Balcombe prepares for flow test of oil well


Protest at drilling nin Balcombe in 2013. Photo: DrillOrDrop

Residents in the West Sussex village of Balcombe are preparing for the first activity at an exploratory oil site for five years.

Cuadrilla drilled the well on the edge of the village in summer 2013, accompanied by the biggest anti-fracking protests then seen in the UK.

The company left the well untested when planning permission expired in September 2013. Operation of the site at Little Stumble has since been transferred to Angus Energy, which also runs oil sites at Lidsey in West Sussex and Brockham in Surrey.

But yesterday, Balcombe Parish Council announced that it had been approached “at very short notice” to participate in a community liaison group about the site.

This morning, Frack Free Balcombe Residents Association (FFBRA), a group opposed to the oil operations, told its members:

“Angus are coming to Balcombe”.

FFBRA said was preparing to raise money to fight any future planning application for oil production at the site.

“Well test by September”

180823 Angus Energy

Last month, Angus Energy tweeted:

“We hope our followers are enjoying the last weeks of summer. Team at Angus working hard. 21 May guidance is unchanged”.

That guidance, issued in a statement to investors said:

“Angus Energy will conduct an approved 7 day well test on the horizontal well at Balcombe before the end of the Q3/18. The market will be updated in due course.”

For the work to be completed by the end of September, Angus Energy would need to start in just over a fortnight by 24 September.

Last month, the Environment Agency issued a permit for Lower Stumble but required checks and work to be carried out before the flow test could start. These include conditions on emissions monitoring, site containment, leak detection, a pollution incident plan and a plan for vapour recovery.

Angus Energy must inform West Sussex County Council at least seven days before the flow test starts. But DrillOrDrop understands that the council is not required to tell local people.

Community liaison

The community liaison group (GLG) is a condition required by West Sussex County Council when it unanimously extended planning permission at the site for two years in January.

A post on Balcombe Parish Council’s website said:

“Balcombe Parish Council has been approached at very short notice to participate in a Community Liaison Group (CLG) with Angus Energy, WSCC [West Sussex County Council], The Environment Agency and MSDC [Mid Sussex District Council].

“The CLG has been set up to provide a conduit for information regarding forthcoming flow test activity at Lower Stumble in Balcombe.”

The parish council added:

“No information on timescales for any activity at Lower Stumble has been given to date.”

In an update on its website, FFBRA said the composition of the CLG has not been finalised but it expected to be represented. It said:

“The purpose of this group is not to challenge, lobby or protest about the oil operation. It is to act as a structured conduit for questions from residents to Angus – and for their responses to be conveyed back, shared and made public.”

Questions for the CLG can be sent to Balcombe Parish Council by midday today (Wednesday 5 September 2018) by email to the Parish Council clerk or by phoning 01444 811833.

FFBRA said it would also take questions by email, send them to Angus and publicise the answers.

Terms of reference

On 10 September 2018, Angus Energy published the terms of reference for the CLG.

This said there would be about 15 people on the group. It would be chaired by the local county councillor and include two district councillors, two parish councillors, officers from the county and district councils and Environment Agency, and representatives of Angus Energy and the local community.

The CLG is to meet monthly for a maximum of two hours. There should be at least one meeting before operations start. Meetings will stop one month after operations are completed. Meetings are open only to CLG members but documents and minutes will be made available online.

Angus Energy will chose the venue for pay for the costs of administering the meetings.

Oil production

If the flow test is successful, Angus Energy is expected to submit a planning application for production.

FFBRA said:

“Many residents believe the oil business has packed up and gone away. Cuadrilla may have packed up, but Angus Energy is back. We need to oppose the production licence application, when it comes, and we shall not have long to prepare. We need to start now.”

The group said it was preparing to launch an appeal to raise money for expert advice.

Updated: 10/9/2018 with terms of reference of the CLG

66 replies »

  1. I’m sure he is just trying to do his job, but naturally his views are getting in the way of honest moderation.

    Now is the time for a rival website. Neutral reporting and neutral moderating.

    • There’s nothing impartial in either the publishing or the moderation on this site. it’s an anti’s blog intended for consumption by antis, but masquerading as something other than this. They claim to be independent, as if that somehow equates to being impartial, whereas it’s quite clear that isn’t the case. They claim that their journalism can’t be bought yet they accept donations from persons unknown and cannot verify that donation monies are from clean sources.

    • Exactly – a website that exhibits true professional journalism, not one whose aim is to get as close to “fake news” as possible with a biased agenda against the O&G Industry..

  2. Gregoryyy-this is an “independent” site not “neutral”.

    Never been any different in that respect.

    I remember the days when there was very limited moderation, then it was formally introduced and now it is somewhat different to what it was. I see it as a sign of progress-the progress of the on shore oil and gas companies and will be interested to see whether there is continuity if and when significant commercial production happens. I suspect it may be, but time will tell.

  3. “The group said it was preparing to launch an appeal to raise money for expert advice.”

    They can have my advice for free…..

    • No fracking at Balcombe – correct. But development wells may be acidised. Fracking / acid treatment / drilling / shale / sandstone / limestone / natural flow / artificial lift / tertiary recovery / oil / gas are all the same according to some on this BB. I expect if Angus were to use a Petrus ’95 solution to improve inflow performance this would be okay?

      • No paul Nimbies don,t want any oil / production near there home selfish agenda .What about home produced oil /gas for all .Jobs and income for Surrey /Uk

  4. Looks like Angus have heeded advise and are minded to do this by the book. Angus have a job to do which is to get oil out of the ground. Lets hope they proceed and are successful. Our children will thank them for making us energy independent. Russian oligarchs are not flavour of the month currently.

  5. Well it seems the blagging fracking glee club have squatted in Drill Or Drop and leaving their noisome detritus doo doo in the under-brush?

    Time for the Leith Police to evict them with illegal documents and ship back to their own smelly blog squat isnt it?

    The Leith Police dismisseth them?

    And not before time either.

    • I have been up to the Leigh hill site .Have you seen all there rubbish they have left there .Ecco friendly warriors.What a load of b-ll sh-t .Hope you residents supporting these poeple (animals) are happy with yourself .Maybe you lot can give up your weekend a clear up there mess ??? At least the oil company run a tidy site

  6. Another gullible community working with the Oil and Gas industry, take part in community liaison groups and the outcome is inevitable just look at Lancashire…when will these neoliberals ever learn.

    • Why are they not fined Ecco warriors to clean up there rubbish .Where is the policing for this .Come on local residents.You want to protect your local beauty spot .No you are just a load of nimblest.Not in my backyard .Selfish .Maybe ask Ruth Hayhurst.Paul seaman to give up there free time to clean protesters sh-t up

    • The gullible community have to put up with your Ecco warriors filth and rubbish left behind .Clean up your mess .Look at Leigh hill and PRN protest site Saving the planet with your rubbish .Maybe set an example with your actions?

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