Industry

Campaigners call fire crews to West Newton well site – “minor incident” says Rathlin Energy

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Rathlin Energy’s West Newton wellsite, 23 January 2019. Photo: West Newton Gateway to the Gasfields

Fire crews were called to Rathlin Energy’s West Newton-A well site in East Yorkshire this lunchtime after a hose on a rig became detached and hit the drill cabin.

People outside the site reported a large bang and said the hose, which was carrying water for drilling, was thrown into the air.

They said windows on the control cabin were smashed and workers were sprayed with mud.

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Rathlin Energy’s West Newton wellsite, 23 January 2019. Photo: West Newton Gateway to the Gasfields

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Rathlin Energy’s West Newton wellsite, 23 January 2019. Photo: West Newton Gateway to the Gasfields

The incident happened at about 12.55pm. A spokesperson for Rathlin Energy says:

“There was a minor mechanical incident today at the company’s West Newton A well site. A hose containing water for drilling detached and struck the rig’s drill cabin.

“The current operation, which involves a small conductor setting rig, is not dissimilar to a farmer drilling a water borehole. The subsurface operation was not affected.

“The emergency services were not required to deal with this matter and Humberside Fire and Rescue has since confirmed this to be the case.

“The relevant regulatory authorities have been notified in accordance with Rathlin Energy (UK) Limited’s Safety Management System and the team is looking into what happened.”

A spokesperson for Humberside Fire and Rescue Service told DrillOrDrop:

“If you are not sure what has happened, always give us a call by dialling 999.  We would rather you do that than have something catastrophic happen.”

The Environment Agency was on site later this afternoon.

Opponents of Rathlin Energy’s operation have been monitoring activity at the site. East Riding of Yorkshire Council is seeking to evict a verge-side camp. (DrillOrDrop report)

Updated 29/1/2019 to add quote from a Humberside Fire and Rescue spokesperson and to make clear that campaigners called the emergency services

104 replies »

  1. I’ve got a different and more accurate headline…

    ‘Fire services time wasted by a bunch of unwashed muppets’. (Edited by moderator)

    Should have some repercussions for this. Trying to deceive investors that there was an explosion and that it was nuclear waste.

    Families of those working on site must have been worried sick.

    sickening behaviour.

    • I see no reference to anyone saying anything about nuclear waste, or explosion. Just a very loud bang. Gregoryyy you are creating straw men.

      • Sherwulfe
        Yes, one would prefer hoses that do not part. The drilling contractor will have to say why it did and what they are doing about it as I guess Rathlin do not drill wells.

    • Protectors are there to check for HSE breaches. Rathlin has a poor track record. And of course material coming up from deep below the surface can be radioactive. So potentially not great to be sprayed with a cocktail of this plus any chemicals used in the process. Not scaremongering – just a healthy awareness

      • The people working on-site are extremely well trained to handle such incidents – I don’t think they need the help of unqualified protesters

        • Appreciate what you are saying. However the fire chief was on site for an extremely short time. But long enough to be persuaded by Rathlin employees who will be under extreme pressure to get things up and running because of the huge commercial implications. The very last thing they need is an HSE inspection or shutdown.

          • This is simply untrue. All the employees know that they would face prosecution if they didn’t follow correct procedures. The reason why the fire chief was on site for such a short amount of time is because it was so incredibly obvious that there was nothing to worry about. The incident is little more that a garden hose coming away from a tap.

      • “And of course material coming up from deep below the surface can be radioactive.” Oh please. Will you go and do some chemistry night classes or something and get yourself an idea of what you are saying. Everything has a level radioactivity.
        Do you avoid going to Cornwall or Aberdeenshire because of the radioactive geology thats on the surface there? Maybe steer clear of Radon hotspots? Are you going to protest the Geothermal drilling in Redruth, because, guess what generates some of the heat in the granite there? yep, the radioactive decay of minerals in the granite. This scaremongering about such low levels of radioactivity is just insane.

    • If you heard a bang and glass smashing and looked out your window to see a water ranker had crashed into a car and water or other fluids were pouring out, would you phone the emergency services? Yes you would.

      The monitoring team played it safe. And monitoring is about learning as well as monitoring.

      This company has 19 breaches under its belt already. So can they be trusted enough not to be watched?

      And remember it took cuadrilla over 6 months to admit they caused earthquakes in 2011. And they only admitted it because people felt it and had there homes damaged.

      You put to much trust into an industry that trys to cover itself up. With the monitoring team, they may never of even reported it. Just like the 19 recorded breaches were reported by a monitoring team in 2014 at the same site.

  2. If “The emergency services were not required to deal with this matter and Humberside Fire and Rescue has since confirmed this to be the case” , who called them out in the first place? Two Tenders were at the scene. We have been informed that it was a leak from a detached pressure water hose. Have some potential health concerns for those who were covered in ‘mud’ in this incident. Mud containing what else?

    • Watch the video on Facebook. The protesting, ‘protector-monitors’ called the fire brigade. This is why injunctions are needed.

