Regulation

Angus Energy gives notice of new Balcombe application

20180109 Balcombe opponents

Opponents of an earlier application to test the well at Balcombe, 9 January 2018. Photo: DrillOrDrop

A revised planning application for an extended well test at the Balcombe oil exploration site in West Sussex is due to be submitted within a week, operator Angus Energy said today.

A statement from the company said the application would be made to West Sussex County Council by 20 August 2020.

The application has been expected since mid-June 2020.

Angus withdrew a previous application for a three-year well test in May 2020 after planning officers recommended refusal.

A report to the council’s planning committee said the scheme would “compromise the landscape qualities” of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It would also “establish a continued presence of industry which is not appropriate to the area”, the planners said.

That application attracted more than 500 objections, including from Balcombe Parish Council, Frack Free Balcombe Residents’ Association, Sussex Wildlife Trust and CPRE. There were 28 comments in support.

Angus said on 1 May 2020 it would submit an updated application for a shorter test within six weeks. Last month, Angus Energy said it intended to return to Balcombe in the final quarter of 2020.

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

“With our revised planning application, over which great care has been taken, we look forward to a fair hearing and positive result which will allow the Company and its shareholders to exploit this valuable asset and make our own contribution to the Government’s Net Zero targets specifically by replacing imported hydrocarbons and their higher associated carbon footprint.”

West Sussex County Council approved two previous applications, in 2014 and 2018, to test the Balcombe well.

Angus Energy carried out a seven-day test in September 2018. But for most of the past seven years the site has been empty.

18 replies »

  1. What evidence does George Lucas have for his claims that oil from Balcombe will “[replace] imported hydrocarbons and their higher associated carbon footprint”?

    There is no guarantee that the oil will displace long distance imports, nor that it will even be used in the UK. It could displace imports from, for example, Norway, which comes via a pipeline and has a lower carbon footprint than oil produced in the UK. Or it could be exported, for example to China, where it may displace domestically produced oil that has a lower carbon footprint than UK oil.

    As we all grapple with the important task of meeting Net Zero targets, Angus need to base statements on evidence rather than making meaningless statements intended to mislead decision makers.

  2. Well, Sarah, as your comment was based on speculation, your point about basing statements upon evidence is interesting!

    Why on earth should Norwegian oil have a lower carbon footprint than UK, if used in the UK??!! Next you will be suggesting Norwegian salmon is superior to Scottish. And, since when has China been a significant oil producer? UK oil exported to China would be far more environmentally friendly than a lot of sources the Chinese currently utilize.

  3. Oh, I see what you are saying, Sarah, is that Chinese oil used in China has a low carbon footprint, but UK oil used in UK does not!! OMG.

    And that a long pipeline from Norway would be any different from a short pipeline within the UK-like the one from Wytch Farm!! OMG.

    (By the way, oil also comes to UK from Norway by ship. Inconvenient, but true. One was recently involved in a collision and fortunately did not lead to another Torrey Canyon.)

    So, rather than attempting to justify speculative tosh, keep to the reality [edited by moderator]. Selecting a couple of links is what antis do, but might be better to look at the whole picture than a small part of it.

  4. Martin, NO oil has a low carbon footprint! I merely commented on how groundless Lord Lucan’s claim to be contributing towards the government’s Net Zero target was! Nobody sensible now disagrees that the way to meet the Net Zero target is to move away from fossil fuels entirely. So there really is no need to look for new sources.

    • Sarah, I agree the world can only extract a small proportion of the oil that has been discovered. In other words, we have to move from a situation where the total amount that is extracted is less than the amount discovered. If that’s the case I don’t see any reason to put money in the coffers of countries such as Russia when we can produce our own. The argument that you seem to be using is just like saying the world produces far more wheat than it needs so the U.K. shouldn’t produce our own but instead import it from another country.

      If you want to reduce the amount of fossil fuels used than simply put a massive border tax on fossil fuel trades. It might lead to fuel poverty but the greens don’t seem to worry too much about that

  5. Exactly, Simon.

    Why should it be okay for Norway to produce far more oil than it can use and produce $1 trillion worth of wealth fund whilst UK should restrict it’s production of oil, even whilst it continues to import oil?

    Interesting how the antis are so keen to select very selective reports but ignore those like the UN report which clearly stated that countries could make a real, rapid, difference by using local resources. Farm shops can be replicated with regard to oil and gas. And, rather than allow $1 trillion wealth fund to Norway, UK might actually end up with a health service as good as theirs if some of that money was kept in UK.

    And Sarah, UK will NOT move away from fossil fuels entirely. [Edited by moderator]

    • Martin, it’s also interesting how people with different backgrounds interpret data. I’ve got a reasonable engineering background and view material balance as a particularly important tool. As such I add together the amount of oil that produce and the amount that we import and then subtract the amount we export from which i can clearly see that the U.K. is a net importer of oil. People like Sarah seem to focus on the exports with the aim of giving the misleading impression that the U.K. does need to import oil. The fact of the matter is that oil has a different composition everywhere that it is produced so one needs to trade oil to achieve a balance of the relevant molecules that it contains. The world must seem quite a simple place to those that have limited understanding of the detail.

