First official Horse Hill oil production data

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

Oil production at the Horse Hill field in Surrey ranked fourth in the UK onshore, according to the latest official data. But the daily average was below that previously claimed by the operator and was less than 2% of the UK onshore total.

The figures released by the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) were the first for Horse Hill since it was approved for long-term production in March 2020.

They showed that Horse Hill produced 181 barrels of oil per day (bpd) in March 2020 and 243 bpd in April 2020.

The site operator, a subsidiary of UK Oil & Gas plc (UKOG), has described the Horse Hill-1 (HH-1) well as the UK’s most productive onshore wells outside Wytch Farm in Dorset.

In December 2019, UKOG said HH-1 was producing an average daily rate of 301 bpd. The company restated this figure in April 2020 and June 2020.

The OGA data is for fields or sites. It does not show the performance of individual wells where there are more than one in a field. It is not possible to use it to compare HH-1 with any of the Wytch Farm wells.

According to the data, Horse Hill’s daily production for March was 1.18% of the UK onshore total. The April figure was 1.62%.

A spokesperson for UKOG said the March production figures were for 19 days, and averaged nearly 300 bpd and included no water.

At the time of writing, shares in UKOG were unchanged at 0.215p.

UKOG announced plans in June to reperforate and recomplete HH-1. The work was due to be done in summer 2020 and UKOG said “if successful we remain confident this programme can further improve the well’s oil production rate”.

Oil production for top 10 UK onshore sites for March and April 2020. Source: Oil & Gas Authority

The Wytch Farm field, which has multiple producing wells, totalled 12,835 bpd in March 2020 and 12,716 bpd in April 2020. This was 83.91% of UK onshore oil production in March 2020 and 84.79% in April 2020.

The second highest ranking field in March and April 2020 was Singleton, operated by IGas in West Sussex (March 2020: 431 bpd, 2.82% of the UK total; April 2020: 358 bpd, 2.39%).

The IGas field at Welton in Lincolnshire was ranked third (March 2002: 393 bpd or 2.57%; April 2020: 384bpd or 2.56%). In 2019, Welton was the second biggest UK onshore producer, behind Wytch Farm.

11 oil fields produced no oil in March and April. Some companies reported they had shut in wells during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Updated 18/8/2020 to include company comment

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26 replies »

  1. Well, Mike, I see that as possible confirmation of what I stated. Do that sort of work whilst oil prices are relatively low and then interruption costs are reduced.

    If I was a long term share holder, I would prefer that work was done whilst oil was $40 (now $45) rather than at $55. Of course, the $55 could be delayed, but pointers are holding fairly firm in that direction. If I was a trader, I might take a different view.

    Whether the work will give the desired result (probably put up the list of work due to issues with the horizontal) is another matter. Fishermen tend to do their boat maintenance/improvements whilst fish prices are low. Doesn’t mean they will catch more fish when done, and prices have improved, but it gives them a better chance of doing so. In UKOGs case, if they complete the work whilst prices are $45 and then arrive at $55 with a material increase in production levels they will be vindicated, but there are a load of traders around UKOG shares who are really not that interested in longer term development but just day to day movement. UKOG should be managing for the long term holders, IMHO. Obviously, reading comments elsewhere, too long term for some, but that is AIM for you.

  2. Although the Balcombe Antis do not want oil production in the village….they need gallons every year to fill up their 4×4 Chelsea tractors that have never been off road in their life ! We still have ‘Frack Free Balcombe’ but Cuadrilla stated in a flyer to every house they would NOT be fracking…obviously The Balcombe Antis find reading difficult !!!!

  3. That’s because they have a low opinion of journalists, Malcolm. The same journalists who were recorded on Radio 5 explaining how a fake headline regarding Balcombe would grab attention so they were happy to use, and then were criticized by the same antis for saying so!

    Just have to be grateful that fake news is now becoming so main stream that school children are being educated to spot it. Maybe why Frack Free IOW has been rebranded? A sinner repenting, is a move in the right direction, but when dragged there kicking and screaming, the gloss is somewhat tarnished.

    • Hi Martin

      A couple of corrections to your comment on fake news…

      I believe the programme you are referring to is called The Corrections, which was on Radio 4, and still available to listen to:

      There were a significant number of complaints following the broadcast – specifically the programme claimed that Cuadrilla had had no plans to frack at Balcombe and the protests in 2013, together with the press coverage which followed, were therefore misguided at best.

      However, Cuadrilla had written to DECC in 2011 saying “Without the ability to undertake hydraulic fracture operations Bolney [the alternative name for the Balcombe site] will be not be able to attempt to achieve commercial production” You may feel that this tends to undermine the central point of the programme, and perhaps the fake headlines were not so fake after all.

      The programme did make the (fairly facile) points that the protests got more attention than they might have done because Balcombe was 60 minutes by train from London Victoria, it was the “silly season” for the press and the weather was good.

      In 2014, after the protests referred to by the programme, Cuadrilla did announce that it now had no intention to hydraulically fracture at Balcombe.

      Of course, all this has been extensively covered in the past by DrillOrDrop.

  4. Your comments are noted, Paul. But, I disagree. I certainly do not feel the comments from the radio were fake. Just because a few disgruntled antis complain about what others state, it does not make them correct. They even complain when they have slept through something happening! Whilst DoD have a policy of moderating certain posts it is interesting that it is never applied to obviously fake “news” provided by antis.

    Frack Free IOW?? There is a pattern.

    There is a constant misrepresentation of what exploration companies plan and a constant misrepresentation, or avoidance, of when plans are revised.

    If that is what is needed to excite, then so be it. But then time passes, and the reality becomes confirmed. Then, other antis post such illuminating bits of prose, that “it is all fracking”.

    Mind you, journalists are no different to economists. Give either a subject and there will be several alternatives produced. Used to be a slight variation upon interpretation, now it is a case of spotting the fake versus the real.

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