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  1. Joel Hills

Caution urged over Gatwick airport oil discovery

The discovery of oil reserves discovered in the Gatwick airport area has been hailed as 'significant' but analysts have been more cautious.

While the chairman of UK Oil & Gas Investments claimed there were 158 million barrels a square mile over a possible 1,100 square miles others questioned the figures.

ITV News business editor Joel Hills reports.

Oil reserves 'significant' once they become 'commercial'

The extent of the oil reserves discovered near Gatwick Airport have been called into question by a specialist in petroleum science.

Professor Alastair Fraser of Imperial College London told ITV News he thought the number of barrels that UK Oil & Gas Investments said lay in the Weald Basin was "probably a little bit exaggerated on the high side".

He added that the reserves would only become "significant" once the oil could be brought to the surface and at "flow rates that are commercial".

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UK's 'billions of barrels of oil' could be tricky to extract

Prospectors have made the biggest oil discovery in the UK in 30 years - and say the true amount sitting underneath the south of England could be an unprecedented tens of billions of barrels.

The substance has been found near Gatwick - but some analysts are sceptical about how much of it can be extracted.

ITV News Science Correspondent Alok Jha reports:

Greenpeace: More than enough oil to 'fry the planet'

To gleefully rub your hands at a new fossil fuel discovery you need to turn the clock back to the 19th century and ignore everything we have learnt about climate change since.

We already have more than enough coal, oil and gas reserves to fry the planet. Dotting the English countryside with drilling rigs and pipelines to squeeze the last drop of oil out of Britain doesn't make any sense.

It's time we uncoupled our economy from the dangerous rollercoaster of fossil fuels and invested in the clean technologies that can provide safe and cheap energy for decades to come.

– Greenpeace UK chief scientist Dr Doug Parr

UKOG Chairman: Weald Basin 'is like a big sponge'

David Lenigas, Chairman of UK Oil & Gas Investments, has spoken to ITV News about the firm’s discovery of oil reserves near Gatwick Airport.

He told Business Editor Joel Hills: "It’s a very significant discovery, 158 million barrels a square mile. The Weald Basin itself is 1,100 square miles, we’ve got 55 square miles and its pervasive.

“It’s like a big sponge, 1,500 ft thick with vast amounts of oil in it with three big limestones that you can effectively suck the oil out of the sponge. It’s a great find. There’s a lot more work to be done to bring it into proper production but eventually this will be a very key part of Britain’s strategic energy resource.

When asked about the vast difference in the oil potential projections of UKOG and the British Geological Survey for the area - who estimated between shale oil resources of 2.2-8.5 billion barrels - Mr Lenigas said people should believe the "last well that was drilled..(which was his company's) because drill holes don't lie."

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Oil reserves site near Gatwick subject to 'ongoing analysis'

UK Oil & Gas Investments has published a report providing further details of its discovery of reserves which could contain as much as 158 million barrels of oil.

The "significant" discovery at a well in Horse Hill in the Weald Basin near Gatwick Airport is subject to ongoing analysis to determine the "regional potential of the Weald Basin".

The UK Oil & Gas Investments site in the Weald Basin near Horley, West Sussex Credit: PA Wire

'Significant' oil reserves found near Gatwick Airport

Britain could see a significant increase in oil production after a geologists discovered reserves which could be as much as 100 billion barrels near Gatwick Airport.

The discovery at the Weald Basin by exploration firm UK Oil & Gas Investments (UKOG) is a "possible world class potential resource," the company said.

The exploration centred on Horse Hill (green marker) near Gatwick Airport (red marker). Credit: Google Maps

Geologists found 158 million barrels per square mile and it is estimated up to 15% could be recovered.

In 15 years the site could provide up to 30% of the UK's oil demand.

The company considers that the high pay thickness, combined with interpreted naturally fractured limestone reservoir with measurable matrix permeability, gives strong encouragement that these reservoirs can be successfully produced using conventional horizontal drilling and completion techniques.

Appraisal drilling and well testing will be required to prove its commerciality, but this Weald hybrid play has the potential for significant daily oil production.

– Stephen Sanderson, UKOG

'Business as usual' at Gatwick despite baggage fears

Staff at Gatwick Airport have said it is "business as usual" today despite fears over potential delays at baggage reclaim.

Passengers have so far avoided long delays in picking up their baggage at Gatwick. Credit: PA Wire

Extra workers had been drafted in as part of a contingency plan to avoid last weekend's disruption where passengers faced long delays to pick up their luggage.

"The average wait time in the hall this morning so far has been 30 minutes, which is no different to most other weekends," a Gatwick spokesman said.

"Going into the weekend we are not expecting any issues but we have put extra staff in place."

40 extra baggage staff drafted in at Gatwick Airport

Forty extra baggage staff are being drafted in at Gatwick Airport to prevent any repeat of the chaos they experienced last weekend.

Passengers have been advised to pack important items in their hand luggage. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Staff shortages meant baggage-handling company Swissport was unable to cope with a succession of off-schedule arrivals late last Saturday night.

Arriving travellers were told to go home without their bags or face long delays.

But Swissport, who has apologised for the problems, said it had drafted in 40 extra staff to cope with demand this weekend, which is expected to be one of the airport's busiest.

Gatwick management is also laying on staff to assist with the baggage operation.

They stressed last week's problems only affected incoming flights and said they were expecting a "smooth weekend."

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