“Significant” Oil Find Near Gatwick Airport
According to UK Oil & Gas Investments (UKOG), there could be around 100 billion barrels worth of oil lying underneath the south of England, and it could be removed without having to resort to fracking!
In October, we told you about a new oil field that had been discovered in the North Sea, a location that has produced around 45 billion barrels’ worth of oil over the last 40 years. It is thought that more than twice that amount is in the ground near Gatwick Airport in West Sussex.
UKOG drilled at their Horse Hill-1 well last year, and their analysis indicated that there could be more than 150 million oil barrels per square mile in the local area. They believe that only a fraction of this amount would actually be accessible, but further testing and drilling is required to find out more.
The area of focus is called the Weald Basin, which spans Hampshire, Kent, Surrey, and Sussex. There are already 13 oil production sites across the Weald Basin that have been producing onshore oil for decades.
But after drilling deeper than they had in nearly 30 years, UKOG discovered possibly the largest potential oil resource in that time. “We think it has national significance,” said the company’s Chief Executive, Stephen Sanderson.
He went on to explain that UKOG is hoping to recover between five and 15% of the oil, if not more. Such large quantities would mean that UKOG would be producing up to 30% of the UK’s oil by 2030, just from the Weald Basin. Ultimately, it could also have a positive impact on Britain’s future economy.
In addition to the find, a study from the Imperial College London suggests that much more oil could be recovered from the region than previously indicated.
Professor Alastair Fraser from the university has been analysing rock samples from the Weald Basin and believes that up to 40 billion barrels could be removed from the ground. “Now, that’s getting significant,” he announced. “That’s a resource; that’s what’s there in the ground – we’ve still got to get it out.”
UKOG Chairperson David Lenigas said it would take a long time for production of the site to begin, but once it did, there would be thousands of new jobs.
“The key thing is there is a potential resource of significance here, but the fast track or the slow track is really going to be determined by Westminster,” he pointed out.
Of course, there are many people worried about the find and how it will be removed from the ground, but the company has insisted that fracking is not on the agenda.
When oil or gas is trapped inside rocks, some companies use fracking to pump water, sand and chemicals into these rocks to free up the resources inside.
But according to UKOG, the rocks at the Horse Hill well are naturally fractures, which would mean traditional methods, such as horizontal drilling, could be used and fracking would not be necessary.
“Horse Hill is a conventional well, with conventional testing, and we’ve got permission from the governmental authorities for a conventional programme,” Mr Lenigas explained.
“There will be no fracking at Horse Hill.”