This week a very significant discovery has been made near Gatwick Airport; 100 billion barrels of oil, enough to satisfy 10-30 percent of the energy needs of the United Kingdom for years. Exploration firm UK Oil and Gas Investments (UKOG) says that some of the oil found in south of England can be recovered and used for the benefit of the United Kingdom. Early estimates have suggested that this amount of oil is around the same that remains in the north sea oil reserves, and it could mean a more self-sufficient United Kingdom in the future.
Stephen Sanderson, CEO of UKOG, says that this is without doubt one of the most significant discoveries for energy in the UK in recent years:
“The majority of the oil lies within the Upper Jurassic Kimmeridge formation at a depth between 2,500ft and 3,000ft.
“This is a world class potential resource and the well has potential for significant daily oil production.
“Based on what we’ve found here, we’re looking at between 50 and 100 billion barrels of oil in place in the ground.
Environmentalists aren’t so impressed at this new oil discovery.
But while the oil companies out there are licking their lips at the prospect of so much oil, environmentalists aren’t so impressed. Our dependence on fossil fuels has spawned a hatred for oil companies in recent years, which have so far been historically slow to adapt to the evidence of climate change in recent years. Greenpeace UK chief DR Doug Parr had this to say on the latest oil discovery near Gatwick Airport:
To gleefully rub your hands at a new fossil fuel discovery you need to turn the clock back to the 19th century and ignore everything we have learnt about climate change since.
We already have more than enough coal, oil and gas reserves to fry the planet. Dotting the English countryside with drilling rigs and pipelines to squeeze the last drop of oil out of Britain doesn’t make any sense.
It’s time we uncoupled our economy from the dangerous rollercoaster of fossil fuels and invested in the clean technologies that can provide safe and cheap energy for decades to come.
But with our dependence on fossil fuels still very much prevalent, can the UK afford to ignore this new oil discovery? Will the British government protect the land near Gatwick Airport and ensure that instead of going after more oil, we invest that time and effort into the development of renewable energy sources? Only time will tell. Stay tuned for updates.