Horse Hill operator declares £17.8m loss

The operator of the Horse Hill oil site in Surrey lost nearly £18m in the year to September 2020 –a more than 15-fold increase on the year before.

Opponents of operations at Horse Hill protest outside the site at the start of a fund-raising cycle ride in July 2021. Photo: XR Reigate and Redhill

Annual accounts for Horse Hill Developments Limited (HHDL) reported administrative expenses of more than £9.5m, up from almost £242,000 in the previous 12 months.

The company also wrote off more than £6.5m in exploration costs and paid more than £0.5m in interest payments on loans.

HHDL had loans totalling more than £19m from its three shareholders, UK Oil & Gas plc, Doriemus plc and Alba Mineral Resources plc. This was up nearly a third on the year before.

The year saw an “unprecedented level” of operations at Horse Hill, the accounts said, including the formal start of oil production from the original HH-1 well.

HH-1 was also reperforated in the Portland oil section, with new production tubing and a deeper downhole pump. HHDL said:

“These improvements set HH-1 up for long-term continuous optimised oil production from the Portland”.

The accounts reported 146,900 barrels of oil had been produced and exported from the Kimmeridge and Portland up to the end of May 2021.

The site second well, HH-2/2z, drilled during the year, saw lower than expected oil production, the accounts said. The proportion of produced water to oil also increased rapidly. HHDL said it now planned to convert the well into a water injector.

Total operating costs at Horse Hill fell by 66% from January 2020 to January 2021, the accounts reported.

Despite this, the cost structure of HHDL was said to have a “high proportion of discretionary spend”. The company said this could be quickly reduced if cash flows were constrained to enable the company to continue operating.

The ultimate parent company, UKOG, has said it would continue to provide financial support for at least 12 months from signing of the accounts to meet obligations.

The accounts also reported HHDL had installed 250kw of photovoltaic solar panels and 67kWh Li-ion batteries at the site and commissioned a review of potential for geothermal energy at the site.

Key figures

Loss for the year after tax: £17,887,978 (2019: £1,155,205)

Turnover: £751,534 (2019: zero)

Cost of sales: loss of £1,905,170 (2019: zero)

Administrative expenses: £9,551,769 (2019: £241,925)

Operating loss: £10,705,405 (2019: £241,925)

Net assets: minus £16,707,285 (2019: £1,180,693)

Income from oil sales from long-term testing: £2,410,945

Outstanding loan balances from UK Oil & Gas plc: £16,025,078 (2019: £11,664,123)

Other loans: Doriemus Plc £556,830 and Alba Mineral Resources Plc £2,517,314

  • A legal challenge by Surrey campaigner, Sarah Finch, against planning permission for production at Horse Hill goes to the Court of Appeal in November 2021

20 replies »

  1. I wonder if the value is actually hidden in the dissolved gas and minerals in the water trucked offsite or treated onsite? Value may be in the water treatment and extraction process and could be lucrative when one is already being paid and thanked to take it away! Acoustic processes cause more gas to be dissolved in water by rectified diffusion. A stealth approach to hydrocarbon extraction.

  2. Remember that £17million loss is somebody else’s gain. Executives (and a little bit to the workers right down to the security bloke on the gate) will have been paid. Investors, in what they must now recognise for the Ponzi scheme that fracking always was. will have lost. It’s all part of the transfer of wealth from many to few.

    • Except, Biff, this was never anything to do with fracking.

      So, nice of you to join in, but perhaps a little basic research first, and then you may be able to wander off into your anti capitalist agenda with some excuse? (This site does seem to have become a haven for the anti capitalist agenda. Very formulaic. However, I do not believe the protestors turn up in stolen cars. Some do so in 3 liter BMW diesels.)

      Oh, is Mr. Musk still the world’s richest man? How much has he dolled out in dividends to his shareholders whilst becoming so?

      More pieces of a jigsaw that don’t fit together, but keep on hammering them in.

      Hello, Isla. Trust you are well.

      My spin?

      What-a company has a particularly tough time at the height of the pandemic, but has managed to keep going? Don’t think they are alone in that. However, during the height of the pandemic I was pleased to see that Fawley had increased the output of artificial rubber to help out with regard to medical requirement from Covid. I also noted that hospital transport was rushing around, consuming a lot of diesel, and still being clapped. Maybe they shouldn’t have done so? Maybe the hospitals shouldn’t have bothered maintaining their stand by generators?

      Meanwhile, on the IOW, I believe Cowes Power Station still managed to keep going with the fuel oil still being supplied.

      And now, this weekend, on IOW, there will be much joy at the Festival thanks to? The ferries!

      Although, the boat show at Southampton may enable some of the 90,000 to invest in a rowing boat to do a “Greta”-and increase the sales of plastic buckets at the same time.

      Going forward? Ermm, let me see. The tens of thousands of homes planned locally for the next few years? The Free Port locally? The extension of Southampton Airport? Looks as if those ferries could be very busy. Don’t think the local geothermal has enough capacity to contribute an awful lot more, and it seems interconnectors are being protested about as well. (Some of those tens of thousands will be built on the old Marchwood Power station site, that was used as a stand by site for electricity generation that was closed, and now what happens? Oh yes, in UK a stand by COAL fired site is restarted because the wind isn’t blowing!

      And the turbines were not spinning. I would suggest maybe their spinning, or not, should be the concern?

  3. Oh dear. Not such a problem when it’s shareholder’s money though. I presume the directors continued to take a considerable remuneration, but the figures don’t seem to include that. Because you’re worth it!

    • Its possible the true remuneration is in the water that is recycled. Acoustic technologies cause more hydrocarbon gas to be absorbed in the water by rectified diffusion and the Operator is able to remove hydrocarbons AND be paid and THANKED to take it away for environmental purposes. A double dip. Gases are then recovered either at the wellhead treatment water or trucked away and stripped of hydrocarbons and minerals later.

