Views sought on UKOG oil drilling plans on Isle of Wight

A public consultation opened today on the environmental impact of plans to revive oil exploration on the Isle of Wight.

Site of UKOG’s proposed Arreton oil site, 23 March 2020. Photo: Frack Free Isle of Wight

UK Oil & Gas (UKOG) has applied for an environmental permit for a proposed site at Arreton, between Newport and Sandown.

The company is seeking consent from the Environment Agency to drill and test a main and sidetrack borehole.

A separate planning application for the scheme has been submitted to Isle of Wight Council.


The consultation runs for four weeks until 9 July 2021.

It can take into account:

  • Noise and smell from traffic on site
  • Environmental regulations and technical standards
  • Information on local population and sensitive sites
  • Whether the right processes are being proposed
  • Whether the impact on surrounding land is acceptable
  • Any need for pollution control
  • Any incorrect or missing information in the application

Conditions on operation

The environmental permit, if granted, would set conditions for the operation of the proposed exploration site.

It seeks to control issues such as noise, vibration and smell, chemicals used on the site, extractive waste and emissions to air, land and water.

It would allow:

  • Handling, storage, loading and treatment of crude oil
  • Incineration of gas in a flare
  • Use of a generator
  • Management of mining waste, including drill cuttings and mud, well suspension fluid, produced water, gas and spent acid

The Environment Agency said there was “no intention to carry out high pressure high volume fracturing (fracking)” and this had not been included in the application.

UKOG said it did not need a groundwater activity permit because the risk of pollution was too small to be a danger to water quality.

It also said it would apply for a standard radioactive substances permit because formation water produced from any future well could include naturally-occurring radioactive material (NORM).

If approved, the proposed wells, to called Arreton-3 and Arreton-3z, would be the first onshore oil and gas drilling on the Isle of Wight since 2005.

The Arreton-1 well was drilled in the 1950s and Arreton-2 in the 1970s. Neither is operating today.

Proposed Arreton-3 and Arreton-3z wells. Source: UKOG environmental permit application



The application said the proposed depth and trajectory of the Arreton-3 and 3z wells had not been finalised.

The target formations are Portland limestone, micritic limestone, Corallian and Inferior Oolite.

Diagrams show the Arreton-3 borehole reaching 5,400ft (1,646m).

Well tests

UKOG said the well casing would be perforated using explosive charges to allow any oil to move from the formation into the wellbore.

An initial flow test, lasting 10 weeks, would pump nitrogen into the base of the well, which would push oil, condensate, gas and formation water to the surface.

Gas would be burned in a flare. Formation water would be removed by tanker to a water treatment facility. Oil and condensate would be taken to a refinery.

The application said similar processes would be used for a 16-week extended well test.

Well treatments

The application also gave details of acid wash. This is described as a process used to clean the well after drilling, by dissolving calcium carbonate.

A typical treatment would use four acid washes and a xylene solvent treatment, UKOG said. This would need a total of up to 232m3 of fluid.

The acid in the treatments would include 7.5% and 15% hydrochloric, 15% acetic, and also formic acid, UKOG said.

Xylene would be used to remove wax and bitumen products that may build up, the company added.

UKOG said pressures and pump rates for well treatments would be decided by an injectivity test, where water or brine were injected into the oil reservoir, UKOG said.

  • DrillOrDrop will follow the permit application through the decision-making process.

15 replies »

  1. If there is commercial oil on IOW, would it not be irresponsible to continue importing it ie. if you use something why not take control of it’s production and make certain that it’s production is as environmentally beneficial as possible, rather than expecting others to take the responsibility for you, with no evidence they will do such a good job?

    Observing Nigerian oil being secured in the Solent by the SBS may be interesting, but hardly indicates energy security, security of the local environment or mitigation against climate change.

    Apart from that, then Nimbyism seems the fallback. But, how to dress it up as something else is the challenge.

