Angus Energy announced this morning that it would become the new operator of Cuadrilla’s Balcombe oil exporation site in West Sussex. The deal, giving Angus 25% of the PEDL244 exploration licence, will cost Angus £4m and has to be approved by the Oil and Gas Authority. Details
DrillOrDrop is compiling reaction to the news.
“Out of the oily frying pan into the fire”
Keith Taylor MEP
Mr Taylor, a member of the European Parliament’s Environment and Public Health Committee and the European Chair of the Climate Parliament, said:
“As if having Cuadrilla circling around again wasn’t bad news enough, the people of Balcombe have now been tossed out of the oily frying pan and into the fire.
“As our neighbours in Surrey are only too aware, Angus Energy is a firm that believes it is above local democracy. Angus’s belligerence after drilling without permission in Surrey betrays a company that is, at best, ignorant of the planning regulations imposed on them, and, at worst, feels no duty to abide by them. In short, Angus is a firm that can’t or shouldn’t be expected to be trusted.”
“West Sussex County Council’s unanimous decision to hand Balcombe back to the frackers and oil and gas industry was certainly a sad day for the village but residents have had little time to wallow and have, instead, galvanised and reinvigorated the campaign to protect their homes, their communities and, ultimately, our climate and environment.”
“The further exploitation of oil and gas resources either by conventional or unconventional means is a form of dangerous climate denial, especially when there is such a huge and passionate renewable energy industry in Sussex that is limited only by the lack of Government and local authority support.”
“In just the last week we’ve seen two reports from scientists at NASA and academics at the University of Manchester reveal that not only is the oil and gas industry one of the least sustainable it is also the most responsible for the accelerating global emissions of climate-destructive methane. Methane is more than 80 times more damaging to our climate than CO2 emissions. At the same time, the UK Government’s own Climate Change Committee concluded that unless immediate action was taken Britain will fail to meet its legally-binding climate agreements by a huge margin.”
“We are even less inclined to trust Angus”
Ms McWhirter, a Balcombe resident and campaigner, said:
“We are dismayed that Angus Energy plan to begin work in Balcombe ‘at the earliest opportunity’. They are not wanted here and will be met with opposition.
“We always thought Cuadrilla would sell on, but not so fast and not to Angus Energy! Angus are currently in conflict with Surrey County Council over unpermitted drilling. We never trusted Cuadrilla. We are even less inclined to trust Angus. And how this financially stretched company will fund this new deal is an interesting question.
“There’s been a political imperative in the South East to avoid using the F word – fracking. Hence the pretence that what interests these oil companies are the thin, muddy limestone-rich layers within the shale, which can be dissolved with acid to make oil flow. Angus’s recent announcements about their Surrey and now Sussex wells reveal ever more clearly that their ultimate target is in truth the thick shale above and below the ‘limestone’ – which one day will be fracked.
“After the Balcombe flow-test, Angus promise to fund a ‘Field Development Plan’. That means a lot more wells, in Balcombe and beyond. That field is an oil field.”
“Industrialisation of our countryside and creation of oil fields across the Weald”
“We have always maintained this is not just about Balcombe. This is about the industrialisation of our countryside and the creation of oil fields across the Weald. Cuadrilla’s supporters and our elected Country Councillors have allowed these operators a foot in the door, with no regard to the cumulative effect of moving to a production site, and the fact that our community has said no. They will have to live with their naivety, we will have to live with the traffic, noise and pollution for years to come. We will continue to resist them at every regulatory and permit-related turn as we have done for the last five years.”