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Huge 100 Billion Barrel Oil Discovery Near London

Huge 100 Billion Barrel Oil Discovery Near London

A small British oil company has found a bonanza of potentially billions of barrels of oil beneath a field near London’s Gatwick Airport. The only problem is how much of the oil is accessible.

UK Oil and Gas Investments (UKOG) said April 9 that 3,000 feet of exploratory drilling at Wytch Farm in the Weald Basin, a rural area just north of the airport, discovered a “world-class potential resource.” The area is now referred to as “Britain’s Dallas.” It was the deepest well dug in the region in three decades.

“We think we’ve found a very significant discovery here, probably the largest [onshore well in the UK] in the last 30 years, and we think it has national significance,” UKOG CEO Stephen Sanderson told the BBC. Related: What’s Really Behind The U.S Crude Oil Build

UKOG said an analysis of the deposit, called Horse Hill-1, shows it may contain up to 158 million barrels of oil per square mile, indicating that the entire well may hold as much as 100 billion barrels of oil, 10 times larger than previous estimates.

The Weald Basin rivals the entire oil reserves of Kuwait, which sits over 101.5 billion barrels of crude. And the site may prove to be more productive – and easier to work – than North Sea wells, from which Britain has produced about 42 million barrels in the past 40 years. The North Sea is a leading source of oil for Britain, but has become less productive in the past 15 years.

Despite enthusiasm about the find, Horse Hill-1 may not yield as much oil as it holds, according to Mike Jakeman, a global commodities analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, a subsidiary of the magazine The Economist. Related: Off-Grid Solar Threatens Utilites In The Next Decade

“Although the numbers sound good, this discovery is unlikely to prove a significant tonic for the UK energy industry,” Jakeman said. He said oil is locked in underground shale and therefore expensive to extract. With oil prices depressed, energy companies are more interested in wells where production is more affordable.

UKOG counters that the shale in the Weald Basin is “naturally fractured” and therefore the oil is accessible through conventional drilling.

Alastair Fraser disagrees. The professor of petroleum geoscience at Imperial College London calls the geology of the Weald Basin “rather unfriendly” because the rock is exceptionally impermeable, making even fracking more difficult. Related: Top 12 Media Myths On Oil Prices

In fact, even Sanderson, UKOG’s CEO, acknowledges that only between 3 percent and 15 percent of oil is recoverable from shale deposits that are similar to those in the Weald Basin.

Geology is one big hurdle, and neighbors of Wytch Farm may be just as daunting. At least some opposition is expected to extensive drilling in an area that covers more than 4,000 square miles of southern England.

“Some of the most prospective plays are in environmentally sensitive areas, in National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty or under towns and villages,” said a report by the British Geological Survey (BGS), a partly publicly funded research organization.“Shale oil exploration and potential development should progress cautiously to ensure the activity is safe and the environment is properly protected,” the BGS said.

By Andy Tully of Oilprice.com

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  • Peter Wright on April 13 2015 said:
    No doubt the nimbys and Putin stooges will be out in force. But how can a small Island with a constantly growing population ignore this possible bonanza. All sorts of roadblocks are going to be put in the way- you can already see this happening. "There is plenty of oil and gas that can be bought overseas". Yes there is, from friendly Vadimir Putin. Incidently with chronic trade deficits, decade in decade out, how is the UK supposed to pay for this? Lets face it, Britain"s chattering classes don't give two hoots about poor people keeping warm in winter or expanding the economy to provide the jobs needed for the population.
    The odd thing is it is usually the same chattering classes who support the ruinously high levels of immigration.
  • Doogie on April 15 2015 said:
    Peter,
    You ask how a small island can ignore this possible bonanza.

    That is very simple to explain; a strong PC police force and a pervasive greenie, anti-technology mindset.

    They will only accept PV and wind turbine sources for power needs never minding the environmental costs of building those technologies somewhere else.

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