Giant oil find in Surrey triggers environmentalist response

A report that under the land at Horse Hill, near Gatwick in Surrey, there could be up to 100 billion barrels of oil, has triggered a response by environmental campaigners gearing up to block any plans to exploit the area.

The small oil company, UK Oil & Gas Investments (UKOG), that claims to have made the find, estimates that up to 15 billion barrels are recoverable, which is about as much as all of Brazil’s proven reserves.

Frack Free Surrey wrote on its website on Saturday:

“They base this on a single drill site with no flow measurements. For anyone who knows anything at all about geology, this is beyond ludicrous.”

Oil in surrey

If there really are 100bn barrels of oil in Surrey, there will be major confrontations between the oil industry and environmentalists.

Earth scientist Dr. Jeremy Leggett expressed surprise that no TV channel that reported the supposed major find challenged “this piece of hype”, which he believes was motivated by a desire to raise the small company’s share price, which during the day the find was reported “soared through the roof.”

Dr. Leggett said that on the evening of the day the news broke out he received a phone call from a radio station asking him how he thought the UK should spend the giant windfall.


Dr. Leggett wrote:

“This is the kind of thing that those of us who long for a managed retreat from default fossil-fuel addiction are up against.”

Frack Free Surrey has already held a protest camp at Horse Hill, saying it would welcome additional action in the area.

Friends of the Earth has warned that any drilling around Gatwick would face massive opposition, as witnessed at Balcombe in West Sussex.

A possible world class potential resource?

UKOG’s CEO Stephen Sanderson, said in a statement:

“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.”

“As a result, we believe that, in addition to the Portland Sandstone oil discovery, the Horse Hill well has discovered a possible world class potential resource in what is interpreted to be a new Upper Jurassic “hybrid play.”

According to experts contracted by UKOG to survey the area, from 3% to 15% of the estimated 100 billion barrels of oil in the Gatwick area is recoverable. If this is true, it would be a mega oil find for the UK.

If 15 billion barrels really are recoverable, and UK’s oil consumption is 1.217 million barrels per day, that would be enough to supply the whole country for 12,325 days or 33.7 years.

So far, in the last forty years, a total of 45 billion barrels of oil have been extracted from the North Sea.