Views sought on water injection plan at Angus Energy’s Brockham site

People are invited to comment on proposals by Angus Energy to dispose of waste water into a borehole at its Brockham oil site in Surrey.

Angus Energy site at Brockham, Surrey, on 16 December 2018. Photo: Brockham Protectors

The company is seeking changes to its environmental permit that would allow it to inject what’s known as formation or produced water that comes to the surface along with oil.

The consultation, by the Environment Agency (EA), began today (23 March 2021) and runs for six weeks until Tuesday 4 May 2021.

In 2018, the EA refused a previous request for water injection because it said Angus had failed to provide required information or to assess adequately the risks to groundwater.

In the current application, Angus said there was a negligible risk to groundwater. It also said there was no need for groundwater monitoring because it had robust procedures and tests confirmed the integrity of the injection well.

The company said the permit change was needed to support oil production at Brockham by increasing reservoir pressure. If approved, it would also eliminate the cost of transporting and disposing of the water, which is very salty. In October 2020, Angus said it would abandon Brockham if reinjection was refused again.

There is currently no activity at the site. It made local news headlines in 2017 when Angus drilled a side-track well. Surrey County Council said this did not have planning permission. Angus Energy disagreed but later applied and was granted retrospective consent. Angus said it proposed to use this side-track, BRX4-z, to produce oil from the Kimmeridge formation.

Proposed water injection well at Brockham. Source: Angus Energy application for permit variation

“Water from the Weald Basin”

The application said there would not be enough produced water from Brockham alone to increase the pressure in the formation and restart production at the site.

It said produced water from the Portland and Kimmeridge formations at Brockham would be mixed with water “from another source(s)”, the company said. It said water would be brought from the company’s other south-east site at Lidsey in West Sussex and from “compatible producing fields” in the Weald Basin.

It would be injected into the Portland Sand formation at a depth of 700-750m below ground level. Injection would be through the BRX3 well, drilled in 2007.

A hydrogeological risk assessment included with the application said the maximum volume of injected water would be 24 m3 or 150 barrels in any 24-hour period or up to 8,395 m3 a year.

The risk assessment said reservoir pressure at Brockham had fallen to about 500 pounds per square inch (psi), thought to be less than 50% of the original pressure. It said:

“At current reservoir pressure production is only viable for a very limited period of time.”

Water injection would restore reservoir pressure to 65-80% of original pressure and allow production of around 300,000 barrels of oil, the document said.

On the threat to ground water, it said:

“there is a negligible risk of the migration of injected water to shallower aquifers and that these aquifers are in any case unlikely to contain potable [fresh usable] water.”

It said freshwater in the aquifer would be protected from contamination by:

  • Local geological structures
  • Physical barriers in the well
  • Reservoir pressure which meant water would flow to, not from, the injection reservoir

The risk assessment said reinterpretation of seismic data showed there was no connection or pathways between the oil reservoir and shallower strata.

Potential aquifers in the Ashdown Beds and Tunbridge Wells sands were sandwiched between impermeable claystones, which formed an effective barrier, it said.

A recent test on the wellbore showed there was more than 126m of good to excellent cement bond, it added.

DrillOrDrop will report on responses to the application.

28 replies »

  1. Never believe anything Anguish Energy says [Edited by moderator].” The worst company that Surrey Council have ever had to deal with “ said chairman Tim Hall .

  2. I would say yes, given that water reinjection would reduce the numbers of HGV movements. Those against that are not thinking of the environment, just their own dogma. Unless they have an HGV licence.

    • How cab you say HGV numbers will be reduced? Angus will truck produced water from Lidsey which is 1 hour away?

      • Because, Terry, it clearly states that would be added to the water on site!! So, the water trucked in would just not be trucked somewhere else, and the water on site would not have to be trucked ermm, somewhere else.

        So, I post it because it is true.

