Breaking: Cuadrilla sells operation of Balcombe licence to Angus Energy

Balcombe,West Sussex, UK Anti Fracking protests..16th September

Cuadrilla tanker at Balcombe in 2013. Photo: David Burr

Angus Energy announced this morning that it would become the operator of Cuadrilla’s Balcombe licence in West Sussex, after acquiring a 25% stake.

The deal, which depends on consent from the Oil and Gas Authority, will cost Angus £4 million and will require additional sources of capital, the company said.

In a statement this morning, Angus said it would carry out and pay for tests on the oil flow in the Balcombe well, approved earlier this month by West Sussex County Council.

Cuadrilla drilled its Balcombe well in summer 2013, prompting three months of protests. But it ran out of time under the planning permission to test the well and no operations beyond maintenance have been carried out since then. Cuadrilla is currently preparing for horizontal drilling at its shale gas site at Preston New Road in Lancashire and a public inquiry over refusal of planning permission at a nearby site at Roseacre Wood.

Cuadrilla’s chief executive, Francis Egan, said:

“Following the approval of our planning application to flow test and monitor the existing horizontal exploration well at Lower Stumble we are delighted to form this new partnership with Angus Energy, an existing and successful operator in the area. This agreement will enable the testing works to be undertaken in a timely way and to the highest standards, whilst we continue to also focus on our shale gas operations in the North West.”

Angus currently operates licences and sites at Lidsey in West Sussex and at Brockham in Surrey.

Earlier this month, the company said it would be producing oil from two wells at each of these sites in the first quarter of this year (DrillOrDrop report). But there’s disagreement between the company and Surrey County Council over whether there is planning permission to drill or produce from one of the Brockham wells.

Under today’s agreement, Angus has acquired interest in the Balcombe licence, PEDL244, from both Cuadrilla and the other investor in the licence, Lucas Bolney Ltd, a subsidiary of the Australian mining group, A J Lucas.

Angus Energy’s Managing Director, Paul Vonk, said in the statement:

“This transaction complements our existing asset base and aligns with our goal of enhancing shareholder value. This joint venture is an important milestone as we execute our business plan. Both the new partnership and Cuadrilla’s and Lucas’ recognition of Angus Energy’s ability to manage and execute operations in a safe and efficient manner at Balcombe are gratifying to our entire team.

“We are also looking forward to the near term testing of Balcombe-2Z horizontal well as it will further add to our knowledge base and understanding of the Kimmeridge layers.”

The statement said Angus would:

“commence a fully approved well test program of the Balcombe-2Z horizontal well at the earliest opportunity. Angus Energy will also establish a local Community Liaison Group and contact local residents, at the appropriate time, before work commences.”


Opposition in Balcombe to Cuadrilla’s 2013 operations. Photo: DrillOrDrop

According to the statement, Angus will pay £2m, less a £150,000 advance payment, within 20 working days of 20 January 2018. It will pay another £2m following consent from the OGA. Angus said it “was reviewing several financing options” and was “in the final stages of selection”.

The statement said Angus would conduct the well test programme with the following objectives:

  • Measure the well flowing production rates for oil and natural gas
  • Measure flowing bottom hole and wellhead well pressures
  • Determine the gas oil ratio (GOR) of production from the well
  • Collect and analyse well oil, gas and water samples
  • Measure and record well shut-in bottom hole pressure over approximately one month.

Angus said the test programme would “require minimal preparation” because the well was ready for testing.

A presentation for investors, also published today, said Kimmeridge limestone layers at Balcombe were thicker than Brockham and the exploration well at Horse Hill, near Gatwick.

180122 Angus Energy presentation on Balcombe

Extracts from Angus Energy presentation for investors, 22 January 2018

The only liability for PEDL 244, the company said, was for restoration of the Balcombe site, estimated at about £200,000.

If the agreement is approved, ownership of the licence will change from 75% Cuadrilla and 25% Lucas Bolney to £56.25% Cuadrilla, 25% Angus Energy and 18.75% Lucas Bolney Ltd.

Last week, A J Lucas announced it was looking to raise A$22m partly to fund horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing at Preston New Road. The company said Cuadrilla had incurred additional costs in drilling the first vertical well at the site because of “unforeseen weather and technical issues delaying the drilling timetable”.

39 replies »

  1. Oh dear oh dear! More of the same recidivist rubbish? Are you opposed to breathing clean air? Are you opposed to drinking clean water? Are you opposed to eating clean food? Are you opposed to living in a clean environment? Are you opposed to anyone else living on a clean planet?

    Then don’t use them!

    Go away and breathe your industry polluted air and drink your industry polluted water, eat your industry polluted food and live in your industry polluted environment.

