Industry

Online exhibition reveals details of two new Rathlin Energy exploration sites

Rathlin Energy unveiled details today of an additional two proposed wellsites in East Yorkshire.

Location and lorry routes for proposed West Newton C and D well sites. Map: Rathlin Energy

A virtual exhibition of the sites, being called West Newton C and D, is online for five days.

DrillOrDrop reported the company’s plans in August 2020.  But at that time there was little information.

The 16 panels of the exhibition now reveal the locations of the proposed site, traffic routes, target formations, duration of the permissions that will be sought, length of operational stages and predicted lorry movements.

Two wells are planned at each site. If approved, they could bring to eight the number of wells operated by Rathlin in the area around West Newton.

The company already operates the West Newton A and B sites, which each have permission for two wells. Drilling the first borehole at West Newton B is currently underway. A flow test on the West Newton-A2 well was suspended in August 2019 after the focus of exploration switched from gas to oil.

West Newton B well site. Photo: West Newton and Sproatley Gateway to the Gasfields

Applications

East Riding of Yorkshire Council has ruled that the sites do not need environmental impact assessments.

But Rathlin said 14 studies on issues such as air quality, noise, traffic, groundwater, landscape and wildlife, will accompany the planning applications, the company said.

Responses to the exhibition could be incorporated into the plans, the company said.

Rathlin has not yet submitted planning applications for the new C and D sites and there are no details of when this is expected.

Target formations

Target formation for West Newton C and D wells. Chart: Rathlin Energy

Both well sites would target the Kirkham Abbey (1698m-1786m) and the Cadeby (1921m-2005m) formations, the company said.

The applications would each be for three years and would include site construction, drilling, testing and appraisal, plugging and restoration. If the wells were successful the company said it would apply for planning permission to extend the life of the sites.

Rathlin said it would not drill into the Bowland shale and did not intend to use hydraulic fracturing.

Caroline Foster, the company’s geologist, said in a video:

“Any work at the West Newton C and D sites will be dependent on the results of the West Newton B-1 well.”

The West Newton C site will be accessed from a private track built this year to serve West Newton B.

West Newton D will need a new section of access track and an existing track may need to be upgraded. This site is close to the Lambwath site of special scientific interest, the deserted medieval village of Fosham, flood risk areas and local homes.

Climate change

Rathlin Energy exhibition panel for West Newton C and D, 14 October 2020.

Rathlin acknowledged the effects of long-term dependency on fossil fuels and said it supported the UK government’s zero emissions targets for 2050.

But the company said hydrocarbons would continue to be needed:

“until we have developed technology which can mitigate the intermittency of renewables and find acceptable substitutes for the myriad of uses of oil and gas, we are still going to need hydrocarbons.”

It said locally-sourced oil and gas reservoirs had a smaller carbon footprint than imported oil or gas. But it did not have estimates of the carbon footprint of exploration or production from the West Newton C or D sites.

Rathlin said wells would support the decarbonisation in the Zero Carbon Humber project. This aims to create the world’s first net-zero industrial cluster by 2040, protecting 55,000 jobs existing and creating 20,000 new ones.

The Humber project relies on hydrogen production from fossil fuels and carbon capture and storage. The Drax Power Station claims it could be the world’s first carbon negative power station by the 2020s, while the H2H Saltend project aims to capture the CO2 emissions of energy-intensive industrial sites. Neither of these initiatives is currently working commercially or at scale.

Consultation

One local representative has called for the exhibition to be extended from five to 14 days to allow for “the construction of comprehensive feedback to these proposals”.

Rathlin Energy said the online exhibition, held because of the Covid-19 outbreak, would give people more time than a traditional event, usually held for about six hours. It said staff would be available until 18 October 2020 to answer questions.

Operation plans for West Newton C and D

Site access phase

Duration: 14 weeks West Newton D; 8 weeks West Newton C
Site hours: 7am-6pm Monday-Saturday
HGV hours: 7am-6pm Monday-Saturday
10 two-way HGV movements per day

Conductor mobilisation/demobilisation

Duration: 4 days
Site hours: 24 hours 7 days a week
HGV hours: 7am-6pm Monday-Saturday
5 two-way HGV movements per day

Conductor drilling

Duration: 3 weeks per well
Site hours: 24 hours 7 days a week
HGV hours: 24 hours 7 days a week but scheduled for 8am-5pm
3 two-way HGV movements per day

Mobilisation/demobilisation of main drilling rig and equipment

Duration: 3 weeks per mobilisation and demobilisation
Site hours: 24 hours 7 days a week
HGV hours: 7am-6pm Monday-Saturday
10 two-way HGV movements per day

Main drilling

Duration: 15 weeks per well
Site hours: 24 hours 7 days a week
HGV hours: 24 hours 7 days a week but scheduled for 8am-5pm
5 two-way HGV movements per day

Mobilisation/demobilisation of testing equipment

Duration: 3 weeks
Site hours: 7am-6pm Monday-Saturday
HGV hours: 7am-6pm Monday-Saturday
10 two-way HGV movements per day

Initial and extended well testing

Duration: 26 weeks
Site hours: 24 hours 7 days a week
HGV hours: 7am-6pm Monday-Saturday
5 two-way HGV movements per day

Plugging and decommissioning

Duration: 3 weeks
Site hours: 24 hours 7 days a week
HGV hours: 7am-6pm Monday-Saturday
10 two-way HGV movements per day

Removal of surface equipment

Duration: 2 weeks
Site hours: 7am-6pm Monday-Saturday
HGV hours: 7am-6pm Monday-Saturday
5 two-way HGV movements per day

Site restoration

Duration: 5 weeks
HGV hours: 7am-6pm Monday-Saturday
10 two-way HGV movements per day

4 replies »

  1. “It said locally-sourced oil and gas reservoirs had a smaller carbon footprint than imported oil or gas. But it did not have estimates of the carbon footprint of exploration or production from the West Newton C or D sites.”
    A common claim now being made by the onshore companies, but to date I haven’t seen any evidence from them to support it. I suspect they’re relying on people to think their claim is obvious, but it isn’t.

  2. Pretty obvious to me, Malcolm.

    But then, when I harvest my french beans from my garden I think it is obvious they have a lower carbon footprint than those flown in from Kenya. When I pick my courgettes I think they have a lower carbon footprint than those trucked up from Spain.

    I am sure there are some who don’t think that is obvious either-but they probably all work for airlines or haulage companies!

    There may be some who have an involvement with alternative sources of energy who don’t find the comment you quoted convenient, either.

    If you want evidence, then I believe there was a United Nations report advocating local production/consumption a while ago to help people make their individual contributions to mitigate against climate change. A bit inconvenient to the antis, who get in their diesels and puff off to a UK drilling site, but it is what most people who think, do.

  3. A recent study gave a possible figure of 5g of CO2 per megajoule of energy created at the West Newton site, which could be reduced further to 3.5g of CO2 per megajoule of energy created by using gas-to-grid technologies.
    This would result in an AA (best available) carbon intensity rating for production at the site.

Add a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.