Company addresses concerns over '˜secret' oil drilling in Lidsey

The company behind the current oil drilling work in Lidsey has sought to answer fears and complaints following protests.

Friday, 20th October 2017, 10:25 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:50 pm
The oil site at Lidsey. Pic: Angus Energy PLC

Angus Energy PLC, which purchased the site in 2012, has spent the last month and a half on-site and plans to install a pump next week.

Members of the Green Party, who took to both Bognor and Chichester’s town centres over the weekend to highlight the project, dubbed it ‘one of the best kept secrets in Bognor Regis’ and called for more transparency.

Managing director Paul Vonk said: “All the information is out there, as much as it can be.”

Green Party members took to Bognor town centre at the weekend

He added the company, which went public last November, has investors that ‘demand to be informed’ and that the regulation means numerous authorities – including the Environment Agency, local council and health and safety – all have criteria to be met. Testament to this, he said, are documents and a site tour video on the company’s website.

“It is quite boring here,” Mr Vonk added. “We are continuing to use the resources that were here already. We mapped the area and found the original drillers just missed one of the oil fields.”

In addition to the 1,000m drill down, this has seen the work go 434m horizontally, and Mr Vonk said the result is forecast to produce 300 to 400 barrels – which translates to two trucks a day – for the next decade.

“Southern England has a long history of oil, particularly in the 1960s/70s. What we are doing is continuing the life of this asset,” he said. “We use fossil fuels in this country. We can either import that or take it out of the ground.

“Here we are also providing jobs and disposable income so the local area benefits too.

“We hope to be working safely and soundly from this site for many years to come.”

Points raised in a statement issued by the Green Party regarding the weekend’s canvassing and fears the site is set to use the ‘controversial technique’ of acidisation, were also put to the director.

Green candidate for Aldwick, Carol Birch, said: “It is alarming how local people do not know that acidisation is about to begin under our local countryside.”

Mr Vonk insisted acidisation was not, and would not be, used in Lidsey and also suggested that the technique, which often uses hydrochloric acid to ‘stimulate’ the oil flow, is not controversial at all.

“It is something that has been used for 100 years by water companies to clean up the wells,” he said.

Mr Vonk also refuted comments by campaigners that calls for a meeting had been ‘met with silence’ from the firm.

“We have always invited people that aren’t happy with the oil and gas to come for tours,” he said.

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