THE plans by UK Oil and Gas to test the Arreton site, which have been submitted to the IW Council for planning permission, have divided opinion.

Here is a selection of the letters the County Press received this week.

From Tim Luker, Brading:

Ref. “We dispute facts etc”(CP letters, 12-06-20).

I have followed the advice of the author and re-read the Xodus Report 2018. I can confirm the data I wrote about in the previous week’s edition is correct.

In summary, the stated oil in place for the Arreton Main, South and North blocks is indeed a mean of 227 million barrels, with a quoted range reflecting uncertainty of 100-387 million barrels.

The quoted reserves (possible producible oil) for the same three blocks are a median (they do not quote mean) 25 million barrels with a range of 12-49 million barrels.

The oil in place has been discounted (reduced) for the South and North as no well has penetrated those blocks, and the reserves have been discounted as no production data exists. I reconfirm my conclusions quoted on June 5, which are consistent.

The size of the prize is significant to the UK, albeit with a large uncertainty which is normal for a field with few wells.

There is only one way to determine whether there is either zero or a lot of hydrocarbons to be produced and that is to drill a well and production test it.

Furthermore, the author uses production data from wells in the Weald Basin to predict performance in Arreton which is in the Wessex Basin.

The reservoirs in the two basins are not completely analogous, some fields produce from different reservoirs, and the extrapolation is erroneous.

A final correction for the author. Acetic acid is not used in drilling fluids, there are no naturally occurring toxic strata chemicals in Arreton (they drilled through shale, limestone and sand containing water of varying salinities), and no toxic flows to the surface would occur.

The drilling fluid system is a closed system with zero spillage.

Own goal beckons

From Lesley Hampshire, Shanklin:

Amid all the furore of arguments as to whether or not to exploit the ‘black gold’ supposedly hidden beneath the Arreton plain, has the IW Council developed collective amnesia?

One of the basic tenets of its Island Core Plan Strategy is (and I quote) ‘to become a world-renowned Eco Island’ with a set of objectives ‘to provide renewable sources of energy that contribute to the Island being self-sufficient in renewable energy production.’

So they’re proposing to give the green light to UKOG to extract outdated, polluting fossil fuel in the hopes of getting some sort of kickback.

Does the idea of ‘own goal’ come to mind? You might as well ask the British Lung Foundation to accept a donation from the Imperial Tobacco Company!

No longer valued

From Penelope Baker, Lake:

Poor Tim Luker (CP, 05-06-20) is living with past fantasies in a rapidly changing global and local circumstances.

Oil is no longer a valued asset when there is such a glut storage is overwhelmed hence falling prices.

Things were already changing pre pandemic, with electric cars coming to the fore and oil companies investing in renewables to protect shareholders and pension funds.

Post pandemic cyclists and pedestrians are being pushed up the hierarchy.

Here on the Island it’s a win-win situation for local tourism. as the alternative to quarantine etc.

Tourism, food production and renewables are the key sources of income and anything that works against those priorities is damaging national as well as local interest. Arreton Barns is a delightful attraction and tourists would find an oil installation unattractive.

So Tim, study the up-to-date OECD reports and see how grim things would be if our infrastructure were damaged. Things are grim enough.