Public views invited on changes at Horse Hill oil site in Surrey

1909 Horse Hill UKOG

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

A new consultation has opened on expansion plans at the Horse Hill oil site in Surrey.

The operator, Horse Hill Development Ltd (HHDL), is seeking changes to the environmental permit to drill and test four new oil wells, drill a water reinjection well and produce and store oil at the site.

These operations received planning permission last month from Surrey County Council. But they also need consent under the environmental permit, issued by the Environment Agency.

The consultation runs until 25 November 2019.


HHDL said it was seeking environmental permit consent for the following activities:

  • Construct five new drilling cellars
  • Drill four new hydrocarbon wells (making a total of six production wells at the site)
  • Drill one new produced water reinjection well
  • Carry out 90-day extended well tests on each of the four new oil production wells
  • Carry out well maintenance workovers and operations, including acid wash and/or hot oil treatment
  • Drill well side-tracks, if necessary
  • Produce oil from the wells and separate produced oil, gas and water
  • Install oil processing, storage and tanker loading facilities
  • Store produced oil and water in separate vented tanks
  • Reinject formation water
  • Discharge surface rain water from the well site extension into Spencer’s Gill watercourse
  • Remove all surface production equipment, followed by plugging and abandonment of six production wells and one water reinjection well
  • Remove and dispose of surface bunding and stone surfacing, followed by regrading of all soils

A letter submitted with the application said any gas produced during extended well tests would be burned in an enclosed flare. The letter, from the air quality consultancy Socotec UK Ltd, said the volume would not exceed 10 tonnes per day.  Additional flaring from the four new wells would “of course give rise to additional releases of greenhouse gases”, the letter said. The maximum disposal rate for a total of 540 days of flaring was the equivalent to 15,017 tonnes of carbon dioxide, it added.

HHDL also said it planned to apply for an environmental permit to operate generators to produce electricity from gas. But this was not included in the current proposed variations, it said

Why the permit changes are needed

Crude oil storage

The Horse Hill site currently has a standard rules permit for oil storage (EPR/SP3339YS). The expansion of the site means it cannot meet conditions of distance from a water course and the limit of 500 tonnes storage capacity. The operator is applying for a bespoke permit for storage and handling of crude oil with a tank storage of 500 tonnes or more

Extractive waste

The current permit (EPR/BB3300XG) provides for drilling and testing the HH-1 and HH-2 boreholes. HHDL is seeking to vary this permit to add four more production boreholes (HH-3, HH-4., HH-5 and HH-6) and drill a single reinjection borehole. The wells will be drilled on the existing site. But HHDL intends to extend the site to accommodate production equipment so the permitted boundary will increase.

Water discharge

The current permit (EPR/BB3691NN) allows for discharge of surface water from the well site (outlet 1). The variation seeks to add two additional outlets. The extended production area will need to dispose of surface water through an oil-water separator into a tributary of Spencer’s Gill. A further outlet (outlet 3) will be required for injection of produced water and collected surface water from containment bunds. This will be used to support production of oil from the Portland formation, the application said.


The Environment Agency (EA), which will decide on the permit changes, said people could comment on the application in the following ways:

The EA said it would consider comments on:

  • Relevant environmental regulatory requirements and technical standards
  • Information on local population and sensitive sites
  • Whether the right process or technology was proposed
  • Whether the impact on land around the site was acceptable
  • What pollution control or abatement may be required
  • Impact of noise and odour from the site
  • Permit conditions
  • Information that the EA was unaware of
  • Corrections to wrong information in the application

13 replies »

  1. Ukog is a responsible company & I am sure that the EA. have been fully consulted on the plans for HH as the EA South have been a statutory consultee during the planning application & as far as I am aware raised no objections to the planning application were raised by them.

    Please find below a exert from there website about what they do & how they do it.

