beer 1180

As soon as I heard that Cuba was running out of beer I knew I had to get out there to help.

Beer is akin to a basic human right.  It provides health and happiness to billions of people around the world each day, lubricating conversations, slaking thirst, and bringing communities together.  A nation starved of beer is no nation in my book.

I knew something was amiss when I checked into my hotel.  (No I’m not going to reveal which one, it’s hard enough getting a room at the best of times.)  Ernesto, the night manager, welcomed me with a gloomy expression.  Hucksters had been coming round and offering three times the going rate for cans of Bucanero.  “But sir, it’s OK, I have kept some back for you, especially.”

That’s my man.

sinking ship 1180

So my Brexit post at the start of the week kicked up a bit of a stir.

As I said on Monday, I’m an Aussie so it’s not for me to tell you Pommies how to vote.

But as an Aussie I do have views on our great shared institution The Commonwealth.  And as a businessman I understand the economics, and see the trade implications of EU membership first hand.

It beggars belief why any country would choose to shackle itself to a declining economy such as Europe, in a relationship that acts as a straight jacket.

Because that’s what EU membership does.  It prevents Britain from forging more meaningful trade relations with other more dynamic countries and trading blocs around the world.

Obama in Cuba

I love America.  And I’m a fan of Obama.

He’s in his last 8 months and he’s working seriously on his legacy.

Cuba’s been on the naughty step for 55 years. It’s cost them a trillion dollars.  America hasn’t always been behaved brilliantly towards her neighbour.  In fact, the relationship has been soured by all sorts of hiccups – Russian nukes, Guantanamo Bay, the Bay of Pigs fiasco (when American-trained Cuban exiles tried to overthrow Fidel Castro’s government), lots of finger wagging, and the embargo.

But this week Obama was man enough to accept that this hasn’t worked and that the time has come for US policy on Cuba to change. “A policy of isolation designed for the Cold War makes little sense in the 21st Century.

IMG_0953

Like a good pint of Guinness on St Patrick’s day, Monday’s news from the Gatwick Gusher was worth waiting for.

Some people think that because the initial test results are out, then that’s the end of the story for now. ‘Pack your kit bag and move on.’

Wrong.

This is just the beginning of the story, as UKOG and its pioneering partners move to make Horse Hill and the Weald Basin a big success. Even BP started as little tiddler way back in 1908.  Look what happened to them.

(If you don’t know, BP was founded in 1908 as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company following the discovery of its large oil field in Masjed Soleiman, Iran. It was the first company to extract petroleum from there.)

Now back to Horse Hill, a subset of Nutech’s 124 billion barrel (P50) potential of the UK’s Weald Basin.

The final Horse Hill 1 Portland test blew the lid off expectations.  323 barrels of oil per day, double the previous rate, made it the highest stable dry oil flow rate from any onshore UK Portland sandstone formation well.  Thanks to good old Mother Nature, and a bigger pump.  An even bigger pump would have given even more flow, but alas I don’t think they could find one in time. Pity.

US President Barack Obama meets Cuban President Raul Castro

Obama’s Cuba visit is more than an historic moment.  For Obama it’s personal.  Mark my word, we’re in for some big words this week.

It is nearly 90 years since a US President has visited Cuba (Calvin Coolidge was the last, in 1928).

And it’s over half a century since relations soured following Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution.  Pointing nukes at the Americans in 1962 went down very very badly (I don’t recommend it.)

As recently as 1996 the US imposed the Helms-Burton Act penalising companies investing in Cuba.

So when President Obama stepped off Air Force One yesterday, flanked by the First Lady, daughters Sasha and Malia, and even the First Mother-In-Law Marian Robinson, the sense of history was in the air.

flag 1180

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.

Countryside 1180

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.

horse hill 1180

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.

Stephen sanderson 1180

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?

Mushroom 1180

It’s just been reported that a US maintenance crew made a hash of repairing a nuke.

It’s been a tough week for our chums across the pond. As well as bodging the nuke job, they also lost one of their top of the range, laser-guided anti-tank missiles. They sent it back from Spain on an Air France jet, but instead of Florida, it ended up in Cuba. Serves them right for trying to save on the postage.

You wouldn’t want to be sat near that fella in first class.

Mind you, it would be more interesting than some of the people I’ve met. Take James, our friend trying to bring the e-cigar industry to Cuba. As much business vision as a packet of pretzels and the personality to match.

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