UK: Celtique Energy planning well in South Downs National Park
08 Dec 2013
Celtique Energie, a British oil and gas exploration company, along with its joint investment partner Magellan Petroleum has submitted a planning application to the South Downs National Park Authority for a third well site in the south-east of England.
Celtique Energie’s proposals will see a temporary well site constructed on a naturally screened area of land located to the west of Fernhurst, to test for the presence of commercial oil or gas in the Kimmeridge Limestone and Great Oolite formations and take log and core data in the Kimmeridge and Liassic shales. The application does not include the use of hydraulic fracturing.
The submission of the application follows extensive engagement with local residents and stakeholders near to the proposed well site, including: a presentation by Celtique Energie to local elected representatives; a two-day public consultation event hosted at Fernhurst Village Hall on 5th/8th June 2013 attended by 176 people; and three community surgeries held in Fernhurst in September, October and November 2013.
Celtique will notify members of the local community once the planning officers at the South Downs National Park Authority validate the submission and allocate a unique reference number to the application.
Geoff Davies, Chief Executive Officer at Celtique Energie said:
'We are pleased to confirm that we have submitted a planning application to the South Downs National Park Authority for a temporary exploration well west of Fernhurst, following extensive engagement with the local community. Over recent months we have met with a number of members of the public and local representatives to introduce Celtique as a company and discuss the details of our proposals. If our proposed exploration well is approved, we would be the first company to drill at depth in the centre of the Weald Basin. This would enable us to confirm whether commercially viable levels of oil or gas are present, and to what extent they could contribute to the nation’s energy security as a significant untapped source of indigenous energy, along with providing jobs, tax contributions and a return for our investors.
'We recognise the importance of the South Downs National Park to the local community in terms of culture, heritage and economic contribution to the region. The exploration well is a temporary structure that would have a modest impact on the local area during its relatively short period of operation. Furthermore, as part of our application we have also submitted a comprehensive Environmental Statement that identifies the environmental impacts associated with Celtique’s operations and describes in detail the steps it will be taking to mitigate them.'
As part of its planning application, Celtique will be drilling through shale formations encountered in the well to confirm what potential (if any) these rocks have for commercial production. If results prove positive Celtique may apply for permission from the National Park Authority to appraise these formations further though a new planning application which could include the use of hydraulic fracturing.
'We are aware that there is significant interest locally over the role of hydraulic fracturing at our proposed well site. As we have consistently stated, Celtique is not applying for hydraulic fracturing as part of this planning application. However, as part of our planning application we will be drilling through shale formations encountered in the well to confirm what potential these rocks have for commercial production. Should this data prove positive, we may wish to explore these formations further, which could include the use of hydraulic fracturing on this same site. However this would involve further consultation with the community, a separate planning application to the National Park Authority, and additional permits from the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Environment Agency.
'Now that the application has been submitted, we invite all members of the community who wish to make their views on our proposals known to get in touch with the South Downs National Park Authority. We will also continue to engage with and update local residents on the progress of the proposals in the coming months.'
If the presence of commercially viable hydrocarbons is confirmed, the well would be secured and Celtique Energie would require further approval from the South Downs National Park Authority and the Department for Energy and Climate Change to use the site for a further appraisal well or a permanent production facility. In the event that there is an absence of viable reserves, the well would be plugged, all equipment removed and the site would be restored.
Celtique Energie’s application for its temporary well site will be available to view on the South Downs National Park Authority’s website once it has been validated by planning officers.
Source: Celtique Energie