Angus announces early results of Balcombe well test

180918 Balcombe DoD2

Equipment arriving at Angus Energy’s oil site at Balcombe, 18 September 2018. Photo: DrillOrDrop

Angus Energy said this morning its Balcombe oil well in West Sussex had flowed at rates of 853 and 1,587 barrels of oil per day in tests. But the company said it had encountered unexpected water and ran out of time to do more than two tests because equipment had failed.

In a statement to investors, Angus said this morning it believed it could isolate the water-producing zone and establish commercial production at the Balcombe well under normal pumped conditions.

The company will need to apply for planning permission and environmental permit consents to go into production.

The tests were restricted to seven days and the statement said the duration of each test run was limited.

Angus said the water produced was “not expected”. It believed the horizontal section of the well had intersected a small high-pressure water zone. This would “require isolation in the future”, it said.

The company said it tried to identify the water zone but coiled tubing equipment failed after the second test.

The statement said the first flow of 853 barrels of oil per day (bopd) did not include the 22% produced water. The second flow, of 1,587 bopd, did not include 6.6% produced water.

During the initial flow period, the statement said, the well slugged at up to 3,000 bopd but this had to be reduced because it exceeded the separator operating capacity.

The statement added that the company had not observed or measured carbon dioxide or hydrogen sulphide. It said the oil was a light quality, around 34 API. It expected the quality would be similar to the levels recovered at Lidsey (38-40 API), also in West Sussex.

Paul Vonk, managing director of Angus Energy, said:

“We are obviously pleased with the results of the Balcombe-2z flow test and encouraged as we take our next steps towards producing from the Kimmeridge layers in the near future at the Brockham Field. This programme was successful because our team at Angus and our service providers maintained the highest standards, the most important of all being safe operations.”

Angus Energy’s partners in the Balcombe well, Cuadrilla, welcomed the completion of the flow test.

Francis Egan, Cuadrilla’s chief executive, said:

“We are encouraged by the results from two initial flow tests of the Balcombe horizontal exploration well. Further analysis of the data collected will be carried out, and potentially further testing may be required, to finally determine the commercial potential for the site.”

A second statement to investors confirmed that BNP Paribas Securities Services, acting for the New York fund management firm, Bergen Global Opportunity Fund, had reduced its shareholding from 11.35% of voting rights to 9.34%. Bergen Asset Management LLC is ultimately owned by Eugene Tablis.

  • Angus Energy is at the High Court in London this morning for its injunction against protests at Balcombe and Brockham. DrillOrDrop will be reporting on the hearing.

48 replies »

  1. Failing equipment, unexpected water. But maintaining high standards. Earthquakes triggered elsewhere in Surrey. Discharging and leaking polluted water at PNR. Air quality disaster looming. Tory MPs opposing permitted development. Regulation inadequate, opposition growing, renewables growing.

  2. Well then Paula, better remove that oil from being able to mix with that water then!

    That water encountered. Was it not always there? That oil. Was it not always there? So, the two have been in contact. Has the mixture emerged from the local taps? NO.

    Isolating the two is perfectly possible. That is the next stage, to examine the best way to do that and then probably run further output tests once done.

  3. Water rate for both tests is similar at around 113 BWPD. If the water was formation water from the oil zone it would normally increase in line with oil rate. So Angus are probably correct in that the water is coming from somewhere else via a fracture and is at a higher pressure – and the water rate is limited. Isolation is possible if the source is identified. As the production logging failed they will need to do all this again – another planning application and another test?

    The oil presumably can be finger printed to check similarity with the other areas; the water salinity will be known and this may help identify the source. I expect it is high and will not be anywhere near potable. No need to “protect” it.

    The main issue with the water will be disposal if it is produced.

    The test looks too short to gain any definitive reservoir data but then I am not a reservoir engineer. Oil rates look very good for onshore UK but are they sustainable? There is insufficient information in the NR to assess if this is really good news or not….

  4. Taking into account this was initial testing of a well that had been drilled some while ago, and then mothballed, it seems that other tests were always going to be needed, if initial output suggested the economics for that to be worthwhile. I agree with you Paul, that is probably what will now follow, but may not be immediate as Brockham is scheduled also.

    Some antis seem to believe that a commercial company would simply throw money into a project without going stage by stage, avoiding expenditure that may not be justified. I fear the antis have convinced themselves of that, but not many more.

  5. Maybe it is not viable and this is just a tactic to leave this site mothballed. Angus doesn’t sound too excited or keen.
    So the antis can be very pleased about this result as the site will be eventually abandoned soon.

    • I don’t suppose they would want another Broadford Bridge fiasco , there is no proof that the Kimmeridge is commercial based on a few hours flow testing beefed up into a guestimated daily flow rate and unknown depletion figures . This is just more hype for the investors to throw cash at .

      • Of course they wouldn’t want that Jono, nor do they have it. No cementing fiasco here.

        Speaking of hype…your incessant bluster for the failing minority is falling increasingly on deaf ears.

        • Failing? There’s only one failing minority here and it’s not me. Even the Tories are turning against you. Now that’s a failing minority. You have been given notice of the danger of having stranded assets in a doomed fossil fool industry, so who exactly has deaf ears? No doubt those who lose large amounts in these companies will moan that it wasn’t fair. Personally I can’t wait to see it.

  6. Another successful outcome for the Anti fracking lobby, as we have been saying everywhere the industry goes there will be problems. Once a bunch of cowboys always a bunch of cowboys! FACT

    • Hmmmm
      Possible outcomes
      1. No flow
      2. Almost no flow
      3. Some flow.

      So, no’s 3 is the result.

      No doubt we will hear what the next steps are, meanwhile investors await that news no doubt.

      Maybe they will use a different coil tubing company?

        • The coiled tubing is operated by the specialist third party contractor who owns the equipment, not Angus. It clearly worked for the clean out and nitrogen lift. It failed during the production logging survey. It would be interesting to know what the failue mechanism was – stuck coil tube or spinner / temp failure? Most likely tools damaged working the coil along the open hole section.

        • I wouldn’t bet if we were still here in 2028 they would be able to handle coiled tubing Kathryn. I wouldn’t pay these cowboys the national minimum wage!

  7. Well Joseph you should have checked out of the lobby! Anti fracking? Wrong place, wrong company.

    Minor details-that is if you wish to post to the uninformed. But, these days not that difficult to become informed.

    • Exactly Martin there is nowhere for the Fracking lobby to hide these days, the people are overwhelmed with the facts that the industry is just one big ponzi scheme to rip off investors before one major catastrophe puts the final nails in the fracking coffin for good and saves those unknowing souls from being ripped off further!

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