More than 20,000 people have signed a petition launched yesterday demanding a stop on shale oil production at Angus Energy’s Brockham site in Surrey.
The site operates under an old-style environmental permit and the petition says production from the Kimmeridge shale oil layers, expected to begin soon, would be “neither properly regulated or monitored”.
It says a modern environmental permit must be put in place before production can start. It also calls for:
- baseline monitoring of air and water quality before oil extraction begins at the site
- full disclosure of the type and quantity of chemicals, including acids, that can be used in the well
The petition, hosted by 38-degrees, says the Brockham site, near Dorking, is “about to be subject to a new and controversial type of oil extraction and production”. It says:
“This involves the use of chemicals, acids, reinjected waste fluids and gas flaring which can release toxins into our air and water sources. These risk harm to our health and environment.”
DrillOrDrop has previously reported about the regulatory loopholes of an old-style environmental permit. At the Brockham site, the Environment Agency has said it does not require monitoring of air or water quality and there are no restrictions on the volume or concentration of acid that can be used in the well.
The Environment Agency has been working on a modern permit for the site for the past two years but there is no information on when this process will be completed. Under the regulations, site operators can continue to work under the old terms while the new permit is being prepared.
The Kimmeridge shale oil will be extracted using a side-track well, which Surrey County Council said was drilled without planning permission. The council granted retrospective consent in August 2018 for both drilling and appraisal of the well.
Angus Energy reported to shareholders it would carry out a seven-day well test at another site, at Balcombe in West Sussex, before starting work on the Brockham well.
The Balcombe test was completed at the beginning of this month (October 2018) and Angus said in statement it would
“take our next steps towards producing from the Kimmeridge layers in the near future at the Brockham Field”.
The company said production at Brockham would not use “hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’”.
But the campaign group, Brockham Oil Watch, which launched the petition yesterday, said:
“Brockham will be amongst the first sites in the country to attempt commercial production from shale rock. The target Jurassic Kimmeridge layer has been compared by the authorities to the Bakken Formation in North Dakota, where the use of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling brought about mass industrialisation and thousands of wells.”
The group said:
“Angus Energy now have carte blanche to commence extraction from unconventional geology using new methods that are neither properly regulated or monitored.
“In the interests of people’s health and the environment this new activity should not be allowed, at the very least until a new Environmental Permit with stricter modern regulation and control is in place.
“We simply seek to properly respect and protect our health and environment and are asking the Environment Agency and Government to do the same.”
The Brockham site has been used to reinject fluid produced from rock formations during oil extraction.
The petition also calls for:
- A halt to the reinjection of fluid at Brockham
- Details of what fluid is being reinjected at the site
DrillOrDrop invited Angus Energy to comment to the points made in petition. The company has not responded to our invitation but it has posted a frequently asked questions section on its website