  3. My advice


    Professor Emeritus Peter Styles

    BA(Oxon), PhD (Newcastle-upon-Tyne)., FGS CGeol., FRAS CSci., FIMMM Professor of Applied and Environmental Geophysics Applied & Environmental Geophysics Research Group School of Geography, Geology and Environment Keele University Staffs ST5 5 BG UK


  4. The advice of Professor Emeritus Peter Styles is to be ignored at great risk to the population and the environment. A hugely respected scientist whose expertise in this field is second to none. Account should also be taken of the research of Professor Anthony Ingraffea of Cornell University , ( B.Sc. , M.Sc. Civil Engineering , Ph.D. Civil Engineering University of Colorado , Fellow International Congress on Fracturing . His detailed research into well integrity of hydraulic fracturing throughout the world shows that many wells are compromised (ie. they leak) during their first year – over the lifetime of a well, he found that they all leak ( Deborah Gibson is correct ) and contaminate groundwater supplies. This is researched scientific fact and NOT dogma.

    • Keith – examples of “leaking” wells in the UK please, onshore as that is the subject of this blog. I know of only two – let’s see if you get them right. Both were fixed, one post abandonment, one is still active and not “leaking” after remediation work. I recall the Prof claimed all wells leak / will leak, hydraulically fracture stimulated or not. Although a quick look at the data he has used for at least one of the studies does not demonstrate this at all.

      Your blanket statement “that they all leak and contaminate groundwater supplies” is not correct. He claims they all leak but the majority, if not all, of his “leaks” are casing annulus pressure which means the well is not leaking into any aquifer and the pressure is contained within the well and mechanical integrity is also maintained.

      It is just as easy to state that very few wells will leak and contaminate groundwater supplies over their life cycle. Which is what my 35 years experience in upstream drilling and completion operations has shown. And of those that had leaks they have not contaminated any “groundwater supplies”.

      I don’t believe the Prof has had any direct involvement in drilling / completing / stimulating / producing / abandoning any oil and gas wells but please correct me if I am wrong. He just cherry picks data…..

      There are a couple of other experienced oil and gas people on this BB – let’s see what their thoughts are on this? John / Hewes62?

      Buy the way I also have a Honours Degree etc but that is irrelevant; you can’t beat direct field experience.

      I have no idea if reservoir pressure maintenance of the subject water injection well (not “water disposal well” – produced water disposal is a side benefit) will be successful but then neither do you unless you are a reservoir / petroleum engineer with access to the pertinent data.

      The injection pressure will be below fracture pressure otherwise the concept of pressure maintenance will fail.

      • As a layman I find this well leaking somewhat , shall I politely state, confusing.

        If the oil/gas is there ie. under the ground, how is it not ALREADY leaking into groundwater? If that is such a risk, then better remove it from said ground. I think some call it the precautionary principle.

        Being less of a layman, the integrity of any drilling can easily be monitored and is done. As Paul states, this is not an issue of any significance in UK.

        So, you know what follows:

        Extract it from the UK with our higher standards and record, rather than impose such a risk upon the populations of other, exporting, countries. Surely the antis are not just wanting to export their carbon footprints over the horizon into areas of lower standards?

        • Paul.
          I believe the Preese Hall well was a ‘leaker’
          There were many examples of water contamination particularly in the USA
          Prof. Ingraffia was a pioneer in directional drilling and well integrity research.

          If you require further info. then I suggest you take up the discussion with him.

          • Keith – Preese Hall was not a production well, did not contaminate any aquifer as far as I know, and it is disputed if it was a “leaker”. It suffered from casing ovality I believe which resulted in reduced internal diameter. This was possibly caused by casing collapse due to a weak casing joint (-12-1/2″ WT) when they reduced the internal pressure too low to maintain adequate differential. But what did the “leaker” leak?

            I don’t require further info from the Prof as in my opinion all wells do not leak, in fact the majority do not. His data also shows that all wells don’t leak.

