Rig installed for Horse Hill oil flow test

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Rig installed today at Horse Hill oil exploration site, near Horley, Surrey. Picture: Lisa Scott

The rig needed to test the flow of oil at the Horse Hill exploration well near Horley in Surrey was installed this afternoon.

The test of the well, nicked-named in the media the Gatwick Gusher, is expected to take about 30 days and will test three separate zones.

The well, in PEDL137, was drilled in late 2014. A consortium of companies are involved in the site, including UK Oil and Gas Investments Ltd (UKOG), which has a 30% interest.

Its executive chairman, Stephen Sanderson, said

“The extended test will provide the company with a very definitive start to the New Year.”

The Oil and Gas Authority gave final permission for the test on 4th January this year and the Environment Agency amended the conditions of the mining waste permit on 2nd December 2015.

Oil prospects

The Horse Hill well discovered oil-bearing rocks in the Upper Portland sandstone and the deeper Kimmeridge limestones, referred to as a “hybrid play” because it is thought to comprise conventional and unconventional formations.

A report by Schlumberger released in June last year estimated 16.2m barrels per square mile from the Upper Portland sandstones and 255.5m barrels from the Kimmeridge plays. Details

Neil Ritson, the chair of Solo Oil, another company involved in the well, told Proactive Investors last month he was most interested in the Portland test because the results would allow the partners to begin planning the development of an oil field.

But he told the website:

“Once we’re in the well with the equipment, we’ll test the Kimmeridgean limestones to see if we can get a sample and to get any kind of flow information from that so we can look for a development of that in the future. But that’s a longer-term prospect”.

“To my mind, it [the deeper play] is more speculative at this stage. But, it is going to be very valuable information.”


Opponents of activities at the site have filmed the delivery of equipment during today.

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Extract of video. Uli Herder

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Extract of video. Uli Herder

Martin Dale, a campaigner in Sussex, said this afternoon:

“It is imperative that a record and log is kept of what enters and exits the site and to ensure planning conditions are monitored.”

On Sunday, members of Frack Free Surrey gathered outside the site entrance as part of a nationwide event No Fracking Way to raise awareness about onshore drilling. Picture report of this event here.

This report is part of DrillOrDrop’s Rig Watch project. Rig Watch receives funding from the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust. More details here

2 replies »

  1. The test is probably over now, but I am curious as to what the well is testing for. OK, that was a dumb question, what I mean is, is the test to figure out how deep you need to drill or how many places you can drill? How do the tests work?

  2. The oil has been found.The three layers of conventional oil need to be flow tested for upto 90 days
    Then a third planning application needs to be submitted for production. By that time the country will be broke and all counties will be applying for 15% council tax rises.

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