    • Oh dear facts not in place again Martin. Not the Solent but never let the truth get in the way of a good rant

  2. No, continuing to obtain oil just perpetuated relicance on it and deminishes research in to renewables.

  3. The challenge is to use language as though it had meaning, not as a dog whistle. To use the term ‘nimbyism’ dishonestly, merely to devalue the arguments of one’s opponents or to suggest that the anti-polluters are acting out of a desire for personal advantage or gain and not out of a deeply felt desire to mitigate climate change is a last resort for those bereft of rational argument and unable to come to terms with the greater reality which is that the search for and production of fossil fuels is destroying our planet, encouraging those at home and abroad careless of the cost, and depriving alternatives of the additional investment.
    “(W)hy not take control of it’s (sic) production and make certain that it’s (sic) production is as environmentally beneficial as possible, rather than expecting others to take the responsibility for you, with no evidence they will do such a good job?” is the question asked. The question has frequently been answered. To develop, produce and transport fossil fuels locally will overall simply add to, not replace, the problem whilst underestimating it for the gullible. As such, it would incur grave moral responsibility for our continuing failure adequately to address the problem. Taking control is what some thought they were doing with Brexit, the same no doubt who took control at PNR when we fracked for gas making certain that its production was as environmentally beneficial as possible. Neither are proving to be such a good job.
    No anti-polluter expects others to take the responsibility for him or her but can see that the continuing use of already tapped resources should tide us over until the diverted huge investment income can very rapidly replace the diminishing pollutants. Clearly this is a massive undertaking, involves huge structural reform and can only be achieved with collaboration by all. It is sad that the opportunity the G7 had to instigate such a move has been squandered by the self-interested shenanigans of certain participants. That the task seems unachievable in the present political climate is no reason not to try.

  4. What a load of ill informed stuff.

    The reality is that oil currently aids the development of alternatives, which are subsidised by HMG. Maybe some of the £28 billion per year road tax is used?

    What is the road tax on electric vehicles?

    And no, the question has not been answered. There has been a lot of tosh, but no answer. Meanwhile, HMG have made it clear that local production of oil and gas will contribute better towards net zero than importing. What is an already tapped resource?? Oil wells anywhere in the world (including Nigeria) produce oil and then are depleted, and then new ones are drilled if the export market continues! Just because Paul allows such nonsense to continue the nonsense is continued. Which, is interesting as that continues to show the Emperors New Clothes approach that is applied to try and perpetuate a myth, and all can observe.

    And, as far as nimbyism is concerned, we have discussed that before and I made it clear that I see nimbyism as a very honest approach. Unfortunately, it does not do well within the Planning Process. So, once again, distort the facts to make a case, and then not even well!

    Transfer production to a more local source. Already been established. In this case, a source a few miles from a refinery-but best not to consider transport emissions!

    Basically, key facts avoided and laws of maths. and physics trashed. Mitigating climate change, 1720? Hmm. Perhaps change your stance regarding HS2 and someone may actually believe you are serious about the issue.

      • Your sentence, starting: “To develop…”

        Maths nonsense and nonsense physics.

        Trashed, or nonsense. You can take your pick of the semantics, but oil from IOW to Fawley Refinery wins on both maths. and physics compared to oil from Nigeria. And don’t bother with further nonsense about already tapped. There is a constant tapping of new wells in exporting countries to supply their overseas customers, which is exactly what IOW would mitigate against-if commercial quantities were found.

        Transfer of production. Yes. Much more local to the market. Yes. Much lower transport emissions. Yes. Much higher environmental standards. Yes.

        You talk about mitigation, yet constantly take an anti stance to mitigation, and try and justify with “reasons” that are simply incorrect.

        No, you are not part of the solution, just part of the problem.

        (Talked to a builder yesterday, who travels to IOW 5 days a week to build houses. Thanks to fossil fuels, and then uses fossil fuels on the building site. That is the current situation, and will continue for some years to come. Perhaps some would suggest that could all be helped by importing bricks from thousands of miles away? Yes, some would but that would also be nonsense.)

