After nearly two years of relative silence at the Brockham oil well, Angus Energy have applied for a variation of their environmental permit to allow for reinjection of wastewater produced from hydrocarbon extraction at Brockham, Lidsey and other producing fields in the Weald Basin (despite the fact there is currently no planning permission for the importation of any wastewater from other well sites).
Angus said the permit change was needed to support oil production at Brockham by increasing reservoir pressure. It would also eliminate the cost of transporting and disposing of the water, which is very salty. Angus also said it would abandon Brockham if this application is refused.
We are concerned about these new proposals because, amongst other things, reinjection of wastewater – especially at shallow depths as is proposed here – risks polluting the groundwater.
It is because of this risk that reinjection at Brockham was explicitly prohibited by the Environment Agency in 2018, after we discovered that Brockham had been operating under an old environmental permit that did not regulate or require monitoring of many risky activities, including wastewater reinjection.
Because of these loopholes and Angus Energy’s track record of non-compliance (the company drilled an unauthorised sidetrack well in Jan 2017), Brockham became a site of “high public interest” and the EA rushed to issue a new permit in November 2018 to impose stronger controls on Angus, who were pressing ahead with operations on a new geology under the old permit. With respect to reinjection, the EA concluded that Angus did not have the required documents, procedures or monitoring in place to mitigate the risk to groundwater and that they would need to apply for reinjection again.
It was public interest and public pressure that brought close scrutiny to Brockham in 2018 and we need you to show your interest again. We would like to ask you to help in the following ways:
- Write to your elected representatives (on all levels: parish, district, county and beyond) asking them for proper scrutiny of these proposals and – should should this permit be considered for approval by the EA – for the requirement for baseline and long-term monitoring of groundwater through groundwater monitoring boreholes. Find your representatives here https://www.writetothem.com/. Brockham parish councillors are listed here, contact at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Contribute funds to help pay for specialist reviews of Angus Energy’s technical documents. We commissioned input from a hydrogeologist and a geophysicist. Such reviews have been helpful in assisting the EA’s assessments at other drill sites by identifying issues which might have been missed otherwise. You can transfer funds directly to our account (Sort code: 30-90-91, Bank Account: 71699760) or use PayPal.
- Respond to the EA consultation on issues that could affect you or where you have particular knowledge. The EA said: “We are keen to understand the views of local people before we make a final decision and would urge anyone interested to let us know what they think.” To comment and see all of Angus Energy’s proposals go here. We are working on some pointers to help with your response and will share ASAP.
The consultation closes 4 May 2021!