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
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.