Horse Hill well site: planning timeline
January 2012: Magellan Petroleum (UK) Ltd was granted planning permission (ref.RE10/2089) for exploration.
October 2014: The HH-1 borehole was drilled and discovered oil accumulations in the Portland Sandstone and in multiple deeper Jurassic formations of Kimmeridge Limestone.
April 2015: UKOG bought Angus Energy’s share of Horse Hill Developments Ltd for £1.8 million. Angus was formerly the lead partner in the Horse Hill Development Limited consortium.
February to March 2016: Flow testing was carried out, which the operator claimed was highly successful.
November 2017: Planning permission (ref. RE16/02556/CON) was granted, allowing amongst other things the retention of the existing exploratory well site for a programme of appraisal and further testing of the HH-1 well, and the drilling of a sidetrack well and second borehole (HH-2) and subsequent flow testing.
June and September 2018: Flow testing carried out. UKOG claims to have flowed more than 450 barrels per day (bopd) from the Lower Kimmeridge Limestone, 900 bopd from the Upper Kimmeridge Limestone and 168 bopd from the Portland Sandstone.
December 2018: Planning application submitted for four more oil wells, plus one wastewater reinjection well and 20 years of production.
September 2019: Planning permission granted. Local resident Sarah Finch launched a judicial review claim on behalf of the Weald Action Group.
November 2020: Sarah Finch’s legal challenge was heard in the High Court. In a written ruling issued on 21 December 2021, the judge Mr Justice Holgate dismissed the challenge.
November 2021: Sarah Finch’s appeal was heard in the Court of Appeal. The judgment, handed down on 17 February 2022 was split: two judges held that Justice Holgate had been right to dismiss the claim. However Lord Justice Moylan agreed with Sarah Finch that by failing to consider the downstream greenhouse gas emissions, the EIA omitted assessment of the relevant and required effects of the proposed development. As a result, he said, planning permission was not lawfully given.
21–22 June 2023: The Supreme Court will hear the case: