across the entire Kimmeridge and, almost certainly, changing the E-Logging program.

              Now, the early results look very promising (the flow rates have been exceptionally good for a UK Onshore Well), but only long term testing will prove up the ‘play’ concept as being valid and open to Development.

              I’ve seen speculation that the Horse Hill and Broadford Bridge Wells are actually producing from the same field. Given how far apart they are and the complexity of the Geology of the Weald Basin, I personally feel that it is very unlikely. They could be, but unlikely.
              In the meantime, other Operators in the Weald will be looking over old Drilling and E-Log data to see if it’s possible they missed something as well, and I’m willing to bet that Angus have modified their evaluation program on the Lidsey-X2 Well they have just spudded.

              So, you asked me what the time was and I told you how to build a watch, calibrate it and how to tell the time!

              Hopefully all the above makes sense, but I’ll try and clarify further if you have any questions.

              Happy reading!


            • Afternoon Injuneer

              That’s all very interesting – thank you for taking the time to put that together and for presenting it so clearly. I think I even understood most of it!

              So to paraphrase and check my comprehension a discrete geological area containing extractable hydrocarbons is a “play” which is made up of (potentially) several “fields{ ? Presumably then each of these “fields” could contain “an abundance of oil wells extracting petroleum (crude oil) from below ground.” as per Wikipedia? I concede your explanation is rather more thorough and complete than theirs of course.

              In the light of all that I imagine it would not be totally outrageous for a Weald protestor to carry a placard saying “Clean Fields not Oil Fields” – unless you are going to take issue with the use of the plural, but even then based on your explanation the play involved could well comprised several oil fields?

              As regards your posts visit to moderation ISTR that if your post contains 5 or more links it automagically gets into a moderation queue for spam suppression purposes but I’m sure Paul can confirm that or otherwise.

              Thanks again

            • G’Day refracktion!

              To paraphrase my old Physics Teacher, you read, you learned and you inwardly digested, so yes, your second paragraph is correct!

              As far as I’m concerned, Protestors can carry any placard they want, but my question would be “do you know that there have already been producing oil fields in the Weald Basin for decades?”

              If they do know and they are objecting to the potential for additional fields (plural) to be developed, then fine – but it’s surprising how few people are aware of that particular fact.

              Thanks for the heads up about the number of links. I wondered if that was it, as my first couple of posts were also referred to a Moderator – I presumed precisely because they were my first posts.

              But I was (am!) confused why the whole post got deleted the first time and then was O.K. the second time, when I didn’t change anything?

              Anyway, you are welcome!

              I’ve been asked to do a guest post by the Moderator – not sure I want to stick my head that far above the parapet though..

            • Do the guest post Injuneer – Contrary to what we are constantly told by the likes of Peeny most of us here are genuinely interested in the subject matter and enjoy learning when the information is presented in an objective and interesting way. That’s not to say people won’t pick holes in whatever you write, but you seem big enough to deal with that.

            • Thinking about it, but there are 947 people who follow Drill or Drop and I know nothing about 946 of them.

              I don’t mind anyone trying to pick holes in what I’m saying, but I have no wish for one (and that is all it will take) to misquote or selectively quote out of context what I say on one of the “fracfreexxxx” websites.

              I’m also aware that I’m a long way behind the curve, in that I’m new to this site and the subject of Frac’ing has been been batted around for several years on many sites, so I don’t know who (who is Peeny, for example?) has said what in the public domain, or how reliable what they said was.

              Plus I am also very aware that the technology behind Frac’ing and things like waste water treatment are advancing at such a rapid rate that what was a ‘fact’ even a couple of years ago may well be out of date, but the person who found that ‘fact’ out may not be aware of it.

              And let’s face it, someone not a million miles away wanted to pick a hole in something I said because one of the Rig crew had a foreign sounding name 😉

              So, will cogitate on doing it a little more.

              All the best!

  1. “No fracking”-they obviously listen to the wrong people, try and perpetuate that myth, and then find they are not listened to. Not surprising.

    However, by trying to perpetuate that myth they take a bigger risk, and may find it is much bigger than they appreciated.

  2. I should redirect that question refracktion to the Prof. He has made it pretty clear that HH was very much a fluke and will not be repeated across the Weald.
    When your own spokespeople are making such statements and promoting them to the good people of Sussex, I would have thought you would find that sufficient. Or, is it, that there is total inconsistency and confusion amongst the antis?
    Bit like PNR, where we have either, shale gas will not be economic and then complete industrialisation of the Fylde.

    • Martin – it’s an either or – either it will not be economic or if they find a way (govt subsidy?) it will be industrialisation of the Fylde. It’s not to hard to understand that is it?

