Shale gas company start exploratory drilling in West Sussex

Cuadrilla, the Shale gas company, is going to start carrying out a new exploratory drilling site located in West Sussex. The plan is to drill a 914m vertical well and a 762m horizontal bore close to Haywards Heath to the south of Balcombe next month. If they find gas and oil then more tests would be conducted but none of the tests will involve the use of hydraulics.

The Balcombe Parish Council has agreed to the drilling because it was agreed that there will not be any fracking at the site. Fracking is when a combination of chemicals and water and pumped into shale rock at very high pressures so that oil and gas can be extracted. It has been linked to several small earthquakes and the fear is that eventually fracking could lead to severe earthquakes. The council told members of Cuadrilla that they were against the use of fracking and would remain so.

In 2011 fracking was banned for a short period of time after it was blamed for two earth tremors that occurred in Lancashire while Cuadrilla drilling was taking place. In addition, environmentalists are concerned that fracking leads to the contamination of water.

Last December Cuadrilla stated that it did not plan to drill to the south of village, but now it has sought out permission to place an exploratory borehole that would help them decide if further gas and oil mining is possible. A spokesman for Cuadrilla stated that it has held permission for exploratory drilling for the past three years and has just now decided to do it since the permission does have a deadline that was placed on it.