      • John

        I can only see 2 videos on Facebook which are after the event. Have you a direct link to the one showing them calling the fire brigade?

        • During the video after the event, listen to the dialogue when the incident controller comes out from the site to talk to the swampies. He asks them who reported the incident and, after some squirming, the swampies confess.

            • If you watch the video through to the end the fire brigade officer clearly requests that no video of his interview is posted on social media.

              Ruth / Paul perhaps you can update your article to include this and to highlight how ignorant and rude the two people talking to him are, in particualr the woman. And how the officer has basically told them they have wasted time and resources and put their crews in danger due to a wasted trip in poor road conditions.

              Thanks in advance.

              • Hi Paul

                Thanks for your comment.

                We haven’t seen the facebook video you refer to, so can’t comment on that.

                The piece was not about the behaviour of protestors, but reported a “minor incident” at a drilling site. We have no definitive evidence on who called the brigade, and without seeing video of the actual incident and how it appeared to people outside the site it is surely difficult to determine whether or not any 999 calls were appropriate.

            • Paul RUTH the video is linked in john hardwoods post. Fairly easy to watch it. Do you not check what is linked on did?

            • Hi Paul

              No, we don’t watch every video linked from commenters on the DoD site. Some of them are over 60 minutes long.

              From what I can see on dodgy wifi,, the video is shot after the incident occurred, so difficult to assess how appropriate it was to call 999.

              Rather than the behaviour of one or two protestors, it is perhaps more interesting to examine what happened, whether it posed any risk of injury to staff on site and if there were any failures in equipment or procedures.

            • “We didn’t watch the full video before making assertions in our report”

              There are echoes here of another, slightly more major, story doing the rounds at the moment.

              I used to question this site’s “independent” description. I’m now also questioning the “journalism” element.

        • How can people who don’t understand anything about the petroleum industry have anything sensible to say about the HSE of their operations. It is clear that the presence of the co-called monitors had a significant contribution to the reduction in air quality at KM8. Their continued protests on roads are far more dangerous than anything that the petroleum industry does when drilling and completing onshore wells.

    • Waffle

      Outwith the discussion here re who phoned the fire brigade the Rathlin Site ER plan may well require that they be informed of such an event. They then decide whether to turn up or not, and usually err on the side of caution. Just a guess based on past experience ( even if others called them, which is not uncommon if something goes bang on a site ).

    • Good reporting Ruth! And thanks to the people who give up their time and effort to monitor these sites. Most people can’t do it and self regulation by the industry is just a joke

    • Wandering Dutchman

      A wind up surely?

      On Facebook, one video shows a calm site ( no blow out which would be a visible ) with a chap saying sorry, he missed videoing the event. The second shows the fire brigade turning up at a quiet site ( no sign of a blow out … large gas release, or fountain of wells fluids climbing into the sky and continuing to do so etc etc ).

      So safe to say both videos show no sign of any event.

    • Wandering Dutchman – you really are clueless. Fake news.

      If you are bored why not have a look at what Humberside Fire & Rescue got up to today and the previous couple of days – perhaps DOD will write an article on it?:

      https://www.humbersidefire.gov.uk/newsroom/incidents

      “Pipers Lane, Marton.

      Wed 23 Jan 2019 13:08 (No:01456)
      Fire Service attended a report of an explosion. Premises advised this was due to burst water pipe onsite. Inspection carried out. No further action required.”

      Swampy alert!

  3. This should be a story about trouble makers wasting emergency services time, not ‘Fire crews called to West Newton well site – “minor incident” says Rathlin Energy’. But I suppose if you throw enough mud, some will stick, so if you operate an anti-onshore oil and gas website, you have achieved what you wanted.

    • Terri

      I have had the honour of entertaining a number of fire crew attending mines and COMAH sites, a visit resulting from a call from a concerned member of the public to an event which did not require their attendance. After a coffee and a few quality street all was ok.

      My view is that it’s ok to report a concern unless you are just doing it to waste time ( ie you know it is false ).

      In this case the protestors may be a bit more circumspect in the future when calling 999, but listening to the conversation in the video on Facebook, they have wound themselves up somewhat as to the dangers of drilling a well.

      The good news is ( looking at the Facebook page ) that Chris Whynot can rest assured that the incident has been reported to the relevant authorities and those who asked if the protestors were safe can be assured that the council has their health and safety in mind by moving them on.

      • I’m sure they would have enjoyed their cups of coffee and Quality Street if one of the fire engines had lost control on the icy roads and ended up overturned in a ditch, hewes. Had there been a real emergency there were plenty of grown-ups on site in a position to report it. These were simply trouble makers causing trouble.

        • Terri

          Icy or not, it is the job of the emergency services to get to where they need to go, If it’s icy or snowy ( flooded or roads closed ) and so on, or say they cannot get there.

          Plus, given the traffic to the site, Rathlin should grit the road ( its not expensive using a pick up truck and spreader or the council can do it ).

