Regulation

Consultation on Dunsfold drilling plans extended to early 2020

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The public consultation on plans by UK Oil & Gas to drill for oil and gas at Dunsfold in Surrey has been extended by three weeks.

The Environment Agency is seeking views on the company’s application for environmental permits (see DrillOrDrop report).

The original consultation was 28 days, with a deadline for comments of 19 December 2019.

But the community group, Protect Dunsfold, told DrillOrDrop this was not long enough to respond to the technical material in the application, particularly because the period included the general election and the run-up to Christmas. A spokesperson for the group said:

“This application is of high public interest and needs to be subjected to close and detailed scrutiny. 28 days is simply insufficient time.”

The application has 26 documents, including a 218-page environmental risk assessment, 195-page gas management plan and a 261-page site condition report.

The Environment Agency has now extended the consultation period to 10 January 2020.

A spokesperson for the organisation said:

“We appreciate that during the festive season and general election people may need an extended period to review the application and respond if they wish to.”

8 replies »

  1. No Moratorium because it is “DEFINITELY NOT FRACKING” geddit. But then over half the wells fracked in the USA in their “Energy revolution” were not fracked either by the GOV.UK definition.

    The question is if not fracking then what is it? Do we need to invent a new word to demonise.

    It has moved on from the “drill a £2M borehole and pour vinegar down it” as bemused villagers were told in January.?

    It is “DEFINITELY NOT ACIDIATION” we are told because that is what destroyed the well at Bradford Bridge and the muddy micrites of the Weald have globs of clay in the rock which blocks the well when you dissolve the rock. But why has a permit for Hydrochloric acid been applied for? and descaling the roustabout’s kettle for the regular cuppa is not going to wash.

    The actual planning application at Dunsfold refers darkly to Horse Hill and Broadford Bridge not flowing commercially- basically all the wells UKOG have drilled and not yet written off as useless (UPDATE Broadford Bridge has now been written off as useless) –

    It seems what we need is a brand new hole where novel methods of production in pursuit of commercial flow rates are developed.

    This will involve “Alternative completion methods”, “new completion fluids” and possibly something called “Small Bore Radial Drilling”
    This being the case why has a boring old Hydrochloric Acid permit been applied for and what are the “new completion fluids?”

    On the basis that there is a tendency for “completion fluids” to get increasingly toxic as the technology develops there is intense interest in exactly what is being planned and UKOG are being very coy in telling anyone particularly the regulators about it all. Why is there nothing in the environmental permit application that covers these new completion fluids?

    So No sir no moratorium to see here it is all systems redlining on how to devise novel ways to winkle a few drops of hydrocarbon from an unwilling Weald.

    All, this is being planned by some very well paid folk who are spending “other peoples money” like vinegar on “other peoples countryside” so they can live in the style to which they are accustomed – and if it all goes wrong – well we have very good limited liability regulations to encourage and protect chancers like this who have none of their own money on the line. No sir much too risky!

    • Same comments as on the other post:

      “This is all “conventional”. There are many types of completion fluid; the Operator needs to determine the best fluid to minimise reservoir damage and maximise flow rate and recovery.

      https://www.glossary.oilfield.slb.com/Terms/c/completion_fluid.aspx

      Radial drilling has been used in “conventional” oil and gas wells for many years to enhance productivity in tight reservoirs or improve productivity in depleted wells:

      https://search.spe.org/i2kweb/SPE/tag/Radial%20Drilling

      They are not developing new techniques, just trying to use the best available technology to establish commerciality. Of course this may prove difficult. Last roll of the dice and all that.

      Environmental permits cover a range of drilling fluid and completion additives. If they are proposing something that is not covered in the existing permit they will have to update the permit.”

      There is a lot of noise being made about an insignificant operation. Why worry if it won’t flow commercially – they will pack up, restore the site and leave you to get on with your lives running on imported hydrocarbons….

    • No wonder they need so much time to examine the details!

      Should take quite a few weeks to return to the real world first.

    • It’s quite ironic that the feedback about the Kimmeridge at Horse Hill is it’s not commercial.

      Funnily enough it has flowed much more than the Portland well which is robustly commercial.

      It has also been stated as 3 commercial layers in the RNS.

  2. I tend to scrutinise items pretty quickly, if they are important to me. Less important, I tend to take longer by prioritising other items.

    An interesting signal from those who wish to object. Suspect it will not have been missed by the EA.

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