In the past week, UK Oil & Gas, one of the companies with an interest in the Horse Hill well near Gatwick, has announced plans for well testing at the site. It also said it would apply for permissions to produce oil at Markwells Wood, an exploratory site in the South Downs National Park.
Horse Hill flow tests planned for “next few months”
Tests on the flow of oil at the Horse Hill well in Surrey are expected within the next few months, according to a statement today by UKOG.
It said the flow test would assess the potential for oil in the Kimmeridge limestones and the Portland sandstone at Horse Hill.
A report by Nutech, also released today, estimated 15.7 bn barrels of oil in Jurassic shale and limestone tight oil plays underlying eight licence areas in the Weald basin.
The report suggested the most significant part of the oil in play was within the Kimmeridge Clay formation. UKOG said it was focussing on three tight limestones in the formation. The company said:
“As well as pursuing the appraisal and development of the separate Horse Hill Portland sandstone oil discovery, the Company will also focus on the appraisal of the Kimmeridge limestones at Horse Hill, which it believes present the most viable near-term objective for potential tight oil production in the basin, and which could potentially be produced utilising conventional limestone stimulation methods.”
Production plans for Markwells Wood
Last week, UKOG said it planned to apply for permissions to produce oil from the Markwells Wood well site, in the South Downs National Park, near Rowlands Castle in West Sussex.
The news came as UKOG was granted an extension of planning permission for the site. The permission, dated 14th October 2105, was granted under delegated powers by a planning officer and did not go before the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) planning committee.
It extends a temporary permission going back to 2009 and is the third request by operators of the Markwells Wood site for more time (see Timeline). A report by planning officers concluded: “It is not considered that the present development has the potential to result in significant effects on the environment.”
The permission gives UKOG until 30th September 2016 for continued appraisal of the well, before final abandonment of the well and restoration of the site.
But the company has already said it is plans to move the licence covering Markwells Wood (PEDL126) from exploration to production and is looking to produce oil from the field for 18 years. It said it would submit a new planning application for Markwells Wood for a sidetrack development well.
The existing well was drilled in 2010 to a depth of 1,397m. Core samples indicated the presence of oil containing gas. It was closed in December 2010 and testing equipment installed in autumn 2011. Since testing ended in 2012 there has been no activity on the site apart from maintenance.
In a statement, UKOG said it had begun work on a field development plan (FDP) for Markwells Wood. It added:
“The Company has also commissioned well completion studies with Nutech Energy Ltd to investigate how flow from the proposed Markwells Wood-1 (“MW-1”) sidetrack well could be optimised.”
“In due course, the Markwells Wood FDP will also form the basis of a new planning application to the SDNPA to seek their consent for Markwells Wood field development. Applications for further regulatory consents from the Environment Agency and Health and Safety Executive will follow.”
UKOG’s chairman, Stephen Sanderson, said:
“This is a key step to enable the Company to move forward with its plan to develop this UK onshore oil field to add further oil production to its portfolio.
“The Markwells Wood field development, if permitted, is planned in a series of phases, commencing with the proposed MW-1 sidetrack development well.”
Markwells Wood timeline
Planning permission granted in January for temporary hydrocarbon exploration site at Markwells Wood. Site construction began in March
Markwells Wood well spudded in October and completed in December
Testing began in September
Application made in March to extend planning permission, 27 days before existing permission expired. Permission extended until 31st March 2013.
Application made in March to extend planning permission, 10 days before existing permission expired. Permission extended until 31st March 2015.
UKOG acquired 100% ownership of Markwells Wood. Application made in March to extend planning permission, 6 days before existing permission expired. Permission extended until 30th September 2016.