Campaigners begin monitoring Rathlin Energy well site as rig installed

190108 conductor rig wngttgf1

Conductor rig installed at Rathlin Energy’s West Newton A well site in East Yorkshire, 8 January 2018. Photo: still from video by West Newton Gateway to the Gas Fields group

Opponents of plans by Rathlin Energy to drill another well in East Yorkshire have said they will monitor operations round the clock.

The company has been delivering equipment to its West Newton-A site, north of Hull, since early December (DrillOrDrop report).

The conductor rig was installed today. This sets the first layer of steel casing – the conductor pipe – to provide structural support for the well.

In November 2018, Rathlin was granted three more years of planning permission in which to drill and test a second well at the site.

190108 conductor rig wngttgf2

Conductor rig installed at Rathlin Energy’s West Newton A well site in East Yorkshire, 8 January 2018. Photo: still from video by West Newton Gateway to the Gas Fields group

During tests on the first well in 2014, the company breached at least 14 conditions of its environmental permits (DrillOrDrop reports here and here).

Local people said this prompted them to establish a 24-hour monitoring and information station and camp, next to the site, when Rathlin returned.

A spokesperson for the group said:

“This 24/7 camp is necessary. It was due to the last camp and local residents working together that several breaches to both the Environment Agency permits and Health and Safety regulations were reported and acted upon. Self-regulation failed.”

He said campaigners would be providing support, information and monitoring to residents.

“We would like to work closely with residents and the wider community to hold Rathlin to account on what could be the beginnings of large-scale industrialisation of the countryside in the form of gas and oil fields.

“We would like local people to come along, have a cup of tea and a chat and find out more.”

The group said it would be recording all vehicles to ensure they adhered to speed limits set in the planning conditions on the agreed route to the site. It would also check road conditions, including mud and damage to surface and verges. Activities on the well pad would be checked, the group said, to ensure they complied with permissions. All potential breaches would be reported, the group added.

DrillOrDrop West Newton-A key facts and timeline

66 replies »

  1. “Monitoring operations”!!!

    With what expertise? Looking out for some selenium emerging from underground?

    “Large scale industrialisation”!!

    Well, that hasn’t started with much credibility. Since when does a gas well create large scale industrialisation? Perhaps some should really understand the kiddies have gone back to school and the adults, on the whole, have a better understanding of this subject.

    • One well may not but the 6,200 wells experts have said would be needed to provide just 50% of the gas we import would create quite a bit of industrialisation of the countryside.

      [Typo corrected at poster’s request]

      • Ahh, those experts!

        Please tell us Pauline where there is gas anything like sufficient to dent even a few % of that imported gas as far as this particular development is concerned.

        Sorry, but that is like saying a guy should not be able to put a kit car together because it will be equivalent to him industrialising to the extent of Jaguar/Honda/Toyata etc. in the UK. Also have a word with John. He reckons the UK import zero gas!

        • drillordrop.com/countryside-would-be-littered-with-fracking-wells-to-replace-half-UK-gas-imports-new-research

        • Don’t shoot the messenger. See for yourself in Ruth’s article of April 25th 2018 on research by Cardiff Business School.
          The number of wells given were for a medium production well. If flow rates were less, considerably more wells would be required. The report concluded that with medium flow rates one well would need to be drilled and fracked every day for the next 15 years. Good luck with that one when Cuadrilla still haven’t managed to complete one well in two years and have now removed most of their equipment from site.

          • I would shoot the messenger. This is a conventional well targetting conventional gas and oil. Nothing to do with fracking / shale / Cardiff / 6,200….

            • This discussion began with Martin’s mocking remark about “Large scale industrialisation!” with reference presumably to the spokesperson for the group who said “We would like to work closely with residents and the wider community to hold Rathlin to account on what could be the beginning of large scale industrialisation of the countryside in the form of oil and gas fields.” The gentleman was clearly not referring to this single site but warning of the cumulative effect of what the oil and gas industry are planning to inflict on our communities and countryside if they once get their foot in the door. The report I referred to was also illustrating the scale of full scale commercial production.
              The fact that sites are being considered piecemeal by our planning system means that each one can claim they will be insignificant and claim they will cause little detrimental effect to the immediate community when we all know the industry’s intention is ultimately for a completely different scenario which once begun would be difficult to stop.

