Angus Energy “to return to Balcombe” in autumn 2020 + Brockham and Saltfleetby updates

Cuadrilla drilling rig leaves the Balcombe, West Sussex, UK site

Drilling equipment leaving the Balcombe site in 2013. Photo: David Burr

Angus Energy has said it intends to return to its Balcombe oil exploration site in West Sussex later this year.

The company had applied in October 2019 for planning permission for a three-year well test at the site.

But it withdrew the application in May 2020 after planning officers recommended a refusal of consent.

In an updated webpage, Angus said:

“The company intends to return to the [Balcombe] site in Q4 2020 to recover remaining drilling fluids and carry out an Extended Well Test to prove up the commercial potential of the field.”

On 1 May 2020, a statement said Angus intended to submit an updated application for a shorter test within six weeks.

At the time of writing, West Sussex County Council, which decides planning applications for work at Balcombe, has no new applications for the site in its online register.

Progress at the Balcombe site has been slow.

The previous operator, Cuadrilla, secured planning permission for oil exploration in 2010. But drilling did not begin until summer 2013. Work was accompanied by daily protests. The planning permission expired before the company could carry out a flow test.

In April 2014, West Sussex extended the planning permission but no work was carried out and Cuadrilla later sought another three years to carry out a well test.

Angus Energy took over operation of the Balcombe licence in 2018 and began a seven-day flow test in September that year. That test again ran out of time when it encountered what was described as unexpected water.

In March 2020, planners recommended refusal of the most recent application, saying the three-year well test was “not in the public interest” and “not appropriate to the area”.

Saltfleetby production put back to 2021

The new webpage on the Saltfleetby gas field in Lincolnshire suggests Angus has revised its forecasts for when production will resume.

The company said it would be installing processing facilities and a short export pipeline extension to connect the field to the gas network. It said:

“Work is underway to complete these projects with the aim to bring the field onstream in early 2021.”

A presentation to investors from December 2019 (see below) had a production target of May-August 2020.

201912 Saltfleetby timeline

Angus Energy presentation on Saltfleetby from December 2019. Source: Angus Energy

 Brockham water injection and perforation “in near future”

Angus also updated what it said were plans for the Brockham production site near Dorking.

The company said it intended to inject produced water into the Brockham-3 well (Br3) to maintain pressure support in the reservoir and increase oil production. It added:

“The company is also evaluating the potential to perforate the BRX4Z sidetrack in the Portland Sandstone and isolate the Kimmeridge section to further increase the recovery of the remaining Portland oil pool.”

Angus said it hoped to have regulatory permissions to produce, inject and perforate “in the near future”.






5 replies »

  1. Except, Jono, I suspect any punters would recognize that December was pre Covid-19. DOH.

    Follow the piper if you wish, (you may recall what the outcome was there), others may actually read information and make up their own minds.

  2. The coronavirus crisis cannot continue to be any kind of excuse for extending licenses given the pressing need for climate change control. All current licenses should be withdrawn and withheld and a moratorium placed on any future exploration until the science tells us that emissions from construction and works traffic, and the exploration and production itself meets the emerging health crisis requirements, let alone our Paris Agreement commitments. Anyone with any sense can see that life has changed and these filthy developments are dying on their feet.

    • Deborah – even the CCC suggest we will need natural gas until at least 2050. What you’re proposing is we should import that gas instead of producing our own. The emissions from transport and compression of imported gas are far higher than home produced gas. Your arguments lack any logic.

  3. Ermm, really??!!

    There is this strange thing called WORK Deborah. Covid-19 placed certain restrictions upon work, even for essential industries, even upon Councils ( wonder why oil and gas was deemed that?!) So, Covid-19 will delay the completion of houses and it will delay completion of many other projects.

    Think you will also find there is a body called the Environment Agency that checks most of the bits that seem to concern you. I happen to believe they can do it better than you can. Especially, when you post “filthy developments” yet the existing ones are certainly not that, which would indicate the EA and the companies are doing a pretty good job, and much better than a load of other industries, and perhaps suggests that your level of knowledge is somewhat different to those who fulfill the responsibility.

    If life has changed, other than temporary, why is the oil price rising steadily, why is China’s oil usage almost back to pre Covid levels, and why is air travel within China following a similar pattern? You might make a difference talking with them (LOL) otherwise you sound like a rerun of Ed Miliband who thought China and India would simply follow that great (little) colonial (no longer) UK. To which, they probably replied- “WHO, the one with the bacon sandwich issue?”

    Traffic is returning in UK, and the clear skies are starting to show vapor trails. You may not like that, but that is the reality.

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