Solo Oil plc reveals in its half-yearly report out today (29th September 2015) that it bid for oil and gas exploration licences on the Isle of Wight.
The company says it applied for a 200 square kilometre block in the southern half of the island, offered under the government’s 14th licence round. But so far the government has not formally awarded these blocks. Nor has it named the companies that bid or were successful.
Solo Oil is one of the companies behind the Horse Hill exploratory oil well near Gatwick Airport. In today’s report to shareholders it said it had a 30% stake in the Isle of Wight licence application. The other applicants were its Horse Hill partners: UK Oil and Gas Investments (UKOG) and Angus Energy.
The report added
“The application was made for a 200 square kilometre onshore block in the south of the Isle of Wight, adjacent to UKOG’s existing offshore licence which contains an undrilled prospect that is considered to lie both on and offshore the south coast of the island and additional potential onshore in the north-east of the block around the previously drilled Arreton wells.”
The Oil and Gas Authority, which administered the 14th Round for the government, released details last month (August 2015) of 159 blocks that may be awarded under the round.
The first tranche, mainly in the east Midlands, south Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, were announced along with the details of successful operators and partners. They have not yet been awarded formally. See our interactive map
A second tranche of 132 blocks (coloured dark green on our map) includes five on the Isle of Wight. These are subject to an assessment under the Habitats Regulations because they are within 10km of a wildlife site protected under European legislation. A consultation on how the assessment had been carried out closes today (29th September 2015).
The half-year report also updated investors on Solo’s interest in Horse Hill in PEDL 137. The report said the well would be flow-tested in late 2015.
It added that analysis by Schlumberger of the Horse Hill well had estimated oil in place in the Kimmeridge, Oxford and Lias mudstones and limestones at approximately 255 million barrels per square mile.
The report described the Kimmeridge as a “largely unconventional play”. UKOG has repeatedly said it does not need to carry out hydraulic fracturing at Horse Hill.