A Nod to Dada

Posted: 18 April 2017

Nodding Donkey

Sunday 16 April – Brockham Village Hall ‘All about Oil” community event organised by Brockham Oil Watch that invited the public to engage in games and activities that exposed the true facts behind the oil companies deceits over planning permissions and revealed the extent of their ambition to industrialise the south of England’s countryside with back-to-back well drilling. From the 1980’s a ‘nodding donkey’ set-up has occupied the Brockham well site, but future extraction plans to advance ‘side-track’ or horizontal drilling using acidisation techniques.

What is acidising?

Acidising involves injecting solutions of acid along with other chemicals to clean the well, or create new passageways through the rock along which oil and gas can flow. There are three ‘tiers’ in increasing order of intensity:

  • an acid wash is a weak solution that cleans the well bore at low pressure
  • matrix acidising injected at a pressure insufficient to fracture the rock, cleans and dissolves short pathways through the rock lying close to the well bore
  • acid fracking is done at pressure high enough to fracture the rock, creating longer pathways and could contain 18% chemicals or more

We’ve all heard the F word by now. But acidising has been a well-kept secret. Like fracking in shale, acidising is a ‘stimulation technique’ used to release oil and gas from unyielding rock – from limestone and sandstone. Here in the Weald, between the North and South Downs across Sussex, Hampshire, Kent and Surrey, oil companies are most excited right now by the Kimmeridge limestone strata. To get that oil they need to acidise.


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