An oil company has announced flow tests at the ‘Gatwick Gusher’ drill site show oil can be brought to the surface at ‘excellent’ rates.
UK Oil & Gas Investments (UKOG) said there could be up to a billion barrels of oil beneath the well in Horse Hill, Horley, last April.
Its new announcement has come days after the leader of the Green Party visited the site and warned against ‘catastrophic’ climate change.
Stephen Sanderson, UKOG’s executive chairman, said: “This is a very significant event for the company and for oil and gas activity in the Weald basin of southern England. Importantly, tests so far show oil has flowed to the surface under its own pressure and has not, so far, required artificial lift.
“The flow test, the first ever in the Lower Kimmeridge limestone within the Weald basin, provides proof that significant quantities of moveable oil exist within the Kimmeridge section of the well and can be brought to surface at excellent flow rates. In this case from a vertical well with minimal stimulation.
“While these flow rates are significant and in excess of management’s expectations, it should be borne in mind that the planned future use of a horizontal well and appropriate conventional reservoir stimulation techniques could likely increase flow rates even further.
“We look forward to more news from the final test results from the Lower Kimmeridge limestone and the shallower tests. The company will be starting the regulatory permit process forthwith, so we can return to the well to seek to demonstrate sustainable commercial production.”
The leader of the Green Party Natalie Bennett and Green MEP Keith Taylor visited the oil well on Friday (February 12).
A UKOG spokesman has said it was a ‘non-fracking’ company after Frack Free Surrey campaigners voiced fears oil extraction would reveal rocks suitable for fracking and started ‘slow walking’ trucks delivering testing gear to the site on February 1.
Natalie Bennett said: “Local residents are understandably concerned about traffic, air pollution and the risk of spills.
“We need to leave at least two-thirds of fossil fuel in the ground to avoid catastrophic climate change and the fossil fuel industry is now receiving more than £400 per person per year in subsidies - far more than is given, and should be given, to renewables.”
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