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Search for onshore oil in Sussex set to continue

An energy company has been given another year to continue its search for oil beneath the Sussex countryside.

The controversial testing is being carried out at Broadford Farm near Billingshurst.

Environmentalists say the work would damage the countryside and could pollute water supplies.

But others say it's important to use the region's natural resources, as Malcolm Shaw reports.

Firm makes major Gatwick oil find

An oil rig in the North Sea Credit: Danny Lawson/PA

An exploration firm has announced the discovery of billions of barrels of oil reserves at a site near Gatwick airport.

UK Oil & Gas Investments (UKOG) said drilling of the 55-square mile site at the Weald Basin had discovered 158 million barrels per square mile. Chief executive Stephen Sanderson said the Horse Hill-1 well required appraisal and testing to prove its commercial viability but that it had "the potential for significant daily oil production".


Birds die in oil spill

RSPCA inspectors have collected several birds caught in an oil spillage on the north Kent coast. The birds were found covered in thick, black sticky fuel oil. They include eight red throated divers, two of which had to be put to sleep to end their suffering, two guillemots and a dunlin which died.

All came from the Ramsgate harbour area except for one of the divers which was picked up in Rye harbour. They are being cared for by the RSPCA Mallydams Wildlife centre in Hastings.

RSPCA wildlife supervisor Richard Thompson said: “Birds like these, that are used to spending all their lives on the water, are difficult for us to manage but we have the expertise and will do our best for them.

The oil we are dealing with is very caustic and the two we have had to put to sleep had ingested a lot of it.

– Richard Thompson, RSPCA

New blow for oil refinery

Workers at Coryton oil refinery in Essex had another blow today, with the news that the Government won't be propping up the plant with public money.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change has decided not to apply to the European Commission to use state funds to bail it out.

850 jobs have been at risk since the refinery went into liquidation in January. The plant supplies about a fifth of London and the South East's fuel.


Refinery jobs at risk

It's emerged that a giant oil refinery that provides almost a quarter of all the south east's fuel could be closed down and turned into a storage facility.

The Coryton plant in South Essex went into administration in January and talks have continued to find a buyer.

One of the options could see it used for storage only which could mean the loss of up to 800 jobs and impact on the region's supplies. Iain McBride has more.