RIG IN STRAIT

Drilling to test for un­der­wa­ter ca­ble tun­nel

Bangor Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Eryl Crump

ADRILLING rig is be­ing used to un­der­take sur­veys of the ge­ol­ogy be­low the seabed on the Me­nai Strait.

It has been brought into the area by the Na­tional Grid and is cur­rently lo­cated close to Plas Newydd and west of the Bri­tan­nia Bridge.

The work be­ing car­ried out is in con­nec­tion with the Na­tional Grid’s pro­posal to build a tun­nel un­der the Me­nai Strait to carry new elec­tric­ity ca­bles be­tween the is­land and the main­land. The rig, which mea­sures more than 20 me­tres long and 36 me­tres high, is ex­pected to be in the area for up to 12 weeks.

Its ap­pear­ance in the Me­nai Strait has prompted spec­u­la­tion and con­cern among lo­cals.

Ian Roberts, from Felin­heli, said: “It popped up in the Strait with­out warn­ing or no­tice. Noone knew what it was do­ing there - drilling for oil, frack­ing or just sim­ply be­ing stored in shel­tered wa­ter over win­ter.”

His friend Gwyn Davies added: “I hope it doesn’t stay long as it’s spoil­ing the view.”

A Na­tional Grid spokesman said: “The rig will be used to drill into the seabed to ob­tain rock cores – these are sam­ples of rock which will help sur­vey­ors un­der­stand more about the for­ma­tion and types of rock un­der the Strait.

“Each core sam­ple will be about 45 me­tres long, but only 10cm in di­am­e­ter.

“Once drilled, the rock sam­ples will be brought on shore to study. The im­por­tant data gath­ered will also be shared with Ban­gor Uni- ver­sity. The sur­veys are all be­ing un­der­taken in an area south-west of the Bri­tan­nia Bridge. A num­ber of dif­fer­ent points will be sur­veyed in this area and the rig will move to these dif­fer­ent points.”

The rig was towed into the area and is be­ing ser­viced by a boat based at Caernar­fon.

The Na­tional Grid spokesman added there will be no ef­fect on the ma­rine wildlife or the coastal environment. He added while drilling work is a 24-hour op­er­a­tion noise dis­tur­bance is be­ing kept to a min­i­mum.

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