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Extended well tests planned for Horse Hill

Horse Hill Developments Ltd (HHDL) held a public information event today to tell local residents about their plans for further oil flow testing at Horse Hill.

Exhibition panels gave an overview of the plans, and staff from UKOG (which has a 42% stake in HHDL) and consultants specialising in planning, transport, ecology and health and safety were on hand to answer questions (or, in some cases, refuse to).

Tests in two phases, and two new wells

HHDL will shortly be applying for planning application to carry out further testing at the site, in two phases.

  • If approved, the first phase will be four extended well tests on the existing well, which was drilled in 2014 and tested earlier this year. Each test will involve flowing continuously for up to 90 days.
  • The second phase will involve drilling a horizontal well off the existing one, extending 1km to the East, and a second vertical well. These would also be tested for up to 90 days each.

Acid would be used to stimulate the flow of oil. The exhibition board said “This is typically a 15% hydrochloric acid solution”, and, when pressed, the health and safety consultant said that concentrations would never be higher than 15%, and that hydrofluoric acid would not be used.

A process called ‘hot oil washing’ would be used to remove waxes in the crude oil. This involves circulating heated oil back down the well.

The company say they will not carry out hydraulic fracturing, and that the oil they are targeting flows without the need for stimulation other than acid.

Read more details on the plans on Drill or Drop

Local impacts

The exhibition played down local impacts, saying “we do not expect any noise impact on nearby properties” and not mentioning emissions to air, liquid or solid waste, or visual or ecological impacts.

Throughout the periods of 24/7 drilling, the site will be lit by six to eight lighting towers. Estimates of truck movements range from six (three in and three out) during flow testing to twenty (ten in and ten out) while the site is prepared. There will be ‘small spikes’ of heavier traffic when rigs are being mobilised and demobilised.

Climate impacts

Astonishingly, climate didn’t get a single mention in the exhibition.  While it was acknowledged that “technological advances, electric vehicles, increased energy efficiency and energy from renewables will all affect the way energy is produced and used”, this is dismissed as “unlikely to have any significant impact on the UK’s energy mix”.

There was no mention of the government’s commitment made in Paris last year to move to net zero carbon emissions.

What about the longer term?

The consultants refused to speculate on what could follow the test drilling.

And UKOG CEO Stephen Sanderson refused to discuss his hopes for the vast amounts of oil waiting to be extracted from the Weald area.

UKOG has estimated there are 124 billion barrels of oil under the Weald, which extends over 1,200 square miles or more. When questioned about how much of this could potentially be extracted, and how many wells would be needed to do so, Mr Sanderson simply walked away.

This was disappointing as many residents were concerned about his past predictions for the industrialisation of the area.

In this video of clips from interviews Mr Sanderson says, “this type of oil deposit very much depends on being able to drill your wells almost back to back so it becomes very much like an industrialised process … Generally you have to drill a lot wells close to each other so you can maintain a certain level of production.”

Planning application

A planning application will be submitted to Surrey County Council – they said this will happen in mid-September.

If permission is given, the company will have to meet conditions and apply for various licences before it can start work. The consultants estimated it could be up to two years before work starts.

Further information

The website the company promoted on the leaflets isn’t very useful:

We’ll keep an eye open for the planning application and post links here when it’s submitted.

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Public information event on Horse Hill, 21 July

Horse Hill Developments Ltd, the consortium of companies who operate the Horse Hill drill site near Horley, is holding a public information event.

Where:  Charlwood Parish Hall, Horley, Surrey, RH6 0DS

When: Thursday 21 July, 12 noon to 7.30pm

This is your chance to find out more about their plans for further test drilling at Horse Hill. You can to ask about their short- and long-terms plans for the site and the potential impacts on your property, your health, your environment and your community.

The event runs from 12 noon to 7.30pm. Drop in at any time to talk to HHDL representatives and consultants working for them.

Download the official invitation here

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Application to extract gas in AONB at July planning committee

IGas’s plans to produce gas at Albury in the Surrey Hills and remove it by tanker for 15 years will come before the Surrey County Council Planning Committee on 13 July.

Officers have recommended councillors APPROVE the plans, even though the site is in the Green Belt, the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, an Area of Great Landscape Value, a Site of Nature Conservation Importance and is ancient woodland to boot. Please write to the Planning Committee members (contact details on the Surrey County Council website) before 13 July.

