Protesters set up camp at Horse Hill oil drill site

Anti-fracking protesters at Horse Hill
Image caption It is the second time protesters have set up camp near the exploration site

Anti-fracking protesters have set up camp in Surrey close to where an oil company is starting test drilling.

UK Oil and Gas Investments (UKOG) drilled a well at Horse Hill, near Gatwick airport, in 2014.

The company later claimed there could be up to 124 billion barrels of oil under the Weald Basin.

UKOG has maintained that it does not intend to use the controversial fracking technique in its attempt to extract the oil.

One protester told the BBC: "They're talking a lot about tight oil, which is essentially the same thing as shale oil - they're just trying to avoid the f-word."

It is the second time the protesters have set up camp at the site.

Image caption UKOG said it was not allowed to frack above 1,000m

Engineers are due to test the well at three levels to see how easily oil will flow.

The deepest will be into Kimmeridge Limestone about 700m (2,296ft) down, with another section in the same limestone about 650m (2,132ft) deep.

The shallowest will be into Portland Sandstone at 600m (1,968ft).

Stephen Sanderson, executive chairman of UKOG, said there would be no fracking.

"The zone we're looking at is 700m. We're not allowed to frack above 1,000m," he said.

Image caption The protesters have the backing of the leader of the Green Party, Natalie Bennett

Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party, visited the site on Friday in support of the protesters.

"We shouldn't be heading in this direction in Britain in 2016.

"What we need to do is be investing in renewables, investing in energy conservation," she said.

Mr Sanderson said oil supplies would "create a lot of jobs and a lot of wealth for the country".

"That's good for the local area, it's good for England, and it's good for the UK."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites