About the Balcombe Lower Stumble drill site

The drilling licence at Balcombe is called ‘Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence (PEDL) 244’ and is owned by Cuadrilla Resources Ltd and their parent company, AJ Lucas.

Cuadrilla also owns a subsidiary company, Bolney Resources. Bolney’s 2010 Director’s Report states: ‘exploratory and appraisal works have commenced’ within PEDL 244; indeed, between 2008 and 2010 the company spent 320,000 USD on site preparation. Lower Stumble is the only site Cuadrilla and Bolney are developing within PEDL 244.

According to reports filed at Companies House, in 2010 Bolney Resources paid 16,000 USD to ‘lease land and and buildings under operating leases’.

While the Lower Stumble site has been drilled before (by Conoco in 1986), Cuadrilla propose a new technique that is different in 3 important ways:

1. Horizontal Drilling – the borehole will extend horizontally as well as vertically. Horizontal drilling can extend several miles.

2. Injection of water at extremely high pressure – in the US the largest fracking site requires a pumping capacity of 40,000 horsepower – equivalent to 400 Ferraris at full throttle.

3. Use of lubricants to smooth the water – even at this high pressure friction in the pipe requires chemicals to lubricate the water and smooth its passage.

Today’s planning permission is a legacy of a previous management at Bolney and Cuadrilla. In February 2010 a major new investor bought 40% of the company and a new board was installed. This new team inherited the planning application, then still being decided by WSCC. The County authorities granted the application two months later.

The current CEO of Bolney and Cuadrilla, Mark Miller, on took over the helm seven months after planning permission was granted.

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1 Response to About the Balcombe Lower Stumble drill site

  1. If Cuadrilla have adequate insurance to compensate and correct faulty drilling then I see no reason they should not proceed.
    The UK’s problem with its balance of payments is largely due to importing energy. Fracking will reduce this problem and make little difference to the demand we all have for energy.
    As energy on this planet gets scarcer it is likely that fracking will become more common until this valuable resource also gets depleted. At this time our population is unsustainable without vast use of hydrocarbon energy making CO2 pollution.
    I look forward to the ITER fusion reactor becoming operational. If this is successful it appears our energy supply is ensured for the future.
    Stephen Wilks.

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