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Cuadrilla submits new planning application to West Sussex County Council

Cuadrilla has now submitted a new planning application to West Sussex County Council to complete the flow testing of oil from the exploration well drilled at the Lower Stumble Exploration Site.

As previously advised, we drilled a conventional exploration well at the Lower Stumble site, drilling horizontally for some 1,700 feet through the Micrite formation (a type of limestone) at a depth of approximately 2,350 feet below ground level. We were expecting to and did indeed find oil in the Micrite. However without testing we cannot be sure at what rate the oil may flow to the surface.

The new application to flow test (ref: WSCC/005/14/BA) will include revised planning boundary lines showing the extent of the horizontal well being tested, and will effectively cover the same well testing work scope that was permitted activity in Cuadrilla’s previous planning permission. These proposed flow testing operations are significantly smaller in scope than drilling operations. The main testing operations would last some 3-5 weeks after which the well would be closed in and monitored for up to 60 days.

Cuadrilla can also confirm that, based on our analysis of the samples we obtained from the exploration well, the target rock underneath Lower Stumble is naturally fractured. The presence of these natural fractures and the nature of the rock means that we do not intend to hydraulically fracture the exploration well at Lower Stumble now or in the future. The County Council will consult with interested third parties on the new application and there will also be the opportunity for further engagement through existing channels with Balcombe residents about our proposed well testing plans.

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