Oil company to seek consent for production and extra wells at Horse Hill


Initial flow testing at Horse Hill, Surrey, 3 February 2016. Photo: Eddie Mitchell

A planning application for oil production at the Horse Hill exploration site near Gatwick Airport will be submitted in spring 2018, according to UK Oil and Gas, one of the leading companies behind the project.

In a statement to investors this morning, UKOG said a second phase of drilling at the site was also being planned.

UKOG Executive Chairman, Stephen Sanderson, described 2018 as a “key step” towards commercial production and significant cash flow from Horse Hill.

But the Green Party MEP, Keith Taylor, said the news would get a “frosty reception” from campaigners and residents. He vowed to oppose what he described as “UKOG’s climate-destructive proposals to industrialise our countryside”.

Production plans

The Horse Hill site, nicknamed the Gatwick Gusher in 2016 after unexpected flow tests, is operated by Horse Hill Developments Ltd (HHDL).

It received planning permission from Surrey County Council in October 2017 for extended flow testing of the existing exploration well HH-1 and drilling two new wells to be called HH-1z and HH-2. DrillOrDrop report

UKOG said this morning:

“To achieve its goal of stable, long-term Horse Hill oil production by Spring 2019, HHDL now plans to submit a further production planning application to SCC [Surrey County Council] in late Spring 2018.

“This application will seek consent to produce oil initially from HH-1 & 1z, and HH-2, together with further production wells in a second contingent drilling phase.”

DrillOrDrop asked UKOG how many wells were proposed in this second drilling phase and whether they would be included in the planning application due in the spring. This post will be updated with any response.

Testing programme

UKOG said HHDL had funding and contracts in place for the programme to test the HH-1 well and drill HH-1z and HH-2.

The work would begin when planning conditions had been met, expected by the end of the winter, UKOG said. The site has an environmental permit for the work, issued in September 2017.

The production tests will investigate whether there are commercially-viable volumes of oil in the Portland and two zones of Kimmeridge limestone, called KL3 and KL4. Each test is planned to last 30-40 days.

UKOG said there may also be a short-term test of a deeper, untested Kimmeridge zone.

Horse Hill leaflet

Publicity from summer 2016 about testing and drilling plans. Photo: DrillOrDrop

Drilling timetable

If the results were successful, drilling would begin on the HH-2 well in Summer 2018, UKOG said.

This well was intended to produce oil from the Portland but there was an option to drill deeper into the Kimmeridge to collect data. It could also deviate north to access oil from the adjacent Collendean Farm fault, UKOG said.

The HH-1z sidetrack into the Kimmeridge was now planned to be drilled in 2019, UKOG added. This will follow development of a Kimmeridge reservoir model based on data from HH-1 and HH-2, as well as that from the Broadford Bridge site in West Sussex.

“Key step”

Executive chairman, Stephen Sanderson, said:

“The 2018 Horse Hill programme is a key step towards delivering UKOG’s goal of commercial production and significant cash flow by early 2019. The programme, geared to provide data to support a declaration of commerciality, will benefit greatly from the many significant Kimmeridge and operational learnings gained at our Broadford Bridge discovery.

“Horse Hill remains a fundamental part of the Company’s core portfolio and we therefore look forward to returning to the birthplace of the Kimmeridge Limestone oil play. “


natalie bennett at Horse Hill.2jpg

Keith Taylor with the then Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett, at Horse Hill, 13 February 2016. Photo: Jon O’Houston

Keith Taylor, Green Party MEP for South East England, said this morning:

“This news will get a frosty reception from campaigners and residents alike this Yuletide. And I will join them in opposing UKOG’s climate-destructive proposals to industrialise our countryside. Surrey County Council must reject any application the firm sees fit to submit. More drilling in Surrey is on nobody’s Christmas list.”

“The government-backed unconventional oil and gas rush across the UK will not only despoil Surrey’s Outstanding Area of Natural Beauty it will ensure the UK fails to meet its legally-binding climate change targets under the Climate Change Act and Paris Agreement.”