  5. “Your sentence, starting: “To develop…” “Maths nonsense and nonsense physics.” And that’s your answer!
    I think Mathematicians and Physicists might need a little more than your say so, Martin. In any case, I should break it to you gently, but I don’t think there is anything in either of these two subjects you’d like to know something about which stipulates that if would-be polluter A stops importing from polluter B, then polluter B will immediately stop polluting.
    Nor am I sure what semantics have to do with it, but it’s a good word.
    Your ‘Yes’ paragraph is stylistically interesting, and just about comprehensible, but – the big problem – transfer from B to A might stop, but what about transfer to would-be polluter C? I don’t think you can guarantee that that would not happen. That’s when you need your sums. What would your arithmetic teacher at school say if you told him that 1 polluter plus 1 polluter doesn’t always equal 2 polluters, as one of the polluters will cease to exist? My guess is you’d be told to ‘Shut up, and answer the question.”
    I’m always in favour of mitigation. Does it not occur to you that some of us disagree about how best to mitigate, regarding more of the same in this context as absurd? I’d need some sort of proof that my arguments are incorrect. I’m afraid I cannot simply accept your say so.
    If I am part of your problem, Martin, I’ll accept that accusation as a compliment, an indication, perhaps, that I might be on the right track.
    Interesting about your ‘builder’. Does he agree with you that more pollution will help with the task in hand? That really would settle the issue, wouldn’t it.
    Try to accept, Martin, that your position is increasingly untenable. I accept that you feel that we will suffer if we abandon fossil fuels too quickly, and that must be true. It is however logically unacceptable to continue to encourage pollution in order to reduce it. We have to throw everything at the alternatives and accept that the arch-polluters will not go away quietly. Think tobacco, Martin. Much more is at stake now. Join us, Martin.

  6. So, we have Harry Kane transferred from Spurs but he still plays for Spurs!!

    Nope. Doesn’t add up-still.

    But do keep producing the same nonsense. It is such a good advert for the antis!!

    I really would have thought by now you would have constructed some sort of “something must be done” that actually makes sense, 1720. But, you persist in trying to defend the indefensible when there are indeed somethings that could be done-which do add up.

    As far as my builder is concerned he knows from plans passed for new houses that many are required, and is quite keen to source his materials as locally as possible. What are the point of bricks from the Middle East if they get stuck in the Suez Canal, when Hampshire has long been a good source of bricks? And, even if those (Egyptian?) bricks arrived eventually, would they have been produced as sensitively regarding the environment? The Egyptians could get some lobbyist to try and change the maths. and physics, I suppose-but, they all seem to be occupied.

    And, no, we don’t need to throw everything at alternatives. Then we get cash for ash, people who can’t sell their houses because solar power companies own their roofs, and many more. Alternatives need to be developed that work well and sell themselves to the public otherwise what enthusiasm there is will evaporate. Something that will work, are High Speed rail networks and once established, stop internal flights. That works and has been shown to work-in France. But, in UK, some decide French maths. don’t apply in UK, don’t they, 1720!? Consistent-but, consistently wrong. And not only consistently wrong, but so keen to repeat and repeat. Yes, a good advert for the antis. Not. But, for those on the IOW not keen on this development I suspect they would prefer some input from those who do not base their input on poor Harry doing his thing in two different places at the same time!

    By the way, my head teacher would have told me, “you are top at maths, you should do better in Latin!” Yes, that really happened. I still don’t see the connection, but I did learn about decimate. Good job that has been done away with, otherwise some who couldn’t perform would still be sacrificed to encourage the others to get it right. Now we have the Internet to encourage those who would have suffered-you are so lucky 1720.

