Great Britain Might Have Just Stumbled On An Oil Boom Worth $74 Billion

(REUTERS/Andrew Cullen)

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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A new oil find in Great Britain could add up to $74 billion to the nation’s economy, according to a study published Monday by the oil company UK Oil & Gas Investments (UKOG).

The find has the potential to generate from $10 billion to $74.6 billion for the British economy, according to the study, including up to $26 billion in new tax revenue for the British government. The oil could also provide 27 percent of the U.K.’s daily oil demand over the life of the project, and create 5,600 steady jobs that pay a starting salary of more than $43,000 annually.

“It is therefore possible that the overall economic impact of Kimmeridge Limestone oil could be significantly higher than this initial report describes,” Stephen Sanderson, the executive chairman of U.K. Oil & Gas, said in a statement.

The find is located in the Kimmeridge Limestone, which is just south of London. An experimental test well in the area, called the Gatwick Gusher, struck more oil than it could pump last month. The single well can likely access 20 million barrels of oil.

Estimates made last year state that the reserve could store as much as 100 billion barrels of oil. According to government data, the rest of Britain only has 2.98 billion barrels of proven oil reserves. Britain’s current oil production has continued to decline, and experts estimate the country will be forced to import 50 percent of its daily oil demand by 2020.

Environmentalists, who worried the well could create an incentive for hydraulic fracturing in the U.K., began protesting against the Gatwick Gusher in February. Drilling in the area won’t require hydraulic fracturing, or fracking according to the company which operates the well, but it could help the U.K. get more oil out of the formation.

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