Oil discovery near UK airport

Paul Boughton

A potential of 100 billion barrels of oil onshore beneath the South of England, near Gatwick airport, says exploration firm UK Oil & Gas Investments (UKOG).

A well drilled near the airport suggests the local area could hold 158 million barrels of oil per square mile, according to US-based Nutech Ltd, a leading company in petrophysical analysis and reservoir intelligence. However, it is not clear how much of the oil is recoverable.

The Horse Hill licences covers 55 square miles of the Weald Basin.

Stephen Sanderson, UKOG's CEO, commented: "Drilling the deepest well in the basin in 30 years, together with the ability to use concepts, techniques and technology unavailable in the 1980s, has provided new cutting-edge data and interpretations to comprehensively change the understanding of the area's potential oil resources.

The Horse Hill well  discovery has a “possible world class potential resource in what is interpreted to be a new Upper Jurassic ‘hybrid play’,” he said.

He continued: "With the help of Nutech's considerable global knowledge base and play library, we have identified that the Horse Hill Upper Jurassic rock sequence is analogous to known oil productive hybrid reservoir sections of the Bakken of the US Williston Basin, the Wolfcamp, Bone Springs, Clearfork, Spraberry, and Dean Formations in the US Permian Basin and the Bazhenov Formation of West Siberia.

"The US analogues have estimated recovery factors of between 3% and 15% of oil in place."

Ken Cronin, Chief Executive of United Kingdom Onshore Oil & Gas (UKO0G), the representative body for the UK onshore oil and gas industry, said: “We have been drilling for oil and gas onshore in the UK for over 100 years. There are a number of sites in the South of England that have been producing oil for many years with great care for the environment and with no impact on local communities.

“These initial results suggest a very large volume of oil in place, which could potentially help  to stem the rise in oil imports and improve Britain’s energy security and balance of payments. Further appraisal work will be needed to test what could be economically and technically recoverable.”