Fire fighters were called to the Horse Hill oil site near Horley in Surrey this morning (3/11/2019).
The fire was in the rig engine at the site, known as the Gatwick Gusher. There were no casualties.
Surrey Fire and Rescue got a call at 10.03am. Two appliances went to the site. They left at 11.20am.
A resident who passed the site this morning said there was a smell of burning plastic. There was still a smell of smoke at midday, the resident said.
The fire service described the fire as accidental. It said oil was present in the fire and there was damage to the area where the fire started.
A spokesperson for UK Oil & Gas, the major investor at Horse Hill, said the fire started at 10am and was put out by hand-held fire extinguishers. He said:
“The fire brigade arrived at 10:15am and confirmed that the fire was safely extinguished.”
“There was no oil burnt, only diesel. Oil isn’t anywhere near the rig engine”.
UKOG is currently drilling a new horizontal well at Horse Hill, known as HH-2, as well as testing oil flows in the first well, HH-1.
The company spokesperson said:
“The incident had no effect upon the safety of the HH-2z well or test production from HH-1.
“UKOG is now investigating the cause of the fire before resuming normal operations.”
In September, Surrey County Council granted planning permission for 20 years of oil production at Horse Hill. The decision is being challenged by a local woman on behalf of the campaign network, Weald Action Group.
Oil operations at Horse Hill have been linked by some scientists to a series of earth tremors in Surrey, which started on 1 April 2018.
UKOG has consistently dismissed any connection between its work and the tremors, which the British Geological Survey (BGS) online database now says total 57. A recent scientific review said there was no evidence that operations at Horse Hill had caused the tremors. But local people have called on UKOG to release records of its site activities when the tremors occurred.
The most recent tremor, which measured 0.8ML, was recorded by the BGS at 7.25pm on 31 October 2019.