West Newton well test suspended after oil find

190828 West Newton WNGTTGF1

Lorries removing equipment from Rathlin Energy’s West Newton well site, 28 August 2019. Photo: West Newton Gateway to the Gasfields

Rathlin Energy has suspended the extended well test at its West Newton well site in East Yorkshire – just a week after the start.

190822 West Newton notice

News update from Rathlin Energy’s website from 22 August 2019.

In a statement this morning, the company said the test would be redesigned following the discovery of oil, in addition to the predicted gas.

Yesterday, lorries were filmed removing equipment from the site, prompting online speculation about its future.

Last week, Rathlin said the flow test had been scheduled to last for four to eight weeks.

Today’s statement said:

“Rathlin Energy and project partners now believe that the West Newton project represents a significant oil and gas discovery rather than a pure gas discovery as originally thought.”

It said test operations had been suspended “pending the analysis of data acquired to date during the drilling and testing of the well”.

Two roads, that had been closed since earlier this summer, would be re-opened after equipment had been removed, Rathlin said.

190828 West Newton Gail Leach

Lorry leaving Rathlin Energy’s West Newton wellsite in East Yorkshire, 28 August 2019. Photo: Gail Leach

The well being tested, West Newton-A2, was spudded on 26 April 2019 to target gas.

Reabold Resources, one of the partners in the project, described West Newton as “potentially the largest UK onshore gasfield“.

But initial evaluation has revealed an oil column of about 45 meters underlying the 20-metre gas column, the statement said.

“With the indication of a potentially significant oil column, the Extended Well Test has been temporarily suspended, in order to review and revise the well test design to deliver the necessary test information to validate this potentially important onshore resource.”

David Bramhill, executive chairman of Union Jack Oil, another partner at West Newton, said this morning:

“The confirmation of a major oil discovery at the West Newton project is highly encouraging compared to its original perception as a substantial gas discovery.

“We now believe that West Newton will become a significant oil development project.”

Earlier this month, the company was granted permission to use acid squeeze and cold venting at West Newton. It had also applied for consent to store crude oil at the site.


Campaigners at Rathlin Energy’s West Newton well site, 28 August 2019. Photo: West Newton Gateway to the Gasfields

Yesterday, opponents of the operation at West Newton said ‘goodbye’ to Rathlin Energy as they watched the equipment leaving.

The site has attracted controversy since the first well was tested in 2014 The company breached at least 14 conditions of its environmental permit in a three-month period that year.

Last week, there were complaints about smell on the first day of the well test. There has also been criticism of the company’s application to close roads around the site.

Yesterday, campaigners distributed leaflets to people living nearby accusing Rathlin of “an apparent disregard” for local communities and the environment.


DrillOrDrop key facts and timeline on West Newton-A 


16 replies »

      • So you would rather the UK rely on importing oil and gas at a huge cost to our economy!!!! Not to mention being held to ransom by the likes of Russia. You need to wake up and smell the coffee (Oil)

  1. Eli-Goth, No, the world and the UK need renewables for markets, job security and to safeguard humanity’s survival. There is no Planet B!

  2. So, the core of this item is that the antis speculated yesterday and have now been shown to be wrong. not only wrong, but lacking knowledge of what is going on and why.

    That’s what speculation does. Once again, antis being impatient and speculating then being shown up.

    • Ooh Mr Collyer, there’s nothing wrong with speculating. After all that’s what oil and gas exploration is!

      • Indeed it is, David. Then, when it moves on from there those poor mug punters are not so poor anymore.

        Additionally, one does not need to speculate to know if you are holding an anti fracking poster at West Newton, the problem is geography.

  3. Hmmm

    Premature celebrations it seems at the site, and in the share price, but for diametrically opposite reasons I guess.

    Must be time to sell Union Jack shares. A 300% gain in 6 months.

    The share price has surged today, but fallen back to 3% up, or so.. Maybe some investors took profits

    I think that the ‘going, going, gone placard pictured was a bit presumptive, or has not been updated for a while.

    Meanwhile, does this explain the smokey flare, do they need lots more storage to test the well properly, do they need to line up a fleet of tankers to take away the oil ( so they do not require a COMAH case ), do they prefer a gas cap? Who knows?

    No doubt all will be revealed in time.

    • Hewes62 – A fleet of tankers taking away oil is certainly not what’s needed on those narrow, single track lanes.

      • Pauline

        Probably so. They may be better piping it to a road with a bit more room once they get to grips with the amount they can produce. . Or they only need to move a lorry a day ( with suitable traffic control ).
        We shall see.

        The oil lorries out here in Lincs / Notts have been carting oil away from well sites for years ( or generations ) but they are typically 4 to six wheelers. The same size as the ones delivering fuel oil to all the outlying houses ( down narrow single track roads for both produced and delivered ).

  4. Strange Pauline, I thought tankers had been taking fuel oil to houses, red diesel to farms and fuel for grain driers in this area along these roads for many years.

    Not sure a fleet of tankers is correct. Typically around 200 barrels in a tanker. How many thousand barrels do you expect per day? If your speculation was correct then a pipeline would probably be an option-as they did for Wytch Farm.

    However, the plan to revise the testing should show what oil to gas ratio and then best way to harvest. Should give time for the anti frackers to check their map reading and head off to where they think that is the issue.

  5. Never before have I seen such a brazen scheme to invoke collective amnesia.
    Rathlin already knew there was a 45mtere column of hydrocarbons before the EWT had been told “it’s not water”…meaning it could only be oil or condensate…additionally, the original drill extracted 30 meters of core, so they’ve had plenty of time to assess what was drilled.

    Saying the test stopped because” we found what we were expecting to find” is a bit rich.

    The question remains: did the well flow any oil or was it a duster and everyone is now engaging in damage limitation? I guess this question will be resolved if/when the EWT resumes and if the additional increase in storage is brought on site

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