FAQs: Stories in the media about Brockham
1. What was the fuss about?
An Environmental Correspondent for BBC 1 – London News claimed Angus Energy ‘breached’ planning permission granted by the Surrey County Council (SCC).
2. Did you?
Of course not.
As we were unaware of any such concern, we immediately met with the SCC as we value our working relationship and continue to work with the Council on all relevant matters.
The Council had never formally informed Angus Energy of any non-compliance or breach of planning permission before speaking with the BBC.
3. But the Council told the BBC 1 – London News on March 9th:
“We were extremely disappointed to find out that Angus Energy has acted without planning permission and contrary to our advice and guidance so we are meeting with them this week as a matter of urgency to resolve this.”
We have now filed a complaint with the BBC. This report was deeply flawed and violated the BBC’s own editorial guidelines.
Please note the Council did not tell BBC 1 – London News, any planning harm has actually occurred.
4. We heard a new well was drilled and that would have needed the SCC’s permission.
No new well or borehole has been drilled. Please note, the Brockham Oil Field has been in production for thirty years.
5. I read a website that claims you ignored ‘warnings’.
Any characterisation that Angus Energy deliberately misled its investors and the public or misunderstood clear advice is offensive, wrong and self-serving.
The SCC’s 12 December letter cited by an environmental activist website under the freedom of information act, set out the circumstances in which a specific sidetrack needs planning permission. This letter has been mischaracterized and is not a warning.
The County Council gave advice that any new well was not to be drilled into ‘any different geological formations or to a deeper depth or into any undrilled area than already drilled to’’. Our maintenance operations were conducted in an area already drilled and defined by our existing permits for the wells and their inclusive sidetracks. Taken in the context of our actual communications, this letter is unrelated to our operations in January or the BBC report.
6. How do I know you have done nothing wrong?
As stated in the RNS of 11 May 2017, for the avoidance of any doubt we asked the Queen’s Council (“QC”) for a full review. Angus Energy’s professional team presented the findings in April to the SCC.
The QC confirmed her considered view that our operations for well BR-X4 (the donor well of the X4Z sidetrack, also known as well no. 3) has planning permission from the SCC until 2036.
Similarly, the QC confirms that the sidetrack to Well BR-X4, drilled in January 2017, is authorised by the 2006 planning permission.
For more, please see this link.
7. Has the SCC given you a response?
Angus Energy had not received any formal notification when the SCC issued their statement to the BBC London News.
The company did not receive any formal response until 7 months later, in late October.
8. What did the letter say after 7 months?
We now understand from the October 2017 letter; the SCC has received legal advice although this has not been shared with Angus Energy.
The SCC suggested the Company apply for permission for the new surface activities of well BR-X4 and its inclusive sidetrack BR-X4Z.
Please note, Angus Energy presented the SCC with the entire review conducted by the Queen’s Council (“QC”) in April.
9. Are you now communicating with the SCC?
Yes. Of course. We communicate fully with all of our regulators and relevant authorities.
We have always maintained a professional, working relationship throughout this entire process – no different to other Councils we successfully work with. Nor have we ever stopped.
For example, on 13 September the SCC approved by a clear majority, the Company’s application for the installation of on-site surface facilities for security and personnel.
And as announced in the Company RNS of 25 October 2017, Angus Energy has submitted a normalisation application for the continued surface activities of the BR-X4 production plant – without prejudice.
For more, please see this link.
As in any working relationship, the SCC and Angus Energy maintain a dialogue on all matters including the application. For example, on 12 January, the SCC requested additional details for inclusion in the normalization application process. The Company and the SCC work together to ensure the Council’s needs are satisfied without delaying the process.
10. Did the Council find your normalization application to be ‘invalid’?
No. As part of our normal process we are in dialogue with all of our regulators all the time. There is no interruption to this process (Please see above, FAQ # 9) .
As part of the dialogue, the SCC requested additional details with two titles, Non Validation Issues and Validation Issues. Validation issues include notes such as “Application Form (Section 7): The Title ….. should read ‘Site Boundary Plan’ whilst under Non Validation Issues requests further details on additional equipment or HGV movements.
In sum, all are part of an ongoing process and dialogue we maintain with all regulators. There are strict regulations, highly technical equipment, safety concerns from both parties etc. The subject matter is dense.
Broadly speaking, the process for any planning issue is not as simple as having your passport stamped.
Angus Energy is pleased with the progress of the application. The company is working quickly and efficiently to provide the SCC with additional details and rectify any clerical errors.
Unfortunately, it makes a great headline. An activist website claimed it was “invalid” in quotes. The site did not reference FAQs # 9. which is the subject matter of the headline. It had a single source, unnamed and published unverified sentences on a web page and no context.