Cuadrilla was granted planning permission by West Sussex County Council (WSCC) to undertake exploration work at the Balcombe site in West Sussex in April 2010. We were also granted the necessary permits required by the Environment Agency at that time which can be viewed on the Documents tab.
The exploration well at Balcombe was drilled to a vertical depth of 2,700ft and horizontally to a length of some 1,714ft, with work commencing in August 2013 and completing in September 2013. No hydraulic fracturing was carried out and Cuadrilla has confirmed that as the target rock – a limestone layer – is naturally fractured, the presence of these natural fractures means that we do not need to and will not be carrying out hydraulic fracturing.
In September 2013 Cuadrilla submitted a planning application to WSCC to undertake a seven day flow test at the site. Planning permission was granted in May 2014.
Cuadrilla was unable to undertake the permitted exploration well testing works before the planning permission expired in May 2017, primarily due to the length of time and resource it has required for the company to commence operational activities in its Lancashire exploration licence area.
The company submitted a new planning application to WSCC in October 2017 to flow test and monitor the existing exploration oil well at the site in Lower Stumble. This can be viewed on the Documents tab. In January 2018, WSCC’s Planning Committee approved Cuadrilla’s planning application.
Also in January 2018 Cuadrilla announced a new joint venture partnership with Angus Energy Plc, an oil and gas exploration, production and development company. Angus Energy has joined the existing Cuadrilla / Lucas partnership through the acquisition of a 25.0% interest in UK onshore licence PEDL244 which includes the entire Balcombe Field discovery in West Sussex.
Angus Energy undertook a 7 day flow test of the horizontal exploration well at Balcombe in September 2018.