he Gatwick 'black gold rush': Drillers discover 100 BILLION barrels of oil in largest UK onshore find
Source: www.dailymail.co.uk/tom
London: Billions of pounds worth of oil have been found near Gatwick airport in Sussex, according to an exploration firm which is developing the site - set to be dubbed 'Britain's Dallas'.
Up to 100billion barrels are contained in the Weald Basin, UK Oil & Gas Investments said today - making it the biggest discovery of oil in Britain for three decades.
The company estimates that 15 per cent of that could be commercially drilled, which would value the total reserves at nearly £600billion at current prices.


Last year, the government estimated that just 4.4billion barrels of oil lay in the Weald Basin but today's independent report upped that figure considerably.
UKOG said that drilling on a site known as Horse Hill had revealed 158million barrels per square mile, implying that there are 50-100billion barrels in total across the basin.
Chief executive Stephen Sanderson said that the Weald Basin was a 'possible world class potential resource'.


The new report was commissioned by UKOG and carried out by American firm Nutech Ltd, which specialises in petrophysical analysis and reservoir intelligence.
It is not yet known how much of the oil will be recoverable, but Mr Sanderson said that similar wells in the US had 'estimated recovery factors' of between three and 15 per cent.
If the full 15billion barrels are drilled, that will make the Weald Basin site roughly the same size as the remaining reserves in the North Sea.


In 15 years, the wells could provide nearly a third of the UK's energy needs, according to Mr Sanderson.
Shares in UKOG, which has a 20 per cent interest in the Horse Hill site, initially quadrupled in value this morning before settling at 200 per cent higher.
Chairman David Lenigas said that the development of the site would create 'many thousands' of new jobs.
However, he also warned that Westminster politicians would have to work with the industry in order to help the site reach its full potential.
Mr Sanderson said in a statement: 'Drilling the deepest well in the basin in 30 years, together with the ability to use concepts, techniques and technology unavailable in the 1980s, has provided new cutting-edge data and interpretations to comprehensively change the understanding of the area's potential oil resources.


The company considers that the high pay thickness, combined with interpreted naturally fractured limestone reservoir with measurable matrix permeability, gives strong encouragement that these reservoirs can be successfully produced using conventional horizontal drilling and completion techniques.
'Appraisal drilling and well testing will be required to prove its commerciality, but this Weald hybrid play has the potential for significant daily oil production.'
The company said that it would not be necessary to frack the countryside in order to recover the oil, because the rocks are naturally fractured already.
Oil industry experts warned that with crude prices having tumbled in the past years, it may be impossible to extract oil from the Weald Basin cheaply enough to make it economically viable.


RAlthough the numbers sound good, this discovery is unlikely to prove a significant tonic for the UK energy industry,' said Mike Jakeman of the Economist Intelligence Unit.
Others pointed out that the built-up nature of the area could make it difficult to develop the site fully by putting in place the necessary infrastructure.
Oil consultant Malcolm Graham-Wood told the Financial Times: 'You would need to have a lot of wells. That's easy in Texas or Louisiana where you can put nodding donkeys all over the place, but it's less easy when you're next to Gatwick airport.'
Other projects to recover fossil fuels from rural areas have run into trouble thanks to opposition from environmentalists.
Doug Parr, of Greenpeace, said: 'To gleefully rub your hands at a new fossil fuel discovery you need to turn the clock back to the 19th century and ignore everything we have learnt about climate change since.


We already have more than enough coal, oil and gas reserves to fry the planet. Dotting the English countryside with drilling rigs and pipelines to squeeze the last drop of oil out of Britain doesn't make any sense.'
Friends of the Earth campaigner Brenda Pollack added: 'The prospect of dirty oil extraction in southern England will greatly alarm local communities and put fracking firmly on the region's election agenda.'
The UK currently produces 770,000 barrels of oil per day, compared to 11.1million in the United States and 11.7million in Saudi Arabia.