Comment on Surrey earthquakes: reopen the inquiry into links with oil industry

Early this morning, people across a wide area of Surrey and Sussex were woken by a bang and felt buildings shake and furniture rattle as yet another earthquake was recorded in Newdigate.

This was the 21st earthquake in the ‘swarm’ that started last spring and, at 3.1 magnitude, the largest so far.

Many locals fear that the quakes are being caused by oil drilling activities taking place in the area – with flow testing under way at Horse Hill (3km from the epicentre) and oil production at Brockham (8km away)

A workshop by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) concluded there was no evidence that the oil drilling had caused the seismic activity. But the workshop did not take into account the activities at Horse Hill, as the operator had told them there was no activity there at the time the earthquakes started. This is not true.

With the earthquakes continuing, we are calling for the OGA inquiry to be re-opened, and for Horse Hill Developments Ltd and Angus Energy plc to be required to provide a full timeline of activities at their sites. And for flow testing at Horse Hill suspended while this takes place.

The government should step in as the self-regulation of the onshore oil industry is not working.

As well as the immediate concerns about earthquakes, continued exploration for oil is irresponsible in the face of climate change. The world already has more known oil reserves than any climate scientist thinks is safe to burn. There is no earthly reason to search for more.


More information :

Record-level earthquake in Newdigate, Surrey – calls for reopening of inquiry into links to oil industry

Geologists say Horse Hill oil site likely to blame for earthquakes


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  1. Jane Sheppard
    Posted Wednesday, 27 February 2019 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    I completely concur with your comments. How many more earthquakes before operations are suspended at Horse Hill?
    Perhaps cracks in the runway at Gatwick will stop them. I put this very scenario in my objections 3 years ago when flow testing was first applied for in 2016.
    I have lived within a mile of horse Hill for nearly 60 years and have never experienced earthquakes. SCC still don’t think there is any connection with drilling operations.
    We are on the cusp of renewable energies, let’s hope we can stop fossil fuel extraction until the powers that be realise that renewables is the way forward.

  2. Mark William McKerracher
    Posted Thursday, 28 February 2019 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Growing up in California, trust me, earthquakes are to be avoided at all costs! The building code standards in California are very high and earthquake damage is avoided for the most part, but not always.
    This is not the case here. The property damage and possible real harm to people here is inevitable with the current direction they are following. Trust me, they can’t control or predict what the possible outcomes are. We’ve got to stop this now before people get hurt or lose their homes. The last big quake in LA really changed our lives. (My father was a structural engineer) I was happy to have that behind me. Now I’m not so sure I do! Man made quakes is madness and greed going unchecked!

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