Cuadrilla has confirmed it does not intend to use the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing at its Lower Stumble well site in Balcombe.
The village became the focus of national attention and anti-fracking protestors last summer as the energy firm carried out exploratory drilling.
And just last weekend hundreds of campaigners occupied the drill site - see today’s Middy for full report.
The overall cost of the police operation mounted in the village was revealed this week to be just shy of £4 million.
The news that fracking will not be taking place at the West Sussex village location will be greeted with delight by those opposed to the process, which involves pumping water and chemicals at high pressure into shale rock to free trapped oil or gas.
However, Cuadrilla has today also submitted a further planning application to ‘flow test’ the Lower Stumble well site.
The company did find conventional deposits of oil as a consequence of its drilling over the summer, and now it aims to ascertain whether these deposits are commercially viable to extract using conventional means.
A spokesperson for Cuadrilla said: “Cuadrilla has submitted a new planning application (ref: WSCC/005/14/BA) to West Sussex County Council to complete the flow testing of oil from the exploration well drilled at the Lower Stumble Exploration Site.
“Cuadrilla 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.
“Based on our analysis of the samples we obtained from the exploration well, we can confirm that 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.”
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