Prospects of striking oil are not good

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PREVIOUS efforts at finding oil and gas reserves under Manx territorial waters were not encouraging, MHKs were told.

In the House of Keys, John Houghton (Douglas North) asked Economic Development Minister John Shimmin what estimate he had made of his department’s share of Irish Sea oil off the west coast of the island.

Mr Shimmin replied that the government had issued a number of hydrocarbon prospecting licences in the 1990s to assess the potential of oil and gas in the waters owned by the island up to 12 nautical miles from our shoreline.

He said: ‘Applications for a first round of exploration were received in 1995 and licences for a six year period were awarded to Elf and Marathon. Elf relinquished its licences prior to the expiry of the six-year term after disappointing results using 2D seismic survey work and a drilled well in 1996.

‘Based on these results off the west coast of the island, Elf did not consider further exploration was justifiable as it considered there was no source rock potential in the area. Marathon also drilled a well in 1996, which was abandoned as a dry well.

‘In 1996 out of round licences were granted to Marathon and BP but both have relinquished these licences early after disappointing results.

‘The previous well and seismic data relating to our territorial seas to the west of the island is available for use by the oil and gas industry. Should the department be approached, I would consider applications for an out of round licence.

‘However, the results from Elf are not encouraging.’

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