  4. I’m not qualified to comment on the science, Mia, but if valid then such subterfuge would be no surprise to those aware of the machinations of relevant industry to secure profit at the expense of all. Thanks for raising awareness of this – unanswerable if true.Is someone else out there knowledgeable enough to comment (relevantly) on your scientific point?

    • I am qualified to comment on Mia’s comment Iaith1720. We have seen the same comment from Mia several times before on DOD. It costs the operator a lot of money to dispose of any produced water off site hence they prefer to re-inject it in a disposal well or use it for waterflood pressure maintenance. Either way gas & oil are removed on site through separation process equipment so that the water can be transported / disposed of re-injected safely. If it is taken off site there are strict criterion governing the amount of oil in the water depending on the requirements of the disposal site, regulated by the EA and the Council. Trucking crude oil also has specific limits on the amount of dissolved gas content for safety reasons.

      Why would an operator who is making money from oil (or not in this case), want to send it to a waste disposal site so that others profit from the oil? In the case of this article the operator needs every drop they can recover…..

      Mia clearly is hung up on this weird conspiracy – perhaps it is something that happens in the US although I doubt it.

      See here for more Mia theories:

      “I wonder if they are degassing the water thats reinjected after acoustic cleaning at the surface? If so, its a good revenue stream for the producer/operator/investors and also environmentally friendly. They maybe get enough gas through acoustic rectified diffusion in the water clean up prior to reinjection and dont need to focus on oil production which produces more pollution. Also jo tax to pay as its unknown! This is speculation as I have no evidence and I am no industry expert just years of unprovable and therefore unrelated litigation research which I cannot discuss so dont ask please.”

      Rectified diffusion is a valid physical process (Google it) however there is no application for it at Horse Hill or any other upstream oil and gas project that I am aware of.

      • Hi Paul, its the gases and minerals in the waste water that are valuable. Ethane is used commercially as its covalent bonds make it versatile for uses such as in plastic manufacturing etc.. ineos is an example of such a company that would benefit from the waste water. Lithium etc is valuable for battery production etc….

    • Look at the youtube link “enhanced oil and gas production” by Professor Herbert Hoffstaetter and his work with Progress Ultrasonics. Other companies which can be found on the internet also use acoustic energy to cause mass transfer of hydrocarbons. The frequencies can be finely tuned with surface generators and computer software. Quite clever really.

      • Mia, I had a look at your link, it is basically about using sonic waves to cause cavitation and alter viscosity / clean / descale down hole equipment such as tubing / pumps / gravel packs etc. I am familiar with this. I think you are confusing downhole applications in wells (which the Prof talks about) with post production hydrocarbon extraction from waste water which you mention but could only happen at the wellsite in the UK due to limitations in hydrocarbons in waste content enforced by the authorities. There is no logic for an oil and gas company shipping oil and gas away for free in waste water for someone else to benefit from. And in any case it is illegal.

        • There may be injection wells and or disposal wells that can be kilometres away in the surrounding reservoir of production well where the hydrocarbons may be removed.. ( no proof but I believe it is possible but cant give evidence here) These seismic downhole technologies are powerful enough nowadays to actually stimulate production due to clever frequency modulation of acoustic waves by computer software linked to acoustic reactors- basic wave theory of peaks and troughs- this works subsurface and also at the wellhead. A North Sea ship driver I know mentioned INEOS had lines from offshore fields- i assume they must all be legal…ask questions and look at surrounding extractions up to kilometers away…The frequencies travel that far and are read as SEISMIC only, but they are far more powerful in bursts

          • Mia they are called pipelines. They are not hidden. I’m afraid you know very little about the oil and gas industry but you could learn if you wished. You would then find your conspiracy theories are unfounded.

            • Paul, [edited by moderator] your knowledge of the industry will be of interest to those who want to learn. They might even do a bit of work and reference the Forties Pipeline, where there is a great deal of fact available. Could even then look at other pipelines that crisscross the UK to help those who travel on their holidays ie. the transfer of processed oil.

        • Note that regarding “no logic…. to ship for free and give to someone else to benefit” is a naive comment in my view The beneficial owners of the reservoir may hide the real owner who may be only accounted for on a piece of paper in a side drawer or through a recorded verbal agreement. The owner maybe in joint venture with the recipients of the hydrocarbons and minerals and this is how the rich protect the rich. They receive equity in each others companies and not in trackable payments. I believe these payments may also be through expensive classic car transactions or priceless art…I cannot prove this but I have seen enough that stinks and I cannot disclose.

  5. How not to win over the public……

    “Some drivers were frustrated with the delays but others tweeted their support.

    Clive Farnham from Crawley tweeted that they should “have a protest on the side of the road ” and “allow others to go about their business” while Laura asked the group if they had “thought about the pollution you are causing to the environment with the tailbacks of 15/20 miles on several sections of the m25 which makes it all a joke”.

    Green Party member, Matt Hill, thanked the protesters and tweeted that his 20-minute journey took 90 minutes today but while he was “frustrated and concerned” for his son being late for college, he was “nowhere near as concerned as I am for his future if we don’t act urgently to address our climate emergency”.”

    I assume those that were frustrated were those going to work, the support tweeters perhaps not?

  6. Makes me wonder why Mr. Hill’s son could not cycle to college, or take public transport. There are alternatives to the motorway. I trust his batteries did not lose all their charge.

    The other aspect about tailbacks of 15/20 miles is that those causing them have no idea who are within that tailback. Perhaps some who are involved in more vital journeys.

    So, more fossil fuel required to produce insulation? Perhaps a high proportion of those trying to go about their business already had complete insulation?

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