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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 December 2006, 00:22 GMT
Green light for oil exploration
Miles Newman and Isabel Davies
The company was founded by Isabel Davies and Miles Newman
The latest phase of oil exploration off the east coast of Caithness has been given the go-ahead by Highland Council.

A north east company will locate a drilling rig on land to investigate oil and gas reserves two miles offshore.

They were discovered a decade ago in a deposit three-and-a-half kilometres off the Caithness coast, near Lybster.

Reach Exploration - formed by husband and wife team Miles Newman and Isabel Davies - wants to establish whether the find is commercially viable.

The small exploration company has been given permission to use an onshore rig on grazing land at Swinnie, 300m from the coast.

Round the clock

From there, it will be able to drill into what is called the Lybster structure, nearly a mile below the sea bed.

Five residents have complained about the likely noise of the rig, which would operate round-the-clock during drilling.

Highland Council's planning committee said it was happy that conditions could be imposed to make sure there was no unacceptable disturbance.

Mr Newman and Ms Davies, from Aboyne, were praised last month by Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling.

He said the couple's efforts demonstrated the pioneering spirit of the industry.


SEE ALSO
Oil strike within couple's Reach
24 Nov 06 |  North East/N Isles

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