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Reach Exploration To Test Drill For Oil Onshore In Caithness

9th November 2006

At a recent meeting of the Clyth Latheron and Lybster Community Council two representatives of Reach Exploration, Mr Miles Newman and Mr Phil Mason, addressed the meeting as to the future plans of the company's drilling and testing for oil to the immediate south west of Lybster.

The company concentrates on what is considered to be the best places to drill but with a success rate of only one in three and only 50% of the one producing quantities of commercial value it is very much a high risk business.

Reach applied for blocks along the Caithness coast in 2005 and await planning permission to get the go ahead to drill from onshore to offshore. This the council were told is the only feasible and commercial way to progress.

Drilling and testing is due to start sometime in late spring next year and will last for about 6 - 8 weeks, twenty four hours, seven days a week.

The area chosen at Achnacraig Swiney has been tested for noise levels and visual impact and fits the strict criteria. It also needs to be near to the main road for servicing and supplies. The onshore exploration site will cover an area of two acres or thereabouts and the test drill will be around 40 metres high. The whole area will be protected from potential spillage pollution by meeting the strict regulations set down by SEPA (Scottish Environmental Protection Agency).

It will only be after drilling and testing over a lengthy period of time that it will become apparent as to whether commercial quantities exist. The decision will then be taken as to how the oil will leave the area. Options include linking into the present Beatrice pipeline to Nigg or to take the oil away by tanker. These decisions the council were told remain in the future and may not come to fruition depending on the outcome of the forthcoming test work next year.

In conclusion the council were assured to learn that any non - specialised work would be put out to tender to local companies wherever possible.

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