Southern England could be sitting on an oil bonanza, according to a British exploration firm.
UK Oil & Gas Investments (UKOG) explained that the Horse Hill area, near Gatwick Airport, could be the site of as much as 100 billion barrels of onshore oil. It comes after the company embarked on a drilling campaign that Horse Hill could hold 158 million barrels of oil per square mile.
However, UKOG stated that only a fraction of the 100 billion total would be recovered. It remains a huge discovery considering the North Sea, which has long been a UK source for oil, has produced around 45 billion barrels in the past 40 years. This latest discovery could prove to be a "world class potential resource" and has the "potential for significant daily oil production".
Stephen Sanderson, UKOG's chief executive, explained that the majority of the oil lies within the Upper Jurassic Kimmeridge formation at a depth of between 2,500ft and 3,000ft. He compared the geology to the US and West Siberia and estimated that three per cent to 15 per cent could be recovered.
The UKOG official added: "Based on what we've found here, we're looking at between 50 and 100 billion barrels of oil in place in the ground.
"We believe we can recover between five per cent and 15 per cent of the oil in the ground, which by 2030 could mean that we produce ten per cent-to-30 per cent of the UK's oil demand from within the Weald area."
Boost to oil industry
The announcement comes as a major boost to the UK's oil and gas industry which has suffered considerably due to the tumbling price in oil. A survey by Oil & Gas UK in February predicted a "bleak" future for the industry following its worst annual performance in four decades.
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