Drilling firm eyeing up West Dean site

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A DRILLING company has confirmed it is looking at West Dean as a potential site for exploratory drilling.

IGas Energy describes itself as “A leading British oil and gas explorer and developer, producing approximately 3,000 barrels of oil and gas a day from over 100 sites across the country, with significant potential yet to be delivered from our assets.”

The company confirmed to the Observer it was looking at an unnamed site at West Dean but would not be releasing a statement with more details as it was too soon in the planning stage.

It is not yet known if the plans could ultimately lead to the controversial process known as fracking, where water is forced underground to build up pressure and crack rock to release shale gas.

A land agent working on behalf of the company is reported to have told residents at a meeting in Graffham that an unspecified West Dean site was being considered for a well.

The meeting was called initially to discuss a potential drilling site outside Graffham.

No one from West Dean Parish Council was present at the meeting, however, a parish council meeting on Wednesday is set to discuss the news.

According to IGas’ website: “IGas has played a key role in Britain’s onshore energy production; safely exploring, developing and producing onshore oil and gas at our sites for over three decades.”

It adds: “IGas is extremely well positioned for the future as we move closer to unlocking Britain’s untapped unconventional oil and gas resources.”

The company has operated a nearby well at Singleton since the 1990s.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph last year, company chief executive Andrew Austin said many residents were probably unaware of the well tucked away in woodland.

The hydraulic fracturing process known as fracking has never taken place at the Singleton well, according to Mr Austin, however the plans for the West Dean site are yet to be revealed.