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. So the mechanisms of failure are in place for the loss of containment from a pressurised system on a hydrocarbon wellsite.

    • To someone who is unsure of what happened, it is easy to build theory’s. Your trying to scorn someone for trying to figure out what happen. Now we know what happened, its like your expecting them to travel back in time. The pro fracking is strong in this one.

      • As mentioned by Marin that this hasn’t got anything to do with fracking. However, many of us who are pro-fracking know quite a lot about the industry and we could tell instantaneously that this wasn’t significant. It’s only the complete ignorant who go around posting on facebook about rigs blowing up. In this situation it is very clear to everyone how wrong they were. It is more difficult to prove to the general public how wrong they are about the HSE issues surround fracking because one needs some understanding of science to understand the arguments. This is something that most of the anti-frackers just don’t have.

  2. The video is clear evidence. The female is heard saying it is a gas explosion when the brigade arrives. What does she know? There was no explosion. One minute the male is saying they don’t know what went on in there because they can’t see then he says there was a loud bang and a pipe fell away smashing windows and men were running around covered in mud and coughing and spluttering. The female can be further heard saying about gas and adds radio-active material. Yet another case of scaremongering and downright lies. #OwnGoal.

    • And they are so worried about the radioactive material and noxious gases spewing out of the ground that they stand around filming it on their smartphones #liars #clowns

    • To someone who is unsure of what happened, it is easy to build theory’s. Your trying to scorn someone for trying to figure out what happen. Now we know what happened, its like your expecting them to travel back in time. The pro fracking is strong in this one.

  3. What has this to do with pro fracking or anti fracking? Nothing to do with fracking. Nothing, zilch.

    If you are unaware of what is going on at the site, it does explain your “concern”. The solution is simple. DYOR and you might feel better.

  4. Have the ****** ******* reappeared from their self made underground bunkers yet? Don’t worry, it’s all ok, you’re safe, breathe in and out in and……

  5. I read all the pro frackers comments criticising the protectors reporting of this incident to the emergency services. Of course you will claim they were finding problems where there weren’t any but surely if someone witnesses a loud bang, pipes flying off, glass shattering and workers running away, particularly on an industrial site with the potential for serious accidents to occur it is quite normal to report what has occurred. I would have thought the fire and rescue service would have contacted the site before attending anyway in order to know what assistance was required.

    • Pauline
      It is not unknown for the general public to phone the emergency services in such cases, but this may be a first for protestors attendant at a site?
      We do not know if the site was contacted by the services prior to attendance, but they would not wait until they got a reply from the site prior to setting off.

      • hewes 62- As you say I think is not unknown for the general public to phone emergency services in such cases, indeed I would say it would be the normal responsible thing to do. The fact that it was protectors who happened to witness the incident is irrelevant. As far as Fire and Rescue contacting the site. I agree they would be in a hurry to attend but I would have thought it would have been sensible to spend a minute ascertaining what equipment was required. The fact that an ambulance was not deployed points towards the company having reassured someone in the emergency services that one wasn’t needed.

        • Pauline

          I can only go on my experience.

          If someone calls the brigade outwith the site process, then you may or may not get a call. It depends how accurate the call in is and their ability to find your number and to find someone to answer a phone.

          What you get is a staffed fire engine. If your site needs anything fancier than a fire engine or a number of them, then your site should have it, or know how to get it.

          It is a bit different if the site calls, or if the emergency service get multiple calls ( as per buncefield ). You get a larger response ( maybe all three services ) if you say you are in trouble. But what you get is predicated to a large extent on what you are doing there, Site size etc and the county plan.

          Re the ambulance, I do not know, but the fire service may have got there first and informed them No police either I note.

          Re the protestors phoning, it may be relevant as they have more information as to what is going on at the site ( as per the blow by blow account on Facebook ) than a passing member of the general public. So they would fall into the category of local residents with some knowledge rather than passers by with none?

          Maybe Rathlin need to go through their ER response with anyone camping outside the gate?

    • Pauline – you claim that ” I would have thought the fire and rescue service would have contacted the site before attending anyway in order to know what assistance was required.” Surely it’s the other way around – if assistance was required then the people on site would have contacted the services.

