Massive New Oil Field Discovered Below Gatwick Airport

AP Photo
The Associated Press

The discovery of an estimated 100 billion barrels of oil near Gatwick Airport was announced this morning. The find marks what could be the biggest onshore oil discovery in England since the 1980s.

The oil that lies below the area dwarfs the 45bn barrels produced by the North Sea in the last 40 years. The London-listed oil explorer, UK Oil & Gas Investments (UKOG), a small British firm, cautioned that only 5 – 15% might be recoverable.

Nonetheless the announcement sent the firm’s shares soaring by 200 percent – jumping to 3.3p by mid-morning.

“We think we’ve found a very significant discovery here, probably the largest [onshore in the UK] in the last 30 years, and we think it has national significance,” UKOG Chief Executive Stephen Sanderson told the BBC.

The UK’s oil output has been steadily falling since the turn of the century, yet, “based on what [UKOG have] found here,” added Sanderson, “we’re looking at between 50 and 100bn barrels of oil in place in the ground. We believe we can recover between 5% and 15% of the oil in the ground, which by 2030 could mean that we produce 10%-to-30% of the UK’s oil demand from within the Weald area.”

Despite the official caution, Sanderson stressed the site had “the potential for significant daily oil production” and will “comprehensively change the understanding of the area’s potential oil resources.”

The firm also stated the oil is held in rocks that are naturally fractured, which “gives strong encouragement that these reservoirs can be successfully produced using conventional horizontal drilling and completion techniques.”