Angus Energy announced in the past hour that it had received approval from the Oil & Gas Authority allowing it to produce oil from a side-track well drilled earlier this year.
The consent is for a well that has been the centre of a planning dispute with Surrey County Council.
Angus drilled the sidetrack in January 2017 and has maintained consistently that it has planning permission for the work.
The county council has argued that the well was not covered by existing planning permissions on the site and had asked the company to make a retrospective application.
The OGA approval of the company’s Field Development Plan addendum had been predicted on Twitter last week.
Angus said the OGA approval was the final regulatory consent it needed to begin production from the Kimmeridge formation in the well, known as BR-X4Z.
This morning Angus said the well would initially produce from a 200m naturally-fractured section of a 385m thick Kimmeridge layer of interbedded shale and limestone.
It confirmed an earlier plan, announced last month, to also generate electricity at the site (DrillOrDrop report).
“Prior to initiating production Angus Energy will install a connection to the National Grid for the distribution of excess power generated onsite”.
Angus shares opened up 4% this morning.
At a Surrey County Council planning committee last month, Angus was accused of betraying trust and misleading councillors over the sidetrack (DrillOrDrop report).
The chair, Cllr Tim Hall, said:
“They [Angus] know full well what we think.
“We have legal counsel’s opinion which says there needs to be an application. We have communicated that to Angus Energy. They know our position full well.”
The then development control manager, Alan Stones, said:
“Discussions are ongoing at present in respect of other applications in terms of this site. Early stages but I am hopeful that things would move forward and are sensibly resolved.”
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.”
Surrey County Council has made no public statement since then that its position has changed. DrillOrDrop will invite the council to comment and update this piece with any response.