Industry

Angus conference call: “restrictions on water reinjection limiting UK onshore oil and gas”

Brockham well Brockham Protection Site

Drilling at Brockham in 2017. Photo: Brockham Protection Camp

UK onshore oil production is being held back by new regulations on water reinjection, Angus Energy told investors this evening.

The company’s technical director, Andrew Hollis, said it was now very difficult to reinject formation water produced from oil wells.

He was responding to a question about whether the company could achieve commercial oil production from the Portland formation at its Brockham well site in Surrey.

Last month, Angus admitted that the Kimmeridge would not produce commercial quantities from the Brockham X4z well without fracking. It also said it was considering selling the Brockham field.

Mr Hollis said the Brockham X2 well had produced oil from the Portland formation and water was reinjected into the Brockham X3 well. This supported the pressure in the X2 well and disposed of produced water.

But he said:

“If we can’t reinject we can’t support the pressure in the reservoir and we can’t get rid of any water that has been produced.

“We are having ongoing discussions with the Environment Agency to see if we can find a technical way around this issue.

“This is an issue that is affecting most of the onshore operators in the UK because they can’t support the pressure in their reservoirs and they can’t get rid of produced water.

“So this is a key issue that is holding back all onshore UK production, not only us.”

He added:

“If we can solve this [water reinjection] problem technically that was possibly one of the best options for the field.

Mr Hollis said Angus had also considered perforating the X4z Kimmeridge well at the point that it passed through the Portland.

Other news from conference call

13 replies »

  1. So they’ve been extracting commercial quantities of onshore oil and gas in the US and elsewhere for decades.

    Surely this matter has been overcome there already or is it simply not safely achievable?

  2. So have the UK, Peter.

    One size does not fit all with oil and gas. It is why the exploration confuses so many and then excites many more.

  3. Thus story is ridiculous,

    it’s like manufacturers of high speed vehicles complaining that speed limits set to protect other road users are reducing the marketability of their products!

    • Peter K

      It is a story about regulations and there enforcement in the context of the regulations becoming stricter than before ( or beyond gold standard …. bitcoin standard maybe ).

      So your analogy may not be so apposite. Perhaps motor manufacturers complaining that they have manufactured electric vehicles to cut CO2 emissions, but cannot sell then due to new regulations relating to tyre dust ( to which they now seek a technical resolution ).

  4. We want to remind everyone that the EA pulled the permit to re-inject at Brockham because of concerns over well integrity and Angus Energy’s operating procedures that they said were “not up to the required standard.” Link: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/759050/EPR-BL9763IN_-_Brockham_decision_document_FINAL_for_issue.pdf
    Also, produced water can be disposed of in designated treatment facilities, but this is of course more costly than simply pumping it back into the ground.

    • Brockhamoilwatch – It looks to me as though they just need to run a new cement bond log and check the well integrity and then get on with reinvention. It’s far more sensible to reinject the producer water than it is to transport it offsite for cleaning. But then as you say, that would save them money which is probably not what you want

      • Judith, as hewes62 says below, expensive monitoring involving the drilling of several water monitoring boreholes would be required too. If there were any plans to allow reinjection again, this would not go down well with the village. This is what annoyed the villagers most – that they had waste pumped under their homes by an incompetent company that didn’t even have a cement bond log or relevant procedures in place to monitor well integrity, which is key in preventing pollution to groundwater. Even more upsetting that it was waste water not only from the Brocham operations but trucked from Lidsey as well.
        If there were any such plans proposed, we would make sure that every home in the village was aware of it (unlike when the permit was originally granted – seems without consultation or any kind of awareness about the risks).

        • BOW

          I was referring to the costs of water re injection in relation to having a disposal well and all the associated equipment, hence not that cheap if done properly.

          Regarding water monitoring boreholes it seems that they could be an alternative to providing suitable and sufficient evidence of well integrity as noted in the EA justification, page 10, Groundwater, second paragraph.

          Hence the point made by Judith above has relevance, although Angus seemed reluctant to carry out all the checks noted in the report, or up their game in terms of having suitable procedures which not only state what is to be done, but who does it, how they do it, and what Is to be done if the results are out-with determined criteria.

    • BOW

      It is always good to read the EA justification for pulling the permit.

      But while one can dispose of produced water at designated treatment facilities ( as do, or did onshore oil and gas treatment plants ) , that will not provide pressure support to the reservoir. If you need that to make the reservoir commercially successful, then disposal is not a cheap option.

      Plus, looking at the EA discussion, it is not a case of simply pumping it into the ground. Out-with the need for a handy injection well ( existing or drilled and kitted out for a few £££ ) you need a pump and all the required monitoring to go with it.

      However, good to see the EA on the ball and talking to the HSEx about the issue. We now wait to see if Angus want to up their game or bail out and concentrate on Lincolnshire gas.

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