June 16 (UPI) -- A British oil and gas company tapping into a prospect dubbed the "Gatwick Gusher" said development is on schedule and under budget.
U.K. Oil & Gas Investments said Friday it's completed the drilling of an exploration well targeting the Kimmeridge limestone. An "extensive" core sampling is set to begin next week.
"The well is now under budget and remains on schedule," the company said in a statement Friday.
The field is in the Kimmeridge limestone formation, about three miles away from Gatwick Airport, earning it the nickname Gatwick Gusher
Preliminary estimates made by the company put the entire Horse Hill reserve total at 100 billion barrels of oil at the high end. Executive Chairman Stephen Sanderson said the company expected to recover as much as 15 percent of the oil.
The company said the reserves are in shale beds that are fractured naturally, meaning extraction may be carried out using conventional techniques. Hydraulic fracturing is in its infancy in Britain and controversial. Similar technology has led to exponential increases in U.S. oil and natural gas production.
U.K. Oil & Gas Investments said it's targeting four sections within the Kimmeridge limestone. Sanderson said last year the latest test results provide "unequivocal proof" that oil can be pulled from the shale basin at commercial rates.
If its full potential is reached, the future production from the area could provide as much as a quarter of the nation's total oil demand over its lifespan, based on 2014 demand levels.