          However, In my opinion the trouble caused by the protestors is not connected to the icy road, they would no doubt have done the same icy road or not. A lack of ice would not make it all ok.

          As you may know, I sit in the pro drilling camp, but as an ex HSE chap would expect a bit of grit on a key access road ( or one concerned about getting staff to site ).

          Otherwise, in any real event, what use would your ER plan be if your only access road was a sheet of ice ( or feet deep in snow ). Cue the adverse weather policy.

          But ….

          I would hope that all the information and discussion on this site and information on Facebook is taken onboard by protestors and that they do not phone the services unnecessarily.

  4. Monitoring team ensuring Rathlin have to record the incident. The public need and want this level of assurance as we don’t trust the industry. Bravo protectors.

      • Yes really. Rathlin have 19 breaches under there belt. So ringing the emergency services was playing it safe. Would you ring the emergency services if you heard a bang and glass smashing and looked outside to see a water lorry had crashed into another car and water was spilling out? Yes you would.

        The monitoring team played it safe as monitoring is about learning as well as monitoring.

        Just remember that it took cuadrilla over 6 months to admit they caused earthquakes in 2011.

        • That’s not what happened though, is it? A water tanker didn’t crash into a car. A pressurised water hose came off. Probably happens many times a day at chemical sites all over the country without the need for emergency services to swoop in and ‘press’ coverage to over-dramatise what happened. No need for the site to be monitored by a pair of off-gridders living outside of the social norms and catching frostbite in an ancient caravan. They don’t know what they are doing. Leave it to the experts on site. The protectors’ actions in this instance only support the councils bid to remove their camp. Hopefully they will bring it forwards by a few weeks now.

        • Eck – the time taken for Cuadrilla to agree that the tremors at Preese Hall were probably a result of fracking was do to the difficulties locating the hypocentre of the events. There were no local monitoring stations which puts great uncertainty on the interpretation of microseismic events.

    • The public don’t need scaremongers wasting the time of our public services on a totally standard industrial process that is very low risk compared to most other industrial processes. The incident provides a good example is why the public, or anyone else for that matter, should trust antifrackers

      • Reporting the incident was playing it safe. No one wants a environmental disaster and the monitoring team played it safe like anyone would do if we heard a bang and glass smashing.

        Monitoring is about learning as well as monitoring. So if this did happen again then the monitoring team are aware of what is happening. Your just pro fracking looking fir any excuse to get rid of anti frackers because it’s affecting profits.

        Next time your car crashs, don’t bother ringing the emergency services. Cos it’s clear you won’t need them as a car crash can be discribed in a similar way to rathlin incident.

  5. Environmentalists put local lives in danger by wasting emergency services time, in an effort to show that there is a purpose to them being there. It was then clearly heard on the videos that they should collectively post on investor websites in an effort to manipulate the stock markets, maybe this is something that FCA can investigate as all there names are available on twitter and Facebook.

    • Not convinced the ‘Environmentalists’ are there to watch over accidents with hoses to give them a purpose – that’s the regulator’s job?

      For those who protest, the destruction of the environment from the use and abuse of fossil fuels is purpose enough…

  6. DoD and the so called “protectors’ showing their true colours yet again.

    Another shot in the foot for the dwindling minority.

    RIP DoD(o)

  7. Dear all,

    I visited West Newton last week and was met by a very amicable protestor who was polite enough to ask me if I would like a leaflet. He was a prime example of someone who wanted to make a point and wasn’t obnoxious or rude.

    After this reported incident I flicked through Twitter and came across a post from a poster called Electric Dutchman. I won’t put up his actual user account name but I amshocked to see his comments. This heartless idiot was posting up smiley icons and the words BOOM and hows your shares, obviously trying to gloat at shareholders.

    I find it very hard to believe how insincere his/her those comments are. I wonder if he was old enough and laughed when Piper Alpha exploded in the North Sea killing over 167 workers. These are people who work in dangerous evirnments to keep the country running.

    Did he laugh at Texas City, Flixborough, Deep Water Horizon? What would they be feeling if someone posted there’d been an explosion in an East Riding School??

    There are genuine protestors out there with valid concerns, then there are sick people who find it funny to “Cry Wolf” and over react.
    I dread to think what the families of those working at West newton were thinking when an Explsion was reported and men were running about. I can’t put how they would be feeling in to words.

    I’ll be surprised if East Yorkshire Fire Brigade don’t issue a fine for time wasting.

    On this occasion, damn shame on the protestors, and those involved with spreading fear like that, hang your heads.

    • Quite agree with your comments Alan J.

      There will always be those who want to hijack the genuine protestors issue for their own purpose and in a totally irresponsible way.

      When it happens, and it has done before, it is interesting to see the apologists appear in a tribal response with the same old drivel, usually including their inability to see, hear, or read!

      Meanwhile, back in the real world 28% shown in the latest survey, will be unable to afford to heat their homes adequately this winter in this country. (Link supplied yesterday.)

      Two gas tankers collided only a few days ago, with multiple deaths, transporting gas across the seas.

      Collateral damage for the “cause”.

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