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Over £300bn worth of oil reserves discovered in West Sussex

The exploration company UK Oil & Gas Investments claims that it has made a significant oil find close to Gatwick Airport in West Sussex.

The company announced that analysis conducted on the site means that the well could yield up to 158 million barrels of oil per square mile. The company's licenses cover 55 square miles of the Weald Basin, a region spanning Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire.

This suggests that the site could hold over 8.6 billion barrels of oil - just under a fifth of the amount that has been pumped out of the North Sea in the past 40 years.

At the current oil price of around $58 a barrel, the amount of oil UK Oil & Gas Investments claims is lying under the West Sussex countryside would be worth just under $500bn, or £336bn. However, the company cautioned that it may only be able to extract a fraction of those reserves from the site.

A number of industry experts have expressed scepticism about the size of the discovery.

Locations of UKOG's UK licences, Source: NOP

Stephen Sanderson, the chief executive of UKOG, said that his company had drilled the deepest well in the region in 30 years. It has also been able to call on cutting-edge technology and data interpretation techniques. This had "comprehensively change the understanding of the area's potential oil resources".

He added: "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."

UKOG said the area near Gatwick, sometimes dubbed "Britain's Dallas", had the potential to be a "world class potential resource".

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