Regulators have given UK Oil & Gas plc more time to drill at the Horse Hill site in Surrey, the company announced today.
In a statement, it said the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) had granted two-year extensions for licences PEDL137 and PEDL246 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This means UKOG can continue to hold the entire area of the PEDLs and not give up any of the licence.
Under the new deadlines, the company must start drilling a Kimmeridge appraisal well by 30 September 2022 and drill a Kimmeridge exploration well by 30 June 2025.
This is the second extension of its kind in the Horse Hill licences.
UK onshore licences are divided into terms, in which different operations are usually carried out. They move from an initial (exploration|) term to a second (appraisal) term after five or six years.
For the second term, companies agree with the OGA a retention area and a plan for continued work. Some retention areas require companies to give up part of their licence areas.
The retention areas for PEDLs 137 and 246 were originally approved in June 2016. The retention areas comprised the entire licence areas. PEDL137 was due to expire in June 2018 and PEDL246 in June 2017.
In April 2017, DrillOrDrop reported a company announcement that the OGA had extended the duration for both of the Horse Hill retention areas and their work plans. Under the extension, PEDL137 ran until 30 September 2021 and PEDL246 until 30 June 2021.
Despite today’s news, the UKOG share price has fallen. At the time of writing, it was down more than 13% at 0.14p. UKOG also reported a pause to drilling in Turkey, where it has a 50% stake in the Basur-3 well.