Angus Energy withdraws Balcombe application

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Balcombe villagers opposing Angus Energy’s operations in the village in 2018. Photo: DrillOrDrop

Angus Energy reported this morning it has withdrawn a planning application to test its oil well at Balcombe in West Sussex.

In a statement to shareholders, the company said it intended to submit an updated application for a shorter test within six weeks.

In March 2020, council planners had recommended the application for a three-year test be refused.

They said the proposal would “establish a continued presence of industry which is not appropriate to the area”.

They also said the application did not pass tougher planning hurdles required for a major development in an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB).

The planners said:

“On balance, it is concluded that although there may be a need for onshore oil and gas development to contribute to national energy security, the need is not such that it represents exceptional circumstances, or that it is in the public interest for the proposed major development to be located in the High Weald AONB.”

The recommendation was welcomed by some villagers who opposed Angus Energy’s operations in Balcombe.

A day after the planners’ recommendation, West Sussex County Council cancelled the committee at which the decision would be made because of the coronavirus outbreak. A new date for the decision had not been set.

Today’s statement from Angus Energy said:

“We have noted the concerns raised by the Planning Officers regarding the application, however we are strongly of the view that energy security and supply in the UK, together with the manifestly lower carbon cost of locally produced hydrocarbon, remain arguments convincingly in favour of continued onshore production, particularly when the footprint can be crafted to be as small as it is expected to be at Balcombe.”

The statement said the revised application would propose a shorter test and make what were described as “stronger arguments regarding national and local socio-economic benefits”. It would also make “some additional environmental enhancement measures”, the statement said:

Angus Energy’s managing director, George Lucan, said:

“I would remind shareholders that, even on our modest estimates, Balcombe is a very valuable prospect to Angus and could at pre-crisis oil prices justify on its own the market capitalisation.  We won’t give up on it.”

The company also gave updates this morning on its operations at the Saltfleetby gas field and at oil sites at Brockham and Lidsey. See separate DrillOrDrop report here and more coming soon.

An Angus investor conference call is planned for Tuesday 5 May at 5pm. A recording will be available on the company’s website.

7 replies »

  1. Sensible decision by Angus.

    Focus upon one major project and go for a cheaper, more immediate, appraisal of Balcombe. If there are commercial quantities of oil shown, it will go no where but sit there and grow in value

    Second and third quarters will be tough for the majority of businesses-with the exception of the Amazons! Most are planning for that now.

  2. Excellent news. Good to see the planners focus on the inappropriate industrial development involved in onshore oil and gas at a time when demand has crashed so the bogus argument for energy security is even more irrelevant.

  3. I’ve yet to see any evidence that there is less of a carbon footprint by producing from a new source here , oil will still be produced and imported from overseas so all that Anguish and others are trying to do will only add to emissions globally. You have to wonder why they didn’t apply for the shorter licence in the first place ?

  4. Not to worry

    Though delays in planning affect more than oil and gas ( and objectors worry that people will not be able to get to a library, gather to protest or gather to cheer etc) a delay in covering 15 frack pads or more in solar panels may be delayed.

    Good for farmers ( better returns than growing food ) good for food importers ( no need to worry about growing your own when farmers globally are ploughing in the crops ), and good for Chinese manufacturers and local civils.

    Good for lamb eaters as well if they can graze below the panels.

    Notts…Good for oil, wind, solar and forests ( but not so sure about farming ).

  5. Jono-you obviously have not taken much effort to see. Those who have, have seen.

    No, it will not add to emissions globally.

    But at least you have seen that “oil will still be produced and imported from overseas”. Probably a statement that will receive much denial from your buddies, but it is the reality. So, why not apply your dogma to everything? Look out for those American chicken! Perhaps producing in UK is also about the UK controls and jobs and taxation? Close down all the farm shops that promote the benefits of local production, including carbon footprint, because if a farm shop is opened it will add to obesity? Nope. Some enlightened locals will decide local courgettes are more to their liking avoiding the trucks bringing them from Spain and their money going to Spain rather than to the NHS.

    The answer to your last question is Covid-19. If you read the statement from Angus it is pretty easy to “see” that.

  6. Anyone who thinks home produced Kimmeridge shale oil has a lower carbon footprint than imported oil needs to go away and learn the difference between unconventional and conventional oil extraction.

  7. Dorkian

    I haven’t got any spare time at the moment to do my own research

    Could you post a link so I can learn?



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