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Work To Start On Finding Oil And Gas Near Swanage

Andrew Hindle and Rachel Barton California Quarry

7:40am 2nd July 2014

They'll be no fracking involved in the search for oil and gas near Swanage.

A company called Infrastrata plc say they'll only be using conventional drilling methods.

They have a three acre site at California Quarry which they'll start preparing this winter.

Before that they plan to hold another public information event to make sure everyone is fully aware of their plans.

InfraStrata's chief executive, Dr Andrew Hindle, said: 'We have now discharged all the pre-start planning conditions required by Dorset County Council and are preparing to start on the site this winter. Before this, we plan to run a short seismic programme to further image the geology under the wellpath and finalise the design of the well.'

'We want people to know that we are only using conventional drilling methods to target Jurassic and Triassic sandstones and limestones to reach reservoirs which have been in production elsewhere in Dorset using these same methods for many decades.'

There are three phases to the drilling process.

1.     Construction of the wellsite - expected to take up to eight weeks. Likely to be undertaken this winter (2014/15).
2.     The assembly and installation of drilling equipment and facilities and drilling of the exploratory well - expected to take up to eight weeks and likely to be undertaken in late winter (2014/15) or early next winter (2015/16).
3.     Should oil or gas be encountered, the drilling rig would be demobilised and InfraStrata would undertake a long-term test with the well to establish whether it could produce oil or gas commercially using conventional methods. Any subsequent development of the site would require planning permission. If no commercial oil or gas are encountered, then the well will be plugged and abandoned and the wellsite restored to its original state.

Speaking about the potential benefits of the project, Dr Hindle said: 'If oil or gas were encountered and later successfully developed in Purbeck - following the relevant approvals - it would have a positive longer term impact on local and national industry, with local job creation and other economic benefits. In the short term, although drilling operations require specialised personnel, some support services contracts will be sourced locally. Nearby hotels, guesthouses and shops will benefit from the drilling rig and associated services personnel.'

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