by Roger Abbott on 30 November, 2016
The oil well off Old School Lane, Brockham has been operating by traditional means (not fracking) since 1987 with little disturbance to anyone. The site gained new owners two years ago and they have discovered new deposits of oil that can be extracted. The company is Angus Energy and an extension to the licence (i.e. permission to drill and extract the oil) has already been granted.
Angus Energy was part of the consortium that discovered the oil nearby at Horsehill, although they have since sold their interest in that site. They do own one other drilling site: at Lidsey, near Bognor Regis where they also have an extension to the extraction licence to enable development of a newly found deposit there.
Angus Energy has now raised the £3.5m investment required to carry out the necessary drilling and installation of plant to fully exploit both their sites.
In Brockham, their site is a traditional operation (no fracking required) using a “nodding donkey”. The oil is loaded into tankers which have a designated route away from the village.
From the first extraction programme in the late 1980s Brockham produced about 95 barrels/day. Since then, the quantity extracted has varied at lower production levels. Also, there have been several discoveries of oil and new drillings have been made from the original site to access these deposits. The licence extension is to allow the company to extract the oil from the new find. The process involves lateral drilling from the existing drilled shafts to the deposit, which is contained within a layer of portland sandstone.
It is not clear how much oil can be extracted but Angus Energy have reported they expect about 400 barrels/day from the combined Brockham and Bognor sites. Given that they plan to continue with one nodding donkey at Brockham and two at Bognor the likelihood is that Brockham output will not be that much greater than the previous maximum. However, the recent average production is about 35 barrels/day so maybe we can expect 3 to 3½ times the current number of tankers on the road when the production is at maximum. Of course, this depends on the amount that Angus Energy can physically extract and maybe we would be concerned if their production significantly exceeds, say, 100 barrels/day.
Fracking is not necessary, and so is not an issue. However, the geology is somewhat complex and there are environmental issues. No doubt these have been addressed previously at the Brockham site. My particular concern is for the many different underground water courses and aquifers in this area, most of which are not fully documented. The risk of contamination from leakage is high and the consequence of disruption of flows or contamination could be serious. Therefore Angus Energy must exercise a high degree of diligence.
I would hope that Angus Energy will arrange a public meeting where they can explain what they are doing, we can ask questions and they can show how they are addressing our concerns. Meanwhile, their publicity can be found on this link: http://www.angusenergy.co.uk/media/news/1 Comment