Take-off for UK oil industry?

Airports are famous for being, well…airports. Why, after all, would they attract interest for any other reason? Try asking Gatwick, the UK’s second-busiest airport, which recently hit the headlines for its previously undetected oil reserves.

UK exploration firm Oil and Gas Investments generated a burst of excitement when it said its initial estimates suggested that its Horse Hill well near the airport could contain between 50 billion and 100 billion barrels.

Small wonder that this raised eyebrows, given that 100 billion barrels would be equal to Kuwait’s proven reserves and more than the UK has extracted from the North Sea.

Since then, rather anti-climactically perhaps, the firm has rowed back from its initial forecasts saying that it was not possible to verify how much oil was covered by its own licences.

For Gatwick, which is owned and managed by Global Infrastructure Partners and a consortium of co-investors, this means its identity as an airport rather than a potential promised land for oil investors is assured – at least until those estimates can be better clarified.