Campaigners declare victory as Rathlin abandons Crawberry Hill over costs


Opponents plan gathering outside Crawberry Hill drilling site

Rathlin Energy has announced it is abandoning its exploratory well at Crawberry Hill in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Campaigners against Rathlin’s work say they will gather at the site near Beverley today in celebration.

In a statement, Rathlin Energy said the decision to withdraw from Crawberry Hill had been made on technical and commercial grounds. It cited the low oil price and said the costs of testing the well could not be justified.

In October 2014, East Riding of Yorkshire Council granted the company a one-year extension to its planning permission to test the well.

Since then, the only work carried out the site has been routine maintenance and this month the company ran out of time to deliver the operations listed in the planning permission. (Our report) At the time, the company said it was working to “satisfy the pre-operational conditions” set by the Environment Agency before testing could start at Crawberry Hill.”

But yesterday, Rathlin said it had decided not to “carry out further exploratory work at the existing site”.

“This decision has been taken in light of all the information derived from each of the exploration wells and against the background of continuing depression in world energy prices, which currently show little sign of recovery.”

“After thorough analysis, Rathlin has concluded that the costs associated with testing the Crawberry Hill well cannot be justified, relative to probability of commercial success.

“We continue to believe in the overall prospectivity of the geology in the Crawberry Hill area but the current well site is not a preferred location for further drilling or completion investment and, as a result, the well will be abandoned and the site restored.”

In a letter to Community Liaison Group members, also sent yesterday, Rathlin’s chairman, David Montagu-Smith, said:

“I am sure you will appreciate that we are disappointed that we will not be undertaking further exploration work at the Crawberry Hill site, but we will continue to work through the Liaison Committee to ensure that the local community is kept fully up to date with the works which remain to be completed.

“We will be asking for a meeting of the Liaison Committee early next month when we will be able to discuss our plans in more detail.”

Opponents of Rathlin’s drilling plans in East Yorkshire said they would gather outside Crawberry Hill at noon.They said their fight against the company would continue. Rathlin has planning permission for a second well at West Newton, also in the East Riding.

  • Earlier this month, IGas announced it was pulling out of a proposed coal bed methane site at Dudleston near Ellesmere in Shropshire

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