Flow tests underway at “Gatwick Gusher” oil site at Horse Hill



Horse Hill well site. Photo: Eddie Mitchell

The leading partner behind the Horse Hill exploration site in Surrey has confirmed that operations have begun to test the flow of oil.

UK Oil & Gas Investments plc said in a statement this morning all equipment needed to test the so-called Gatwick Gusher well was now on site.

Previous tests in spring 2016 led to headlines about outstanding and unprecedented onshore flow rates. But the rates were achieved during test periods lasting only a matter of hours.

The extended well tests are expected to last about 150 days, finishing in November. According to the statement, they are expected to begin with the Portland formation, followed by two Kimmeridge Limestone zones, known as KL4 and KL3.

The statement said the tests aimed to confirm that the wellbore was connected to a commercially-viable oil volume in one or more of the zones. Data from the tests would also allow the first estimates of the reserve (technically and commercially-recoverable oil) in the Portland and Kimmeridge, the statement added.

The UKOG Executive Chairman, Stephen Sanderson, said:

“UKOG remains confident that the comprehensive long-term production testing campaign will provide the necessary data to fully assess Horse Hill’s Portland and Kimmeridge commerciality and help move the project towards timely production and positive cash flow.

“Horse Hill remains a fundamental and exciting part of the Company’s core portfolio and we look forward to a safe and positive test campaign.”

The statement said the test sequences would include:

  • Short optimised rate test
  • “Choked back” steady-state flow periods – to obtain data on the connected oil volume in each zone
  • Long pressure build up tests

Oil produced during the tests would be sold on the “spot” oil market, UKOG said. Revenues would be used to offset the test costs.

UKOG said the tests would use for the first time in the UK what was described as a “new type of clean-burning enclosed flare”. The flare, using technology from landfill sites, had been developed by Landfill Systems, PW Well Test and UKOG. It is regarded as “best available practice” by the Environment Agency, UKOG said.


Horse Hill Protests

Slow walking protests flow tests in spring 2016. Photo: David Burr/Alamy Live News

The previous flow tests at Horse Hill saw environmental protests and the establishment of a protection camp nearby.

UKOG is currently seeking an injunction against protests outside Horse Hill, another oil site at Broadford Bridge in West Sussex, and company offices in Guildford.

The injunction has been challenged by six women from Sussex and Surrey and a hearing is expected next week.

DrillOrDrop page on the Horse Hill site – key facts and timeline

43 replies »

  1. You have my sympathy Sam.

    Some are just out to confuse you with a mixture of twaddle and misinformation. The same source of “science” who posts that red diesel is red to stop it being confused with vegetable oil.

    You asked a perfectly sensible question.

    I gave you the facts, which can be easily checked if you wish to do so.

    I will leave it to you whether you research the subject or not. Some obviously don’t bother, maybe you will.

  2. A nice quiet evening, time for some lovely report writing, but while i drink a much needed cuppa, lets have a go at this little “excitement” shall we?

    You did indeed ask a perfectly sensible question Sam, but unfortunately you got a “reply” from our mutual friend here, and then it went downhill fast, i will try and take a look see at it a bit more objectively for you.

    Speaking of looking, we think “someone” has been peeking again don’t we children? All those blinkers, and all it took was a little peek and…..Oh dear?

    Tut tut!

    Naughty boy?

    Perhaps it would be nice to provide the good ladies and gentlemen with incontrovertible evidence for those claims that there has not been any operations of any kind that may induce earthquakes, because that is all i was saying, that there is no evidence that such operations did, or did not take place? I made no claims? Someone appears to think i did? Oh deary me?

    But no, i just suggested the very real fact, that for those sites since 2013 that have not been “updated” to the new permissions by the EA, anything could have gone on?

    Anything at all? And that we were not allowed to even know about the fact that we weren’t allowed to even know?

    And there were not only no notifications required of any operations whatsoever, or any notifications of leaks, or contaminations, or monitoring, or “accidents” or what ever acids were used and at what concentration, and indeed any other chemicals that were used, or what happened at all on those sites, but there were no requirement to inform anyone about it anyway? Not even the EA? Nothing about what went on, nothing at all, and no requirement even to keep records of anything if it did?

    That was convenient wasn’t it?

    What did the government say about world class gold standard regulation? But what they didn’t say, was “when” those regulations and permissions would be put into place did they? Or even “where”? We just naturally assumed they were all ready in place everywhere, and that but for one site at North Yorkshire at Kirby Misperton, who didn’t even themselves seem to know that they could have done what they wanted quite legally with impunity?

    But world class gold standard regulations and permissions weren’t in place were they? They weren’t in place everywhere at all? It seems that Kirby Misperton was the clue, and clearly that was investigated by the actions of Brockham Oil Watch, utilising the Freedom of Information Act, not a blank from the anti terrorist legislation either, thank you for that Brockham Oil Watch.

    So, to summarise, there can be no proof, one way or the other, because no one was required to keep any records, and no one thought that records might even be a good idea, from 2013 to next month 2018?

    Quite a big gap of five years isn’t it? And still not in operation until July? What is happening now, this minute?

    So Sam, if you want to check it out, don’t take my word for any of this, please verify or reject anything said here.

    if you want to check out the quote page, Its under the Drill or Drop heading:”Residents uncover regulatory loophole at Surrey oil site
    By Ruth Hayhurst on June 14, 2018 • ( 15 Comments )” I am sure that Brockham Oil Watch will be only too happy to provide you with more background to the truth if you ask them.

    But hang on a minute? its OK isn’t it? Because there are emergency procedures in place aren’t there? Oh, but….Oh dear? There aren’t are there? Or if there are, they are locked away in some unknown government basement somewhere under lock and key, with the sign “Top Secret” and “Beware of the Public” and “Careless Freedom of Information Costs Jobs” on the door? Just not in the purview of the public and emergency services though?

    And another government and EA and industry promise bites the dust?

    Oh, and i see a certain person and that excited little list is still amusing reading isn’t it? Any…..”relocated” badgers still in there? Any Winston two fingered salutes? Anything at all? No?

    Oh well, never mind, bitter luck next time?

    OK, fun over, back to work!

    • I see the Ian Crane disciple is still here, a paper you may want to read, the link is FOC but you may have to buy the paper:


      Fracturing technique applied on 161 wells representing 7.4 % close to the 10 % reported by the Royal Society.

      Fracturing operations included Hydraulic Fracturing, Acidizing , Blasting Gelatine and water injection.

      Total number of treatments found to have had stimulation treatment that implies fracturing the rock formation was 95.

      No obvious correlation between the location of the seismic events and the location of the wells hydraulically fractured.

      No elevated seismic events found within 5 km distance of water injection wells.


      The development of shale gas reservoirs through the use of hydraulic fracturing continues to raise debates on the possible environmental effects. Most dominant of this debate is the likely effect of seismic events upon stimulating the reservoirs through hydraulic fracturing.

      Hydraulic fracturing remains the most effective technique for production optimisation from tight reservoirs. Although in the UK it has been in use since 1957 in one form or another plans to develop unconventional resource using this technique in the future has been met with stiff opposition especially since hydraulic fracturing operation at Preese Hall 1 conducted by Cuadrilla in 2010 resulted in induced seismic events of magnitude 1.5 and 2.3 on Richter’s scale.

      The link to hydraulic fracturing and the associated seismic effects, however, are unclear especially in the UK and even in cases where such seismic events are recorded, of what magnitude are they, and their likely effect on people, buildings etc. By reviewing data on over 2000 onshore wells in the United Kingdom, 7.4% of the total wells were found to have had some technique performed on them that assumed fracturing of the reservoir rock, such as hydraulic fracturing and disposal water injection. This was in reasonable agreement to the figure of 10% reported by the royal society. Reviewing the seismic database of British Geological Society (BGS) at five kilometres radius around locations of identified wells the potential magnitude of seismic events at and around these wells were analysed.

