Oil and Gas development on the Isle of Wight
Oil and gas are important mineral resources and primary resources of energy in the United Kingdom. Oil and gas includes both conventional and unconventional hydrocarbons. British Geological Survey (BGS) mapped data indicates the possibility of the presence of shale gas in the Isle of Wight area, as indicated by the lias deposit associated with the Wessex/Weald Province (The Unconventional Hydrocarbon Resources of Britain’s Onshore Basins – Shale Gas, DECC 2011).
Shale gas is mainly methane that is trapped in shale, tightly 'locked' in between the very small particles in the shale. Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, is the use of high pressure water to drill into the shale to create artificial fractures which releases the shale gas.
Oil and Gas Licensing – 14th Round
Oil and gas licences are issued periodically, giving a company or group of companies exclusive rights to explore for, and develop, the resource in a particular geographic location. Licences allow a company to pursue a range of activities for conventional or unconventional oil or gas.
The licencing system in the UK has been active for over 40 years.
On 1st April 2015 certain functions passed from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) a newly created Executive Agency of DECC. Licences are issued by the OGA which is an Executive Agency of DECC.
Please note: The Isle of Wight Council does not issue licences for oil and gas development.
Government has published the following information on the 14th Landward Licensing Round:
14th Landward Licensing Round
On 17 December 2015, the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) announced that licences for a total of 159 blocks were formally offered to successful applicants under the 14th Onshore Oil and Gas Licensing Round
The 14th Onshore Oil and Gas Licensing Round was launched on 28 July 2014 and closed on 28 October 2014. A total of 95 applications were received from 47 companies covering 295 Ordnance Survey Blocks. Following scrutiny of the applicants’ competency, financial viability, environmental awareness and geotechnical analysis, and following the decision not to award licences in Scotland and Wales, 159 blocks were taken forward for further consideration.
In August 2015, the OGA announced its intention to offer licences covering 27 blocks. These blocks did not require further environmental assessment under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 (the Habitats Regulations). At this time, the OGA launched a consultation relating to a further 132 blocks that were subjected to further detailed assessment in accordance with the Habitats Regulations, and a public consultation on that assessment was carried out. Following the conclusion of the consultation process, the OGA is now satisfied that the approval of the 14th Licensing Round, and the award of each of the licences under the Round, will not have an adverse effect on the integrity of any protected European site. As a result, the OGA is offering licences for a total of 159 blocks. For 75 of these blocks, the licence will contain a condition that prohibits all or specific activities in parts of the block.
Details of the offers to successful applicants are provided below:
- 14th Onshore Licensing Round Offers by Operator
- 14th Onshore Licensing Round contact details
- Map showing blocks offered under 14th Onshore Licensing Round
The documents can be viewed here as Microsoft Excel Spreadsheets and a PDF.
This interactive map has been produced by the OGA to assist companies and members of the public with information that will help them understand oil and gas exploration and production activity onshore in Great Britain including those areas already under licence and those areas offered under the OGA’s 14th Onshore Licensing Round.
It is important to note that licences do not give consent for drilling or any other operations or development. Potential operators will still need to obtain the following before any development can commence:
- consent from the landowner for the siting of infrastructure;
- planning permission of each stage of development (explorations, appraisal and production) from the MPA;
- associated regulatory consents (such as from the Environment Agency); and
- any additional consents for drilling operations.
The Isle of Wight Council’s role in oil and gas development
The council, as the Local Planning Authority, has a duty to determine any planning application submitted to it, but any individual or party can submit an application to the authority for any activity that will require planning permission. Each application is determined on its own merits, or otherwise, taking into consideration all relevant plans and policies at both the national Planning practice guidance for onshore oil and gas (PDF,579.20KB, 29 pages) and local level. The current adopted local plan, the Island Plan Core Strategy (PDF, 7.11Mb, 266 pages) has a range of policies to ensure all applications take into account all relevant material considerations.
In addition to this, certain applications for planning permission may be subject to further scrutiny and decision-making through the application of Environmental Impact Assessment, as required by the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2011 (PDF, 248.73KB, 60 pages).
As detailed above, planning is just one of a multiple consenting processes in relation to this activity, administered by a range of organisations, in the first instance please refer to Government's guidance on this matter.
If as a result of exploratory drilling reserves are identified and the operator wishes to undertake mineral extraction, a further planning permission will be required, which goes through the same process.
What this means for the Isle of Wight
New Petroleum Exploration and Development Licenses (PEDL) for the Isle of Wight have been awarded (December 2015) as detailed in the table below.
Drill or Drop
SZ38a, SZ48a, SZ58a, SZ47 and SZ57
UK Oil and Gas
Solo Oil Plc
Angus Energy Ltd
1 well, new 2D
Information taken from OGA 14th Onshore Licensing Round Offers by Operator which can be viewed here as a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet document.
The whole or part of 159 Ordinance Survey blocks are being offered at this time. Some blocks have been split into separate awards.
"Type" is the primary prospectivity identified in the application, but a PEDL licence covers any hydrocarbon and is not limited to this classification
S - Shale, CBM - Coalbed Methane, V - Abandoned Mine Methane Vent, C - Conventional
The above work programmes are provisional and Applicants may seek further discussions with the Oil and Gas Authority or decline to accept the offer.
A Firm commitment activity must be completed in the initial term (first 5 years) of the licence. A Drill-or-Drop leaves the decision whether or not to drill entirely with the licensee. If a well is to be drilled, it should be planned to complete drilling within the Initial Term.
2D is a two-dimensional seismic geologic survey to image a plane through the subsurface of the earth. 3D is a three-dimensional geologic survey to image a volume in the subsurface.
Oil and gas licencing by the OGA:
FAQs can be viewed by clicking the tab at the top of the page.