As expected, plans for two new wells and extended testing have been submitted for the Horse Hill oil site near Gatwick.
The local Green MEP, Keith Taylor, described the application as “a form of climate change denial and an affront to local communities”.
In a statement released yesterday, UK Oil & Gas Investments PLC, a major investor in the site, said a planning application had gone in to Surrey County Council.
The application is not yet on the council’s website. DrillOrDrop will report in more detail on the proposals when they are published.
UK Oil & Gas (UKOG) said the application sought permission to
- Carry out four extended production tests on the existing Horse Hill-1 well
- Drill a side-track to Horse Hill-1
- Drill a new well, to be called Horse Hill-2
- Carry out extended production tests on the new wells
The statement said UKOG had listened to the views of local people in putting together the application.
“In order to minimise impact to the locality, feedback from both a public consultation and engagement process, undertaken in July, and subsequent meetings with local residents’ representatives, was incorporated into the envisaged development design and planning application.”
“Monetisation of our core recoverable resources”
Last month, UKOG submitted an application for 20 years of oil production in the South Downs National Park at Markwells Wood, in West Sussex. More details
UKOG’s executive chairman, Stephen Sanderson, said the two applications were “firmly designed to move these assets into near term oil production and the monetisation of our core recoverable resources.”
Mr Sanderson said of the Horse Hill application:
“It is also one of the next key steps in furthering our industry leading knowledge of the Kimmeridge limestone play that lies beneath our extensive acreage holding in the Weald. We look forward to further engaging with stakeholders and to a successful planning outcome.”
In March, UKOG announced that Horse Hill-1 had achieved some of the highest flow rates of any onshore well in the UK, leading to the nickname “Gatwick Gusher”.
“Not good news for Surrey or the planet”
The local Green Party MEP, Keith Taylor, said the new planning application would not be good news for the people of Surrey or the planet. He urged planners to reject this and any other proposals for more drilling in the Weald.
Mr Taylor said:
“It is a form of climate change denial and an affront to the local communities already blighted by the ‘Gatwick Gusher’ to expand drilling operations. The application, which looks set to include plans to extract, by what are widely considered unconventional means, hard-to-get oil by drilling a new well at the Horse Hill site, flies in the face of scientific consensus.”
“The development of new oil reserves must be scrapped immediately. Fossil fuels need to stay in the ground if we’re to have any chance of mitigating the worst effects of catastrophic climate change. The application is wholly incompatible with Theresa May’s promise to ratify the Paris climate agreement.
“I want Britain to be a country that values the quality of life of its residents and local communities and works to build a secure future for our children and our children’s children. Which is why I’m urging planners to reject this, and any, application for more drilling in the Weald.”
The initial flow testing at Horse Hill in February this year saw protests and a protection camp established by opponents of onshore drilling. In two court trials, 10 campaigners were cleared, mostly of obstructing the highway. Another eight were found guilty of a range of offences and received absolute or conditional discharges or a fine.
The then Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett, and Mr Taylor, visited the site and the camp. Ms Bennett tweeted afterwards: “Great 2 see protection camp growing. Local support plus far wider”.