Reports out today from UK Oil and Gas (UKOG) are currently sending shockwaves throughout the media and markets is an announcement of a significant amount of oil found in West Sussex at the Horse-Hill-1 well near Gatwick Airport with estimated reserves of between 50 to 100 billion barrels being given which if verified will be the biggest onshore oil find in the UK in over 30 years.
To put this potentially huge find in to perspective, operations in the North Sea have so far extracted 45 billion barrels of oil over the last 40 years and this site is only 55 sq miles in size.
However, not all of it will be recoverable as the oil is at depth with estimates of between 3 and 15% being given by the Chief executive of UKOG, Stephen Sanderson where he has been quoted as being based on similar finds both in sizd and geology in Texas and Siberia.
That being said the oil found in West Sussex, even on the lower estimates could provide the UK anywhere between 10-30% of its oil needs by 2030.
If any drilling went ahead to recover the oil it should have a knock on effect for industries in the region to supply equipment, people and to build the necessary infrastructure required to support it which could include Hastings and the surrounding area as they have one of the largest manufacturing bases in the region with the capacity to expand it if things went ahead.
Even after the find was announced today it will not be extracted immediately, it will be a long term project. There will also be major factors involved before mass extraction would occur such as mitigating the potential environmental issues that go with drilling and the fact that its been found in a highly populated area and much needed infrastructure improvements would need to factored in across the region as well to cope with production, transportation and storage.
Its a challenge that is sure to polarize opinion on both sides of the fence and will require some serious innovations to keep disruption to a minimum and will need to have robust environmental safeguards in place although reports are suggesting that the site itself will not need to be fracked.