UKOG to drill West Sussex oil exploration well in next six months


UK Oil & Gas Investments has announced it plans to drill an exploratory oil well at Broadford Bridge, near Billingshurst, in the first half of next year.

In a statement this morning, UKOG said it also wants to drill another well in the Godley Bridge gas field, also in the Weald, before mid-2018.

Testing Kimmeridge limestone


Broadford Bridge in March 2015

UKOG said the Broadford Bridge would be a deviated well, designed to test what it called naturally fractured conventional Kimmeridge limestone reservoirs.

It said the geological feature was a “mirror image” of that at the Horse Hill well, about 17km away, near Gatwick Airport. Earlier this year UKOG reported “world class” oil flow rates from that site.

The company described the Broadford Bridge target as “a lookalike” to oil discoveries at both Horse Hill and the first well drilled at Balcombe by Conoco in 1986.

Planning permission was granted for the Broadford Bridge well in 2013 and runs until September 2017. The site also has environmental permits and the first term of the exploration licence, PEDL234, was extended this summer for another two years until June 2018.

The former operator, Celtique Energie, constructed the well site at Broadford Bridge in 2014 but failed to drill the well after a dispute over financing with its partner, Magellan Petroleum. They sold the licence to UKOG in August 2016.

The Broadford Bridge well and licence area will be operated by Kimmeridge Oil and Gas Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of UKOG.

“Establishing commercial production”

UKOG said analysts Nutech had estimated the Broadford Bridge well could have 7.12bn barrels of oil in place in Kimmeridge limestones and shales.

Stephen Sanderson, UKOG’s Executive Chairman, said:

“The BB-1 [Broadford Bridge] well is designed not only to test a geological mirror-image of the Horse Hill Kimmeridge oil discovery, but, more significantly, to also seek to establish whether Kimmeridge Limestone oil is truly an extensive resource play.

“If so proven, given the sheer size of the PEDL234 Licence, our 100% interest, and the existence of further multiple identified drilling targets, the impact of BB-1 success would likely be transformational.

“Our wider strategy over the forthcoming 18-24 months aims to de-risk the overall Kimmeridge Limestone oil play, both commercially and geographically.

“Through the planned extended production testing, sidetrack and new well at Horse Hill, the goal is to establish that the Kimmeridge can be brought into commercial production.”

Godley Bridge gas field

UKOG also said it wants to drill a well into an area of the Godley Bridge sandstone gas field, which extends into PEDL234.

It said analysis by Nutech indicated that the Kimmeridge Limestone under the Portland gas accumulation was naturally fractured and contained oil in place of the same levels as at Horse Hill.

The company said it planned to drill an exploration well before mid-2018, if it got planning and environmental permit consents. This would test the Kimmeridge limestone and further appraise the Portland gas discovery, it said.

Stephen Sanderson said this well, Broadford Bridge and exploration by Europa at Bury Hill Wood (in which UKOG has a 30% interest) aimed to “demonstrate that Horse Hill success can be replicated over the central “sweet spot” of the Weald Basin.”

Horse Hill and Bury Hill Wood

Horse Hill Developments Ltd, the operator of the Horse Hill well, in which UKOG has a 31% stake, has applied for permission for two new wells and extended well testing. Surrey County Council expects the earliest date that the application could be decided would be 22 February 2017.

The Bury Hill Wood site, called the Holmwood prospect by the industry, is on the edge of Dorking, in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It received planning permission in August 2015 after seven years of opposition by local people. The operator, Europa, is currently negotiating with Surrey County Council over planning conditions. It has also applied for planning permission to extend the site and increase security. A camp was established in October and yesterday hundreds of people protested against the plans.


UKOG statement 5/12/2016

UKOG pays £3.5m for Celtique Energie Sussex drilling licence

Horse Hill new oil drilling and testing plans published

Picture post: Leith Hill drilling protest and update

20 replies »

  1. “The former operator, Celtique Energie, constructed the well site at Broadford Bridge in 2014 but failed to drill the well after a dispute over financing with its partner, Magellan Petroleum. ”

    Why would there have been a dispute over financing? I thought Peeny told us everything is rosy in the fracking financial garden!

  2. What has this to do with fracking? There is already fractured rock underground (see Horse Hill for reference.) Nature can be a wonderful thing!

  3. Great, let’s trash our irreplaceable landscape and poison our water, pollute the atmosphere, add to global warming and dependence on fossil fuels, so we can make a few very rich people even richer!

  4. …. but isn’t all shale ‘naturally fractured’?
    I thought the purpose of ‘hydraulic fracturing’ was to open the fractures which already naturally exist in a typical shale, rather than to create them per se?

    I’m not an expert in this field, but this looks to me like more clever ‘spin and misrepresention’ that has come to us via UKOGs PR firm?

    • Colin – are you saying that UKOG are really drilling shale targets and not Kimmeridge Limestone / Portland Sandstone? And that they are secretly going to frack the shales (presumably at night when no one can see) and pretend the production is from limestone & sandstone? Will they telport the fracking equipment in from space?

    • You’re right Colin. Shales are naturally fractured and Facking just props them open a bit (with sand granules). But I’m not sure which bit your query relates to. Shale is mentioned only once in “Kimmeridge limestones and shales”

  5. We are not talking shale in respect of this well. The previous well at Horse Hill clearly showed that the stratas they drilled into would release oil without any need to frack-just like many of the existing UK on shore wells. It is the same geology this well is targeting and they suggest they hope for the same result.
    Horse Hill was never drilled deep enough to allow any permits for fracking to be sought. I suspect the depth of the target in this case will be similar. But, hey ho, that will still not stop fracking being made the issue, because that is the easy way to get media coverage.

