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By John Huxley (auth.)

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Extra resources for Britain’s Onshore Oil Industry

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To many people the mere term carried connotations of unrestrained activity, bad oilfield practice and environmental despoilation that had characterised the early years of the American oil mania. In the event the contract struck by the government with a prospector was aimed at ensuring that this did not happen. However, there were equally those to be found who had serious misgivings about the geological basis (a reading of surface indications and data from shallow borings, primarily) on which the search was being made.

The latter involves lowering electronic equipment down the hole suspended on a wire, to test porosity, permeability, fluid content and the nature of down-hole strata. It is so called because earlier methods, still used, which came into use from the 1930s onwards, relied largely on the electrical properties of strata, their self-potential and resistivity. New, additional tools have since come along, including gamma ray and neutron, sonic and formation density logs. Finally, in the case of oil or gas being positively identified, modern drill stem testing techniques allowing oil to flow up the drill pipe under controlled conditions, provide a more accurate and acceptable guide to the potential production rates from a reservoir.

A second well eventually supplied the local station of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway. It also prompted speculation that there existed an East Sussex gas basin under the Weald, and a company calling itself Natural Gas Fields of England was set up in May, 1902, to develop and exploit it, convinced by its geological experts that the south of England 'promises to be a larger field than any America has yet known•. 15 Further drilling, with American backing and expertise, was carried out • • • with dismal results.

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