  3. Correct decision all round, if it wasn’t for all the false news and discredited experts they keep championing they may have got somewhere. I

  4. The whole point of having a well test here is to see if the oil resource is likely to be as extensive as it is hoped. If it is there still will need to be more evaluation wells. It would be great if they can use horizontal drilling and multiple wells on one pad as then the enviro impact will be smaller. I dont see the UK stopping using fossl fuels for a long time yet, so best if we can use our own. Its a no brainer, but then some of the protestors do seems to be limited in the brain department!

    As for protesting about acidification of the well, this shows the depths of ignorance of the protestors. HCl is totally benign and has been used in millions of wells with no issues.

    • “HCl is totally benign”

      HI Ken!

      No it’s not as the ASA ruled in 2013 as any fule know

      HCL is Hydrogen Chloride and in aqueous solution (as used in acidisation / fracking) is Hydrochloric Acid

      Our own government has stated

      “Toxicological Overview
      Summary of Health Effects

      Hydrogen chloride is irritating and corrosive to any tissue with which it comes into contact. It is highly soluble in water, producing hydrochloric acid. The main routes of exposure to hydrogen chloride are via inhalation, or skin or eye contact. Exposure to hydrochloric acid is predominantly by ingestion, or skin or eye contact. As it is highly soluble in water, following acute inhalation hydrogen chloride is deposited in the nose and upper respiratory tract, causing irritation and ulceration, coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breathing and choking. At higher concentrations, hydrogen chloride may cause tachypnoea, swelling of the throat leading to suffocation, as well as pulmonary oedema. Reactive Airway Dysfunction Syndrome (RADS), a chemical-induced type of asthma, may also occur. Acute ingestion of hydrochloric acid may cause burns to the lips, mouth, throat, oesophagus and stomach, dysphagia, nausea and vomiting. Skin exposure to low concentrations of hydrogen chloride gas or hydrochloric acid causes erythema and inflammation of the skin whereas high concentrations can cause severe chemical burns to the skin and mucous membranes. Acute eye exposure causes stinging pain, ulceration, conjunctival irritation and corneal damage at lower concentrations and at higher concentrations corneal necrosis, cataracts and glaucoma may occur. Chronic inhalation exposure to hydrogen chloride gas or mist may result in decreased pulmonary function, inflammation of the bronchi and nasal ulceration. Chronic ingestion may cause discolouration and erosion of dental enamel. ”

      And you say it is totally benign Ken? I think we can see where the depths of ignorance are really being plumbed.

    • “depths of ignorance”? Yes, that about sums up the entire onshore ohandgee industry doesn’t it?
      Out of the multiple mouths of anonymous babes…….

  5. Some great posts. I am an ecologist. I am an investor in UKOG and the UK Onshore Oil and Gas Industry. I also invest in Solar Power and renewables and lithium exploration. Lithium is essential to the EV explosion as far as I know.

    Idealists should look up lithium processing before they get a green smug glow feeling about using EV ‘s instead of fossil fuelled cars. It uses masses of toxic chemicals on the ground, it has to and this is in the plant, NOT a km underground like the HCL solution in oil (and water) wells.

    Acid solution is used to dissolve small amounts of the alkaline rock UNDERGROUND and allow it to begin flowing oil. Then it ceases. What happens when an acid reacts with an alkaline stone? It neutralises it chemically. Compared to lithium processing or water treatment its a non event. Yes if UKOG start selling it to kids at the gate then your point has weight. The argument about water pollution is absolute garbage.

    We all know Petroleum is an organic, totally natural product and is stored underground out of sight, unlike Wind Turbines or Solar Arrays, or Oil Seed Rape fields that require pesticides and fertilisers we have the likelihood that some of the UK’s absolutely essential oil can be “locally sourced”. The plan for the well pads are amazing and are basically stealth with all workings, pumps etc buried. If you think we should keep importing with all the Co2 tonnes on our watch, you are endangering hundreds of species in the rainforests of Venezuela and and Africa, and will be part responsible large amounts of destruction of the rainforest. Oh and propping up dictators. And encouraging wars in the Middle East. Have that on your conscience and look at yourselves in the mirror and realise YOU are the right wing now. YOU maye have become the “Fascists” by your actions.

    You may live in the Weald, but you do not own anything outside of your own garden, anymore than any other UK citizen owns it and if there is Oil underneath the land it sadly belongs to the UK Government. I wish some of the resident’s whose houses blot the landscape (what damage have those done to the beautiful Weald’s ecology?)and who’s cars pollute it every-time they drive to the shop or through it could be educated but they will only look for spurious and dubious information that back up their cases.

    I read most of the points put forward by both sides and I just like the truth and the truth is that the Weald pressure groups are so lame [edited by moderator].

    • I suppose there must be a few PR execs with time on their hands after this week’s news. Good to see some of them are finding work so quickly.

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