    UK Oil & Gas PLC (UKOG) is an ambitious oil and gas exploration company, striving to support the drive for increased energy security for this country, while ensuring the preservation of the natural beauty of the Weald Basin region.

    We are the company behind the exploration well at Broadford Bridge in West Sussex and a leading investor at Horse Hill, dubbed the “Gatwick Gusher”. Listed and trading on London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM), we have a portfolio of direct and indirect investments in 8 UK onshore exploration, appraisal, development and production assets.

    These assets cover 791.5 km² in the Weald and Purbeck-Wight basins of southern England.

    UKOG is also working to explore further opportunities within our 100%-owned Broadford Bridge licence area and advance our other assets, including our Arreton onshore Isle of Wight licence. By making use of the world’s latest oil and gas technologies, we are endeavouring to turn our discoveries into commercially viable oil fields for the benefit of the UK. We are also actively investigating ways to benefit local communities by creating employment and financial benefits.

    At the heart of all that we do is working to minimise our impact on local communities and ensuring we have total respect for the environment in which we live and where we operate. We are determined to provide energy for Britain while preserving the way of life and the rural beauty of our licence areas.

  2. I believe there is a desire for DoD not to be seen as an “activist website”, Jono-or so I have read. I also believe that would be helped by some reality eg. I am NOT a UKOG investor, but I am-like you-a user of oil, and whilst I continue to be then I prefer that to come from a local source (or some of it) and by so doing avoid the risk of another Torrey Canyon.

    But, of course, you are free to continue with your position that any collateral damage can be justified to maintain your strange position that you will use oil and not want it to be the “greenest” that it could be.

    You are also free to post comments within such groups you refer to. A number of antis already do.

  3. I was about to say ‘History will judge you, Martin Collyer,’ But probably we shall all just die of overheat and lack of water. So no one will remember you. I hope that isn’t abusive. Just logic.

    • That is definitely a ‘Extinction Rebellion’ comment.

      Unfortunately you are a discredited organization who would see this great country redused to q 4 th world country.

      The changes will come & be measured & achievable within the governments timeframe.

      This will provide a secure & sustainable future for millions of UK citizens in all areas of there lives.

      Not just pander to the bullying extreme views of the minority who could not care less about the majority of UK citizens.

  4. We are all like a finger in a bucket of water, Kathryn. Pull it out and once the ripples have gone the bucket of water remains and no one knows we were there.

    However, I will certainly not be remembered as an insomniac who posts at midnight, or “alternatively” a hypocrite who posts from a different time zone who utilised the worlds natural resources to get there. Cold and wet in the UK today, Kathryn. UK talking about spending £60 BILLION on house insulation. Someone not fully in agreement with you there.

    But, meanwhile I shall stick with the reality that there is no probability we shall all just die of overheat and lack of water. Maybe a few will in a desert somewhere, but that has been going on since the history of man commenced. (Although deserts can now be minimised via irrigation if there are the fossil fuels local to make it economic. Look around some of the oil States.)

    Meanwhile, Kathryn you will continue to plonk your fingers on your plastic keyboard in the hope your posts will be remembered- for what?

    Oh yes, the removal of fossil fuel from the world! More of your logic?

    You can continue to increase risk of another Torrey Canyon. (A very near miss recently in Norwegian waters.) More of your logic?

    Thanks, but I will stick with my reality rather than your “logic”.

  5. Using the Torrey Canyon as an justification for onshore drilling in 21st Century seems totally inappropriate. The TC was grounded in 1967 and the reason the disaster occured was human error – the inquiry found that ‘Shipmaster Pastrengo Rugiati was to blame, because he took a shortcut to save time to get to Milford Haven. Additionally a design fault meant that the helmsman was unaware that the steering selector switch had been accidentally left on autopilot and hence was unable to carry out a timely turn to go through the shipping channel.’ Your reasons for continueing to support fossil fuel extraction, particularly when it occurs close to residential areas, are basically flawed Martin Collyer.

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