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Plans to drill for natural gas will help Island become 'self-sufficient'

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But Isle of Man Green Party describes Crogga's plans as 'ludicrous'

Drilling for natural gas in Manx territorial waters will help the transition towards creating a green economy and making the Island more self-sufficient.

That’s the view of Crogga Limited which has announced its intention to start the process next year.

It’s planning to drill an appraisal well - called 'Independence' on the Crogga Gas Field which is 17km offshore of Maughold Head.

The field was discovered by BP in 1982 and transferred to the Manx jurisdiction in 1991; it was then relinquished in 2001 and awarded to Crogga in 2018 by the Isle of Man Government.  

Under conditions of a licence, issued by the Department of Infrastructure, Crogga must acquire 3D seismic plans and drill two appraisal wells.

That work was delayed during the pandemic and the licence was extended by a further 27 months in May this year.

Crogga claims the BP well, in 1982, proved the presence of natural gas in a conventional sandstone reservoir.

The Independence well, which Crogga says will take three months to create, aims to determine the full size of the gas column and measure the rate at which gas flows out of the ground.

The company claims this question can only be answered by drilling a well and not by ‘shooting seismic’ and the outcome will be unknown until the well is drilled, logged and flow tested.

If commercial production rates are established and the field is as large as hoped Crogga says it will provide energy independence and a ‘significant increase’ in GDP for the Isle of Man.

Crogga has also committed to capping gas prices at 80p per therm for domestic gas sales to the Island something it claims will protect residents from ‘further price shocks’.

Richard Hubbard is the chief executive officer and told Manx Radio it’s a ‘really positive opportunity’:

The Independence well would be started as soon as preparatory work and government approval is complete with a drilling rig mobilised from the North Sea by the fourth quarter of 2023.  

In response to Crogga’s plans the Isle of Man Green Party told Manx Radio the company's ideas should not be persued. 

Deputy Leader Lamara Craine says the idea of drilling for natural gas is 'ludicrous':

Manx Radio invited the Department of Infrastructure to comment on Crogga’s plans. It declined the request.

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