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‘Significant’ oil deposit discovered near Gatwick airport

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Oil field near GatwickThere could be up to 100 billion barrels of oil onshore beneath the South of England, says exploration firm UK Oil & Gas Investments (UKOG).

Last year, the firm drilled a well at Horse Hill, near Gatwick airport, and analysis of that well suggests the local area could hold 158 million barrels of oil per square mile.

But only a fraction of the 100 billion total would be recovered, UKOG admits.

The North Sea has produced about 45 billion barrels in 40 years.

“We think we’ve found a very significant discovery here, probably the largest [onshore in the UK] in the last 30 years, and we think it has national significance,” Stephen Sanderson, UKOG’s chief executive told the BBC.

UKOG says that the majority of the oil lies within the Upper Jurassic Kimmeridge formation at a depth of between 2,500ft (762m) and 3,000ft (914m).

It describes this as a “world class potential resource” and that the well has the “potential for significant daily oil production”.

Compared with similar geology in the US and West Siberia, it estimates that 3% to 15% of the oil could be recovered.

Oil has been produced onshore in the South of England for decades. There are currently around a dozen oil production sites across the Weald, a region spanning Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire.

Last year, a report for the government by the British Geological Survey estimated that the region may have shale oil resources in the range of 2.2-to-8.5 billion barrels, with a central estimate of 4.4 billion barrels of oil.

UKOG says that it drilled the deepest well in the region in the last 30 years and that the results “comprehensively change the understanding of the area’s potential oil resources”.

“Based on what we’ve found here, we’re looking at between 50 and 100 billion barrels of oil in place in the ground,” says Mr Sanderson.

“We believe we can recover between 5% and 15% of the oil in the ground, which by 2030 could mean that we produce 10%-to-30% of the UK’s oil demand from within the Weald area.”


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