Horse Hill drilling company confirms work is for “conventional” targets only not fracking | Surrey Mirror

THE operator of a new drilling site near Horley has reaffirmed it is not fracking at the location.

Horse Hill Developments, who spent most of August constructing an exploration well off Horse Hill near Horley town centre, started drilling there last month.

In July, the developer told the Mirror the site was a “conventional drill for oil” only and that no fracking would take place.

But a press release issued on September 4 by Magellan Petroleum, the company Horse Hill Developments took over operation of the site from and which still has a 35 per cent stake in it, stated: “During drilling, Magellan will have the opportunity to core and log at its own expense several shale and tight formations in the Cretaceous and Jurassic sections, including the Kimmeridge Clay and Liassic formations.”

As fracking is a technique designed to recover gas and oil from shale rock, the statement made some residents nervous.

However, Magellan issued another press release on September 18 which said: “The Horse Hill-1 well, which is designed as a near vertical well that will not be hydraulically fractured, is targeting a conventional Triassic-aged gas target. In addition, the well will be used to evaluate various conventional Jurassic-aged formations.”

The company added it had decided to “defer” the opportunity to conduct any “unconventional logs”.

This was then followed up by a statement from Horse Hill Developments on Monday in which the operator said it “confirms that this is a conventional drilling project and none of the other partners have any interest in exploring unconventional opportunities – there are no unconventional shale targets.”

Phillip Wanbon, of the Norwood Hill Residents’ Association, told the Mirror the two press releases from Magellan had worried people.

“It’s all very contradictory and it’s getting people more excited than they would have been,” he said.

“This has now got people suspecting that this is something more than a conventional site.

“I fully understand why people are saying this doesn’t make any sense. It’s all very well saying this is now a new [press release] but which do you believe?”

In the wake of the differing statements, Frack Free Surrey organised a picnic to take place near the site on Sunday and have scheduled a public meeting in Horley on Monday, October 13.

Group member Rob Basto, from Reigate, said: “This is to start raising awareness and get support. I think in the future we are going to see companies wanting to do drilling for shale gas. So we need to start making people aware.”

But while Mr Wanbon said he understood people’s concerns, he said it was important to underline that the site currently remained free of fracking.

The public meeting will take place at the Empire Hall in Victoria Road, Horley, at 7pm.

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