Regulator gives oil and gas companies more time to meet exploration commitments

The shale gas company, Cuadrilla, has got three more years in which to seek consent for two new wells near Blackpool in Lancashire.

PEDL165. Source: UKOGL

Deadlines have also been extended in six other areas for companies including Aurora Energy Resources, Rathlin Energy, UK Oil & Gas plc and its subsidiary Horse Hill Developments Limited and Angus Energy. 

The details are in the latest update from the industry regulator, the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA), on retention area agreements.

The document, dated last month, deals with work plans for 23 exploration licences, most issued in 2004 or 2008.

Cuadrilla: three more years

This is second time in two years that Cuadrilla has been given more time to meet its work commitments in licence area PEDL165.

In July 2018, the OGA said the company should apply for planning permission for the wells by the end of June 2021. This deadline was extended in 2019 to June 2023. The most recent update extended the time limit again to June 2026.

Under the work plan, Cuadrilla must also acquire two new sets of data in the licence area by June 2025 and submit a field development plan by June 2026. These deadlines have been extended by at least three years.

Cuadrilla drilled wells in the area in 2017 and 2018 from its site at Preston New Road. It fracked the horizontal sections in 2018 and 2019. Both fracture operations induced small earthquakes and were suspended before they were completed. In November 2019, the government ordered an immediate moratorium on fracking in England because of the earthquake risk.

Aurora: two-year extension near Formby

Aurora Energy Resources has been given two more years to drill a 3,000m well in its licence area in west Lancashire.

The deadline to meet this work commitment in licence PEDL164 has been extended from September 2020 to September 2022.

The time limit to drill a second 3,000m well has been extended by a year to the end of September 2024.

The company has also given another two years to acquire 30km2 of new 3D seismic data (until September 2022).

In July 2020, Aurora withdrew a planning application to drill and frack two wells at a site at Altcar Moss, east of Formby. The company blamed the moratorium on fracking.

Two more years for Rathlin Energy

The OGA has extended by two years the deadline for an additional well in part of Rathlin Energy’s PEDL183 licence in East Yorkshire.

The company has drilled two wells at its site at West Newton-A and is currently drilling at the nearby West Newton-B.

The OGA update says Rathlin should commit to drill a well by 30 June 2023, extended from 2021.

Extensions in the Weald

In PEDL234 in Surrey and West Sussex, UK Oil & Gas plc (UKOG) has extra time to drill and test three new wells.

One should be drilled by the end of 2021 through the Kimmeridge limestones and on trend with the Godley Bridge-1 Portland gas discovery. This deadline was extended from 2019.

A second well should be drilled through the Kimmeridge limestones by the end of 2022, extended from 2020.  A third appraisal well or sidetrack should be drilled by the end of 2023, previously by 2021.

The company should also acquire and process 50km of 2D seismic data and submit a field development plan by the end of 2024.

A UKOG planning application for a gas well in PEDL234 at Dunsfold in Surrey will be decided on Friday 27 November 2020. The company’s other well in the licence area at Broadford Bridge in West Sussex is currently suspended.

The update says the Balcombe licence, PEDL244, in West Sussex has committed drill a well by the end of June 2024, extended from 2021. A well test should be completed by the end of June 2021, previously 2019.

Angus Energy, the operator of PEDL244, has applied for planning permission for an extended well test at the Balcombe site. The next scheduled planning meeting where it could be decided is in early January 2021.

Horse Hill Developments Limited (HHDL), a subsidiary of UKOG, has more time to meet its commitments in PEDL246, in Surrey. The licence area is next to PEDL137, which includes the Horse Hill site near Horley.

HHDL has committed to drill a well to test the Kimmeridge limestones by the end of June 2021 (extended from 2021). It should also acquire new 2D seismic survey data by the end of June 2022.

Missing licences

The OGA 2020 update no longer included PEDL126, UKOG’s Markwells Wood licence on the West Sussex-Hampshire border.

UKOG abandoned and restored the Markwells Wood site and relinquished the licence.

Other licences that were listed in 2019 but not in 2020 were those held by Third Energy in Ryedale, North Yorkshire: AL006, DL005, PL077, PL079, PL080, PL081, PEDL177.

The previous update required Third Energy to drill six wells and frack four in these licences.

Since then, Third Energy has been sold. The new owners have said they have no current plans to frack in the area. Last month, the company said it planned to challenge an official order by the OGA to plug and abandon all its wells in the Ryedale area.

The OGA online database still lists all the Ryedale licences. Most have anticipated expiry dates of 2023 or 2024.


17 replies »

  1. Another few years Egan will be spouting his nonsense and getting well paid for it and another few years of mental stress for local residents!

    The fracking industry and its political promoters are nothing but mendacious chancers in my opinion.

