Horizontal drilling begins at Horse Hill as opponents plan demonstration

1909 Horse Hill UKOG

Drilling rig at Horse Hill, Surrey, September 2019. Photo: UK Oil & Gas plc

Horizontal drilling on the second oil exploration well at Horse Hill in Surrey is now underway, the main investor announced today.

The news came as opponents of operations at Horse Hill were preparing for a climate demonstration outside the site later this week.

UK Oil & Gas plc, which holds more than 85% of the Horse Hill oil field, said in a statement that drilling had been completed on the vertical section, called HH-2.  Work on the horizontal section, known as HH-2z, had now begun.

UKOG said HH-2z would be drilled into what it described as the “Portland reservoir’s most oil productive zone or sweet spot”, to a total depth of around 5,900ft, by mid-November.

The company said “significant oil saturations and high permeabilities” observed in the core and logs from HH-2 indicated that this part of the formation was likely to have contributed most of the 29,568 barrels of oil produced during testing of the site’s other well, HH-1.

UKOG said the HH-2/2z well would be retained as a future production well. It was expected to be put into long-term production by the end of the year, the statement said.

The horizontal section of the well would be “geo-steered” during drilling to keep within a series of diagnostic geological markers to remain within the Portland sweet spot, the statement added.

UKOG’s chief executive, Stephen Sanderson, said:

“Our confidence in the HH-2z horizontal’s ability to deliver significant flow rates has been further boosted by the pilot well’s better than expected geological results.

“Our subsurface team’s focus is now firmly upon steering the well wholly within the target zone, the Portland sweet spot, demonstrably the most oil productive part of the reservoir. I have every confidence we can deliver the desired positive result.”


Opponents of drilling at Horse Hill are planning a demonstration at the site on Saturday 26 October.

The event is due to start at the junction of Horse Hill road and the A217 for speeches at 10.30am. This will be followed by a walk to the site for more speeches and tea and cake at the gate.

The organisers described the Horse Hill site as “the soon-to-be second largest oil site in the UK”.

They have criticised Surrey County Council for declaring a climate emergency but weeks later approving drilling of an additional five new wells and long-term oil production at the site.

“We all know the crisis we face if we continue to extract fossil fuels so we gather together to continue to sound the alarm.

“Bring banners, placards, friends, family. Bring any creative ideas, music, choirs, drummers.”

HH-2/2z timeline

22 October 2019

UKOG announces start of horizontal drilling. Link

15 October 2019

UKOG announces completion of coring programme. Link

11 October 2019

UKOG says coring underway on HH-2. Link

8 October 2019

UKOG announces 9” casing is set and cemented 2,019ft below rig floor. Link

29 September 2019

Drilling HH-2 starts. Link

24 September 2019

Rig arrives at Horse Hill site to drill HH-2/2z. Link

18 October 2017

Surrey County Council approves planning permission for two more wells at Horse Hill. Live updates



9 replies »

  1. Great news that instead of importing oil half way across the world we can source much needed oil in the UK. Climate change is of course an important issue but until alternatives are developed the UK needs oil related products to keep the wheels if industry turning. I do find it hypocritical that many protestors drive diesel or petrol cars/ vans back to their centrally heated houses snuggling down under their polyester insulated duvets while denying the need for oil based products. “ people in glass houses” springs to mind

    • Try living on top of it.The noise going on relentlessly all night is upsetting stressful and completely unacceptable.A disgrace in 2019 .This is seriously affecting my health.

  2. What also springs to mind is the lack of a sense of urgency about the climate change debate Mr Kev. To argue hypocrisy as a justification not to oppose this drilling program and people opposing this should just go away until they have purged themselves of all things oilist is like saying don’t breath from the same air pool as me until you can stop exhaling CO2.

    • No it is not Nick. People can not cease exhaling CO2-that is death. They can chose to stop using oil. You don’t take that choice-that is hypocrisy.

  3. You mean like your investment in your plastic keyboard, Jono?

    Why don’t these protesters swim out into the Channel and play their music around the tankers bringing their oil cargoes into Fawley refinery, just as Kev indicates? Anyone remember the Torrey Canyon?

    Ironic that such silly comments are made as ANOTHER southern airport submits its expansion plan today! Wonder where that aviation fuel comes from? Oh yes, Fawley Refinery! Another 3m to add to UK population shortly.

    So, the public are not convinced by such nonsensical virtue signalling and a minority will have their few minutes attempting to cause inconvenience as they have no arguments that are sufficiently convincing.


    Interesting that recent surveys indicate the majority feel XR are really just anti capitalists in nature rather than environmentalists. Looks as if the majority are not as stupid as some would like them to be.

    Well said Kev. Seems your post was so professional that financial inducement must have been provided! (Strange, that such could not be open to the antis!? Even when it has been exposed that certain XR “activists” have a financial inducement.) No wonder the majority of the public surveyed have come up with their anti capitalist view.

    I did note the “actively geo-steered” bit of news from HH. Sounds like an interesting plan, and I will be more interested in that than the bongo brigade from Brighton.

    Posting at 2am!! Someone is really burning the midnight oil. Oops.

    • Martin

      If I read the above link correctly, Amaredeep Dhillon opines that ER needs to decide if it is truly an anti capitalist organisation. He feels that it needs to be such an organisation, as companies that produce the minerals that support a massive move to renewable energy, are greenwashing themselves on the back of that need. This while destroying local ecosystems et al

      Hence, while protesting against a few bbl of locally produced oil may look like an appropriate action to save the planet, it is meaningless when set against the required actions to reduce The CO2 footprint of the citizens of Surrey to that required to save the planet. These being actions to reduce use of those minerals that cause issues abroad, and ( as one may expect ) are not mined here.

      So …

      While we wait for the councils ‘climate emergency plan’ to appear next year I suspect that a reduction in the oil use across the county will not feature in the plan.

      But if they decide to ban all oil and gas use, other than that produced in the county, it would certainly focus minds on what needs to be done to curtail consumption.

  4. Well, hewes62, having sex produces more CO2!

    Perhaps we all need to become lemmings-or just those in Surrey?(although looking at times/time zones that are utilised to post maybe a different Surrey altogether.)

    Watched an interesting piece about rabbit populations in Alaska recently, and how they increase, eat all the food in an area, next winter the snow is not deep enough for them to be able to get to spruce branches higher up that they have not eaten, so they die and the whole cycle starts all over again. Which of the 7 plus billion and rapidly increasing, are suddenly going to accept that having obtained many of the “benefits” of capitalism are going to check out the records for how granny lived (just about) and return to that life willingly and follow the rabbits? (Mind you, granny would have been upset about leaving 80 tonnes of rubbish to be disposed of after a party!)

    Gatwick/Heathrow/Southampton/Luton Airports all planning expansion. I could move on to Bristol etc.etc. and the picture is exactly the same. Fawley Refinery has an £800m expansion plan to meet demand.

    Doesn’t look as if demand is reducing. And that’s before all those tents have to be replaced.

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