Europa to hand operation of Leith Hill oil exploration licence to UKOG


BHW John O'Houston23

Campaign against oil drilling at Bury Hill Wood near Leith Hill. Photo: Jon O’Houston

Europa Oil & Gas announced this morning it was transferring operation of the oil exploration licence around Leith Hill, near Dorking in Surrey.

In a statement to investors this morning, the company said it was handing over the operatorship of PEDL143, also known as Holmwood, to UK Oil and Gas plc (UKOG). The deal has to be approved by the Oil and Gas Authority.



PEDL143. Source: UK Onshore Geophysical Library

Europa spent 10 years trying to develop an exploration site in the licence at Bury Hill Wood, on the side of Leith Hill.

The company secured planning permission and an environmental permit.

But the project was abandoned in September 2018 when the environment secretary refused to renew the site lease on Forestry Commission land because of the potential impact on nearby ancient woodland. Europa said the partners were continuing to look for alternative sites to drill the Portland and Kimmeridge formations in the licence area.

Europa said today it would retain its 20% interest in PEDL143. UKOG holds 40%. Other partners are Egdon Resources (18.4%), Angus Energy (12.5%), Union Jack Oil (7.5%) and Altwood Petroleum (1.6%).

The statement said:

“The decision to transfer operatorship of PEDL 143 is based on Europa’s focus on its high impact portfolio of exploration licences in Atlantic Ireland, its existing producing assets onshore UK, and the Company’s pursuit of new ventures in its chosen areas of focus, specifically the Atlantic seaboard, North Africa and NW Europe.

“With its operational activities centred on the Weald Basin, the Company believes UKOG’s direct experience with, and technical knowledge of, the Portland and Kimmeridge plays at the nearby Horse Hill discovery, will help inform a forward plan for the Licence.”

Today’s news reduces to three the number of UK onshore licences which Europa operates. The company continues to operate the West Firsby (DL003) and Crosby Warren (DL001) oil production fields in Lincolnshire. It remains the operator of PEDL181, also in Lincolnshire, where the Kiln Lane well was abandoned in 2015 after the sandstones were found to be water wet.

southern exploration licences

Licences in southern England. Map: Oil and Gas Authority

At the time of writing, UKOG shares had risen 1.86% to 1.31p on the news

UKOG companies operate three other UK onshore licences: PEDL126 (Markwells Wood) and PEDL234 (Broadford Bridge) both in West Sussex and PEDL331 (Isle of Wight).

The company is also the major investor in Horse Hill Developments Ltd, the operator of PEDL137 and PEDL246 around the Horse Hill exploration site near Horley In Surrey. UKOG also has interests in the IGas licences PEDL070 (Avington) and PL211 (Horndean).

10 replies »

  1. Leith Hill, the graveyard of Weald oil companies and centre of social resistance to ecocidal profiteers.

    Europa wasted a decade and millions of pounds and finally left with their reputation in tatters. Perhaps the best bit of business they have done in the Weald was off loading this worthless exploration licence on UKOG.

  2. Except-Leith Hill is one point within the overall licence. So, the worthless bit is speculation.

    Maybe, this just fits with UKOG being the most active within the area, has acquired more experience of optimum operation,
    and is additional to their recent consolidation?

    Not convinced Dorkinian that you are more knowledgeable about the value of the licence than UKOG-but, time will tell.

  3. Cheers Dork for your “balanced “ .. comment I do actually agree the original site was a tad unrealistic but I think you fail to grasp it’s the operation of the whole licence area now transferred to UKOG in an area proven to contain oil.. that’s exciting for UK energy why import oil when it’s on our door step unless of course it’s pure Nimbyism … lol but seriously we all know we need oil and gas and it’s a case of finding a balance until renewables can supply more of our energy.. don’t you use gas for heating or maybe oil ? Petrol in your car ..? Hmmmm I think yes.

  4. Site close to A25 or A24 should be fine. Protesters would be confused. Block site gate or block traffic on main road? ;D

  5. USA exports of oil and NGL products to UK show that UK is already up to number 6 in volume (372K barrels per day.)

    The majority of this from fracking, the Weald is not.

    Strange environmental contradictions being shown by certain antis. But, I think Kev is correct. One thing cloaked by another, but showing as somewhat threadbare.

  6. Is that like the head count at Tesla, John?

    Not able to make a profit on $ billions of borrowed money, so slashing jobs.

    Wonder how many jobs created in USA from the fracking “ponzi” scheme and the downstream industry? Perhaps enough to offer some jobs to those being cast aside by Tesla?

    “A technology driven shale boom in Texas has positioned the US to embark on its own era of worldwide energy dominance”.

    Seems two technology booms. One that is working, and creating work, one that is putting people out of work.

  7. You are talking nonsense again John.

    Hmmm-I smell desperation when someone has to try and justify nonsense with claims around someone else having an investment motive-especially when they have a long history of promoting alternative sources of energy-like the N.Sea!

    Looks more like someone who is motivated to rubbish the competition. (Doesn’t seem to be working though. 372k barrels equivalent per day imported by UK from USA-oil and NGL products.) Quite common now on the Internet, especially with restaurants and hotels. Perhaps equally tempting for some in slow sectors of alternative energy who need them maximising?

    If maximising our renewable potential means paying £500m/year extra for the energy produced from ONE wind farm, then I would prefer this Government takes it a bit slower and get it right. Then, there was, all go diesel to save the planet, then diesel should be scrapped to save the planet!

    Perhaps a visit to Swindon might be quite rewarding for you John. Good luck with that.

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