Fighting exploration for oil and gas within the UK seems to some to be essential and to others useless and not helpful. Cranleigh Society thinks you would like to make up your own minds – here is some information prepared by Cranleigh resident and retired geologist Chris Bulley.

UK Government says it needs UK oil and gas exploration whilst other forms of energy become reliable, available and used. 

They say that at the same time as renewable energy is being developed, and people are being urged to use less energy, oil and gas companies must continue, otherwise the lights will go out – no Government wants that to happen on its watch.

UKOG – UK Oil & Gas PLC


Surrey County Council – SCC Ref 2019/0072 (

Waverley Borough Council WA/2019/0796

Loxley Well Site – Land South of Dunsfold Road and East of High Loxley Road, Dunsfold, Surrey

Submitted 30/5/19; public consultation opened 11/6/19; public consultation ends 8/7/19; withdrawn late June subject to resubmission with revised access route.

Drilling at Dunsfold – What is planned and Updates to application

UKOG (UK Oil & Gas) submitted a planning application to Surrey County Council (SCC) in May 2019 to drill a conventional gas appraisal well in the Dunsfold area. UKOG was hopeful that a decision would be made on the application before year-end.  The area is covered by Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence PEDL234 and operations are regulated by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), a government agency, which reports to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (DBEIS), where a company’s financial and operational competencies are checked.

In late June, UKOG confirmed that it will submit a revised application to SCC due to the need to pursue an alternative access route. The originally proposed access road might have impacted sites of reptile activity and of prehistoric activity, an Area of High Archaeological Potential. UKOG has not put a timescale on when the application will be resubmitted.

The application covers a gas appraisal well on the eastern extension of the Godley Bridge structure, which has been previously drilled by Conoco with the Godley Bridge-1, Alfold-1 and Godley Bridge-2 wells in 1982/3, 1986 and 1986/7, respectively, (without incident). The map below (from UKOG’s November 2018 corporate presentation with my annotation, shows the location of these three wells with respect to the gross reservoir structure. The potential gas-bearing reservoir is the Portland Sandstone of uppermost Jurassic age, which is at a depth of around 2,800 feet (about 850 metres) below sea-level. The Portland Sandstone is a recognised oil/gas producing reservoir elsewhere in the Weald Basin such as at the Horse Hill discovery. The drilling plan for the appraisal well includes a deeper test of the underlying Kimmeridge section (a section of rocks found at Kimmeridge Bay, Dorset, and running beneath the Weald), which UKOG considers lies within the largest untested Kimmeridge feature in the Weald Basin. The appraisal well will drill to a vertical depth of about 4,750 feet (nearly one mile) below the surface. It is planned that the appraisal pilot hole, horizontal sidetrack and testing programme can commence in late 2020 following further production drilling at Horse Hill near Gatwick.

There is no fracking planned within the proposed drilling programme and if UKOG was to consider that it was necessary then a further planning application would be mandatory. Fracking is not necessary as the targeted reservoirs do not require fracking, as demonstrated by UKOG’s operations at Horse Hill, near Gatwick, and Broadford Bridge, near Billingshurst.

The well site will be a zero-discharge site with the whole area and adjacent drainage ditches covered by an impermeable membrane, a tried and tested process. Once the operations are complete: if the wells are considered commercially viable then a further application will be submitted to retain the site for longer-term production of hydrocarbons; otherwise, the site will be restored to its original use. The site itself is located upon Weald Clay, an impermeable rock.

The new well will appraise an accumulation that could contain a significant gross gas-in-place estimated at around 60 billion cubic feet, similar in size to a small North Sea field.

UKOG plan to long-term test any hydrocarbons encountered in the well in order to assess commercial viability in as short a time as possible.

Of additional interest, following the decision by DEFRA not to renew the lease at Bury Hill Wood for Europa Oil & Gas to drill the Holmwood well to beneath Coldharbour, UKOG has become operator for the hydrocarbon licence (PEDL143) and is assessing other potential well sites for exploratory drilling. UKOG states that the locations under review fall outside the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

As of 4th July, IGas Energy PLC, the operator of the licence to the west of Dunsfold that covers the western half of the Godley Bridge structure (including wells Godley Bridge-1 and Godley Bridge-2) has announced that it plans to drill two exploration/appraisal wells on Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence PEDL235 to explore and evaluate the resource potential of both the Portland Sandstones and the Kimmeridge Micrites. It further states that it will now move to submit a planning application but will undertake community consultation to take account of feedback from local residents before submitting the full planning application.

No fracking is suggested – but for interest here is the explanation –

Hydraulic Fracturing = Fracking according to Wiki

In the United Kingdom, the environmental regulator permits only chemical additives which are classed as non-hazardous to groundwater for fracturing fluids.[3][4][5] Operators are required to disclose the content of hydraulic fracturing fluids to the relevant environment agency[6] while the composition must be disclosed if the regulator demands it.[7] The permitted additives for hydraulic fracturing fluid include polycrylamidehydrochloric acid and a biocide.