An oil exploration licence in a remote part of the South Downs National Park has lapsed, it was confirmed this morning.
The licence, north east of Chichester, includes the Baxter’s Copse oil field, discovered in the 1980s.
The initial exploration term of the licence, PEDL233, was due to expire at the end of June 2018. The operator, IGas, failed to meet the commitment in the licence to drill a well.
UK Oil and Gas, which has a 50% stake in the licence, confirmed in a statement:
“The Oil and Gas Authority has now confirmed the licence has now lapsed.”
The statement added:
“Both UKOG and the licence’s operator, IGas Energy Enterprise Limited, concluded that the asset offered low commercial potential together with significant future drilling and production planning consent issues related to its location in the South Downs National Park.
“This asset ranked low in UKOG’s investment portfolio. No drilling activities or material expenditure was allocated to this asset over the next 18 months.”
PEDL233, which measures nearly 90km2, is next to the Singleton oil field in West Sussex.
DrillOrDrop reported in 2014 that IGas was planning to drill a new well at Baxter’s Copse, on the edge of the downland village of Graffham. A land agent for IGas told a meeting organised by Graffham Parish Council that the company planned to drill a vertical well and had no plans to frack.
In 2017, UKOG was predicting the well would be drilled in 2018-2019. No application was ever submitted.
UKOG included Baxter’s Copse in its most recent assessment (June 2018) of hydrocarbons initially in place within its licence holdings. The assessment ranked the potential at the site as second highest of five sites in the company’s table of gross and net contingent resources.
The existing well on the site, drilled in 1983 by Conoco, was abandoned because it was regarded as uncommercial.
PEDL233 is one of only two licences to lapse this month because they reached the end of their initial term without drilling a well. Another twelve licences, where there had also been no drilling, have seen their initial term extended. DrillOrDrop is seeking information to establish the status of another licence, PEDL164. More details here