Who drilled where in 2015?

Mauxhall Farm, Kiln Lane

Europa Oil & Gas well at Mauxhall Farm, Kiln Lane, near Immingham, drilled in 2015

The short answer is not many companies sank wells anywhere onshore in 2015. The number of oil and gas wells drilled in the UK in 2015 was the lowest for almost 40 years.

According to government figures, eight wells were spudded (the process of starting to drill a well). This compares with a yearly average over the past 40 years of 29.

Only in 1977, when companies spudded seven wells, was the number lower than last year.

2015 details

2015 wells spudded

The eight wells were drilled by five operators in four counties. Half the wells were drilled in Hampshire in the Stockbridge oilfield. Another two were at Wytch Farm in Dorset.

Europa Oil & Gas drilled the Kiln Lane well (also known as Mauxhall Farm) near Immingham in north east Lincolnshire in February but abandoned it in March after finding no oil. The company had previously estimated 2.9m barrels were recoverable.

Seven wells were for conventional oil and gas. The eighth, in Stoke-on-Trent, was for mine gas. Seven wells were deviated and one was vertical. No wells were drilled into shale and none were fracked.

2014 details

2014 wells spudded

In 2014, six operators drilled 19 wells in eight counties. These included gas wells at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire and Irlam (Barton Moss) in Salford, and oil wells at Wressle-1 in Lincolnshire and Wytch Farm (8).

The data refers to Ellesmere Port-1 as a shale gas well and Irlam (Barton Moss) as coal bed methane but IGas’s website it drilled into the upper and lower Bowland shales.

Fourteen wells were deviated, including all the Wytch Farm wells, and five were vertical.

40 years of drilling

2015 saw the smallest number of onshore wells spudded since 1977.

Offshore appraisal drilling fell from 18 wells in 2013 to 13 in 2015. But offshore development drilling went up by three in 2015 to 129. Companies also drilled 13 offshore exploration wells in 2015, one fewer than in 2014.

The pattern of onshore wells spudded appears to have no relationship to oil prices. The largest annual number of wells drilled in the past 40 years was 71 in 1986 when the oil price was $14 a barrel.

40 years of drilling and oil price

It may be that companies were waiting in 2015 to see what they were offered in the 14th onshore licensing round (announced in August and December) before deciding where to drill. There were falls in the number of wells spudded before the 12th and 11th licensing rounds, which closed in February 2008 and June 2004. But this pattern wasn’t seen before the 13th round (closed February 2008) or the 10th (closed April 2001).

Link to government data page

Link to government spreadsheet

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4 replies »

  1. Have you any details on how many people became ill because of this drilling. There should have been an increase in hospital admissions and a few cancers diagnosed. Or has this been suppressed by the government?

    • or

      A rather tame reporting of mostly accidents and minor disease outbreaks which does little to inform of dangers. It may be there aren’t any however, given there are no long range testing stats, so for example post employment monitoring or care not factored in, and it seems people living near sites aren’t having their impacts monitored and recorded either.

      Not to mention the fact that environmental impacts are ignored completely, unlike in Norway where they a more responsible approach and pay for the protection of marine environment with the regulated emergency off switch at sites, if any meteorological disaster arrives….

      I could write more but my server and landline BT I might add, seem to have probs with delivering a fault free service…………………….thank goodness neither is drilling anywhere…..errr…..WHAT?

      However, I wont give the link as it is pretty long, but google with this search ref and find third result down to see how endangered our planet is:

      map of drill sites Australia offshore

  2. I heard from an industry source that the public opposition being stirred up by the dash for fracking gas is making life much harder for the longstanding conventional drilling industry.

    The own goal would be comical if it wasn’t for the impact on so many people who are having to defend their communities.

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