            • Pauline-you KNOW this is NOT some sort of first, or foot in the door. Neither is it anything to do with fracking. It is simply something which is routine and has been done previously, and successfully. Certainly no reason that it will cause “industrialisation”.

              If a farmer builds a cattle shed with the appropriate authorisation, it doesn’t mean cattle sheds will spring up like mushrooms across the land. It certainly doesn’t mean “industrialised” poultry factories will do so.

              You may want to try and conflate and add some fog to that and it seems that is now the default position but it has become so obvious that the result will be negative to all but those who require exciting to maintain their commitment.

            • Pauline you need to understand the difference between conventional and unconventional (shale). Conventional such as Rathlin has been onshore UK since before the war, other than Wytch Farm, it has always been constrained by the small geological accumulations. The “foot has been in the door” for close on 100 years.

              Rathlin’s two targets are no different and will result in very few wells if successful. You (unless you are part of it?) and many others are being hijacked by zealots who want no oil or gas of any kind but offer no realistic alternative. Most people on this BB appear to be comfortable with conventional oil and gas but opposed to unconventional which has the high well densities you refer to (unless of course the site is near their home).

            • The site in question may well be conventional but the gentleman was voicing his concern over the commercial scale oil and gas fields the industry are planning. It was Francis Egan who said on our local radio, ” You need to understand the scale of this. Lancashire will be the biggest gas field in Europe” Maybe he regrets boasting that now. I do understnd the difference between conventional and unconventional but you know as well as I do that the oil and gas industry have set their sites on this country thanks to the Tory government pushing fossil fuels for all they are worth, and they will not be satisfied with a couple of sites.

  2. The activists have already had two claims of breaches dismissed by East Riding of Yorkshire County Council, one regarding inadequate signage to the site and the second one of a vehicle breaching the 25mph speed limit (actual speed verified at 23.6mph ) The council also reminded the group that it was up to the discretion of the council and planning department on whether to take further action or not.

    • Yes John but the company appear to be starting as they mean to go on and given the company’s past track record it looks as if those breaches will soon mount up. Whether the council planners act on them is another matter

      Yet another cowboy outfit that seem to be unable to comply with simple conditions and regulation. It does seem to be a theme with pi55 pot O&G companies.

      • The activists will still count the two dismissed claims as breaches, they are dishonest and simply haven’t got a clue on what they are monitoring.

        If you want evidence of this, just look at their reaction on discovering today that the EA have granted Rathlin a permit for radioactive waste disposal.

      • No, the company do not “appear” or “seem” or “looks as if”.

        They are carrying out their licenced task and the activists are showing they want to interfere with that in any way they can.

        I could stand outside my local housing development and find much more serious items to complain about, but recognise they have authority to conduct their operation, and the quicker they do it, the less the inconvenience.

        By the way, every one of those new properties will have gas heating! (As will most of the rest of the 10,000 new properties planned over the coming years within a 10 mile radius.)

        • Not your imaginary housing development down the road again, ffs Martin I am surprised you didn’t slip in the accounts of one of your imiginary acquaintances or former imaginary work colleagues or perhaps the heating regime of your imaginary nonogenarian neighbour in to your boring and unrelated anecdote.

          Worryingly though you actually imply that you think it is acceptable to allow private companies to operate with no regard to planning conditions that have been applied or supposed gold standard regulation required by Central Government. Why do you think that might be acceptable?

          • “Worryingly” that there is no problem with the planning conditions and the adherence to them. But quite understandable that you add to that other false assumptions-consistent, but still fiction. At least my anecdotes are factually correct, which obviously hits a weak spot. Maybe fiction is less boring, but still fiction.

