The industry regulator has approved the use of an oil well at Horse Hill in Surrey for disposal of waste water, the site’s parent company announced today.
In a statement, UK Oil & Gas plc said the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) had granted formal consent for recompletion of the Horse Hill 2z (HH2z) well for water reinjection.
Earlier this month, the Environment Agency also gave permission for the reinjection at Horse Hill of produced water that comes to the surface during oil extraction.
Reinjection can improve the flow of oil and dispose of waste liquid more cheaply.
UKOG said today:
“With both the Environment Agency and NSTA permissions in hand, UKOG can now further expedite its plans for produced saline formation water reinjection at Horse Hill during 2022, which, if implemented, would remove the need for costly transportation and disposal of produced water at distant third-party sites.”
Shares in UKOG rose 2.46% today, closing at 0.125p.
Nearly 500 members of the public, as well as parish councils and campaign groups, responded to a consultation by the Environment Agency in 2019 on proposals for reinjection and other changes at Horse Hill.
The HH2z well is a sidetrack, spudded on 19 October 2019. It is currently listed as shut-in on the NSTA database.
More time for drilling
Last week, UKOG said the NSTA had agreed a one-year extension to the agreed Retention Area programme for PEDL137, the licence which includes Horse Hill.
The company now has an extra year in which to drill a second well into the Kimmeridge formation at Horse Hill. Drilling must begin before 30 September 2023, UKOG said.
The Horse Hill site was granted planning permission in September 2019 for a four more production wells and 20 years of oil extraction. So far, none of the extra wells have been drilled.
The permission has been challenged in the courts by local campaigner, Sarah Finch. She has applied to take her case to the Supreme Court, the highest court in the UK.
Horse Hill currently extracts oil from the Portland formation. But it has drilled into the Kimmeridge. UKOG has said it is looking at the viability of restarting Kimmeridge production and drilling more wells into the Portland.
The most recent data from the NSTA, for February 2022, puts production at Horse Hill at 59 barrels of oil per day. This one of the lowest levels recorded in a month since formal extraction began in March 2020.