Production slide continues at Horse Hill

A steady fall in oil production has continued at UKOG’s Horse Hill site in Surrey, according to the latest monthly official data released today.

UKOG’s Horse Hill site in Surrey, 29 April 2020. Photo: Used with the owner’s consent

The site, originally nicknamed the Gatwick Gusher, saw oil production drop in July 2020 for the third month in a row.

Horse Hill has also fell another place in the rankings of UK onshore oilfields.

Figures released by the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) revealed that in July 2020, the site produced 121 barrels of oil per day (bpd). This compares with 157 bpd in June, 176 bpd in May and 243 bpd in April 2020.

The weight of oil in July 2020 was 508 tonnes, down 26% on the total for June (637 tonnes). The weight was 737 tonnes in May 2020 and 981 tonnes in April 2020.

Horse Hill oil production in barrels per day (bpd) in 2020. Source: OGA

July 2020 was the fourth full month of oil production at Horse Hill.

In 2018, a Competent Persons Report (CPR) by the consultancy Xodus predicted a production rate of 250-500 bpd in the first year. In year three, in the downside case, Xodus predicted production would fall to 122.5 bpd, slightly above the figure for July 2020.

Last month, DrillOrDrop reported that work had begun at Horse Hill to improve production in the Horse Hill-1 well. UKOG said a “short intervention” sought to “further optimise oil flow via reperforating the full Portland oil producing section, insertion of a new simplified production tubing string and by setting the downhole pump at a deeper level to increase pumping efficiency”.


Oil production (tonnes) from top 10 UK onshore oil sites in July 2020. Source: OGA

Horse Hill ranked seventh in the UK onshore for tonnes of oil produced In July 2020.

This was down from fourth in April 2020 and May 2020, when the site was behind Wytch Farm in Dorset, Welton in Lincolnshire and Singleton in West Sussex.

In June 2020, the site was pushed into sixth place by Humbly Grove and Stockbridge, both in Hampshire.

 In the latest data, Horse Hill was also overtaken by Horndean, in Hampshire.

Formation water

Production in tonnes of oil (blue) and formation water (orange) at Horse Hill in 2020. source: OGA

Today’s data also revealed that the production of formation water at Horse Hill fell slightly from 49 bpd to 45bpd (or 235.7 tonnes in June 2020 to 219.5 tonnes in July 2020).

But as a proportion of total production in tonnes, formation water has increased for three consecutive months. In July 2020, it was 30%, up from 27% in June 2020, 11% in May 2020 and 0.1% in March and April 2020.

Associated gas produced at Horse Hill, which is burnt in a flare at the site, fell in July 2020 to 16.5 tonnes, down from 24.7 tonnes in June 2020, 22.04 tonnes in May 2020 and 22.89 in April 2020.

  • Figures for UK oil production are always released three months in arrears. The figures are for oil fields and it is not possible to compare production from individual wells on sites with several wells.

9 replies »

  1. Most Wells and Fields of their age produce water, and require stimulation to re-pressurise. I don’t understand and like this biased reporting. The reserves base are what matters, not the monthly production! 🙄
    P.S. there’s plenty more oil to be produced!, 🛢😉👍

      • No surprise to me when you look at Brockham water to oil production from day 1. UKOG were obviously expecting it but probably not this early in the life of the wells. It is not the amount of water that is the problem it is the disposal costs which include transport and treatment. I believe some has been taken to Avonmouth as well as BKP facilities.

        Wytch Farm has some interesting figures for July.

        Oil Production Mass (tonnes) 51,612.33
        Associated gas production mass (tonnes) 2,128.03
        Injected water mass (tonnes) 4,639.30
        Water production mass (tonnes) 1,561,500.40

      • It does indeed Paul. However, with oil at rock bottom pricing it matters far less than it might otherwise do. Early monthly production may not be as important as optimising medium and longer term production. Obviously irritating for those invested, except that is the standard for such companies, so for those who do not like irritation, should look elsewhere, or consider whether that same oil at $50-$60/barrel may be a better longer term investment for them.

        In terms of the produced water, there are plans at HH that require water injection, so-again- may be a short term irritation but a long term blessing.

        Good, though, to see you are embracing the value of UK oil to the UK economy-(when it returns)- ready to pay off £trillions of debt!

  2. HH is still operating under the EA appraisal permit and already so depleted that the underlying formation water is coming up with the last dregs of oil. Expect the volume to keep falling and wastewater cut to get worse month on month. Wastewater disposal costs will be crippling.

    The Kimmeridge is uncommercial without fracking (no surprises there), UKOGs only income is from HH-1 Portland which is now very close to the end.

    Brace yourselves for another placing, they aren’t making enough money from oil exploration and need to fund the directors lifestyles and the drilling costs on the latest “missed play” in Turkey…

  3. I wonder if that is why the well was identified for “stimulation”, and that was reported, and that work has been underway/completed recently?? Successfully? Well, time will tell.

    I am intrigued that some who seem to spend a lot of their time watching what is going on at HH seem to have missed that-including DoD.

    Another example of attempting to distort by telling a part of the story-like saying someone has gone to hospital, when the reality is they have visited a sick friend. The English language is a marvel at allowing such poor standards to be utilised for those who want to believe and act without asking questions. However, the upside is that it identifies those who want to follow that path-so, well done Dorkinian and Jono.

    Nice to see that Wytch Farm is still producing it’s oil quietly (July figures equated to around one tanker load from Nigeria-but without the hassle) within an area of outstanding natural beauty without any issues, and that Stockbridge is doing the same yet the River Test remains one of the worlds most pristine trout fisheries.
    See-even the figures for a single month can be rewarding if the questions are asked.

  4. Thanks, Ruth.

    I wasn’t picking holes, but context is important, and if that context has been made available seems reasonable to include. With strains upon the NHS over excitement can then be avoided!

    Takes me back to the “old days” where car engines were “decoked” after a period to improve efficiency. Sometimes it proved to be the solution, sometimes not.

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