            Reality- “Mud on Road” sign 200 metres from my drive way. Road that is the school run for hundreds of children each morning and afternoon. But, the builders are doing a good job keeping it to a minimum and locals/bus drivers etc. are aware of the issue and are getting on with their lives, including adjusting their thermostats on their gas central heating to compensate for the drop in outside temperature. All boring but real. Could be worse, might still live in the sugar beet area!

          • But they are operating within the regulations and planning requirements.

            Will we see more claims made during this drilling phase of “working at height without clipping on” similar to those made by these expert observers of industry in 2014 every time someone descends a ladder?

            • That might be the case at the moment John but as previously demonstrated the incumbent operator has a track record of poor conformity. If the LA and Regulator are failing in their duty, are demonstrating a laisez fair attitude, are being hoodwinked or worse if they are complicit in allowing rules to be bent and broken then why wouldn’t local opposition carry out that role?

            • The reality is over 14 breaches of environmental conditions by the operator during the previous operational phase of work, that is a FAHCT as Rafa Benitez is wont to say.

            • John Harrison

              If people are not working at height without clipping on where they have to ( outwith certified scaffolding, on hooped ladders, on certified wiorking platforms etc ) then it needs sorting.

              A number of cowboy solar panel companies were run off in East Notts a few years ago by due to lack of appropriate scaffolding, complete lack of WAH equipment and so on ( reported to the HSE ).

              In addition, the wind industry is suffering from a steady stream of fatalities due to working at height, though each unfortunate case has its own root cause.

              The link below has data within it ( and an interesting view on the subject and presumably an absence of fathers )..


              Not that solar or wind lead to major accident hazard scenarios, falling to your death is an occupational hazard as is electrocution. Nor should the activities of a contractor condemn the base industry.

              Not that we shall ever know here on DOD whether the observations were correct or not, or if it was Rathlin at fault or a sub contractor ( see contractor management ).

              I support onshore wind and solar, other than that which gobbles up prime agricultural land in perpetuity ( something housing does as well ).

              Ho hum

            • Hewes62 the video submitted by the activists to the HSE where they claimed that one of Rathlin’s employees was working at height without being suitably clip on, is available for all to view on a certain tube site. It clearly shows the guy only descending a ladder, nothing more. And they wondered why the JSE took no action?

            • Oops
              It is a stream of u tube videos ( starting with the one shown ).
              It is the one titled … worker risks death ….,
              And he does seem to do that, though the video is not great quality so you cannot see if he has an attached line.

  3. Or the UK could just stop exporting gas, then there would be absolutely no need for this well. The UK already has a 70% over-supply capacity for methane and gas use is dropping every year.

    • What a load of rubbish Dutchman. Ask John Powney, he will explain it to you. We are a net importer, not far off 50% and the trend is up.

      • WD, the figures are we export more NS than we import LNG- hence the no need for shale….

        I wonder what you are all gonna do when the all the finite gas runs out, not much time folks, better get on with it…

        • We export more Norwegian NS gas than we import LNG apparently. It comes past my house and I can definitely hear that it is Norwegian, it makes a different sound in the pipeline….

        • Plenty more there, Sherwulfe. Let’s get fracking! And that will probably see us through to fusion, or something similar.

          Meanwhile, you and I can do our individual bits to compensate for the gratuitous use of the earths resources by the anti brigade puffing around the country.

          • No answer to the question I posed then? Don’t you have a master plan?

            ‘probably see us through to fusion, or something similar’ – do you even know what this is? Or something similar? Can see a lot of very cold, sitting in the dark pro-frackers very soon; no wonder you are worried that the lights will go out!

  4. I wonder why posters such as WD continue to try and treat others on this site as ignorant of the true facts?

    Does tend to simply demonstrate the real anti arguments are thin on the ground. Or, they get carried away when they see from the Survey most of the antis are not well informed.

    • Dear me? What do we have here then? i dont know i leave you recidivists alone for a few days and you turn all rabid and bad tempered towards your wonderful fellow posters?

      Do try to get some perspective guys and gals, we are supposed to be having a civilised discussion here, not some point scoring rudeness competition?

