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.’


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.

900 bopd flowed from the Upper Kimmeridge – proving that those big fat juicy Kimmeridge limestones contain real volumes of moveable light oil.  These tests demonstrate that it can be extracted commercially.

And stable, natural dry-oil flowed at 464 bopd from the Lower Kimmeridge Limestone – the first ever oil to flow from this rock in the Weald Basin and onshore UK.  Never happened before!

So outstanding flow tests from a simple vertical well.  In all zones. And not a frack in sight.

Add all that up and it’s 1,700 barrels a day of light sweet crude only 20 miles from Big Ben.

As the legendary Stephen Sanderson said – an exceptionally good well by onshore UK standards. Achieving offshore flow rates, onshore in our own backyard.  Setting lots of records and putting Horse Hill amongst the top wells ever drilled on dry land in the UK.

So what next?

That stable flow rate can be taken even higher with larger capacity pumps in the next round of extended testing.  The next testing should even pay for itself at $40 oil.

These rates in the Portland will justify an additional well or two.  Horse Hill is off and running in the main horse race.

UKOG now need to secure regulatory permits to begin commercial production.  That will be up to the Chancellor, although given recent events I’m sure he’ll be over the moon for the extra £Billions into the UK exchequer.

The data needs to be re-crunched more thoroughly now.  So the Xodus, Schlumberger and Nutech boffins are going back into the labs.  I’d expect to see an upgrade to the estimates of how much oil sits south of London, and very soon.

And I’m putting my money on big long horizontal wells making all the difference for long term production.

English oil.

I reckon these tests have cost over £1 Million over the past 5 weeks.  To me that’s money well spent.  And of course those costs have been offset by 14 tankers already sent down to Esso’s refinery at Fawley, outside Southampton.

The costs would have been a lot less to the company and the British taxpayers if the NIMBYS pulled their heads in and really thought about what the real world wants and needs and not just their own self centred misguided opinions. How much police time and tax payer’s money has been wasted on policing the NIMBYS? The rubbish they made and left was a disgrace.

English oil.  It’s going to make a real difference to the economy here, and to energy security.   And there’s a chance your car’s already running on petrol refined from those tankers out of Horse Hill…

Written by David Lenigas