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Keep fossil fuels in the ground!

A group from two local Green Party branches visited the Horse Hill site on Sunday.  You can read a report on the Reigate & Banstead Green Party website

Keep fossil fuels in the ground!

Keep fossil fuels in the ground!

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Horse Hill: new estimate of unconventional oil potential

Industry consultants Schlumberger have evaluated the unconventional oil potential of the Horse Hill-1 well – and increased the estimate of unconventional oil available.

The following is an excerpt from a press release from UK Oil & Gas Investments plc (UKOG):

“Schlumberger has estimated a gross overall oil in place (“OIP”) for the Jurassic section of the well to be approximately 271 million barrels of oil (“mmbbls”) per square mile.

“A total of 255 mmbbls gross OIP lies within the tight limestone and mudstone plays of the Kimmeridge, Oxford Clay and Lias. The balance is in the Upper Portland Sandstone discovery previously announced. This figure of 255 mmbbls per square mile can be compared with the OIP estimated by Nutech Ltd and previously reported in April 2015 as gross 158 mmbbls per square mile.

“Oil in place hydrocarbon volume estimates should not be construed as recoverable resources or reserves.”

Neil Ritson, [Chairman of Solo Oil plc which owns a 10% interest in Horse Hill Developments Ltd], commented;

“We are pleased to note that Schlumberger… has confirmed the order of magnitude of the earlier work conducted by Nutech.  Taken together these independent estimates continue to suggest a significant oil potential in the unconventional Jurassic sequence in the Horse Hill area and may have wider significance in the Weald Basin generally.”

Frack Free Surrey says:

“It is important to remember that these figures are estimates and not confirmed reserves.  But regardless of the size of the oil field, there’s no justification in digging it up.

“We oppose the expansion of both conventional and unconventional oil exploitation in East Surrey and across the Weald.

“To prevent climate change we need to leave between two thirds and four fifths of our fossil fuels in the ground. We need urgently to rethink energy policy, reduce energy consumption, and speed up the transition to a clean, green economy based on renewable energy.

“Let’s follow the example of Balcombe, the village which said no to fracking and is now demonstrating that they can meet all their electricity needs with solar energy – and still have some to spare.”


Next steps

The permit application for flow testing is now with the Environment Agency and if permitted, flow testing is expected this Autumn.


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Horse Hill applies for permit change to allow well testing

The operators of the Horse Hill exploratory oil site near Gatwick have applied to vary their environmental waste permit to allow them to test the well.

The application, by Horse Hill Developments Limited (HHDL), was published by the Environment Agency yesterday. A public consultation runs until 25th June 2015.

Read the full story on the Drill or Drop website


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Call for human rights assessments of fracking

An article* published in the International Journal of Human Rights calls for human rights impact assessments of fracking proposals.

The article, written by a team from the Human Rights Consortium, School of Advanced Study, University of London, is titled Extreme energy, ‘fracking’ and human rights: a new field for human rights impact assessments. Read the rest of this entry >>

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Horse Hill latest

The latest press release from UK Oil & Gas Investments gives a new estimate for the volume of oil in the Upper Portland Sandstone conventional reservoir in the Horse Hill area of around 21 million barrels.

It also says that Horse Hill Developments Ltd is proceeding with applying for the relevant permissions. The press release, dated 11 May 2015, says, “Subject to approval by the relevant authorities, the Company intends to flow test this conventional sandstone zone as part of a wider test programme of the HH-1 well later in 2015. A successful test would be followed by a full technical resource assessment, and the identification of potentially recoverable resource volumes.

“Subject to these results, the Company is informed that the operator, Horse Hill Developments Ltd, intends to engage with the Oil and Gas Authority (“OGA”) and other regulators, and seek to move the PEDL137 licence into the Production Period as soon as practicable, via submission of a Field Development Plan to the OGA. The PEDL137 licence is currently in the exploration phase and expires on 30 September 2015. HHDL has applied for a one-year extension of the exploration phase to 30 September 2016.”

Read the press release:

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Two chances to speak up for the climate

Campaigners from Surrey will be at both events, please join us!

RTP_Didcot-flyer-2015Reclaim the Power –
Oxfordshire, 29 May – 2 June

No Dash for Gas is holding an international weekend of climate action, near Didcot gas-fired power station in Oxfordshire, to take creative direct action against the fossil fuel industry and build the movement for energy democracy.

The weekend includes workshops, training, and a day of mass action against the fossil fuel industry on Monday 1 June.



More details on Reclaim the Power on









cclogoSpeak Up For The Love Of…
Westminster, London, 17 June

The Climate Coalition is coordinating a mass lobby of parliament on 17 June. The idea is that 10,000 people will meet with our MPs in the streets around Parliament, all at the same time, and urge them to protect all the things we love that are threatened by climate change.

The event will have a festival feel, with music, entertainers and art installations and aims to engage a wide cross section of people through the Coalition’s 100 member organisations.

More details on Speak Up for the Love of on the Friends of the Earth website




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General election result: what does it mean for fracking?

Anti-fracking campaigners are dismayed at the re-election of the Conservative Government – and the reappointment of George Osborne to his old job as Chancellor of the Exchequer (with the additional role of First Secretary of State).

The Conservative’s election manifesto said, “We will continue to support the safe development of shale gas, and ensure that local communities share the proceeds through generous community benefit packages.”

And a letter George Osborne sent to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs last September shows how keen he is to fast-track shale gas drilling. The letter urged ministers to make dozens of interventions to speed the process up. Read Osborne’s letter and recommendations on the Guardian website.

New Energy and Climate Minister

Campaigners have expressed qualified relief that the post of Energy and Climate Minister went to Amber Rudd. She is at least convinced of the threat of human-made climate change, unlike some of the senior Tories.

But the Global Warming Policy Forum website says that Ms Rudd is in favour of fracking and quotes here as saying, “I think fracking is a positive thing to have in the UK, as long as we can do it extremely safely and reassure communities that that’s the case, and I think we can.”

Campaigners have a job on our hands persuading Ms Rudd that shale gas is a red herring – we need to focus all our efforts on reducing energy demand and providing people with locally-owned, sustainable energy harnessed from the sun, sea and wind.

Anti-fracking MPs

Not all MPs share Osborne’s and Rudd’s acceptance of fracking and many voted for a fracking moratorium earlier this year. Read this summary by Ruth Hayhurst of which of these MPs kept and which lost their seats

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Oil company backtracks on wild Weald claims

Last month an announcement by UKOG – the company which has drilled at Horse Hill near Horley – that there could be up to 100 billion barrels of oil under the Weald Basin caused a media frenzy.

See the last two posts on this blog for some examples of starry-eyed reports which portrayed Horley as the new Dallas.

Less widely reported was the follow-up statement a week later that UKOG actually didn’t know how much oil there was in the 55 square miles it is licensed to explore – let alone the wider Weald basin (estimated approx. 1,100 square miles).

In a ‘Clarification’ statement issued on 15 April, UKOG backtracked admitted that: “The OIP [oil in place] hydrocarbon volumes estimated should not be considered as either contingent or prospective resources or reserves.”

And it said: “The Company has not undertaken work outside of its licence areas sufficient to comment on the possible OIP in either the approximate 1,100 square miles or the whole of the Weald Basin.”

Friends of the Earth South East campaigner Brenda Pollack said: “UKOG has backtracked on the wild claims it made and admitted that it has no idea how much oil is under the Sussex Weald.

“This is yet another example of the potential for shale oil and gas being over-hyped by an industry desperate to start pumping profits with little concern for residents or the climate.”

Read more:

UKOG’s Clarification of Press Comment in relation to 9 April Announcement 

Media coverage:

Drill or Drop website: UK Oil & Gas clarification – “we don’t know how much oil is in the Weald”

Proactive Investors website: Oil & Gas backtracks on Horse Hill oil find claims

West Sussex County Times: Oil company ‘not undertaken work’ to verify 100bn barrel estimate


Massive Gatwick oil find – a reality check

“On 10th April it was widely reported that a small oil company claims to have found up to 100 billion barrels of oil below the Weald region of southern England.  They estimate that up to 15 billion barrels is recoverable, about as much as Brazil’s proved reserves. They base this on a single drill site with no flow measurements. For anyone who knows anything at all about geology, this is beyond ludicrous.”

Earth scientist and and renewable energy entrepreneur Dr Jeremy Leggett pours cold water on the ‘Gatwick oil boom’ – and points out that that no major oil and gas company has a significant investment in UK shale – in this blog post


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Black Gold in the Weald – UKOG’s Alarming Discovery

The promise of black gold beneath the Weald has been one of today’s big stories in the national media.

UK Oil and Gas Investments (UKOG) has announced that it estimates there to be up to 100 billion barrels of extractable oil since completing exploratory drilling at the Horse Hill site.

This significant find will supposedly be obtainable from conventional methods of extraction. The fact that this is “tight” oil, which will more than likely require stimulation from hydraulic fracturing seems to be something the mainstream press isn’t questioning.

UKOG claims in a BBC article that the oil at Horse Hill is in rocks that are naturally fractured, giving “strong encouragement that these reservoirs can be successfully produced using conventional horizontal drilling and completion techniques”. The Beeb is evidently happy to publish an oxymoron (horizontal drilling) as truth.

Rob Basto a local resident and key Frack Free Surrey member has been facing the media today and reminding them that the depth of this resource means that it lies in layers “where you would need to use fracking, which is a much more dangerous process”.

Another voice of reason and sense amidst talk of a bonanza comes from Keith Taylor, Green MEP for south-east England, who sees this discovery as providing “the perfect opportunity for us to have an important national debate about keeping fossil fuels in the ground. The scientific consensus on climate change has never been greater and we have been told that the only way we have a chance of averting catastrophe is by leaving large reserves of oil in the ground”.

In the coming weeks, as we are swept in election fever and the media will almost certainly avert its gaze from this issue, it will be important to keep a close eye on the developments at the Horse Hill site. Fortunately, Rob and other members of Frack Free Surrey are ready to scrutinise and counter UKOG’s rhetoric. Such willingness to stand up for our countryside and against the fossil fuel industry will be vital.


Read more: