David Ashford MHK says that he thinks there is a risk of missing a ‘huge potential opportunity’ for the island when it comes to Crogga.

It comes after the company seeking to drill for hydrocarbons off the East coast of the island, handed back money to investors saying that the project had stalled.

The company had planned to drill the appraisal well this year, however, in order to do so the licence would need to be altered.

The licence that Crogga currently holds requires a 3D seismic survey before exploratory drilling can take place.

Crogga has requested a variation to the licence to move to carrying out the drilling of appraisal wells using the results of 2D seismic surveys already undertaken by British Petroleum.

The company is waiting on the Department of Infrastructure’s decision on whether this will be permitted.

The Minister for Infrastructure, Chris Thomas, told the House of Keys this week that he will attend an upcoming negotiation with the company, yet, Douglas North MHK, David Ashford has told Manx Radio that it seems like there has been no communication between the government and Crogga.

Mr Ashford said: ‘I am concerned that this seems to be going into the long grass, the main thing seems to be boiling down to whether or not before the appraisal well there needs to be a 3D sisemic survey, rather than relying off the 2D survey from BP.

‘A decision needs to be made, if the decision is that the 3D survey must be done first, then communicate that to Crogga.

‘Crogga wrote to the minister I believe on June 8, they also wrote on June 15 requesting an all parties meeting , and I hope that the all parties meeting will actually take place because the only way that I can see this being resolved is actually getting everyone face to face in a room.

‘I think we are at risk of missing a huge potential opportunity for the island.

‘The fact that the minister admitted that we have known for six years that we don’t have the appropriate drilling regulations in law, that is something that we should have been looking at, because if everything had gone smoothly, and we hadn’t had a pandemic in the middle, then we would now be at the stage potentially, where they would be wanting to drill with absolutely no drilling regulations.

‘This should have been dealt with ages ago.’

Crogga previously told the Courier: ‘Inaction on the part of the DoI has delayed drilling of the Crogga Independence 112/25a-2 appraisal well from 2023 to 2024.’

Crogga said that, as a result, it will now be 2027 at the earliest before gas could be commercially extracted from the Manx seas.

Mr Thomas told the House of Keys that a decision will be made soon.