Lower Stumble Drill Site

The Lower Stumble drill site is situated a mile south of Balcombe, between the road and the railway. A hardcover surface has been prepared, and a shallow hole drilled.

Longitude 0 degrees 7 mins 49.800W seconds
Latitude 51 degrees 2 mins 49.200N seconds

West Sussex County Council planning department confirm that under the current planning permission operating company Cuadrilla has provision to use hydraulic fracturing at this test borehole. This is contested by Cuadrilla who recently stated: “There are no plans, or regulatory approval, for hydraulic fracturing to take place at this stage.”

The company’s own documents, however, contradict their recent statement. As part of the planning application the company states: “There may be a need to stimulate … by pumping water under pressure into the natural fractures in the shale formations to open them up to allow the gas to flow more freely.” (see page 9 of Appendix C & below).

Smiley face

Thus the company is in the peculiar position of denying what it’s own application has applied for. The planning documents are clear, however: the company has the provision to use hydraulic fracturing at the Lower Stumble site.

Planning application on the WSCC website:

Breakdown of the exact drilling process (appendix C of the planning application): https://gasdrillinginbalcombe.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/8-appendix-c-the-drilling-operation.pdf

More details about the site here

11 Responses to Lower Stumble Drill Site

  1. Sir Charles says:

    There is nothing to download at http://buildings.westsussex.gov.uk/ePlanningOPS/loadFullDetails.do?aplId=1154

    And Cuadrilla have removed this document from their website: http://www.cuadrillaresources.com/cms/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Cuadrilla-Resources-05-12-11.pdf

    Any chance you have a backup of these crucial files?


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  6. linda guest says:

    just read the june 2012 issue of Popular Mechanics magazine and you will see what happened in South Dakota- a boom town one year and then the wells fizzled out. The dangerous chemicals remain forever and mutate into chemicals they can’t even test for!

  7. Jeremy says:

    What Cuadrilla have stated is “correct”. There is no intent to drill a horizontal well and run a full stage fracture. They are most defintely aiming to test the shale layers for their rock properties and responsiveness to a fracture. It is a verticql fracture of the well and it is a few orders of magnitude less than a ‘hydraulic fracture’ that one would expect from a horizontal pilot or a horizontal production well.

    I can defintely see how some people wihtout knowledge of the testing and production procedures would find this very misleading, but it is technically correct.



    • Sir Charles says:

      Cuadrilla ARE intending to drill horizontally in their test wells as a paper of them explains: “A rig of under 80 feet in height will be used and will drill to a total depth of about 3,000 feet. Depending on the results of the vertical section of the well, we may drill a further horizontal leg of approximately 2,500 feet.”

      Click to access FINAL-boards.pdf

  8. Power to your elbow! this process has been banned in France the environment minister took this decision because of pollution to water supplies, do all you can to stop it. I know the area I was born in burgess Hill, this process so close to reservoirs is ludicrous. It is scientificall argued here that reservoirs already increase the risk of earthquakes because the water seeps through the earth and “lubricates” the rocks enabling them to move more easily,

    Bonne Courage.

    Denis Coombes.

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