      The problem her is that as usual the protesters think they know far more than they do.

  6. Well, Pauline, when you have worked out this is nothing to do with pro or antis frackers, we could then address your speculation. However, as the facts are already out there for all to see, it does make speculation somewhat redundant.

  7. This is way out of hand. I wonder – if it had been a group of dog walkers rather than monitors who phoned the Fire Brigade because there was a loud bang and they saw men running, would they be subject to the same abuse?

  8. Except it isn’t Pauline. Zilch to do with fracking. You are simply inventing it.

    Sue-if it was another group would they not have communicated with those behind the fence and enquired as to whether they required any assistance? DOH.

    Yes, they would. You rather identify the problem with this one, rather than reduce it. Good try, but like your viewing of ‘photos, your attempt at this one is equally exposed.

    • Martin – if you want to start splitting hairs my response to that would be “depends how far away the workforce were”. Clearly not up against the fence. Everyone note – if you live next door to Martin and see his house is on fire don’t bother calling the FB as he won’t thank you.

      • Perhaps he is accusing you of “inventing” fracking at West Newton when it is a conventional and not to be fracked well Pauline. You are on the wrong post?

        “Thank you Sue for some unprejudiced common sense in a sea of pro fracking vitriol.”

        Or do you not understand the difference between stimulated and not stimulated? Unconventional and conventional. Fracked and not fracked. Shale and SST / LST??????

        Gas heating and on demand electricity and cold and dark?

        • Paul and Martin. I think you’ve proved my point about pro fracking vitriol. I wasn’t referring to the West Newton site in particular. Whether it’s a fracking site or not is irrelevant. It’s an industrial site. Witnesses observed what appeared to be an incident which may have been serious and reported it. Any reasonable person would have done the same. I was referring to the childish petty nastiness demonstrated at every opportunity towards protectors by certain contributors to Drill or Drop who surely don’t deny they are pro fracking.

          • Agreed Pauline. Orchestrated attacks with disproportionate vitriol. Perhaps they get brownie points from someone in the background as they seem to be trying to impress. Industrial incidents can accelerate out of control. Every second could count so we didn’t mess about when I worked in the chemical industry. We hit 999 and had a minimum 7 tender response as we were a COMAH site. AND they were happy to come out and make sure e erything was ok. Run away Martin – we do know what we’re talking about. Signing off now as you are boring me.

          • No they would not, Pauline. They would have made enquiries to understand whether calling out the emergency services was justified. That’s what reasonable people do, every day of the year. I did the same yesterday as a witness to a vehicle collision.

            Those who want to make mischief do something different. Sometimes they get away with it. Sometimes they do not. This has clearly been shown to be in the latter category. That’s not vitriol, that’s reality.

            So, when another injunction is being requested, this will be added to the evidence. Well done. Then you can moan the Courts are anti democratic!

            I have explained before Pauline, I do not have enough UK evidence to become pro-fracking, but I am pro that evidence being produced in the UK and then I can decide. Meanwhile, I can contribute and correct nonsense that is being posted by people who think they can misinform for their own purpose. I know it is annoying, but social media IMHO operates the same rules as the pub-if someone makes an obviously false statement they will find someone will counter it. They may still have excited their small group of like minded pals, but the majority will be reminded that their own intake has not made them befuddled.

            • Martin. You’re claiming that those witnessing an incident occurring on an industrial site should have made enquiries as to whether or not assistance was required before reporting the incident. You also say you don’t have enough UK evidence to become pro-fracking. It seems like you have little practical experience of sites such as these, If you did you would know that they resemble Fort Knox and any sort of civilised communication is impossible. I even recall one incidence at PNR where an elderly couple stopped their car outside the gates of the site for no more than a minute or two to ask for directions to the local crematorium and were immediately met by hostile security who threatened to call the police. More evidence of the caring sharing face of the oil and gas industry.

              • Pauline

                I suspect that the response to the couple looking for the crematoria may be Site specific.

                It is not usual for oil and gas security to act thus in my experience, nor any security ( as generally the companies used are not oil and gas specific ).

                So I would disagree that this is oil and gas specific, just Site specific and therefore contextual.

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