  7. I am reluctant to reply to your last, Martin, as the very fact of appearing to take it seriously as a rational argument gives it a credibility it hardly deserves.
    Why on Earth is your builder sourcing his bricks in Egypt when he can get sensitively produced bricks from Hampshire?
    What does Kane have to do with your desire to produce your pollution locally and what does it matter to the IOW?
    And your favourite topic, HS2, repeatedly flagged up despite its irrelevance to the question of fracking, because you imagine that my opposition means I’m wrong on fracking too. The same is true of your other fetish – if I ever said something must be done, (and it doesn’t sound like me), then it’s hardly a definitive argument to keep flagging it though it were important.
    Do stop churning out the diversionary gobbledygook.
    I should be wary of thinking that HS2 proves something for you. The French, who you flag up as an example of the success of an HS2 equivalent, are finding that their concentration on LGV is disadvantaging the millions who do not live in a major centre, both in respect of personal travel and in the delivery of the goods they need. The SNCF is discovering that its dependence on high traveller revenue from LGV is making it difficult to maintain the rest of the network, especially as revenue has dropped with Covid and looks unlikely to return to previous levels. Travellers are discovering that the hassle involved in transferring to the residual network reduces and sometimes negates any putative time-saving. Buses have been mooted as a passenger travel solution, free, I guess. As usage drops, so any saving in carbon emissions also wanes, lorries once again very much in demand. The decision was taken, I think a couple of years ago, to suspend further LGV work, although this has since been reversed as the TGV was certainly a prestige project in its day, successful on many counts, even though it did operate to the inconvenience of all save the well-heeled, and the international traveller, and at huge environmental cost. My sources are available and I can provide links if you wish. On the other hand you may prefer to “do your own research”.
    In the meantime, Boris’s prestige HS2 continues to run up huge bills. Estimates in 2010 were £20b. More recently the DfT puts the figure at £65-88b, while Lord Berkeley thinks £107b is closer to the mark. The DfT suggests only 1% of HS2 passengers will be people who would have flown and 4% those who would have driven.
    Sorry about all this irrelevant infirmation. I never elected to talk about HS2 but you seem to want to talk about it rather than about the climate and fossil fuels.
    I repeat, (another of my failings, but then the opposition is exceedingly obtuse), “I don’t think there is anything in either of these two subjects (your favourite Maths. and Physics – subjects I prize of course but not in the hands of a self-declared expert) you’d like to know something about which stipulates that if would-be polluter A stops importing from polluter B, then polluter B will immediately stop polluting.“ Well, is there?
    By the way, the English is ‘No’ , not ‘Nope’. I’m sure your transatlantic readership can cope with this better than I can with ‘Nope’.

  8. OMG!

    A lot of smoke but no cigar.

    1720 you are behaving very much like one other poster who used to feature regularly. Being the polite chap that I am, perhaps you have been taking lessons? When you have no answer to the points being made, thrashing around like a beached whale is rather obvious.

    By the way, the topic is NOT fracking. No intention to frack on IOW. A number of oil wells quite close to IOW. So, no fracking, but local examples of successful, environmentally sound local oil production. Indeed, one is recorded as the largest European on shore oil field, justifying it’s own pipeline. How good is that with respect to transport emissions?

    When you have got to grips with maths. and physics, then we can start on English, but until then I will continue to raise the question of maths. and physics because every time I do there is an obvious confusion on the subject, and whilst some would like to avoid that problem, it needs to be solved to make any serious progress.

    So, will Harry Kane, if transferred at the start of the season continue to play for Spurs?

    (Yes, that simplification will even be understand by the youngsters, so perhaps you should address the issue rather than just try and suggest fossil fuels are different. But, you can’t because they are not. Transfer is the key word, and has already been detailed whilst a bill for £400k was produced against your nonsense. Many more £400ks and development of alternatives will be curtailed! But, let us hope that cleaner means of transportation will still continue to get funded-especially HS2.)

  9. Did you understand my posting, Martin? You seem to have thrown the points re HS2 out of the window together with the recommendations of the various climate change bodies. You are, very, very obviously, a denier, incapable of or unwilling to accept the consensus of thousands of scientists whose opinion is at variance with your own.
    The thought of your tutoring anyone in English must be one of your funniest to date: stick with proclaiming your mastery of Maths. and Physics no matter how relevant (or irrelevant).
    Perhaps your Headmaster was trying tactfully to suggest an alternative path.
    So fossil fuels….how is it that they are no different? I’ll close this in the fairly certain knowledge that when you have the last word it will be as irrelevant and culpably ill- informed, not to say as incomprehensible as most of your postings.
    In the meantime, you are of course correct about the nature of the IOW application. I was, imprecisely and wrongly, using ‘fracking’ as a short cut to both/all extractions of fossil fuels as my point referred to the fact of development and the pollution incurred rather than the method. My apologies for the slip.

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