Cuadrilla discovers oil at Balcombe site

Suzie Neuwirth
ENERGY firm Cuadrilla yesterday said that its exploration drilling operations in Balcombe, West Sussex have been successful and that it will go back to test flow rates after it receives planning permission.

The shale gas explorer said that it has started removing its drilling equipment from the site and expects to have all equipment removed by 28 September.

Drilling the well confirmed the presence of oil and exploration director Andrew Quarles said that the firm is “very encouraged by the findings so far.”

Cuadrilla withdrew its planning application in Balcombe earlier this month and decided to submit a new one with revised boundaries as it admitted that its existing permit could be legally ambiguous.

“The well is now closed off for the coming months as Cuadrilla applies for planning permission to come back and test flow rates,” said chief executive Francis Egan in a statement.

Cuadrilla’s activities in Balcombe attracted protesters who were opposed to the controversial fracking technique used to drill for shale gas, which environmental campaigners claim can cause earth tremors, although fracking was not used in Balcombe.