Rig leaves West Newton well site

190625 and 190624 WN Dave Marris clean

West Newton well site on 25 June 2019 (above) with the rig and without on 26 June 2019 (below). Photos: Gecko Byte

The drilling rig has left Rathlin Energy’s West Newton oil and gas exploration site in East Yorkshire.

The rig was visible on the site from drone footage recorded yesterday (25 June 2019). But pictures from this morning (26 June 2019) showed that the rig had gone.

Last week, Rathlin and its UK partners, Reabold Resources and Union Jack Oil, announced that the rig and drilling equipment would be demobilised.

Yesterday, a low-loader was photographed leaving West Newton in the afternoon without the rig.


Campaigners against Rathlin’s operations at West Newton have been monitoring the company since January. There have also been ongoing protests at and near the site.

On Sunday (23 June 2019), a group reported a heavy goods vehicle to police because of concerns about potentially dangerous defects.

Chief Inspector Lee Edwards, of Humberside Police, told DrillOrDrop:

“We recently had reports that a contractor’s vehicle leaving the oil and gas exploration site at Piper’s Lane, West Newton, looked to be in an unroadworthy condition.

“An initial vehicle check was made by a roads police officer at the scene and following this check we called for a second more thorough vehicle examination. This was completed by the government agency The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency.

“The Driver and Vehicle Standard Agency inspector found a couple of minor advisory faults which have been reported to the operator. The vehicle was roadworthy and no further enforcement was necessary.”


On Saturday (22 June 2019), a group of 13 walkers and campaigners challenged the recent closure of sections of footpaths near the West Newton site.

The closures were part of a traffic order approved by East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC).

The group, which walked sections of the route, said:

“We wanted to show Rathlin Energy and ERYC that residents in Withernwick and Ellerby – or anywhere else for that matter- ought to be able to continue to walk the public footpaths that have been closed for no good reason.

“We walked peacefully on these years-old paths without the need of interruption from the police or anyone else. The paths were closed – allegedly- for road works, but even the police don’t know where the roadworks are.

“We want to empower other villagers to walk in the paths too. It is our right to do so. It is Rathlin that is industrialising our local area- why should we residents allow them to walk all over us? The path was closed without any of the statutory notice to those affected, like us.”

9 replies »

  1. Seems these rigs are in great demand and rushing off for another job. Perhaps the “monitors” could learn from that example?

  2. With only one access road which has a “monitoring”station at its entrance, how did the “monitors” miss seeing a large drilling rig leaving the site?

    Or does missing the rig leaving and the 16 arrests that took place outside the site indicate that “monitoring” wasn’t their prime objective?

    • John – this wasn’t the same night they were seen hoping out of a taxi to order a takeaway at the local pub was it? I guess they can’t monitor the site all the time when they’re having to spend all the money that their local “sponsors” give them on taxis, curry and diamond white

      • Interestingly the allegations on the night in question don’t come from the pub in the nearest village to the welll site.
        Perhaps they were concerned about the reception they would receive after disrupting traffic outside the pub in the nearest village or it being within eyesight of their local ‘sponsor’s’ home may have helped sway their decision on where to take a break?

          • Thanks for the link on electric cars, Judith.
            Perhaps worth pointing out that the findings relate to Germany; in Norway, with its cleanhydro power, the Tesla does better.
            I was also interested that the report assumes the same lifetime mileage for both car types. My understanding is that electric cars should be more reliable and longer lasting, due to simpler engines.

            • My previous post didn’t seem to make it on here so I’ll repeat it.

              Paul – the UK is far more like Germany in its capacity to generate hydroelectric. Norway has a great geography and a population of less than a tenth of the uk.

              However, hydroelectric isn’t so great – it causes bigger earthquakes than fracking, it kills more construction workers in HSE incidents and dam failure has killed 10’s if not 100’s of thousands of people.

              Now let’s address your point about electric cars. First of all the power units have about the same life expectancy as petrol engines but slightly less than diesel. However the battery life is very bad (60,000 miles) and the batteries are not exactly environmentally friendly to produce. This issue is particularly significant given that the critical elements that are needed are produced in areas where the locals have not money and no power. But it’s Not In Your Back Yard so seems to be of secondary importance.

              The thing is Paul, I’ve been working on technical solutions for a low carbon economy for many many years, which gives me the knowledge to realise that the “ideas” put forward by the so called greens are generally totally unrealistic and reflect ignorance of reality.

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