The company in charge of the Broadford Bridge drilling site has explained the work it is carrying out following weeks of protesting outside the gates to the site.
UK Oil and Gas started drilling at the site off Adversane Lane, near Billingshurst, on May 29, 2017.
They have drilled approximately 800 metres underneath the surface – half a mile – with the intention of reaching their target of 1,300 metres within the next couple of weeks.
Executive chairman of UKOG Stephen Sanderson insists they are on target despite the recent protests.
He said: “The aim of this project is to prove we have moveable oil in this well.
“If we know it is there and mobile we can work out how to get it out.
“This will provide the community with locally sourced oil.
“Almost everything you use or touch comes from oil, including most hospital equipment. This could be a game changer.”
UK Oil and Gas purchased the Weald Basin Licence for this site from Celtique Energy for £3.5million in August 2016.
They have so far invested £5.3 million into the site in the hope of striking oil.
Mr Sanderson added: “We hope to show this area as a continuous oil deposit so we can potentially drill other sites in the future.
“We would probably situate these sites near motorways to minimise impact.
“When you look at the site, in the middle is effectively a glorified crane. It is 30 metres high because we are dealing with 30 feet sections of pipe which are each screwed together.
“To the side we have soil bunds. Basically, the top soil was removed from the site and put to the side before the top soil is put back once we have finished drilling.
“To the right, we have tanks which store the potato starch created by the drilling.”
UK Gas and Oil said 4.5% of gross revenue from the site would go straight to Horsham District Council.
Mr Sanderson said: “We can’t give an exact figure because we don’t know if we will find oil or not.
“All the indications suggest we will and we want to give back to the local community.
“Potentially, we could put as much as £18 million back into the local council rather than the county council.
“We want this money to benefit the local area and the three parish councils.”
The whole site is tightly monitored by four independent regulators including the Environment Agency who visit the site each week to ensure UK Gas and Oil are sticking to the conditions set out in their permit.
Approximately 15 workers from British Drilling and Freezing Company Limited are working permanently on the site 24 hours a day.
In response to the recent protests, community relations officer Brian Alexander said: “We have about three or four people campaigning against us which is fine. “We have no problem with protesting but we have been given permission to drill here and that is what we are doing.
“We consulted with residents before drilling started so they were kept in the loop.
“We have about 60 residents coming to view the site in the next few days to offer them transparency.
“I would much rather we had locally sourced oil than depending on oil coming from unstable areas of the world.”