How Excited Should We Be About the Gatwick Oil Find?
Many of us will have woken up to some interesting news last week, that significant yields of oil had been found near Gatwick. Love Energy Savings take a look at just how big a discovery this is, and whether or not it is likely to impact domestic or commercial energy customers in the UK.
How Much Oil Has Been Found?
According to the exploration company, UK Oil & Gas Investments (UKOG), there could be as many as 100 billion barrels of oil beneath sites around the Gatwick area. This is pretty substantial if you bear in mind that the North Sea has yielded just 45 billion barrels on the last 40 years!
However, UKOG has since revealed that it is highly unlikely that all of the oil will be able to be recovered from the sites. Just how much they are able to retrieve will determine just how significant this oil discovery is. In the USA and Russia, between 3% and 15% of the oil discovered is usually retrieved successfully.
How Was The Oil Found?
The exploration firm started drilling at a site called Horse Hill, near Gatwick Airport last year. Following their work, they established that there could be up to 158 million barrels of oil beneath the surface, per square mile. The find is thought to be the biggest onshore discovery of oil in the UK in the last three decades and is therefore very significant.
UKOG has described the area as a world class potential resource and that is could go to be a daily source of oil for the UK. Most of the oil lies within the Upper Jurassic Kimmeridge formation and is around 2,500 feet and 3,000 feet underground.
This is of course, not a new concept for the south-east region. Oil has been produced there for some time and there are around 12 production sites across the Weald; an area of land covering Kent, Surrey, Hampshire and Sussex.
However, these recent findings “comprehensively change the understanding of the area’s potential oil resources”, according to UKOG. This backs up research taking place at Imperial College, which indicates that there could be far more oil in the region than originally thought.
Is There a Need for Fracking?
Although the powers that be have been keen to stress that no fracking will be necessary to take advantage of the recent discovery, the process could be requires to fulfil the potential of the area. This would come to the chagrin on environmentalists in the area however, who protested on a grand scale when Cuadrilla drilled at Balcombe in West Sussex a couple of years ago. UKOG has been keen to distance itself from the use of hydraulic fracturing.
In summary, the Gatwick oil find should provide a significant boost to the UK’s reserves and reduce our dependence on imports, at least slightly. How this will effect energy prices for the consumer remains to be seen, Love Energy Savings will as always be keeping tabs in the situation. What is encouraging to see is that there may well be more fuel to be found right here in the UK, reducing our need to rely on other countries for our energy.