Green MEP calls for methane leaking Dorset oil well to be shut down

Molly has demanded that an oil well in Dorset be shut down and its processes urgently reviewed, after a Freedom of Information request confirmed it has been leaking harmful methane emissions for decades. The Environment Agency has revealed that last year the Kimmeridge Well, operated by Perenco UK LTD, produced 3,179 tonnes of crude oil and it is estimated that this could lead to the release of up to 284 tonnes of methane. The company has tried unsuccessfully to stop the release of the gas. Similar oil wells around the country are likely to also be emitting methane.

Molly said:

“Given the climate emergency we are facing I wholeheartedly support campaigners who want this oil well shut down and its emissions policy reviewed urgently. Methane is around 30 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and if it cannot be captured and used then the future of the plant must be in doubt.”

The MEP has also pointed to the ‘cavalier attitude’ of politicians in Dorset towards climate change and energy. She said:

“Dorset residents have had to endure a somewhat cavalier attitude towards energy and climate change by its sitting Tory MPs. They seem more than happy to keep the oil flowing; opposing renewable energy projects and casting doubts on the science of climate change.

“Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns opposed the Navitus wind farm off the Dorset coast on the grounds of its potential impact on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, yet he failed to criticise plans to drill for oil and gas in Swanage. 

“Richard Drax, the MP for South Dorset, also opposed Navitus and has a dubious record on climate, accusing the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of distorting facts.

Speaking on BBC Radio Solent this morning about the methane leaks [1], Molly said:

“As we tackle climate change a lot of the current production of oil will cease to be economically viable. It would be much better for the climate and for good quality jobs in Dorset if we transition rapidly towards renewables. That’s what’s happening in other countries in Europe but in the UK the dinosaurs in the Conservative Party are holding us back.”

She concluded:

“The science of climate change is unequivocal: if we are to keep the earth within an average temperature rise of less than two degrees, as we have committed to do under the Paris Agreement, we must leave around 80% of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground and rapidly make the transition to renewable energy. And we need all our politicians to act responsibly to prevent the climate breakdown we are facing.”


[1] From 1:35