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.”
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