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History has a habit of repeating itself and I couldn’t help feeling a spot of déjà vu as the trucks started rolling out of Horse Hill laden with oil again. Second time in a fortnight!

It’s now gushing at over twice the rate as last time.  900 plus barrels a day no less. Add that to the 463 barrels a day from the other week, and that’s a lot of oil. Each tanker is nearly 200 barrels, so that 7 tankers a day at for both oil zones. That’s a lot of full petrol tanks.

And hopefully more oil to come from the next test zone.

Horse Hill is beginning to look like a game-changer for the UK oil industry.  Horse Hill is now flowing better than the Wytch Farm discovery well, currently the biggest onshore oil field in Western Europe.

Which got me thinking.

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Oil be dammed! It’s been a rather hectic two weeks in Lenigas-land.

The well has “gushed” in style. (By the way, gusher is a proper oil dude term if you care to look it up).

Do you remember some of those headlines from back in 2015?

‘New Gatwick Oil Gusher Means Nothing Says Expert’ (June 2015). Pah!  Critchlow at The Telegraph, and so called ‘expert’ Matthew Jurecky, of GlobalData – time to eat your words!

And what about this – ‘Gatwick oil gusher claims ‘wildly optimistic’ warns expert’ (Apr 2015).  Oh that will be Critchlow again, and his gloomy sidekick Jurecky. Critchlow no longer works at the Telegraph.

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When the BBC’s energy correspondence John Moylan, announced at 7.03 am on April 9 last year, that there could be 100 billion barrels of oil in the Weald Basin south of London there was uproar.

Not celebration.  Not thanks.  A kind of un-British scorn, cynicism and disbelief.

The BBC came up with the 100 billion barrel headline for the whole Weald by chatting with Steve Sanderson, and thumbnail sketched the ultimate potential of the Basin by using the Horse Hill numbers extending over a much bigger area.

Wells in the Weald have been producing oil for decades (you’ve probably put some of it in your car).  But you’d be forgiven for not noticing – the nodding donkeys are so well hidden it’s like keyhole surgery.

What was different was that our advisers Nutech, the world’s leading reservoir analysts, had conducted state of the art drilling, electronic logging, and detailed analysis using techniques that had simply not been available a generation ago. Nutech are leaders in their field, and one of a handful of authorised companies to hold all the UK onshore drilling data for Her Majesty’s Government.

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In case anybody is in any doubt the hero of today’s news from Horse Hill is the incredible oil man, and gentleman, Steve Sanderson.

Steve made this discovery possible and I owe him an enormous debt of gratitude.  I’m good at what I do best – taking a project of size, resourcing it, and bringing in the right management.

Steve identified the potential of the Kimmeridge and agreed to front the company in the face of doom-mongers and naysayers.  He stepped up to the plate, first as a consultant, then as CEO, and then Chairman, after I stepped down.

Steve agreed to become Chairman at my request, and in doing so staked his own reputation on Horse Hill coming good.  Today he has been proved right.

So, why did we find the oil and no one else?

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Is the “Gatwick Gusher” real – hell, yes!

Today’s news of the oil flow test results from Horse Hill, 1.2 miles from London’s second airport, Gatwick, is truly astonishing.

They show beyond doubt that what lies beneath the south-east of England is a strategic oil play of huge potential and of national importance for the UK.

The first of three zones to be tested gushed to the surface yesterday at a sustainable flow rate of 460 barrels of English’s finest 40 API oil through a tiny half inch hole.  For the layman – that’s fast flowing, consistent, high quality oil.

So many doubters with their poisoned pens thought the Gatwick Gusher was simply hype.  Many even penned that there would not be a chance in hell that this well would even flow.  They’re going to have to eat their hats.

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The Germans are coming and I predict they will win the electric vehicle war.

Our Teutonic friends are famous for their precision engineering and brilliant technology teams, and they are now on target to dominate the EV market with cars we will all want to buy.

Remember that iconic VW TV advert with the Princess Diana lookalike from 1987?

Directed by David Bailey, it shows Diana, aka the leggy model Paula Hamilton, storming out of a mews house, relationship over, petulantly chucking away her wedding ring, pearl necklace, and mink coat.  She hesitates, and instead of throwing her VW keys down the drain keeps hold of them, before driving off in her trusty, reliable Mark II Golf.

“If only everything in life was as reliable as a Volkswagen.”

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Why am I so good looking?

Come on folks, we’ve all been wondering. But don’t think I’m challenging Kylie for the title of fairest Aussie export of them all. I’m talking about rare metals.

Because without them the picture gracing the home page of this blog – which a lot of you are reading on your iPhones – wouldn’t look half so good.

Europium and terbium help make the brilliant colours on your phones stand out and cerium buffs the glass so I don’t look any more craggy than usual. The fact you can see me at all so long after your last charge is thanks to lithium, without which the battery would be so heavy it would make your suit sag like one of Les Patterson’s cast-offs.

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Like many of you I kept a close eye on the Paris Climate Summit in December.

The implications of decisions made today are going to reverberate across the global economy, and down the generations.  Our kids (and their kids) are going to reap the benefits.  Or have to deal with the consequences.

Startling new data out this week from Standard and Poor’s suggest investment in clean tech will top $16 trillion over the next 15 years.

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Have you ever tried to count how many battery-powered devices or machines you own?

Have a guess.  10?  20?  50?

Believe me it’s more than you’d think.

The humble battery makes the world go round, and yet we take it for granted.  Without ‘portable power’ we’d have no wireless internet, no mobiles, no cars, no electric torches, no hearing aids, pacemakers, digital watches, or drones.  No Apple, no Sony, no Tesla.

And stand by because the number of devices using batteries is going to skyrocket as the technology improves. Batteries are everywhere.  Can you think of a culture, a country, a religion, a race of people that doesn’t use batteries in some way or another?

But frustratingly there are some annoying flaws with the batteries of yesterday.  Toxic materials, poor charge retention, the dreaded ‘memory effect’, weight, and cost.

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Good to see The Economist and the FT writing about lithium and energy innovation in the past couple of days.

The Economist says that demand for lithium and high-density energy storage is set to soar amidst a global scramble to secure supplies.   The world’s largest battery producers Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Sony, and ATL are hoovering up supplies, as are carmakers such as Toyota and Tesla, and other end users.

Gloomy news if you rely on lithium for your anti-depressant drugs.

In fact, The Economist calls lithium “the world’s hottest commodity”, explaining that the price of 99.5%-pure lithium carbonate imported to China more than doubled in the two months to the end of December, to $13,000 a tonne.  Some even suggest the Chinese spot market may even hit $20,000 in the next few months.

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