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Cuadrilla back at work in Balcombe, England, following protests

Aug. 23, 2013 at 8:08 AM

LONDON, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- British energy company Cuadrilla Resources confirmed it resumed drilling in the country's southeast region following major protests.

More than a dozen activists rallying in support of a campaign dubbed "No Dash for Gas" were arrested after widespread protests in London and Balcombe, a village in West Sussex.

Cuadrilla said last week it was scaling back drilling operations in Balcombe on the advice of West Sussex police, who were preparing for a weekend sit-in. The company confirmed to energy reporting website Rigzone it resumed its activities Thursday morning.

Caudrilla says it's drilling a conventional oil well in Balcombe but critics say they're worried it's a prelude to a hydraulic fracturing campaign. The drilling practice dubbed fracking is seen as a threat to groundwater because of some of the chemicals used in the process.

Rigzone reports the company has permission to drill through the end of September.

West Sussex police said in a statement Wednesday they were scaling back operations in Balcombe, though a police presence may be needed "for a number of weeks." The BBC reported Thursday more than 100 demonstrators were still at the drilling site.

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