Regulation

Public views sought on Brockham oil production plans

A public consultation is now underway into plans by Angus Energy to produce oil for 15 years from a well in Surrey’s greenbelt.

Proposed site layout for phase 2. Image: Aecom for Angus Energy

People have been asked to send their comments on the proposals for the Brockham site near Dorking to Surrey County Council by Monday 20 December 2021.

The scheme is currently listed to be decided by planning officers under delegated powers, rather than going before the council’s planning committee.

The scheme, first revealed last month, seeks consent to perforate the upper section of the BRX4 well to produce oil from the Portland sandstone reservoir until 2036.

A controversial sidetrack well, drilled off BRX4 in 2017, would also be plugged and abandoned under the proposal.

The sidetrack well, BRX4z, was at the centre of planning dispute over whether Angus had permission to drill. Surrey County Council said it didn’t; the company said it did. A retrospective application was approved in 2018.

The current application, outlined in a 66-page planning statement, said government policy required energy supplies to come from a variety of sources, including onshore in the UK. There was no national policy, it said, to attempt to reduce carbon emissions by restricting production of hydrocarbons in the UK.

The statement said:

“Given the continuing role of fossil fuels in providing for UK energy needs during the transition to a low carbon economy, the proposed extraction of hydrocarbons has obvious security advantages in that it reduces the need for imported resources.”

The scheme would, the statement added,

“potentially help in an incremental way to offset imports of oil into the UK, thereby improving security of supply and not relying on other countries for the UK#s energy needs”.

The planning statement has no estimate of the volume of oil that would be produced from BRX4, if the application were approved.

Data from the Oil & Gas Authority shows that no oil has been produced from any wells at Brockham between November 2018 and July 2021, the most recent date for which figures are available.

The application said the proposal would not cause any “significant adverse” effects on traffic, flood risk, biodiversity, air quality, lighting, archaeology or heritage. Any impacts on the local landscape would be “minimised as far as possible”, it said, and the proposal would not affect any of the 17 public rights of way within 1km of the site.

The nearest homes in Brockham and Strood Green are 450-500m away. Angus Energy said it was not aware of “any substantiated noise complaints in relation to ongoing works at the site”.

The company considered the proposal would “support the principles of sustainable development”. It called on Surrey County Council to approve the application “without delay”.

The proposal has four phases:

  1. Mobilisation of equipment and a 35m workover rig – approximately four days
  2. Perforation of BRX4 and plugging and abandonment of BRX4Z – approximately 22 days
  3. Demobilisation of equipment – approximately four days
  4. Production from BRX4 – until 2036

Mobilisation and demobilisation would generate 15 two-way journeys to the site by heavy goods vehicles (HGV), the company said. The perforation scheme would have three two-way HGV journeys and production two.

Up to nine temporary employees may be required during the development, if approved, Angus said. This is in addition to three people described as “directly associated” with the site.

Working hours in phases 1-3 would be 7.30am-6pm Monday-Friday and 8am-1pm on Saturdays. Production of oil and waste gas in phase 4 would 24-hour operations.

Planning permission was first granted for the Brockham wellsite in 1987. A total of seven wells and sidetracks have been drilled, of which two have been plugged and abandoned and one has been used for water injection.

Details

Link to application

Reference: SCC Ref 2021/0165

Site address: Brockham Wellsite, Land at Felton’s Farm, Old School Lane, Brockham, Betchworth, Surrey RH3 7AU

Planning agent: Aecom

Closing date for consultation: 20 December 2021

  • DrillOrDrop will follow this application through the planning system and report on reactions to it

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