Oil drilling at Horse Hill one stop closer

Oil company Horse Hill Developments Ltd (HHDL) has been issued with the mining waste variation permit that they applied for in May.  This enables them to carry out ‘flow testing’ to assess to the potential flow of oil from different layers underground.

The company is planning to test both the Portland sandstone, which can yield conventional oil, and the lower Kimmeridge limestone, which could require fracking or other unconventional extraction methods.

They also received a permit to  manage and dispose of the radioactive waste that is a by-product of the flow testing.

If the tests indicate that there are economically viable oil reserves, HHDL will then apply for planning permission to develop the site, which is west of Horley, near Gatwick Airport, into a commercial operation. UKOG, one of the companies involved in the consortium, has previously claimed it is one of the biggest oil fields in the UK.

Note that no new drilling will take place at this stage (the well was drilled in late 2014).  And there will be no flaring on site. The Environment Agency permit says that no gas is expected in the reservoir and if gas is discovered, operations must stop immediately.

We remain concerned about the potential impacts of any eventual drilling on water quality, air pollution and increased noise and traffic near the site.

It’s also ironic that this consent was been given just as climate talks began in Paris. We should be ensuring that the planning system and the environmental permitting regime support the shift we need from fossil fuel extraction to renewable energy in line with the Government’s stated commitment to cut carbon emissions.


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