      Results show that there was no obvious correlation between the location of the seismic events and the location of the wells known to have been hydraulically fractured. Apart from Preese Hall 1 case post-treatment seismic activity levels ware identical to pre-treatment levels. Only Preese Hall 1 had a seismic activity spike around the date of treatment and location of the well. Also since the seismic recording timeframe was from 1970, majority of the wells identified to have had some form of hydraulic fracturing couldn’t be reviewed for possible seismicity as the treatments happened before this recording time frame. Recorded seismic events around these wells were found to be too low to have caused any major effect, the highest occurrence between the ranges of 0.3 ML–1.5 ML.

      You will find Phil C that all well operations are reported to HSE / OGA and their predecessors. All products used in upstream oil and gas operations must be approved by the EA & prior to 1995, it’s predecessors. In the mid 1980’s we also had to get approval for HCl in Hampshire for acid. So the information is out there – you just need to spend time looking for it if it something you need to know??

        • So this abstract appears to say Preese Hall apart, there is ‘No obvious correlation between the location of the seismic events and the location of the wells hydraulically fractured [Fracturing operations included Hydraulic Fracturing [one of = Preese Hall], Acidizing , Blasting Gelatine and water injection]; are you saying it’s okay to do this as historically it was okay?

          • Well, it’s 04.45, time for a coffee and a biscuit, and what have we here?

            Dear me? Paul Tresco? That name is a blast from the past isn’t it?

            Quite a few of these old IDs being resuscitated now aren’t there?

            Paul Tresco? When was it? 2015? When that name went off the radar and appeared under other pseudonyms?

            So what has Paul have to say on this brightening Friday morning?

            Clearly for Pauls namesake to be wheeled out there must be a very sensitive nerve or two or many throbbing dangerously close to the exposed and revealed surface?

            Just to pull a certain posters bacon bits out of the line of fire? I don’t think so.

            So. Firstly, interestingly enough old thing, I’m not a “disciple” of anyone? That particular term used in a derogatory context is rather insensitive don’t you think, not really appropriate to be bandied about in a petty point scoring fashion, and indicates a degree of insensitivity that we have come to recognise on Drill Or Drop from anti antis.

            If you consider individuals like Lao Tsu, Mahatma Ghandi, Buddha, and a couple of others, I may respect and appreciate their teachings, but follow blindly? Discipline and strict adherence?


            I find individuals are just as flawed as all the rest of us, but maybe concepts of truth, honesty, love and respect for the planet and each other are more of a reliable asperation.

            Though apparently some here do have a penchant for a potential alchemical deity they follow rather more as a “discipline” if you will excuse the term? I am sure you know who that is?

            So lets look at the content of the post shall we?

            Behind a paywall? Well that’s interesting?

            Does the “quote” mention the fact of old permissions still in operation without EA regulation scrutiny, approval or even notification and recording?


            You see, what I find interesting, is that I was not making any claim that required this justification of procedures relating to seismic events, related or otherwise, I merely pointed out, the perfectly true fact, that there are presently some 38, and one assumes there were others, that have no records of their activities and were not required to notify, or obey world class, gold standard regulations requiring notifications and permissions in their activities, and were not required even to keep or submit records of their activities, so there are no records of what did go on, and will not until July this year?

            And then all this attempt at personal c.a. and debunking the recent earthquake swarm?

            What are we to derive from that?

            It is always an education, seeing how potential cans of worms are handled?

            Too heavy a hand can be more revealing than the standard silent procedure, and as entertaining?

            Always a pleasure, have a nice day!

        • Never used any other name. Took 10 months away from posting – Ruth knows why. I thought you were doing the same Sherwulfe – and Phil C?

          • You see how it works Paul, these posts can be much better served without accusations and implications can’t they?
            You call me a disciple, I say you post under other names, neither are true we say, but such things tend to stick don’t they?
            So perhaps we would better serve the debate if we kept out of the accusation and implication popular trend?
            As for research, then that is always the cry, but you perhaps will admit that there are just as many pros and cons out there as anywhere else, and perhaps even research will depend upon what the original writer proposes for whatever reason?
            It’s good to see you back after 10 months Paul, I hope we will have a rewarding conversation again.
            Have a great day, I’m going to crash out now in the garden.

