Brockham Oilwell Site 1, Feltons Farm, Old School Lane, Brockham, Betchworth, Surrey, RH3 7JP
Angus Energy first became known in the local community when it made it to national papers for drilling an unauthorised sidetrack well in 2017. Angus’s management had been warned by Surrey County Council on several occasions about the lack of planning permission for this well, but they proceeded to drill anyway, while telling the council it was maintenance in the well (and confusing the three wellhead numbers as well!). Angus then threatened the council with legal letters arguing that, in its interpretation, it did have planning permission. Eventually, Angus capitulated and faced the ‘consequences’ by submitting an application and securing a retrospective planning permission for the unauthorised sidetrack in August 2018.
Angus have been criticised by the Oil and Gas Authority for lack of clarity and documentation of the drilling operations, and by the Environment Agency for their operating procedures not being up to the required standard. Tim Hall, who is the chair of Surrey County Council’s Planning and Regulatory Committee called Angus “the least reliable hydrocarbon applicant we have dealt with” and expressed his frustration at how Angus and other firms are playing the regulators off against each other. Another Surrey councillor accused the company of repeatedly betraying trust.
There are 3 wellheads at the site. The original Brockham 1 exploration well was drilled in 1987 by BP and found oil in the Portland Sandstone. Brockham X2 well and its X2Z sidetrack (later abandoned) were drilled by SOCO and partners in 1998. X2Y sidetrack from the same hole was drilled in 2003 and put into production from the Portland. In 2007 the X3 sidetrack was drilled from the original BR1 borehole and it was converted into a water injector. Well X4 was also drilled that year.
On 31 January 2016, production from the Portland was suspended to prepare the site and drill a new well targeting the ‘game-changing’ Kimmeridge Clay Formation. After testing, it was concluded that the Kimmeridge would not flow commercial volumes, not without fracking anyway.
Wells X1 and X2 (but not X4) are covered by planning permission for oil production until 2036 granted by the Surrey County Planning Authority in May 2007 (Ref. MO 06/1294). Unauthorised sidetrack X4Z received retrospective planning permission for its drilling and a 3-year appraisal in August 2018. It doesn’t have planning permission for production.
Operator & Ownership Structure
Operator: Angus Energy Plc (acquired the asset in 2012)
License – PL235 (Production License)
- Angus Energy – 75%
- Terrain Energy – 10%
- Brockham Capital – 10%
- Alba Minerals – 5%
Angus Energy plc
Backgroud and Assets: Angus Energy, incorporated in England and Wales on 1 June 2015, is the holding company of the Angus Group founded in 2009 by Jonathan Tidswell-Pretorius, who has overseen the drilling of the high profile Horse Hill-1 well, adjacent to Gatwick airport. Angus Energy is the operator of Brockham, Lidsey and Balcombe oil fields. In February 2017 it purchased from Europa Oil a 12.5% interest in the Bury Hill Holmwood license. Angus is also the operator of the Saltfleetby gas field. Angus Energy plc was admitted to the junior AIM market on 14 November 2016.
Management: The company made it to national titles again in early 2019 because of a boardroom power struggle involving high-profile individuals and irregular share dealings. Paul Vonk was ousted as Managing Director and replaced by hereditary peer Lord Lucan. Lord Clanwilliam, another Eton educated peer, has stepped in as non-executive Chairman. Additionally finance director Carlos Fernandes and geologist Andrew Hollis have joined the board. Jonathan Tidswell-Pretorius resigned from the board after having been found to have broken the company’s share dealing code. He then resigned from a non-board director of operations position, which was taken over by Mike Wells. See Angus Energy Management here.
Who benefits from oil production at Brockham
- Angus Energy’s shareholders and directors.
- Contractors to Angus Energy, mainly during short -term maintenance or drilling works.
- Felton’s Farm landowners. According to documents filed with the London Stock Exchange, Ms Brodie, through Brockham Capital Ltd, is receiving a six figure annual payment and has interests the Brockham and Lidsey licences in exchange for a lease over the Brockham land and the right to inject off-site water at Brockham. Angus will be obliged to make additional payments if production reaches certain levels.
- The UK government.