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