Northern Petroleum Plc have been awarded the rights to carry out oil drilling opeations in two areas off the shores of the Isle of Wight. An initial exploration will be carried out to evaluate the oil and gas potential but they added that there was no firm drilling commitment attached to the licence award.

The area to be evaluated runs along shoreline of the Island on the South West side, along the line of the Military Road and go out into a large triangle in the channel. This covers most of the most commonly surfed area of the Isle of Wight and is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and a Heritage Coast.

The Government awarded the licence and now they have to go through the local planning process with Isle of Wight Council. They will have to advertise the planning application for the onshore part of the operation-probably in the County Press. Once advertised public will be able to give comments. The company already had an onshore licence (PEDL 240) area on the Island, which they were awarded in May 2008.

A new company, NP Solent Limited, is being formed to carry out the business. This will be the majority licensee, along with four other companies.

Image care of Rapanui


What does this mean in terms of disrupting marine life, surfing ot potential for spills? Stakeholders of the local marine environment, including recreational nearshore water users, are disappointed that rights had been awarded to prospect for Oil in the AONB.


Island surfers

“Island Surfers including Surfers Against Sewage, the Isle of Wight Surf Club and Wight Surf History are disappointed to see oil exploration taking place on the Isle of Wight, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We hope the strongest possible safeguards are in place to prevent any damage to the environment, beaches and recreational coastlines on the island. We call all the whole Isle of Wight surfing and beach loving community to be vigilant for any pollution in or damage to the coastal environment, beaches and surf spots arising from this project and report any such incidents to SAS or your local SAS reps. It’s vital that the whole community engages with any new consultation processes for associated onshore infrastructure, new or related oil drilling projects. It is within public consultation frameworks that SAS supporters and the wider public can officially voice their concerns.“


“It is worrying that in the same Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, we struggle with the acceptance of renewable energy but continue to look to polluting and finite sources of energy such as oil”

Mart Drake-Knight, Rapanui