    • Simon – exactly – the world can only extract a small proportion of the oil that has been discovered. So why on earth search for new resources? There is more than enough in existing fields to keep us going through the transition period.

      Martin, can you provide a reference to the UN report which said countries could make a real, rapid, difference by using local oil? And in what way are the two sources I cited earlier ‘selective’?

  6. Local resources, Sarah. Sorry, you give away your selectivity by changing words to try and continue your argument. A hard habit to break?

    Resources include oil and gas, but many other items as well. Perhaps you believe that importing solar panels from China to UK is the same as manufacturing them in UK? Perhaps you believe air freighting french beans or roses from Kenya to UK, is the same as growing them in UK for use in UK? Perhaps you don’t believe in UK chicken production but we should just import from USA? (Although, you could be a vegan! Probably.)

    Or maybe you just see UK as a market rather than a producer? That seems to be your approach. Maybe because it fits your agenda, maybe for other reasons. However, Covid-19 has shown that essential industry in UK is pretty essential to those who work in it and the service sector suffer. It is also pretty vital to UK tax income. UK will focus a lot more on essential industry going forward and that should include oil and gas-that UK will continue to use. If not, some individual tax payers will find they are having to foot a very large bill for non essential workers AND a lack of industry taxation. The Norwegians (lovely people) have their $1 trillion Wealth Fund. Don’t think they need much more assistance from UK.

    • Simon, if I had possible apples in the ground under my garden requiring lots of energy to extract them, and a flare, heavy vehicles, etc, I would leave them there and buy apples from my neighbour who could access their apples with less damage!

      Martin – exactly, to my knowledge the UN has NOT recommended that local oil could have those benefits you mention. You misrepresented them. And I advocate getting our goods from where they can be produced using the least energy and causing the least pollution. So for most things – beans, chickens, etc – that will be locally. Oil is a different kettle of fish.

      Have you read the Science article I mentioned? I think not. It attempts to quantify the “well-to-wheels” life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions of transport fuels – emissions from producing, transporting, and refining. Clearly it’s not possible to get definitive figures because the lack of comprehensive data in some areas, however it does illustrate that taking the whole life-cycle into account, locally-produced does not always mean lowest-carbon-intensity in the case of oil. Here’s the link again for your convenience: https://ksa-climate.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Article_-Global-carbon-intensity-of-oil-production.pdf

      • Sarah, it’s an interesting article written by Saudi Aramco telling the world to buy their oil because it has less carbon emissions.

        I’ve spent many years working in KSA and overall I would definitely sooner produce our own oil than put money into the hands of a murderous dictatorship. The carbon emissions are massive in KSA due to their great oil-related wealth. If you reduce their wealth by buying less of their oil then one both reduces the amount they can spend on bombing Yemen and possibly force them to cut the massive subsidies that they give to their population for energy use.

  7. No, oil is NOT a different kettle of fish. Why would it be? Just because you need to promote that otherwise your argument is lost?

    I do agree locally produced does not mean lowest carbon intensity, however. When you have closed down Russian, Venezuelan, USA, Iranian and many more countries producing oil, you may have a case. You could also add quite a few more where body bags are the cost of securing supplies. However, it remains that UK on shore oil production is not only one of the most environmentally friendly sources of oil for the UK, but is also one of the most economical in terms of production costs, and the best for income to the UK to pay for essential services in the UK. And, you might also take a look at how much refined diesel UK imports and the disadvantages of that, when it could be refined in UK close to UK oil production. Last time I looked Fawley Refinery was willing to invest £800m into that, and creating new well paid jobs by so doing, hopefully all paying tax to the UK, and providing supplies to the Sussex Chelsea Tractors and the antis with their Mercs and BMW diesels!

    For you to be advocating that is not REALITY and then stating, to the best of my knowledge, is the best example of an oxymoron one could observe!

    But, do enjoy your weekend. I shall be picking French Beans.

  8. GREAT NEWS ! Local Oil…..just google how many products we use daily are made from oil ! [Edited by moderator]…..if you do not want the oil…stop using the products made from oil……bet you don’t !

  9. Wooden keyboards, anyone?

    Back to horses on the farms, instead of red diesel? Possible-but not to feed the current populations.

    Take a look at the stats. for decrease in mortality from natural disasters. Might (LOL) be something to do with the helicopters arriving, with the diggers, portable generators, pumps, chain saws etc. Electricity supply not a great survivor of natural disasters.

    The jigsaw is bigger than the one piece of blue sky-which is why the Greens always do badly at General Elections in the UK when they do have to explain how the whole picture is produced.

  10. Oh Dear The world runs on Oil & Hydrocarbons & is likely to do so well into the future. As we develop greener energy. it is oil that enables us to do so. therefore producing that oil Locally is more environmentally friendly than shipping it half way round the world don,t you think.

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