Call for Protectors at Horse Hill

‘Flow testing’ has started at the Horse Hill oil site, nicknamed the ‘Gatwick gusher’.

The operator, Horse Hill Developments Ltd (HHDL), is testing the potential flow of oil from three layers: the Portland Sandstone, Upper Kimmeridge Limestone and Lower Kimmeridge Limestone, using the well they drilled in late 2014.

The process involves perforating the well at each layer to test whether oil flows. If it doesn’t flow, or if the flow is weak, they will use a range of methods to encourage fluids to flow up the wellbore – including using acids, injecting diesel into the rock, and ‘swabbing’ to reduce the pressure in the wellbore.

Section 1 of this document gives more details of the processes involved.

The testing will lead to a range of fluids being extracted, including unspent hydrochloric acid, brine, diesel and water as well as the crude oil they are looking for. The Environment Agency Permit includes details of how all these materials are to be disposed of.

The company anticipates flow testing will take about 30 days.

Protectors at work

Protectors are at the site, recording and logging what enters and leaves the site and trying to ensure that planning conditions, such as the traffic route, are respected.

Experience shows that the operators and contractors don’t always meet the conditions imposed on them, and the regulators are not quick to spot or stop breaches. The protectors are playing a constructive and useful role for the good of all of us.

In this interview with BBC Surrey, one of the protectors, Dave, talks about what they are doing.

If you’d like to help, please go to the site: Horse Hill, Horley, Surrey, RH6 OHN

Please be aware that Horse Hill is a narrow road with fast traffic at times. Please be conscious of road safety issues at all times.

What could happen at Horse Hill?

Once testing is complete, the well will be resealed while HHDL examines the results.

If the results from the Kimmeridge (shale) layers are promising, the next step is likely to be applications for more wells.

In an interview in Shale Gas International Magazine, Chris Hughes, Commercial Director at NuTech, a consultancy which supports the oil industry, said,

“The next stage with Horse Hill and other prospective fields in the UK shale play basins… will require the drilling of new wells in order to get maximum information back…

“The proving of the play, and the process of getting it into production, will require the drilling of more boreholes, moving further away from where we currently are in the licence… If we moved a mile away from the Horse Hill site and drilled another well, would the rock look exactly the same as we saw in Horse Hill or is it thinner or thicker in terms of the actual target plays? Is it tighter? Is it less hydrocarbon-rich?”

The industry’s dream is for a large-scale shale gas industry in the Weald. This is completely incompatible with the need for a quick transition away from fossil fuels to avoid runaway climate change, not to mention the serious local environmental threats it poses.

Find out more about fracking, ‘tight oil’ and what you can do: Come to a meeting in Oxted on Saturday 6 February.

#NoFrackingWay gathering at Horse Hill

Local campaigners and supporters from Surrey and Sussex gathered at Horse Hill this morning as part of the national #NoFrackingWay campaign.

Horse Hill Developments Ltd is about so start testing oil flows at the well they drilled here in 2014. Depending on what they find, they may seek to use fracking or other unconventional extraction methods.


Flow testing at Horse Hill imminent

Horse Hill Developments Limited is expected to start flow testing at Horse Hill within the next couple of weeks.

What’s flow testing? It means they will be testing the potential flow of oil from three layers underground: the Portland Sandstone and the Upper Kimmeridge Limestone and Lower Kimmeridge Limestone.

There is a description of the process they will use in Part 1 of this document: Environment Agency Decision document

We understand that the Portland sandstone can yield conventional oil, and the Kimmeridge limestone would require fracking or other unconventional methods to extract it.

Frack Free Surrey is opposed to both conventional and unconventional extraction of oil and gas.

Quite apart from the local impacts, including the threat of air and water pollution, traffic and industrialisation of this peaceful area, to avoid hitting a catastrophic climate tipping point, we need to keep 80% of all known fossil fuels in the ground.

The Paris Climate Conference in Decemeber confirmed the urgency of shifting away from fossil fuels. Instead of drilling more out of the ground, we should be investing in genuinely low- or zero-carbon energy technologies such as tidal, wind and solar.

There will be a peaceful gathering at Horse Hill this Sunday as part of the national #NoFrackingWay day of action, to show our opposition to oil drilling.  Please come! Details here


Join us at Horse Hill this Sunday

This Sunday, 31 January, is No Fracking Way, a national day of action. Right across the country people will be gathering to call for an end to fracking and extreme oil and gas extraction, and for a clean energy future.

In Surrey we will be at the Horse Hill drill site on Horse Hill, Horley, Surrey, RH6 0HN, from 10am.

We’ll be adding our voices to the collective call to #StopFracking in the UK.

This will be an entirely peaceful, good-humoured and welcoming get-together. Please come, and bring banners, flasks and most importantly… BISCUITS!

Flow testing is about to begin at Horse Hill Drilling Site and this is a good opportunity for the people of Surrey to show that we are opposed to this unnecessary drilling that threatens our water, our air, and our communities!

Find out more on Facebook


All welcome at Surrey Against Fracking meeting in Oxted

Surrey Against Fracking is hosting a public meeting on 6 February.

When? 12.30-3pm, Saturday 6 February

Where? Oxted Community Hall, 53 Church Lane, Oxted RH8 9NB

What: It’s a chance to learn more about the issues that face us all regarding oil and gas extraction – and the unconventional methods of extracting it – and to discuss how we can respond.

Speakers will include:

  • John Ashton, former Special Representative for Climate Change for the UK government
  • Helen Savage and Charles Metcalfe, Balcombe residents who campaigned against Cuadrilla’s drilling there
  • Dr Damien Short, Reader in Human Rights at the University of London

As well as informative talks, there will be the chance to ask questions and discuss the issues, and films, music and nibbles.

Sign up to the Facebook event

Surrey Against Fracking’s last meeting, in November 2015, was lively and positive. Read a report here:

Horse Hill flow testing could start in a matter of weeks

Flow testing at the Horse Hill site near Horley could get under way in a matter of weeks.

The Proactive Investors website reports that the project has received clearance from the Oil & Gas Authority.

And it quotes Solo Oil Chairman Neil Ritson, who says key equipment will be mobilised in the coming weeks.

Ritson says that Solo’s primary interest is in the Portland layer, which can yield conventional oil, while the deeper Kimmeridge is “a longer term prospect”.

The deeper play is referred to as ‘tight’, which means it may require fracking or other unconventional methods to extract it.

Frack Free Surrey is opposed to both conventional and unconventional extraction of oil and gas. Scientists say that to avoid hitting a catastrophic climate tipping point, we need to keep 80% of all known fossil fuels in the ground.

Read the article on Proactive Investors

Read more about the Horse Hill project

Igas granted licence to explore for oil at Lingfield

DECC Habitats Regulations Assessments of 14th Onshore Oil and Gas Licensing Round

DECC Habitats Regulations Assessments of 14th Onshore Oil and Gas Licensing Round

The government granted a new batch of oil and gas exploration licences today – including one in south east Surrey.

Igas (Island Gas Ltd) now has a licence to explore for petroleum in block TQ34d, which is around Lingfield.

The new licensed areas add to those already licensed, including a batch of blocks that were made available in August. Altogether, an additional 2.8 million acres of the UK have been made available for oil and gas exploration this year.

The licences –  known as PEDLs (Petroleum Exploration and Development Licences) – give their holders exclusive rights to search and bore for petroleum in that block.

However they don’t grant permission to do so –  that is the responsibility of the relevant Local Authority (Surrey County Council in our case).

Developers also have to secure permissions from the Environment Agency and the Health and Safety Executive. Read the rest of this entry >>

Objection to plans to produce CNG at Albury

Igas has submitted a planning application for the production of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and electricity at the Albury Park Wellsite, East of New Road, Albury.

Local resident Dr Damien Short has objected on grounds of air pollution and emissions, traffic and transportation. Read his objection here.

Read the rest of this entry >>

Please act by 10 Dec to defend Judicial Reviews

The government is consulting on changing the costs rules on environmental legal cases, making it very financially risky for communities to bring judicial reviews.

The caps which restrict the amount individuals and communities are liable to pay are proposed to double, and you won’t find out whether your costs are eligible for capping or what the cap will be until you are much further through the process and already committed to bringing the case.

Read the rest of this entry >>

Permit issued for flow testing at Horse Hill

The Environment Agency has issued a Mineral Waste Variation Permit – Permit number: EPR/BB3300XG/V003 – to allow Horse Hill Development Ltd (HHDL) to carry out flow testing at Horse Hill.

No new drilling will take place at this stage (the exploratory well was drilled in late 2014).  And there will be no flaring.

HHDL still needs other regulatory approvals from the Health and Safety Executive and Oil and Gas Authority.  But they are one step closer.  How ironic that they got this permit on the day the UN climate summit started – and the day after many Surrey residents were marching in London in defence of the climate.

Read the rest of this entry >>