Industry

Egdon “likely to appeal” Biscathorpe refusal as it sets out future plans

Egdon Resources said today it was “likely” to appeal against the refusal of planning permission for drilling and production at Biscathorpe in the Lincolnshire Wolds.

Montage of the proposed drill rig at Biscathorpe in the Lincolnshire Wolds. Image: Egdon planning application

Earlier this week, the county council’s planning committee voted by seven to four against the proposal, despite a recommendation by officials to approve.

The company’s announcement came in a webcast by the managing director, Mark Abbott, to coincide with preliminary annual results.

Mr Abbott said:

“We’ve identified a possible material and commercially-viable hydrocarbon resource [at Biscathorpe]. Unfortunately, the planning committee on the first of November, the first day of COP26, went against the planning officer’s recommendation and we’re likely to appeal this, subject to final advice.”

He said securing planning consent for Biscathorpe, “probably through a planning appeal”, would be one of the company’s key activities in the coming year.

Oil from Biscathorpe had a “very low carbon intensity rating”, Mr Abbott said.

“It’s important to recognise that indigenous UK oil, whether it’s from the North Sea or onshore, has a very much lower carbon intensity than many of the places that we import oil from and will continue to do so out to 2050 and beyond.”

North Kelsey

Egdon is also preparing a planning application for another Lincolnshire site at North Kelsey.

This site was first granted planning permission in 2014 but no work has been carried out, apart from the site entrance. It received extensions of consent in 2018 and 2020.The current permission expires at the end of 2021.

North Kelsey had gross mean prospective resources of around 6.5m barrels of oil, Mr Abbott said. It was an analogue for the oil site at Wressle, in North Lincolnshire. He said:

“We are just finalising a planning application to submit during November to look to ext4nd that planning further.”

Wressle

Oil flows from the Wressle site, near Scunthorpe, had “significantly exceeded expectations”, Mr Abbott said.

It is undergoing test production, with reported rates of 884 barrels of oil per day in an instantaneous test. This was well above the expected rate of 500.

Mr Abbott said Wressle would be a “significant contributor” to the company’s predicted production for 2021-2022 of 240 barrels per day. He said:

“We’re now looking at a highly positive impact on our revenues. It should transform the business in terms of revenues and cash flows and we expect to be generating free cash from this project.”

He added that the company also planned to generate electricity from gas produced at Wressle and export it to the grid. Gas flows in an instantaneous test were 480,000 cubic feet. The gas is currently flared.

Keddington

Also in Lincolnshire, Egdon said it was looking at drilling a sidetrack well at its Keddington site in 2022, to access the remaining reserves of 567,000 barrels.

Mr Abbott said:

“There are also near field exploration opportunities at Keddington South and Louth, which would add further life to this field which we’ve had for a number of years.”

Waddock Cross

In Dorset, Egdon said it was looking to redevelop the Waddock Cross site, where it estimated there were 57m barrels of oil in place.

Mr Abbott said a new horizontal well had been modelled to produce up to a million barrels, with 500-800 barrels a day. The final investment decision would be made towards the end of 2021, with possible drilling in 2022.

Shale gas

Egdon said its strategy on shale gas was to “maintain a significant asset position while we work to lift the moratorium [on fracking].”

This was imposed in November 2019 following a 2.9ML earthquake caused by fracking at Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road in Lancashire.

Mr Abbott said Egdon held 150,000 acres of shale gas licences across northern England, with an estimated 37.6 trillion cubic feet of gas.

It was, he said, “a very material resources, which if developed could reduce the UK’s import dependency at time when we’re seeing world-wide high demand and high prices for gas”.

Egdon has a 14.5% stake in the shale gas well drilled by IGas at Springs Road, Misson, in Nottinghamshire. An extension of planning permission for the site was refused earlier this year.

Mr Abbott said shale gas would provide security of supply, local jobs and tax revenues. He said it could also be a feedstock for blue hydrogen projects.

“If we can lift that moratorium and demonstrate this can be done safely and efficiently this has transformational value for the company.”

Repurposing wells

Mr Abbott said Egdon was also looking to repurpose some of its wells for geothermal energy.