            But the anti groups like the story and role it out repeatedly.

            I assume you have read the Refine paper?

            Refine well survey (pdf)

            I always liked the sheep analogy.

        • Martin – most of the oil and gas generated over millions of years has “leaked through ground water” or whatever is below surface in hydrocarbon generating sedimentary basins – and a lot continues to do so. The Oil and Gas industry explores for, and produces if economic, oil / gas trapped by impermeable formations in structures from which it cannot pass through vertically by gravity and is trapped in the porosity either by the structure and or sealing faults.

          • JACK


            Stop the wells leaking into the atmosphere-easy.

            If they leak into ground as water injection wells, then what will leak into the ground? Not even water, if the well has been capped at the surface, because no water will be going in. DOH.

            BUT, Jack, if your point had any merit it would be that UK does not suffer such issues, not even where on shore oil has been produced, so-wait for it-you know what is coming-can’t stand the building excitement…….

            As the UK does not experience the same issues as reported in USA, then a very sound reason environmentally that as much oil as can be produced in UK is achieved as is possible to avoid the current situation of giving an export market to those without the same standards!!

            I think that is also the Greens argument regarding chlorinated chicken. (Except that one is nonsense as well.)

            Such a long time away, Jack, and then you come up with that!

            But your support for sourcing from a high standard country, with a good track record, is welcomed. You were unaware of the direction you were travelling, but you travelled away and finally arrived at the right destination.

              • MARTIN ,

                Think about this .

                If offshore UK Oil and Gas companies dont give a hoot about leaking wells at sea , do you honestly think they will care anymore about leaking wells onshore ??????

                • Think about this Jack.

                  If you don’t know what is happening and has happened in UK, why keep posting as if you do?

                  Please advise where wells are leaking on shore in UK. Not the dubious speculation that you may find to link to in some deep corner of the Internet, but real life situations. And, there are some pretty old wells in UK, as JH has indicated.

                  Sorry, you can wriggle away as much as you like, but you are still hooked. Big sales point for UK on shore oil-brought to us by???? Jack!!!

                  Well done, Jack.

                  Use British when it is superior. You know it makes sense-when you think about it!

                • MARTIN,

                  Jack is always happy to answer your questions .

                  In response to your question, I will also direct this to the attention of other forum members

                  PLEASE NOTE …….. Ladies and Gentlemen. There have been very few recorded leaks of abandoned wells on the UK mainland, BECAUSE orphaned
                  wells are NOT MONITORED or at best they are very poorly monitered..

                  Check out this report .

                  Orphan’ oil wells warning for fracking


                  A WELL KEPT DIRTY SECRET

                • OMG Jack!

                  So, what you are saying is that there might be leaks if only people were sniffing around!

                  What I suggest Jack, is you visit the UK and take your sniffer and put it to work. Up to now, the fairly densely populated UK has not encountered local sniffers over many decades that have managed to track down such emissions. Plenty of other emissions within the countryside, so maybe such is being masked? LOL.

                  I do recall some nonsense being suggested reference Kimmeridge Bay, but last time I visited there were cattle in the fields, gas bubbling to the surface in the Bay and groups of science teachers setting shale alight on the beach to demonstrate some science to their pupils on a field trip.

                  Just a reminder. This has nothing to do with fracking! Obviously, you have been saving up your links for a while and want to use them, shame they are not relevant to this subject.

                  Loads more scrutiny in UK than some countries exporting oil to UK, Jack. Much better standards in UK than most of those. Keep it coming Jack. You are making a stronger and stronger case for UK on shore oil in place of some imported oil. Maybe you like US chicken?

                • Jack

                  Also think about this.

                  In the UK we are seeing the blockage in the Suez Canal with statements about a reminder of the vulnerability of supply channels and pictures of ships waiting, whilst the oil price rises.

                  So, unfortunate for those export operations who have been stating how secure their supply is and how much better than UK home produced, but, once again truth will out.