  3. Sherwulfe – I have no problem with well stimulation – as you know, I have done it many times albeit not in shale. But in very tight limestones, huge acid fracture stimulations. Even matrix acid stimulations onshore UK. No problems / no issues / no pollution / approved by the relevant authorities (Wessex Water I recall in Hampshire)….. But the point of posting the linked article is to demonstrate to Phil C that the information he blusters on about not being available, is actually out there – you just have to look for it. It took 10 seconds to find the linked paper…..

  4. Surprised DOD hasn’t rushed out an article on the rapid rise in Market Cap. of UKOG, like they did when it dropped! Well, not really.

    Sorry about all of that Sam. As you can see, ask a perfectly straight forward question and you become entrapped in a vast fog of twaddle, which most of us can’t be bothered to wade through for most of the time.

    Maybe you will do better with BGS if you want facts rather than fog. Otherwise you could read some of the stuff here and, without knowing the long history, you will lose the will to go on! (Which is really the reason for it.)

    • You still dont seem to have an answer to your question Sam, well, perhaps i can point you in some interesting directions, clearly no one has actually helped you at all yet, just backhanded derogation.

      Right, lets talk about earthquakes shall we? What are they and how are they measured, there is a wikipedia link here:

      Essentially is goes like this:

      There are more than one seismic scales, there are for example:
      The Seismic Magnitude Scale
      The Rossi Forel Scale
      The Japan Meteorological Agency Seismic Intensity Scale
      The European Microseismic Scale
      The China Seismic Intensity Scale
      The Mercalli Intensity Scale (measurement of destructive effects)
      The Richter Scale or The Local Magnitude Scale (measurement of amplitude intensity)
      The Medvedev Sponheuer Intensity Scale.

      The one we are familiar with we call the Richter Scale.

      All these scales measure the intensity of quakes, or shaking, also called a tremor, trembor or quake and we measure that at ground level, and that is in the earths crustal layer called the lithosphere. the center of the ground measurement is called the epicenter, the initial focus, usually deeper down, is called the initial rupture focus or hypocenter, you may hear any of those terms used, sometimes quite wrongly.

      Several scales have historically been described as the “Richter scale”, especially the local magnitude M L and the surface wave M s scale. In addition, the body wave magnitude, m b and the moment magnitude, M w, abbreviated MMS, have been widely used for decades. A couple of new techniques to measure magnitude are in the development stage by seismologists.

      Not so simple is it?

      So, the first point is that the names and measurements are a rather confusing array and can be misused and misnamed and that can result in a misunderstanding of what these figures actually are saying, so perhaps beware of oversimplification and off the cuff off hand dismissals, as that may be not the real story at all.

      1. Point one: beware of wrong and oversimplified terminology.

      the one thing they all have in common, is that they are logarithmic measurement of amplitude, amplitude in a vertical wave intensity formation, which means that if you imagine a two dimensional curved wave looked at sideways on, the closer together the curves, the waves, the higher the intensity. You may know that in older radios, AM, Amplitude Modulation,is the varying wave form rarity and intensity of an amplitude wave is coded and transmitted from an analogue source (sound) via a microphone and received and recoded back into a magnetic movement of a speaker, the result is an approximation of the original sound.

      In this way, as a vibration from a lithosphere event, usually a sudden release of trapped faults in the lithosphere. the sudden movement transmits its energy to the surrounding strata and strata’s and that is received at the surface as amplitude waves, which can be three dimensional, up and down, side to side and as vibrations at the surface that can be measured by seismometers.