It was planning projects at the Dukes Wood-1 and Kirklington-3z wells in Nottinghamshire, he said.

There was also potential to use some wells for carbon capture, utilisation and storage, he said.

“If we can repurpose those wells, it reduces the cost of those developments and extends the economic life of those wells.”

The Dukes Wood-1 well project could go ahead early in 2022 if it got regulatory approval, he said.

Financial figures

In the year to 31 July 2021, Egdon benefitted from higher oil prices, Mr Abbott said.

Gross oil revenues were up by 13.4% to £1.09m (2020: £0.96m).

The company lost £1.68m, after write downs, pre-licence costs and impairments of £0.48m This compared with £4.75m in 2020-2021, which saw an impairment of £3.03m.

Cash at the bank was £1.96m (2020: £0.85m) and net assets were £27.42m (2020 £26.67m).

6 replies »

  1. Fascinating isnt it, that Egdon are still flogging the dead horse and are now attempting to greenwash spin by saying they might “repurpose some” of their wells for geothermal energy.

    “Planning projects at the Dukes Wood-1 and Kirklington-3z wells in Nottinghamshire. There was also potential to use some wells for carbon capture, utilisation and storage”

    All unproven technologies and most dont even exist as engineering proven to be safe proposals. They are not assessed to be feasible or even possible or not in those locations. Perhaps these unspecified unknown technologies are even highly dangerous experimental technological in the long term, and little better than pipe dreams. Maybe our children and grandchildren should be alerted to these proposals?

    Also, its time to “repurpose” the spin of the oft expressed costs of appeals being the fault of the councillors who are actually standing up for their constituents objections which is what they are paid to do.

    Its important to point out, that its not the councils that are threatening costs to the local constituents at all.

    No. Its the likes of Egdon that intend to offload the costs of appeals onto the local tax paying constituents, regardless if they object to fossil fuel exploration and extraction or not. That makes Egdon the “enemy” of the local constuent tax payer regardless of their objections or not to Egdons appeal and “repurposing” of their planning appeal.

    It should be questioned, that multiple expensive appeals perhaps should not even be allowed to be considered, once they have been refused so profoundly in the planning stage.

    So why should Egdon be allowed to offload their appeal costs onto the local constituent tax payer so readily if they have already been refused? Particularly when the new proposals are no better than “repurposed” pipe dreams.

    So, lets “repurpose” the blame for these appeal costs, should they be threatened and exploited by fossil fuel exploration and extraction corporations such as Egdon, right back to where they really come from:

    Egdon in this case.

    So you see, clarification of the facts is always better than fossil fuel spin merchants attempts to obfuscate the identity of the real exploiter(s) isn’t it.

    Have Nice Day.

  2. George Monbiot in The Guardian November 3rd. – “Every speech and pledge and gesture at Glasgow this week is thistledown by comparison to the hard facts of new coal mines, oil and gas fields. It’s the mining and drilling that counts: the rest is distraction.”

  3. Good oh. The Wressle appeal was worth the attendance, and the one for Biscathorpe would be more local and less wear on the legs. Hopefully a group of pragmatic locals can work out how to support it, along with the other exciting energy related proposals in Lincs (such as solar, wind, nuclear waste storage and so on). Not sure what the title would be. Pragmatically saving the environment maybe, or ‘no need to set your hair on fire to achieve what you desire’?

  4. Hmmm.

    So unexpected! LOL.

    Company loses planning application that was recommended for approval so appeals.

    I have very few building developments around me that did not go through that process. Yes, it is costly to the companies and if they win probably costly to the communities. Shame that is not considered by those who create the need for said Appeals even when they have been professionally advised against it. Do that more than once within most business organisations and the P45 would be supplied.

  5. It’s also worth pointing out that the probability of successfully defending a decision at Appeal will also be supplied to Councillors.

    Taking this out of the fossil fuel arena, this is a long established process that is built into house prices, and many other developments. House developers are pretty clued up about it and are usually pretty accurate with their assessments. They should be, they usually employ people who have the same experience, or more, than the council officers.

    It should also be pointed out that when Appeal is underway, then UDI is off the table, and so is someone’s popularity.

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