Regulation

What Surrey County Council told the OGA about the Brockham sidetrack

Brockham night working Brockham Protection Camp

Nighttime drilling at Brockham oil site. Photo: Brockham Protection Camp

Angus Energy did not have permission to drill a new sidetrack at Brockham in Surrey and does not have consent for production, the county council has told an industry regulator.

The well, called BRX4z, has been the subject of a long-running dispute between the company and the council.

In a recent letter to the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), Surrey County Council said:

“For the avoidance of doubt, the CPA [county planning authority] considers that no planning permission exists for the sidetrack BRX4z as an exploratory well or for producing from it.”

The Oil and Gas Authority sought the council’s view because Angus has applied to produce from the side track and has submitted an addendum to its field development plan.

The company has argued that it had planning permission to drill the sidetrack in January and to produce from it in future. But the council has consistently disagreed. Earlier today, Angus Energy was accused to betraying the trust of the council over the Brockham site (DrillOrDrop report).

In the letter, released in response to a freedom of information request, the council outlined the different planning permissions at Brockham and what they covered. According to the council, none gave permission for the BRX4z.

Permission MO86/1112

Granted: May 1987

For: Construction of a well site and access road, the drilling of one exploratory borehole and the testing of any hydrocarbon bearing structure encountered.

Conditions: The permission ceases one year from commencement of drilling operations or within six months of the completion of flow testing, whichever was the soonest.

Operations under this permission: Drilling of BRX1 August-October 1987

Council’s view: This permission does not authorise production from BRX4z because it relates only to drilling of BRX1

Permission MO92/0969

Granted: January 1995

For: Retention of existing well site to further test the existing oil bore and drill up to five additional wells and install production and road tanker facilities

Conditions: Permission is for 15 years from the commencement of drilling or 12 months from the completion of flow testing of the first bore, unless a scheme for the transportation of oil has been submitted or approved, whichever is the sooner.

Council’s view: No scheme for the transportation of oil was approved so the permission expired within 12 months from the completion of flow testing of the first bore. 15 years from the commencement of drilling expired in 2013. This permission has expired so does not authorise hydrocarbon production from BRX4z.

Permission MO06/1294

Granted: May 2007

For: Extension of the period of production from the site for a further 30 years

Council’s view: When this permission was granted there were two well heads and four wells (BRX1, BRX2, BRX2z and BRX2y)

Permission MO07/0161

Granted: June 2007

For: Installation and operation of a drilling rig for a workover programme, drilling a new well (BRX4) for a temporary period until 31 December 2008.

Council’s view: This permission does not authorise hydrocarbon production because it post-dates MO06/1294 and cannot derive authority from it. The permission expired in December 2008.

  • DrillOrDrop always invites Angus Energy to respond to posts about its operations. We have also offered the company the chance to put its views in a guest post. The company has discussed the Brockham sidetrack dispute on its website (link here)

8 replies »

  1. Well, that is news, isn’t it?! Some in the council believe one thing, Angus obviously have a different view. Both have given their views to OGA, both have different advice from legal specialists. Absolutely no change.

  2. Its a sidetrack. No big deal really. Angus had problems and kicked off. So what? Its still a single well. Thats the problem with giving comment to non engineers, who would find this a very minor issue….

    • It IS a big deal. It is a lack of understanding and a lack of agreement between the operator and the minerals authority.
      How many other issues have been ‘misunderstood’?

  3. Absolutely no production either , Angus told investors it would be in production before summer 2017 , must be costing a fortune , no need for any protest when the company do its own .

  4. Reading this post and also looking at the information on the Angus Energy website, I can’t see what SCC are so upset about.

    Essentially their remit stops at ground level. The drilling of the sidetrack came under the remit of the OGA & HSE and they had clearly given permission.

    It seems the whole thing goes back to some sloppy reporting by a BBC Environmental Reporter.

  5. You are spot on Injuneer. However, in addition there have been repeated incidents where elements within and without the SCC have tried to manage this situation for their own purposes. When it all started, I indicated someone would come a cropper, and this is probably still the case.
    I suspect OGA will have to step in and get SCC off the hook, and the end result will be, as we all know, that there was confusion about the records-or something similar

    Face saving is now required, but it will not be helped if councillors continue to make the sort of remarks they did in yesterday’s meeting..

  6. I was one of many many local people and protection camp members monitoring activity on the site, equipment in and out etc. I contacted SCC many times for reassurance that the company were NOT being allowed to drill as they only had permission for a work over rig for repairs to an existing well. The council repeatedly reassured me that there were no permissions in place for anything other than repair. They also asked for us to report to them if we thought anything other than repair was being carried out. SCC told me that Angus had reassured them that it was only repair work being carried out even though many locals were contacting SCC with concerns that more than just repairs were being carried out they seemed satisfied with Angus’s explanation as to what was happening on the site. So, who’s lying?

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