Wednesday, December 6th 2023

Our Outlook On UK Oil Fields

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Are Britain’s oil and gas projects heading into an unprecedented period for newsflow?

The last few months have seen numerous key onshore and shallow offshore UK oil and gas prospects take some significant steps forward. With various listed, junior resources firms holding positions in the licences containing these sites, there exist many opportunities for UK investors to get exposure ahead of any major developments.

What’s more, with many companies holding stakes in more than one project, there is an argument to be made that a big, positive update at one prospect could generate momentum across the entire sector. Here, we take a look at several key projects that have been making a buzz in the market with their newsflow over recent months before outlining the ways interested investors can get exposure.


Based on licence PEDL 180 in the East Midlands, the Wressle prospect contains a pre-drill gross mean prospective resource of 2.1MMbbls recoverable oil, as calculated by operator Egdon Resources. This figure will be updated following a review of drilling and test data together with the results of the interpretation and mapping of reprocessed 3D seismic data.

Earlier this month, Egdon reported that its application for planning consent for the Wressle Development had received a recommendation for approval from North Lincolnshire Council’s planning officer. The application will now be considered by a meeting of the North Lincolnshire Council Planning Committee this week. However, it already marks an encouraging signal of progress at the long-delayed project following the council’s repeated rejection of appeals.

Stakeholders include Egdon Resources (operator), Europa Oil & Gas, Union Jack Oil, and Humber Oil & Gas (private).


The Wick prospect is a fault-bounded trap with Jurassic sandstone reservoirs lying up-dip of the spill point of the Lybster oilfield in the Inner Moray Firth Basin. Corallian, Wick’s operator, plans to drill an offshore well at the site to test for the presence of oil in a structural complex up-dip from an existing oilfield. The area is estimated to contain mean prospective resources of 26MMboe gross.

Earlier this month, Corallian revealed that the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning told the UK Oil and Gas Authority it has agreed in principle to consent to drill Wick. Corallian highlighted the fact there remain several regulatory approvals and notifications left to pass before the consenting process completes. However, it added that once it has obtained these permits. However, it plans to drill Wick in December with a Jack-Up rig.

Stakeholders include Corallian Energy (private), Upland Resources, Baron Oil, Corfe Energy (private), plus Reabold Resource through its 32.9pc position in Corallian.


An offshore well drilled on the Colter discovery in 1986 recovered oil on test within the Triassic Sherwood Sandstone. This is the main reservoir at Wytch Farm, which lies immediately north of Colter and is Europe’s largest onshore oil field producing over 450MMbbls to date. For some time now, Corallian – which operates the licence – and its partners have planned to drill an appraisal well on the historic discovery to evaluate whether it is on the flank of a commercially-viable accumulation.

The gross unrisked mid-case oil contingent resources in the section proven up by the original offshore well at Colter are estimated to sit at around 4MMbbls. Predictions have put total unrisked mean-case prospective resources at 15MMbbls for the rest of the structure.

Alongside its update above about Wick, Corallian announced earlier this month that the Petroleum Regulator has agreed in principle to consent to drill Colter. It will drill shortly after completing Wick.

Stakeholders include Corallian Energy (private), Corfe Energy (private), United Oil & Gas, Baron Oil, Andalas Energy, and Power, plus Reabold Resources through its 32.9pc stake in Corallian.


The Biscathorpe structure is located within the proven hydrocarbon fairway of the Humber Basin and was initially drilled and tested in 1987 by BP in 1987 who encountered 1.2m-thick, oil-bearing sandstone. A second well called Biscathorpe-2 will be located in a direction towards a potentially thicker sand development within the structural closure of the trap.

The mean prospective resource volume for the primary reservoir objective, as calculated by operator Egdon Resources, is around 14MMbbls oil. It has defined a subsurface location for Biscathorpe-2 to evaluate the exploration potential of the Biscathorpe Prospect has also identified a surface drilling location.

In August, Egdon said it planned to commence completion of the well site construction in late September 2018 before completing drilling operations in October/November. In a subsequent update earlier this month, it added that drilling was expected ‘later this quarter’.

Stakeholders include Egdon Resources, Montrose, Union Jack Oil, and Humber Oil & Gas (private).

Horse Hill

The Horse Hill-1 well covers 143km2 to the north of Gatwick Airport in Surrey’s Weald basin, targeting conventional Portland sandstone and unconventional Kimmeridge Limestone (KL3/KL4) oil discoveries.

Earlier this year, the UK Oil and Gas Authority announced that it had granted consent for an extended well test program at HH-1. With the site already receiving approval from the Surrey County Council and the Environmental Agency, this secured the final piece of regulatory approval needed for the 150-day, fully-funded programme.

Following this, in October, the site’s operator Horse Hill Developments said that ‘following the successful Portland Extended Well Test programme, it now considers the Portland oil field to be commercially viable.’ It is now targeting the start-up of long-term Portland oil production during 2019, subject to the grant of necessary regulatory consents.

Stakeholders include: Horse Hill Developments (private), UK Oil & Gas, Alba Minerals, Solo Oil, Primorus Investments, and Gunsynd.

David Bramhill talks to Andrew Scott updating on Union Jacks UK Oil & Gas Assets
Stephen Williams, Co-Chief Executive at Reabold Resources RBD speaks at LSE Investor Evening in summer
The author was remunerated but does not hold shares in the company