                  Have a good weekend.

    • Deborah and Keith, the drinking water for Nottinghamshire comes from groundwater sources, rather than water in reservoirs.

      Bearing in mind that oil exploration commenced in Nottinghamshire prior to the Second World War, during the 1970s the area was the biggest producer of onshore oil in the UK and that the area still produces today.

      If all wells leak, why has there never been any evidence found of pollution from the industry to the water supply?

  5. Sorry, Keith, you take advice from whom you please. So do I.

    I suspect the Prof. requires the use of quite a lot of fossil fuel when travelling over to UK, so, seems reasonable to me that as much as possible is locally sourced, sent locally to Fawley Refinery and converted into aviation fuel, to be used locally, if required. Wouldn’t want those who want to travel causing emissions from oil travelling from far and wide, and risking another Torrey Canyon, would we? (I no longer have a passport, having decided overseas travel can now be avoided.)

    By the way, this is nothing to do with hydraulic fracturing. Sorry to spoil the false narrative, but your “researched scientific fact” applied to the wrong situation is at best dogma and definitely, scientific fiction.

    • Sorry Martin. Your answer delves into the region of fantasy in pursuit of your own dogma – your suspicions about the Profs. use of fossil fuel are pure conjecture ; Torrey Canyon – an extremely tenuous link ; again conjecture – sending to Fawley refinery ?? Furthermore, I pointed out that Prof. Anthony Ingraffea’s research into well integrity was during his investigations into hydraulic fracturing. Those findings of well integrity hold good in this case.

      I will continue to take advice from highly qualified, experienced experts who have worldwide reputations in this field.

      Given that all wells fail, I would also say no.

      • Err, no, they were not conjecture Keith but based upon previous posts from the gentleman.

        Where else do you think oil would be sent? Outer Mongolia?

        And, no they don’t. This is reinjection of water, not hydraulic fracturing.

        Torrey Canyon-tenuous? Why? Maritime transport of oil is a dangerous occupation. It has resulted in numerous incidents in the past and continues to do so. Do some research into where oil into Fawley Refinery comes from. You do not have to do too much as there was recent publicity around a cargo from Nigeria that needed the SBS to secure it in the Solent and prevent a potential disaster. You will find plenty more. Mind you, maybe not so many for a while until the Suez Canal is unblocked! Energy security? Oil market says NO.

        So, your taking of advice brings you to what?

        Complete confusion.

        As I am not confused, I shall stick with my sources of advice, thank you.

        Paul-ref. your post of 3.59pm-yes, thanks for confirming that. As there does not seem to be any potable water under this site, contamination of it seems to be not even academic, but just nonsense. Meanwhile, oil continues to be extracted at Stockbridge, Hampshire, next to one of the most pristine salmon/trout fisheries in the world and the crystal clear water continues to flow down the R. Test. How can that be? LOL.

        • PS.

          Brent Crude up around 6% today on the news regarding the Suez Canal.

          Wait for the cost of living to rise if that continues. My local garage fuel prices ALREADY increased.

  6. More “leaky” wells to come…..

    “But it has dashed hope among green campaigners and policy experts that the UK would follow the lead of Denmark and France by agreeing to ban new oil exploration licences.”

    Perhaps the Guardian should have noted that the UK is following the lead of Norway?

    And then perhaps they should have checked each countries oil production (2020)? Perhaps they did but ignored it as it doesn’t make such a good article for their readers?

    Norway 1.4 million barrels / day

    UK 1 million barrels / day

    Denmark (no future exploration) – 75,000 barrels / day

    France (no future exploration) – 10,000 barrels / day

    I wonder which countries take the highest tax revenues and employ the most workers in their oil and gas industries? Seems fairly simple to stop exploration in Denmark and France as the upside potential from a geological standpoint is clearly very low compared with Norway and the UK. Same for gas. Tax take and employment the same.

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