    • While you pkr, exploit the uses of the hydrocarbon industry’s components, materials and products in everyday life, 😂while naively preaching the green narrative. China, India and the USA are pumping and filling in the energy gap, you pkr are feeding their economies while sticking two fingers up to UK progression!
      Oh yes the world will remember your generation…. moanernation!! What do you believe the Greens will do once they ever get a bigger foothold?

      • Eli-Goth, the frackers destroyed their own credibility and industry by causing swarms of Hydrofrac Earthquakes to rattle across the Fylde.
        Despite promises by fracker in chief Francis Egan that this would not happen and statements from Savid Javed that he didn’t care, the Fylde is getting fracked anyway, in his 600+ page Written Ministerial Statement justifying his overriding of Democracy!
        By the way, petrochemicals have only been around 100 years or so. We managed very well without them, we will do so again.

        • You are older than I thought, PKR!

          “We” managed without a lot of things in the past-and “we” died early, and in large numbers. “We” managed without antibiotics, and the first effective treatment for gangrene didn’t happen until 1949, so managing prior to that was not, imo, managing very well.

          What you want to do in the future, is your choice, but with over 50% of the world’s population now classified as middle class, check with them what they want to do with their disposable income. Much of their desire revolve around the use of more energy-whatever source it may come from.

  2. There is, hewes62, if it is subject to the same “scrutiny” as other subjects which have been exposed by certain antis.

    For the many who look at issues a bit more subjectively, no, there isn’t.

    Fact and fantasy, again.

  3. Martin

    Indeed. I have a relative who is convinced of the Bill Gates Coronavirus theory and is as anti vaccine and 5G as you can get.

    She is busily trying to stitch in the story of two Germans of Turkish ancestry into the plot, as that but was missing and David Icke forgot to mention it a while ago.

    In a bit another will turn up, but time to move on. What to do with Boris eh – one moment in the pocket of the frackers and the Russians, and now he is being accused of moving us too fast on the path to greenery (or economic ruin depending on which paper you read).

    Strange times indeed. I see that all the wasted energy from N Sea wind farms could be used to produce 18,000 tonnes of hydrogen, which means – lots more offshore wind farms to build. Investor beware I guess as the get rich quick / Ponzi merchants are not wedded to any form of energy production, of course.

    • Oh, Boris!

      Actually, I think he is being quite astute-and he usually is, but his jolly exterior sometimes is the focus rather than his action.

      He is moving ahead pretty fast on the Net Zero, but others are sucked/suckered into saying, not fast enough. Thus, when the problems surface he will be in a good place to be able to say, others would have made it worse.

      For example, we currently have very expensive electric vehicles yet subsidised with taxation benefits. Fine. BUT-then we need electric vehicles, by 2030, to pick up fuel duty! So, we either have the motor industry with an impossible task or the motorists with even more expensive electric vehicles. It will not impact me at all, I will not be purchasing a new car after 2030) but for younger people it will. They will also be the group who were used to working their socks off, doing their Friday night Supermarket run and adding ten minutes to fuel up to keep them able to work their socks off the following week. Science and engineering can do marvels, but that is a heck of a challenge.

    • Peter K R

      Thanks – I think there was an attempt at such industry, but it was in the exploration and development stage for HPHV Gas fracking.

      There is a small sale fracking / well stimulation industry in the UK, and something of a proto fracking industry for geothermal wells.

      While Cuadrilla were the only company to attempt commercial HPHV fracking, I would suggest that, given the results it could have been whichever company got there first would be in the frame.

  4. I think it is quite clear that HM government want to see more indiginus oil and gas produced in the UK while meeting there climate goals.

    Many may see this as confusing but it is all part of the things that will be achieved while other goals are also achieved.

    There are definitely people who will not like the process but they can not have everything at one.

    Just remember Freedom is not about doing what you want it is about having

    That responsibility is over many issues & layers & will cover the Short, Medium & Long term.

    The net zero target is 2050, with a transition plan, not everything today, tommorow or next week but with a responsible transition which has begun.

    Are you free & can you see you way to Short, Medium & Long term responsibility for the whole IK not just a NIMBY cause?

  5. It’s been conclusively proved that the geology of the Fylde Peninsula in Lancashire, as predicted by eminent geologists and long term local residents alike, is totally unsuited to fracking activities.
    Trying to push this through is simply a waste of investors time and money. Not that Cuadrilla will admit this of course!

  6. I think it was conclusively proven that vaccinations against disease are a benefit to individuals and mankind.

    However, there are some on the Fylde Peninsula, plus those who claim to be eminent, who have difficulty with that. Meanwhile, investors time and money will still be lavished upon that sector. So, you makes yer choice and pays yer money, to paraphrase. It’s called democracy.

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