oil rig in sunset

Oil rig talks continue after drilling ends

A local organisation is calling on people to take action and raise awareness against oil drilling in Poole.

Marine conservation charity Save our Shores (SOS) is planning a talk on Bournemouth University’s Landsdowne campus today, which comes just ten days after the rig’s removal from the Dorset coast.

The talk will highlight what individuals can do to make a difference to company decisions to use land and sea to find oil.

‘It’s getting quite real, because lots of major organisations have spoken out about how bad things like this are.

The drilling began in early February by private UK oil and gas exploration company, Corallian.

The aim of the rig was to drill over 1,000m under the seabed to explore oil reserves.

What action can we take?

Lucinda Phalp, a student at BU who is involved with SOS and BU and AUB Students Against the Oil Rig, is hosting the talk today.

She brings some of the small things that can make a big difference when it comes to challenging companies on drilling.

Why is this still being debated?

She said: ‘even though the oil rig has been removed, the actual drilling is planning to continue.’

‘They’re planning to do horizontal drilling, and it will be one of the longest horizontal drilling operations in the world.’

It’s not only the one off-shore oil rig though. There are many wells on land that are still causing concern amongst residents and activists alike.

Lucinda said: ‘there are multiple on-land wells at Wytch Farm in Purbeck which have been there for many years, and they are held up to be high standard rigsbut actually, Freedom of Information requests have been put in by SOS, and they found that there have been multiple oil leaks in the last several years.’

A spokesperson for SOS said that the Freedom of Information request revealed 4 oil leaks between 2011 and 2019, all from their onshore sites.

Lucinda said: ‘If that were to happen under the seabed, that could have really detrimental effects to the sealife’.

She said that the popularity of these talks on environmental issues in general is growing.

‘Over time, through just being loud, more people are coming and expressing interest who haven’t in the past.

‘It’s getting quite real, because lots of major organisations have spoken out about how bad things like this are.

‘It’s not just a few of us getting angry about it. It really is a problem.’

Major organizations who have spoken out include Greenpeace, who have also launched a campaign which includes targeting the drilling in Poole Bay, stating that the case is a ‘climate emergency‘.

Challenges to drilling

Save our Shores is supporting The Seahorse Trust, a charity which works on the conservation of seahorses and a dedication to ‘protecting the natural world’.

The Seahorse Trust has launched ‘We challenge the Secretary of State over drilling in Poole Bay’ on website Crowd Justice, with a £12,000 target.

The campaign case has alleged that the Secretary of State authorised Corallian to drill for oil without undertaking a lawful environmental impact assessment. 

It also alleged that since the oil rig started drilling on 6 February 2019, 4 dolphins, 1 seal and two seahorses were washed up dead.

The Trust states that the Assessment of Environmental Effects Regulations 1999 need to be amended.

The pledge has 22 days to go and has reached £3,980 so far.

Statements and potential issues

The mobile drilling unit, called MoDU, brought up environmental impacts outlined in their 2017 Environmental Statement Summary by the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning.

Some of these included underwater noise and seabed disturbance.

However, the statement did not bring up any significant issues regarding sealife, protected habitats or species.

Corallian issued a public statement that said ‘all practicable measures’ would have been taken to avoid ‘spill scenarios’.



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