      But, if thats the way you want it, lets have a look at why there is all this short temper shall we?

      What is happening here, is as soon as anyone dares to contradict the weaponised narrative of the anti antis, they go off like a hair triggered tasmanian devil with a sore paw.

      Oh, we know you are all upset and embarrassed about the Cuadrilla failure to get so much as a whiff of gas out of the ground, and the very governmental basis for support for fracking and its associated avoidances of the word is all under threat by the climate change agreements and just the general public distrust that we have been lied to about the all ready known effects of relying upon fossil fuels alone, since the late 1970’s.

      That must hurt.

      And the fact that everything is going bits up generally for the fossil fuel/fracking/acidisation/proppant squeeze……is there a definitive tried and tested engineering definition for proppant squeeze yet? Invasion and it is reaching saturation and decline elsewhere.

      And dear old Theresa May seems to be facing a bitter battered brexit boxer rebellion in her own private back yard? Not to mention the only supporters of fracking, the DUP turning their backs on May following the realisation that soft borders, hard borders, cardboard borders or any other type of borders other than a Trump style easily scalable stonewall paid for by the Northern Irish and would be a totally useless deterrent anyway?

      And now we see these local authorities like Scarborough are all declaring a presumption against fracking…..Oh dear, Oh dear, Oh dear?

      Then what do the poor anti antis have left to shout about?

      Rathlin Energy?

      That paragon of ethical competence and honesty, not to mention a long record of operational efficiency and openness towards public accountancy? Obeying all the rules and being perfectly candid about any….errr……mistakes?

      That Rathlin Energy?


      Oh yes, now it all becomes clear why there is all this bitter bile and ire flying about at the least mention of anything that doesnt fit through those narrow total black out anti anti blinkers?

      And where is Katy…..sorry…..Claire Perry and Natasha Engel all this time? A concert party for the fossil fuel few? Shouting from the rooftops to have the TLS changed to save their paymasters smokey bacon?

      No? They seem to be hunkered down waiting for the change of leadership or maybe doing some of their own little Machiavellian Mambo Limbo shimmy and shake amongst the corridors of Westminster?

      Just doesnt look good does it?

      And then, we see that these very same PR hotdeskers, instead of winning the hearts and minds of those residents who are being unwillingly subjected to Rathlins tender mercies, all they can do is insult and display their contempt towards those who they should be impressing with their “professional adult” behaviour right here?

      Once again we are reminded that we simply cannot afford for such as these to have any say whatsoever in the future of our country and our childrens future.

      They just condemn themselves with their own bitter display right here.


      • Phil C

        It is always a problem, when one does not pay timely attention to the recidivists (those who would repeat untruth), here on DOD.

        A timely intervention as to the likely impact of a small conventional gas field in the Holderness and the maths required to grasp net imports of gas would be welcome from an anti in order to pour oil on the troubled waters.

        The irony of the first issue may not be lost on the good residents of Easington, hosts to a shrinking slice of English gas production and a larger wedge of Norwegian gas imports.

        • Forgive me hewes62, I must have nodded off there for a moment, are you actually raising any point here? I think Sherwulfe has it about right re imports exports of fissil gas, and we will need the trade, post brexit, if that actually ever happens that is?

            • Or is that the dead Norwegian Blue dead parrot nailed to its perch sketch?

              Just emulating the general anti anti standard here!

            • Stop Norwegian gas imports and see what happens in Ireland. Clue – check out Moffat. And read up on the panic in Ireland regarding gas imports after a no deal Brexit.

            • Hi hewes62. Curious how you choose one word out of all those to “muse” upon? Perhaps you could “muse” upon such terms as an engineering tried and tested definition of proppant squeeze.

              Or the failure of Cuadrilla to extract so much as a gassy sneeze out of PNR without smashing the bone china.

              Or the evaporation of the DUP co-altion over the Northern/Southern Irish border security issue, and hence their absence of support Theresa May over fracking issues, which leaves her in a minority.

