A report has revealed that there are several billion barrels of oil in shale rocks under large areas of Southern England.
Extracting the oil from the ground will involve fracking – a controversial process that pumps water, sand and chemicals into rock at a high pressure to push the oil out.
The study by the British Geological Survey (BGS) covers areas including Sussex, Hampshire, Surrey and Kent.
It is not yet known how much of the oil is economically recoverable, but these estimates could still have implications for the UK’s energy strategy in the long term.
Areas in the North of England have seen much fracking, with 45 billion barrels of oil extracted from the North Sea over the past 40 years. A study by the British Geology Survey last year cited as much as 1,300 trillion cubic feet of gas in shale rocks.