Read more about it on the Drill or Drop website.

Local people and others are writing to the planning committee to ask them to refuse permission. If you’d like to write, you can see a template letter here – please adapt it to give your own views. And don’t be slow – the committee meeting is this Wednesday, 13 July.

If you want to write to the planning committee members, you will find their contact details here.

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Horse Hill trial verdict – not guilty of Obstruction of the Highway!

Anti-fracking campaigners found not guilty in Horse Hill trial

outside court2








Nine anti-fracking campaigners have been found not guilty of wilful obstruction of the highway following protests outside the Horse Hill exploration site near Horley in the trial at Redhill Magistrates Court which lasted all last week.


The nine had all been arrested for ‘slow walking’ – making their peaceful protest by walking in front of lorries delivering to the site and leaving – during February and March 2016, while flow tests were being conducted.


The prosecution said that this was an obstruction of the highway. However, having studied the evidence, including footage of the arrests, Judge William Ashworth concluded that the defendants were all walking at a “reasonable” speed, and that their method of protest was not unreasonable or disproportionate.


District Judge Ashworth said, “By and large the protest at Horse Hill can be characterised as a dignified and peaceful protest”. He said he was concerned about the deteriorating relationship between police and protesters and said, “It is a shame they [the police] did not reach an accommodation to allow the protests to proceed in a manner that did not require arrests.”


This verdict follows not guilty verdicts for slow-walking anti-fracking campaigns in Balcombe, Barton Moss, Crawberry Hill and West Newton. [1]


One of the campaigners, Paddy Horne, said: “I am very happy. The fight goes on. It is very important to nip any infringements [of human rights] in the bud. The defence barristers and Judge Ashworth summarised that this case centred on freedom of speech and it was said we were “speaking truth to power”.”


Sarah Finch from Frack Free Surrey said, “The ‘not guilty’ verdicts are a huge relief for the people involved, and a vindication of the right to peaceful protest. Across the UK, people power is keeping the threat of unconventional oil and gas drilling at bay. We will continue to use our right to peaceful protest to oppose further drilling at Horse Hill.”


UK Oil & Gas Investments, one of the companies with interests in the Horse Hill well, has announced it plans to return for further testing this year. UKOG makes no bones about the fact it plans to use unconventional techniques, including multi-well pads, horizontal drilling and acid stimulation, nor that it sees Horse Hill as a gateway to further drilling right across the Weald basin. The company recently acquired a further 300 km sq licence in West Sussex which includes the site at Broadford Bridge.


Read more about the trial and the verdict at


[1] Frack Free Surrey understands that of more than a hundred arrests for obstruction of the highway for slow walking vehicles, every person who has defended the charge has been declared ‘not guilty’.











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News from UKOG, and from the law court

UKOG have acquired a further 300 km sq licence at the centre of the Weald

Yesterday, the case against one of the protester arrested during demonstrations outside the Horse Hill exploratory oil site near Gatwick Airport was dropped.

The Crown Prosecution Service said it was offering no evidence against Kieran Dunne, one of ten people currently on trial for peaceful protests earlier this year. The trial of the other nine continues today.

Journalist Ruth Hayhurst is following the trial, look for updates on

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Campaigners on trial for peaceful protests at Horse Hill this week – but who is guilty?

Photo opportunity: 9am prompt Tuesday 14 June, Redhill Magistrates Court, Hatchlands Road, Redhill, RH1 6DH

 Twelve of the 19 people arrested for peacefully protesting against oil drilling at Horse Hill, near Horley, in February and March, are on trial this week. [1]

The twelve were arrested for ‘slow walking’ lorries delivering supplies to the drill site during February and March 2016, while flow tests were being conducted. Slow walking is a legal form of protest. [2]

The trial will begin on Monday 13 June at Guildford Magistrates’ Court (1pm) and will continue from Tuesday 14 to Friday 17 June at South East Surrey Magistrates’ Court, Redhill.  It is anticipated that the trial will attract a lot of support due to the contentious nature of the criminal charges.

 Meanwhile UK Oil & Gas Investments, one of the companies with interests in the Horse Hill well, has announced it plans to return for further testing this year. UKOG makes no bones about the fact they plan to use unconventional techniques, including multi-well pads, horizontal drilling and acid stimulation; techniques also known as Hydraulic Fracturing.   UKOG and Horse Hill Developments also speculate on further drilling in the area making the Horse Hill operation a ‘gateway’ to further drilling across the Weald basin. [3]

Dave Doktor, one of the defendants, says, “I protested peacefully at Horse Hill because the extraction of oil risks damaging the local ecology, the health of local residents and the global climate. There are larger plans for drilling in the Surrey area and across The Weald, so it’s crucial that communities come together and resist it.”

“By arresting us, the police tried to criminalise peaceful protest. But who is really guilty here? Ordinary people who risk arrest and personal liberty to draw attention to the devastation caused by unconventional oil drilling, or an industry that damages the health of local communities and causes catastrophic climate change?”

Rob Basto, from Reigate, says, “Local residents are grateful to the brave and principled people who came to Horse Hill this year to protest against the oil drilling that threatens to industrialise our area and wreck the local environment and the climate. If the government won’t protect the climate and the environment, ordinary, responsible people have to take a stand.”


Notes for Editors

[1] The 12 defendants have all pleaded not guilty, and believe their actions were justified in the face of the environmental and public health threat posed by the drilling plans.

[2] In January 2016, a test case against two anti-fracking ‘slow walk’ protectors arrested at Barton Moss, Greater Manchester, resulted in a not guilty verdict. In acquitting the pair, District Judge Nicholas Sanders said: “They were entitled to demonstrate, were entitled to walk along Barton Moss Road”.

[3] For UKOG’s interests in the Weald basin, see

*As well as risking criminalisation for peacefully protesting, the defendants have also had to suffer threats and harassment from UKOG investors. For this reason we would be grateful if names of defendants can be kept from the public arena if this is possible. This matter is currently under investigation by Surrey Police.*


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Horse Hill protectors in court



12 of the 19 people who were arrested for ‘slow walking’ lorries to the drill site at Horse Hill will be on trial between 13 and 17 June.

The trials will begin on Monday 13 June at Guildford Magistrate’s Court at 1.30pm. They will continue from Tuesday 14 to Friday 17 June at South East Surrey Magistrates Court, Hatchlands Road, Redhill, Surrey, RH1 6DH

If you can, please come along to show your support for the protectors outside the court – either at Guildford on Monday afternoon or at Redhill on Tuesday morning from 9am.

Sign up at the Facebook event page

And if you’d like to help with their travel costs, you can donate here

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UKOG plans – and Horse Hill update

UK Oil & Gas Investments (UKOG), one of the companies with interests in the Horse Hill exploratory oil well near Horley, has announced it is to invest an extra £4m in the Weald basin in southern England.

They have also said they plan to return to Horse Hill for further testing “in the winter of this year”. UKOG chief executive, Stephen Sanderson, said, “If that’s successful, we’ll immediately go in and drill a horizontal production well in one of the Kimmeridge limestones. We’ll be shooting 3D seismic so that we’re able to plan to drill more and locate more horizontal wells.”

Read more on the Drill or Drop website.

Former UK climate envoy denounces the Government over unconventional oil and gas

‘We are entitled to a government that is on our side, in return for the taxes we pay. In the matter of unconventional oil and gas, we do not have a government that is on our side. We have a government that is the enemy of the people.’

John Ashton, a career diplomat who served as the UK’s Special Representative for Climate Change from 2006-2012, had prepared a speech for a meeting in Sussex on the health effects of fracking, but was unable to attend because of family illness. His speech was read by a resident of Balcombe, the village renowned for its protests against fracking. You can read the full text below.

Other speakers at the meeting included an advisor on health and energy for medical charity Medact; the Executive Director of CHEM Trust; and a GP from Ryedale in Yorkshire, an area on the front line of fracking. Read a report of the meeting in the Mid Sussex Times

Read the rest of this entry >>

Island Gas submits more info on Albury CNG application

Island Gas Ltd has submitted additional information in support of its application for the production of Compressed Natural Gas at the Albury Park Wellsite, East of New Road, Albury, Surrey. The new information covers restoration and aftercare of the well site.

You can read the information and submit comments here:

Look under the ‘Attachments’ tab and note that the newest documents are listed last.

For more information on the Albury site, see this page: