Slow walk protest over oil production at Horse Hill

Climate campaigners deliberately slowed down three tankers bound this morning for the Horse Hill oil production site in Surrey.

Slow walk protest near Horse Hill oil production site in Surrey, 5 October 2020. Photo: Extinction Rebellion

They said they were protesting about continued oil extraction at the site near Gatwick Airport during a climate emergency.

The action began at 8am. Police are on the scene.

Opponents of the Horse Hill operation took part in similar slow walking protests earlier this year in July and August.

Last week, UK Oil & Gas plc (UKOG), the parent company of the Horse Hill operator, announced the start of work to reperforate part of one of the wells at the site. This was designed to improve the flow of oil from the Portland formation in Horse Hill-1.

Local resident, James (54), said no tankers had been leaving the site recently indicating problems with the well:

“This procedure is a desperate attempt to get revenue from their only productive well and runs the risk of more earthquakes in the vicinity as the wells sits in complex, faulted geology which is poorly understood since UKOG has not commissioned any seismic surveys which they are required to do as a condition of their licence.

“Whilst this requirement has a deadline of the end of September 2021 it makes absolutely no sense to drill before getting the seismic survey.”

Tash, a 72-year-old activist and writer from Brighton, criticised Surrey County Council for declaring a climate emergency and then approving planning permission for oil production at Horse Hill.

“In the time I have left on earth, I want to do all in my power to protect this beautiful, diverse planet that we are trashing, so that we leave a safe and abundant home for all our children and the children to come.”

UKOG was granted a civil injunction against protests outside its sites in Surrey and Sussex. This is being challenged at the High Court. The date of the hearing has not yet been confirmed.

Critics of production at Horse Hill are also seeking a judicial review of the planning permission for production. This will be heard at the appeal court in November. Last week, a 71-year-old grandmother raised more than £5,000 towards legal fees in a 100-mile sponsored walk (DrillOrDrop report).

14 replies »

  1. Obviously James didn’t do his homework.

    Again, someone protesting but not knowing much about what he claims to be protesting about.

    • Are you referring to the 3D seismic survey? The OGA retention agreement requires that by end of Sept 2021, a year after the Kimmeridge appraisal well (permitted back in 2017) was due to be drilled.

      “PEDL137 Horse Hill Development RA
      drill a Portland appraisal well of Horse Hill 1 by 30 September 2019, drill a Kimmeridge limestone appraisal well of Horse Hill 1 by 30 September 2020 and acquire 40 km2 of 3D seismic by 30 September 2021”

      Had they shot the seismic survey first perhaps they wouldn’t have flooded the Portland appraisal well.

      • Nope, Dorkinian.

        Keep on guessing.

        It is a new concept to me, that individuals protest about something and then are so keen to show others they are unaware of what the reality of the situation is. Now, I did my fair share of protesting in the past but always tried to make sure I knew what I might state when commenting on the subject, otherwise it just looked like ignorance about the subject which is not a good look when trying to justify inconveniencing others. Holier-than-thou is trumped by more-ignorant-than-thou.

  2. DPNP

    Cool, and the reasons for signing are laid out in the petition can be verified by those who are interested in signing. But the picture with the petition is not of a coal mine in the UK, nor of the likely look of the mine.

    Perhaps the petition organisers have included a steel mill picture rather than a coal mine picture for a reason? Maybe they are asking you to sign up in protest against the UK steel industry (and its need for a suitable water source, which was a point of contention for Wressle).

    However – this extract below is interesting. The UK steel industry imports its coking coal and is not dependent on the new mine, nor is the future of the UK steel industry tied to it (just as the UK coal mining industry was not tied to the UK power generation industry in its latter years.)

    …….The UK’s two steelworks are the biggest single-site emitters in the country[4] because of their current reliance on coal, but you can make steel without coal.

    The mine will lock the steel industry in the UK and Europe into using coal for decades to come, instead of switching to viable alternatives, when instead a transition to clean steel could begin right now.[5]……

    So why reference 5 lays out the reasons why the UK and European Steel Industry will move from coal to other energy sources, it does not say that the presence of the mine will lock the steel industry in the UK and Europe into using coal for decades to come (ie I think that is not true)

      • DPNP

        Yes, and its an interesting read. The jousting between the mine promoters (who would like to mine the coal) and those who do not want it mined in the UK (or anywhere globally) is always interesting.

        I like this bit below – which is the statement of the Bl**ding obvious as my legal counterparts would say.

        It says that if you mine coal and burn it, you get higher CO2 emissions per employee than the average in Cumbria and so forth.
        Its an interesting take. Presumably if you mine something that you will not burn (polyhalite / flint / gold) its all OK.

        So – lots of good stuff being said by both sides, but in my mind, its a coal mine, and mining it in the UK while there is a market is fine by me, rather than in Australia or Mongolia, say, and shipping it to Scunthorpe or Wales. It will not lock anyone into a dependency on coal, and if whoever owns the rump of the UK steel industry decide to go wind powered (supported by some eye watering subsidy I expect) then the company will either export it to somewhere else or close the mine. Just my opinion, but then I have a soft spot for coal mines.

        I note that they do say how much in would increase the CO2 emissions per year for the UK poulation.

        Jobs and carbon
        West Cumbria Mining estimates that around 518 jobs will be created (of which 80 per cent will be
        within 20 miles of Whitehaven). Using the company’s breakdown of job types and industry
        standard salaries, it is possible to estimate the annual salary remuneration for the entire
        workforce, including management,at £11.8 million per year. 35 This is less than three per cent
        (2.87 per cent) of the commodity value of the coal that would be extracted, which we estimate to
        be £411 million per year, using commodity prices for coking and middling coal.36
        The carbon emissions would be around 16,000 tonnes CO2e per year per job for the lifetime of
        the mine. This compares with under seven tonnes of CO2e emissions per person per year in the
        UK at present, a figure which must fall to net zero by 2050.37 The carbon footprint of the salaries
        paid would be almost three quarters of a tonne of CO2 per £1 earned by the workforce (700kg
        CO2e per £).

        • Interesting H62, but the report also quoted that the transition to a low carbon economy would create 46,000 jobs in the north, in the energy sector alone, particularly amongst ex-mining towns (IPPR North). As in Sweden the move for steel making with hydrogen, produced by renewables is now a viable project. Even if subsidy for wind is necessary, as for many new tech industries better to subsidise this than fossil fuels.

          But then we have to do something drastic or face a lot worse for the human race than a few coronavirus lockdowns. It boils down to the insane economic system we currently have. Eg. fruit flown from one region to be waxed across the other side of the world, or the same quantity of apples are imported to the same country that exports its own, in almost identical quantities. Reducing consumption and excessive waste through local, not-for-profit organisations might be a start. Local community resilience and direct democracy through citizen’s assemblies and councils would help stimulate the local economy, then products coordinated to national level where there is need and not for the sake of it. This could then be replicated on an international level through cooperative agreements.

          • DPNP

            Yes, there has been lots of talk about the creation of green jobs. Unfortunately they do not always turn up, other than in local maintenance of wind turbines and so forth to which relatives of mine take part (where on once maintained mining stuff, they now maintain wind and solar, but jobs were lost and now are slowly being replaced, less of them and lower paid).


            However, success is over on the Humber, where the size of the prize has resulted in a wind farm industry along with oil and gas / chemicals and the small onshore oil and gas industry. There has been transfer of workers from oil and gas to renewables, and some hope that future maintenance and renewal projects (the turbines will need replacing from time to time, so its good for the Dutch Installers and the UK workers. I am not sure its a net gain yet, as the decline of one replaces the other, but its good news. Especially as the government has announced another bung for the industry. The size of that industry is a wonder to behold as is the space it takes out there in the North Sea.

            Re jobs in Cumbia, the 46,000 jobs (though not so many in that bit of the North) can happen with our without the mine, and good luck to them. But if its not there, then the worlds largest coal mines in Australia will fill the gap ie, its about not liking mining, as if its not there, it will not result in a decrease in coking coal use, just as it being there will not result in an increase in its use.

            I note your other views and we should agree to disagree on a few I suspect, but not all.


    Local production for local consumption. Yep-UK on shore oil and gas, where possible, to help manufacture such items as synthetic rubber used in medical devices and even a keyboard for DPNP. Plus the diesel for the antis vehicles. Further increase the production of Covid protective gear in UK which has risen from 1% local production to 71%. Fuel the construction equipment needed to expand the capacity to build all these turbines. Get all these installers around the country to utilize the Green Homes grants-etc, etc.

    Easy to see how even DPNP saw the light!

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