    And don’t pollute them for everyone else in the name of greed and hatred and profit and overturning democracy in order to corrupt and destroy this country in order to institute a regime where poison and hatred rule under the frackboot of totalitarian oiligarchies.

    We don’t need more poisonous industrialisation of our country and we wont have it, the few corrupt profiteers can fly away to their offshore tax havens to guzzle gas and oil, but they will be brought to account sooner or later, and it will be hard, very hard on them.

    The alternatives of renewable energy will not needlessly do any more ecological damage, they will not needlessly increase and exacerbate the now wildly fluctuating and accelerating climate change, they will not needlessly poison the air we breathe and the water we drink.

    We will have freely available energy whether the industrial oiligarchies want it or not. The new processes will replace all the things that oil and gas have done up to now, and it wont cost the health of the planet and the lives of our children to do so.

    Then we can start to undo all the filthy damage that the last few centuries have imposed upon us.

    I say again, you are either part of the solution, or you are part of the problem. Stop being part of the problem, start being part of the solution.

    Its the only sane thing to do. All else is insanity and self destructive, the planet cannot tolerate our miserable hateful little practices any longer, if we dont change then the planet will change so rapidly it will force us into it, and then we will really see what we are really spitting in the face of.

    • Where is all the commentary from all of the frack free groups, Ruth? They are a mainstay of this site. I’m sure they will tell us how it is all for naught. This article is far too positive for an activist website. What has happened to all of the negativity we have come to expect.

      • Getting a post from BleatShaleToday is a little like getting a loan from the French/Normans of the Bayeux Tapestry, actually its an embroidery i read? The Bayeux Embroidery somehow does not have that same ring to it does it? The Tap…..Embroidery depicts the Anglo Saxon (read English) King Harold getting what appears to be an arrow in his eye/face/helmet and subsequently being “cut down” by a French knight. Lovely.

        The message, it seems, we get from the French/Norman President Macron is interesting, please have this….embroidery displayed publicly showing the French conquering the Anglo Saxons, and your erstwhile King Harold being killed by us? Yeah….nice?

        Also there is an interesting parallel with the news that Cuadrilla sells operation of Balcombe licence to Angus Energy? Is this not a message from the lovely Cuadrilla that well known force for good democratic standards and reason filled with only the best of intentions for every little bird that flies and just loves to give out presents at Christmas via its good hearted and upstanding gentle and caring security staff.

        Perhaps that is to show us their Balcombe Trapestry depicting the march of their invading army conquering England and showing the killing of democracy and freedom of choice with an Angus Arrow sticking in the eye of the entire British peoples? Or is that too negative?

        Ably assisted of course by our own fair minded and law abiding caring police force who are so well known for assisting old ladies to distribute tea and even volunteer to look after their tea-urn and help to relax wheelchair users gently to the floor, while simultaneously distributing jolly songs and assisting the good people of Cuadrilla to distribute alms for the poor and food for the hungry? Doesnt it make your heart soar to have such wonderful caring socially responsible and generous corporation in our midst? Almost as good as those well known philanthropists…..Ineos?

        And then we hear of the selling over of Balcombe to that paragon of democratic virtue efficiency and planning permission honesty our dear friends Angus, that must warm the heart of every person they come into contact with, old and young and planning councillors alike?

        Honestly guys, this Balcombe Trapestry depicted by these corporations? Its just like a spit in the face isnt it?

        Always a pleasure! Have a great day!

  2. Cyril-I do understand your viewpoint, but the EXPLORATION within the Weald is just that. If anyone believes that exploration for oil/gas is a secure way to hit the jackpot, they are more pot than jack. The continuing attempt to make out the devils work is underway within the Weald and anyone positively interested in it is some sort of uninformed mug, is great fun for some but totally misses the point. All exploration is risky financially, although modern technology does mitigate some of that risk.

    All we have here are some companies who acquire licences then deciding, over time, that part of their licence is where they want to focus and the other part is an asset they can flog to someone else who wishes to expand their licence area. Unfortunately for the antis, that destroys one key mantra that by delaying tactics an operator will be forced out of business and activity will cease.

    Even against that background I suspect there are a great deal more investors, who have lost a great deal more money, on stocks such as M&S. Just remember that someone who bought Angus at 10p, sold at 30p can now treble their share holding now it is back at 10p, all within a few months. Or maybe they won’t because they are away in the sun.

    • So here is your philosophical conundrum for January:

      If I ask you to put your hand in the fire, would you?

      I see the fire and am very drawn to it and want to see if it’s hot or not?
      I have been told to put my hand in the fire but I know this will be bad for me so I won’t?
      What the hell, I’ll put my hand in the fire?

      Which one are you?

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