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"Peak" Oil?
Britain’s Underground Elephant Gets Bigger

Two months ago, a small British oil exploration firm shocked the world when it announced a massive new oil discovery in southeast England, describing the site underneath Gatwick airport as a “world class potential resource.” The lucky firm, UK Oil & Gas Investments, estimated that the region’s Weald basin held as many as 158 million barrels of oil per square mile, which extrapolated out could mean a grand total of more than 100 billion barrels. Now, an outside assessment estimates the basin to contain 271 million barrels per square mile—72 percent more oil than was initially reported. Bloomberg reports:

An independent assessment of the Horse Hill well has estimated there could be about 271 million barrels of oil per square mile. That compares with a prior estimate in April of 158 million.

UK Oil & Gas, which has a 20% interest in the well, was up as much as 53% today. The company’s CEO said the study “adds further weight to the potential significance of the HH-1 well and the potential of the Horse Hill licences.”

The Gatwick discovery received plenty of pushback for being “wildly optimistic,” but UK Oil & Gas echoed these calls for caution when it warned that the recovery rate was somewhere between 3 and 15 percent, deflating the relevance of that estimate of 100 billion barrels.

Still, this new corroboration of the play’s promise, and more importantly this upgrade of its actual potential, should come as welcome news for Britain, which is currently seeing production from its important North Sea oil reserves decline rapidly. Getting that oil out of the ground won’t be an easy thing, especially given the virulent Not-In-My-Backyard protests it’s sure to face (which have already scuppered attempts to tap British shale). But for British energy security, the difficulty will be worth it.

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  • Blackbeard

    That oil might as well be on the moon, the Greens will never allow it to be developed. And economists are baffled that western economies aren’t growing. Where would we be today if, when the U.S. first discovered oil in Titusville, PA in 1859 we had just left it in the ground?

    • JR

      I hope you are wrong. I believe economic pressures will lead to greater resource development in the West, be it England or Upstate New York. But not before a LOT of screaming.

      • Blackbeard

        I hope I am wrong too but the renewable energy program in Germany, as an example, has already doubled electricity prices in just the last ten years. The manufacturing unions are screaming, the big electric utilities are going out of business, and the Germans have a new word for “energy poverty.” And yet the Green elites show no sign of flinching. Religious fanatics are not bound by the rules of logic or economics.

        • JR

          They most certainly are not. However, what they are bound by is the patience of the People. I don’t claim to know what the breaking point is, or what triggers what. What I do know is that progress is unstoppable, and that those who stand in its way will get swept away the same way a giant ocean wave sweeps all before it. Will there be blood? I hope not. My guess is there will be.

          • Blackbeard

            If they were to move too fast there could well be a counter-revolution. In fact that is our best hope as fanatics usually overreach. But as long as they move carefully people will just get used to the new normal. Look how easily people have accepted that 1% or so economic growth is the best we can expect, when 5 to 6% has been the average in the US since the dawn of the industrial revolution.

            As for progress being unstoppable, I couldn’t agree more. But there no reason it has to happen here. Encourage your grandchildren to learn Chinese!

      • Rick Caird

        Outside of NYC, upstate NY is a basket case. There was an LA Times article on that about 6 months ago, The Southern Tier (Binghamton, Endicott, and Elmira) have been hard hit and that was just the area the fracking would rejuvenate.

  • emersonushc13

    The only acceptable energy source is the power of unicorn smiles!

  • Terenc Blakely

    If you like conspiracies, how about the West is cleverly using up all the third world’s oil while keeping it’s stock tucked away due to ‘environmental concerns’? Not that I think western libs/progs are that clever or really give a shit about the West but it’s an amusing speculation.

  • klgmac

    Peak oil was wrong.

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