      You may see that any movement up and down and side to side and vibrational, when encountering a relatively rigid structure such as a house or a road, can, if intense enough produce damage, the more intense, the more damage. Also there is a phenomenon known as resonance, and that is that when the ground is quaking, if that quake resonance, the frequency of the vibration, reaches the destructive resonance frequency of a structure, it will literally shake itself apart. there is a famous film of the 1940 Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse “Gallopin’ Gertie”

      ( )

      This was not a seismic event, but the thin cable suspension bridge was not designed for the wind speed at its resonant frequency along the Tacoma Narrows, and a relatively mild wind produced a resonant frequency which caused the bridge to violently flex until it ripped itself apart. That effect can also be from an earthquake such as the Mexico City Quake in September 9th 2017. Mexico City is prone to earthquakes because it is built upon on a shallow basin of soil, and relatively low intensity quakes quite far away and deep down, transmit through the lithosphere and cause the shallow basin to amplify the frequency like a speaker and the soil basin vibrates like a blancmange when you shake the bowl. It can liquify and cause buildings to collapse and has done several times in recent history.

      Interestingly the original Maya/Aztec City was built from very large very closely interlocking stone blocks which absorb the quakes and the buildings have remained intact. Only the modern city suffers destruction each time.

      you may begin to see what the effects of oil and gas exploration and extraction have on strata and how the inevitable vibrations are transmitted Sam?

      i will look at the effects of oil and gas exploration on seismic effects tomorrow.

      2. Point two: Don’t take any brush off excuses.

  5. Fogs coming in again Sam!

    Think you will find BGS are the experts.

    By the way, Sam, no drilling for the oil and gas companies underway currently in Surrey, let alone fracking. A small point but a bit more current than the Aztecs!

  6. My wife is a Surrey girl, Sam.

    Used to do a second job in the evenings as a bar-maid (probably can’t call them that now.) Her day job was PA to the MD of a mining equipment company. Just a co-incidence.

    She remembers how a whole bar would empty as those wishing to chat about local events were regaled by Bill (I think she said Bill) who rambled on about ancient civilisations in foreign countries. Sometimes alone, sometimes with an imaginary friend.

    Fortunately, there were several bars and she could look after them elsewhere until Bill dried up and wandered off.

    Reminds me of past seismic events in Surrey. That was me and my fiance learning ballroom dancing. Happy days.

  7. By the way Sam, if you did check out BGS you will see the comment from their seismologist stating “no fracking has taken place.”

    Hardly surprising, as all sites in Surrey/Sussex are routinely monitored by protestors, and they have been unable to suggest differently.

  8. I note from the research of a contributor, Mr Tresto that “disposal water injection” is regarded as a technique that “assumed fracturing of the reservoir rock”.

    As he has the research at his fingertips – and it is easy to verify, would it be possible for this topic to be expanded upon here with reference to the historic and current use of this technique in the South of England. Is this is one of the methods likely to be used as an alternative to acid stimulation and high volume hydraulic fracturing in the Wealden reservoirs? Where does this disposal water come from? Why is it necessary to use it to fracture the reservoir rock when it is simply being disposed of?

    • Gregor Williams

      I appreciate you asked this question of Paul Tresco, but fancied having a go.

      The paper Paul Tresco quotes looks at two types of wells, being wells that have been fractured by ‘pressures above the formation fracture pressure in an attempt to stimulate production’, and ‘water injection wells that are commonly thermally fractured’.

      Hence the reference to disposal water re-injection refers to fracture of the strata by the cooling effect of the water used. The fracturing is not used to stimulate production per se.

      An explanation of this can be found in the ‘guide to the different ways in which rocks are fractured in oil and gas field operations. A briefing paper. This briefing paper is available for free and a good read for all interested in the subject ( in particular how thermal fracturing assists Waterflooding as a reservoir driver ).

      It may be better if you read this briefing note first and then ask questions related to the information in it as to which methods may be used or have been used in the weald.

      Ie, thermal fracturing, which is a by product of pumping water into a formation, causing thermal fracturing, is not a process which is used to stimulate production, nor does it cause earthquakes. It is also not an alternative to fracturing by pressures above the formation fracture pressure, acid stimulation or HVHP fracturing.

      I also heartily recommend once coughs up £34 and read the original paper referred to by Paul.

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