    The irony to me is that Solo Oil who are involved in Horse Hill, are now extracting gas in East Africa (without fracking) and I can just imagine that same gas being shipped half way round the world to UK because it would prevent fracking for gas in UK! Really environmental.

    30 years time and my concerns should be out of the way as more renewables will have been introduced economically, but until then the environmental arguments are out of step.

    • Martin – What would you like to see happen to the remaining 20 billion barrels of home grown North sea gas and oil, our 440,000 strong offshore work force, and the in place offshore infrastructure which could take much more production if the Government reduced the offshore taxes down to match the 30% offered to the onshore industry?

      I think you will find that if we maximise our North sea potential, maximise our renewable potential, and implement country wide energy saving projects, then we would not need to ship gas half way round the world as you suggest in earlier posts.

      Please explain your reasons and factual evidence how you arrive at

      ’30 years time and my concerns should be out of the way as more renewables will have been introduced economically’

      and explain where Germany are going wrong with their renewable programme as you seem to understand time frames on renewable viability

      • John – are you objecting to or supporting the proposed Kimmeridge Limestone wells in this article?

        You are on the wrong BB for North Sea issues – best ask your MP or petition the Government and the Chancellor regarding your proposed tax breaks for the North Sea.

        Here we are discussing a couple of onshore Kimmeridge Limestone exploration wells (one with a sandstone gas test), drilled and tested conventionally. No different to many others that have been drilled onshore UK in the past.

        What are your issues with this? Clearly much cheaper to drill these than the equivalent offshore. Why not take advantage of the lower tax rates (although I thought you said previously that this was for shale wells only)?

  6. The kimmeridge clay (shale) is the source rock for the oil in Southern England and, more importantly, the central North Sea. If you go down to Kimmeridge you can see out crops of rocks where it used to sponteniously combust. There is a nodding donkey just outside the village which produces shale oil, no fraccing involved, and has been for decades. If there is naturally fractured limestone near the clay it will act as a reservoir.

  7. John-you seem very interested in Germany. Don’t see we have anything to learn from them. Clean up the air from energy plants to allow VW a free hand to poison the population!!
    I am quite relaxed about oil production from the North Sea but at $50/barrel it will become pretty uneconomic from many sites without vast subsidies or tax breaks (which are just subsidies also paid by the general tax payer.) And even if Nicola thinks the price will rise, it will not. Oil from Kent/Sussex will suffer the same economic constraints so talk about huge numbers of wells is nonsense but there will undoubtedly be the need to establish what is there and how easy it is to extract because it could be needed in the future, and there will be individual locations where it will be economic now.
    Fracking, in other areas, for gas-I believe-is a different situation. We already have a pretty good infrastructure of gas power plants that could utilise such a resource. What is needed is for a small number of strategically placed sites to explore what is there and what can be extracted. Until that happens much of the debate currently is speculation. The costs of energy from a lagoon in Wales is not going to assist Port Talbot one little bit, but on-shore gas just might-even if it has to be piped from England. We will seek to stop a well being sunk in one area so not to disturb some bats and then throw up a few wind turbines to mince them up in industrial quantities.
    I think you will also find fracking is NOT new to the UK. Horizontal fracking is, so obviously if it proceeds it should be on a controlled basis but that is not the same as a blind ban.
    At the moment the whole discussion reminds me a dinner party where a vegetarian is chattering on about the cruelty of consuming meat whilst under the table they are wearing very expensive leather boots.

      • If you read the posts correctly, I believe John Powney has been discussing wind generation and its success in Germany. He has not made any reference to a preferred burn of coal to gas. So once again you are posting myths Paul; your recent ‘wind generation’ numbers have been questioned recently. 😦

  8. The same Germany that now needs to pay compensation to the nuclear industry??
    So, now we have vast sums of compensation due from their car industry (and I would predict that once the criminal prosecutions start it will spread out from VW), banks, and now due from their change to coal. Plus the extra funds Donald will expect to support Nato, that they should have been paying long ago.

    I really think we can find a better blueprint. The Emperor’s new clothes are pretty insubstantial now.

      • Sorry John – I thought you were telling us you wanted the UK to mirror Germany? Coal and more coal? You do seem very worried about shale gas in the UK though? Why? We don’t produce any coal offshore in the North Sea – whatever the tax is?

        The only problem at Preese Hall that was a real problem was the induced seismicity. Perhaps this will happen again and that will be the end of it. Perhaps not and that will be the start of it.

        • Don’t forget the distorting of the well casing. Luckily it wasn’t higher up or Mr Loftus could well have regretted renting out his land for a measly 8 grand.

          Pop in an FOI to HSE and see how swimmingly well the plugging and abandonment went. We did. Very enlightening.

          You really should find out more.

          • Casing distortion is only an issue for the well operator – financial. Is the Preeses Hall well leaking / polluting the area with something? If not, also not an issue for concern other than it cost the operator to fix.

          • John – you have not responded to the Germany coal vs UK gas electricity generation – why do you prefer coal? Bearing in mind the renewables contributions are roughly similar.

  9. And all those lovely solar panels, the majority made in China requiring vast inputs of coal derived energy, so that their foot-print will take many years to correct.
    The alternatives to the UK should be properly assessed, rather than the myopic anti fracking, ban it, approach. Such alternatives will increase but to blindly expect a massive roll out would be wrong, both economically and environmentally. Hence my earlier suggestion that the UK will need around 30 years of some other energy source to allow such developments to be sensibly planned and avoid such issues-if not for us, then the bats!
    One supplementary question. If it had not been for fracking in USA, anyone guess todays price of oil? Nicola would have been about right.

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