              Or Natasha Egels silence, or Claire Perry avoiding the fossil fuel question and the question of imminent and irreversible climate change, and concentrating upon the failure to install smart meters, which we dont want either BTW.

              Or the pathetic brexit debacle which was always planned to be an utter failure and how that that threatens to bring down the government and no one else supports fracking and its associated avoidance of the word?

              There are many more word sensitivities to considered such as the term fracking even when this site is:

              “DRILL OR DROP?

              Notice the word?

              And so on and so on, and then you choose to “muse” amusingly on the word “recidivist” which you say means:

              “recidivists (those who would repeat untruth), ”

              However, according to the Merriam Webster dictionary the meaning of the word is:

              recidivist noun:

              re·​cid·​i·​vist | \ri-ˈsi-də-vist \

              Definition of recidivist
              : one who relapses
              specifically : a habitual criminal

              First Known Use of recidivist

              1867, in the meaning defined above
              History and Etymology for recidivist
              French récidiviste, from récidiver to relapse, from Middle French, from Medieval Latin recidivare, from Latin recidivus recurring, from recidere to fall back, from re- + cadere to fall — more at CHANCE

              So the term recidivist means to relapse or fall back into habitual repetitive activities, and is assumed, but not specifically defined to be of a criminal nature.

              Which seems to be at odds with your definition? However, considering the endless repetitive abrupt and unsubstantiated accusations and insults we see bandied about from the anti anti PR hotdeskers, that is entirely appropriate isnt it?

              So, what about a substantiated engineering definition proppant squeeze to be starting with? Then we can address these other questions as you seem to be willing to continue the discussion?

              • Phil C
                Not surprise really, as recidivist is a term I used in my HSE days. Repeat offenders does it for me.

                We also had scale squeezes and proppant squeezes, but as it was offshore there was no nit picking as to the exact definition.

                Maybe it needs to be reviewed and a definition applied to it to UK onshore activities, which is where the angst applies.

          • Phil C
            Sherwulf may be right, but he offers no evidence to substantiate his assertion that we import more LNG than export more molecules of N.Sea gas.

  5. Paul-we just have to be currently self sufficient in oil and gas to make any extra UK production a net contributor to global climate change!

    The REALITY that we are not is just an inconvenience to the antis that will continue to produce a fog and false statements. When the facts don’t fit, just change the facts.


    • Dear me ? and right on cue, just to illustrate just how far the anti anti commenting standard has dropped into the bottom of the barrel, we get this from Martin?

      Lets see if we can emulate the red diesel sock puppet to show just how easy, and lazy this little “contributery” effort is shall we boys and girls?

      How about this?

      So, here comes the choking Fawley Fog swirling around the Wytch Farm fossil fug drifting up from the south to cloud the issue yet again?

      You see how lazy and pointless that is? It says nothing and does nothing, no evidence, no substantiation, just empty rhetoric pouted in the absence of any real evidence for anything whatsoever, all we see this arrant nonsense trotted out by those who do and say little else?

      No wonder the fossil fuel industry has such an abysmal reputation amongst anyone who has any dealings with them in any capacity at all?

      And do we really want these people to have any say in the future of our country and the health of our children in any way whatsoever judging from the examples we see here?


      We Do Not.

      • PS its always interesting to see the capitalisation of words shouted out apparently to attempt to reinforce the empty unsubstantiated rhetoric where no evidence is provided?

        It’s just detrimental noise really isn’t it?

  6. See. FACTS are irrelevant to the antis, and they glory in that.

    Fog generation is the only fall back.

    Meanwhile, UK will continue to import gas and oil whilst some would try to prevent local production to replace some of that. Tax revenue will be lost as a result and some in energy poverty will die. Takes a lot to keep antis excited.

    • Just talking down to your level Martian? Don’t you like being treated the way you treat others?


      Are we surprised boys and girls? Of course we’re not!

      Looks like someone will have to lift their giggle gagging order and do his own research won’t he boys and girls?

    • Hi Bill Parker

      Could you please expand on your remarks, and explain the problem you have with the story, in particular, in what specific regards it is misleading and mendacious?

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