Statements made by partners in the oil and gas well at West Newton in East Yorkshire have prompted opponents to question future plans for the site.
Reabold Resources and Union Jack Oil said last week they were “awaiting regulatory” approval for a revised test on the site’s second well, known as WNA-2.
The original test was suspended in August 2019 when liquid was seen in the well, along with the expected gas. The partners said at the time this represented a “significant oil and gas discovery rather than a pure gas discovery” but required a redesigned well test.
On 18 December, Union Jack Oil made a formal statement to its shareholders on the WNA-2 well test. It said:
“The partners are currently preparing for the extended well test operation, readying equipment and awaiting regulatory approvals. Once said approvals are received, the equipment will be mobilised to site at the earliest opportunity and the EWT will re-commence.”
On 19 December, Sachin Oza, co chief executive, Reabold Resources, told an interview:
“So what we’re currently waiting for in the near term is the appropriate regulatory approval.”
But it appears that the site operator, Rathlin Energy, had not yet applied to vary the environmental permit. DrillOrDrop understands this is the regulatory approval that may be required to test the well for oil, as well as gas.
The Environment Agency (EA) told a local campaign group in an email written just before 8am on 20 December 2019:
“At the time of writing Rathlin Energy has still not yet requested to make any changes to their testing of the West Newton A-2 well and have not applied for an environmental permit variation.
“Whether an environmental permit variation will be required for any proposed changes will depend on the specifics of those proposals.”
A spokesperson for the West Newton monitoring and information group, said:
“As part of the monitoring process we contacted the EA following statements from Union Jack Oil and Reabold Resources.
“From the EA’s response, we believe the partners are game playing with their investors”
In a statement to DrillOrDrop, the spokesperson said:
“It shows a complete lack of respect for the people of East Yorkshire, and brings into question yet again the integrity and honesty of Rathlin and its investors.
“We will continue to monitor all activity and hold them to account.
“We are grateful for the transparency and ongoing communication from the EA and Health and Safety Executive so we are able to keep the local community informed.”