“The scientific consensus on the climate breakdown has never been greater. The best chance we have of averting climate catastrophe is by keeping fossil fuel reserves in the ground.”

“Instead of investing, quite literally in too many cases, in the dirty oil and gas industry, Ministers must make it their New Year’s Resolution to finally act on the overwhelming public support for renewables and build a clean energy future – in Surrey and across the UK.”


UKOG said security had been increased at Horse Hill after protesters occupied the site on Thursday 30 November.

UKOG said a 42-team including High Court bailiffs and a specialist protester-removal company evicted the protesters on Saturday 2 December. The company said it was “pursuing all available legal means to seek recourse”. DrillOrDrop report

32 replies »

  1. Mr. Keith Taylor at Horse Hill holding an anti fracking notice in 2016! (I remember this “protest”. He was not alone in his attempts to obtain publicity with false information.)

    The plans for this site are published, so in the public arena. An elected politician who seems to have little respect for the electorate to be able to read. The locals certainly will have done so, so who is his target audience?

  2. Climate change impact and local environmental impact is what the protest is about. But for investors, who are looking at the money: stranded assets and economic ruination is on its way for you: renewables are ruining the economics of fossil fuels, and politicians not afraid to ditch fossil fuels as those lucrative post politics plum jobs in fossil fuels dry up. Let battle comment: between fossil fuel dinosaurs and sustainable energy.

  3. Where is the unconventional oil rush in the UK onshore. Or indeed any conventional oil rush?

    If there is any rush, it is offshore, and more of a scrabble to arrest decline. Meanwhile the SNP are heavily backing oil and gas extraction offshore, but do not seem to attract any approbrium for doing so.

  4. The local environmental impact? Must mean the worry about the oil being converted into fuel for the ‘planes to fly out of Gatwick to take locals on their holidays, and the increasing demand is why the airport is being expanded going forward. Back to the hot air balloons. Lot’s of it around.
    Try a visit to Wytch Farm to see the local environmental impact.

  5. Yes, agree,Rachel. Interesting how wind turbines are to be dismantled in Cumbria and Vivergo (bio-ethanol) plant has ceased production (latter a £250m investment). Wood pellet burning not too successful in N. Ireland either. Not as “sustainable” as some would suggest-unless you work on the premise of handing out subsidies to modify the economics. But some think those subsidies are “government money”, so that’s okay!!
    Keep warm.

  6. Their Share Price has continued to tank during the past three months. Only worth 3.4 pence a share even with this news. Is there a lack of confidence in the Gatwick Piddler?

    • Waffle
      A quick look at the portfolio reveals a 315% return on the UKOG investment, but as it was top sliced, it is now all for free.
      However, best not to mix AIM hype with the real world of oil and gas extraction. If they cannot get much oil out, fine, if they do, fine and good for the country and wherever in the world it remains in the ground as a result.
      One share lacking confidence is National Grid. In the 800s on fear of Jeremy getting us ( the tax payer ) to buy it for 650 maybe. Good that some political parties are behind fossil fuel infrastructure in a big way?

  7. Are they serious? UKOG trying to drill inclined through the Collendean fault? They’d better get someone else to do the work after the mess they made at Broadford Bridge. Stick to vertical, chaps, leave the angles to the big boys.

    • The worm forgives
      I am not sure that the big boys are any better at horizontal drilling than the company drilling for UKOG.
      Historically it has been small companies who have the tenacity to work such issues until success or not as they are Fleet of foot.
      The good news is that even if no commercial production comes from B.B., it will be classed as a technical success, the information from which will be used on the next well.

  8. ‪Smacks of desperation for more investor money. They haven’t been able to comply with the planning conditions from the last application yet. Only a month or so ago dave lenigas stated how ‘horsehill was a real bitch to get going’. ‬

  9. Not at all kipperwacker. UKOG funding is in place.

    More likely to reduce funding for some African countries who were trying to develop their gas output to convert into fertilizer so their populations could avoid starvation. As with all these ill conceived crusades, it is the poorest who pay. Not a one off if you want to look at cobalt mining and child labour in Africa to enable “efficient” battery technology for the west.

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