Exploration firm UK Oil & Gas Investments (UKOG) has said that there could be up to 100 billion barrels of oil onshore in the south of England.
The company made this announcement after it drilled a well at Horse Hill, near Gatwick airport in 2014 and conducted an analysis of the well, which found that the area may have reserves of 158 million barrels of oil every square mile; however, only 3% to 15% of the 100 billion barrels total can be recovered, UKOG said.
In the last four decades, the North Sea area has produced around 45 billion barrels of oil.
"We think it has national significance."
UKOG CEO Stephen Sanderson was quoted by the BBC as saying: "We think we've found a very significant discovery here, probably the largest [onshore in the UK] in the last 30 years, and we think it has national significance."
Most of the oil can be found within the Upper Jurassic Kimmeridge formation between a depth of 800m and 900m.
UKOG has classified the area as a 'world-class potential resource' and stated that the well could potentially produce a significant yield of oil daily.
For decades, oil has been produced onshore in the south of England. Currently, 12 oil production locations exist across the Weald region.
In 2014, a report by the British Geological Survey estimated that the area may hold shale oil resources between 2.2 billion to 8.5 billion barrels.