Regulation

Broadford Bridge planning decision delayed again

Broadford bridge 170614 DrillOrDrop11small

UKOG’s Broadford Bridge site. Photo: DrillorDrop

A bid by UK Oil & Gas plc to extend the life of its site at Broadford Bridge in West Sussex will now not be decided until at least July.

The county council has cancelled the planning committee meeting due to decide the application on Tuesday 19 May 2020.

Two previous meetings at which the meeting should have been discussed were also cancelled because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Today, the council said there was no substantive business, nor any applications requiring a decision by the committee in May.

People due to speak at the meeting about the application were told:

“At the moment, an extension of time [on deciding the application] has been agreed with the applicant and the application won’t be considered until at least July.”

UKOG applied in December for two more years at Broadford Bridge near Billingshurst. If approved, this would be the third extension of planning permission at the site.

The company said it needed the time to analyse results from wells not yet drilled or permitted at Dunsfold in Surrey. Drilling at Horse Hill near Gatwick Airport would also help the future of Broadford Bridge, UKOG said.

In March, planning officers recommended the application be approved. But the following day the committee meeting was cancelled. The April meeting was also cancelled.

The Broadford Bridge site, at Wood Barn Farm, Adversane Lane, was first granted planning permission on 11 February 2011.

Progress has since been intermittent.

Site construction did not start until September 2014. Drilling was then delayed by a legal dispute over payments in 2015 between the then site partners.

Kimmeridge Oil & Gas Limted, now renamed UKOG (234) Ltd, took over as operator in 2016 and drilled the well in May 2017, more than six years after planning permission was granted.

Since then the company announced cement bond problems in the wellbore and potential damage to sections of the well and surrounding formation.  Part of the reservoir was declared unproductive because of low permeability.

In 2017, West Sussex County Council approved an extension of a year to 15 September 2018 to allow the well to be tested. The council approved the second extension in 2018 for 18 months, to March 2020.

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