Expansion and long-term production planned at East Yorkshire well site

Rathlin Energy has revealed proposals to add six new wells at its West Newton A wellsite in Holderness and seek consent for 25-years of production.

The West Newton-A well site in East Yorkshire, 2020. Photo: Used with the owner’s consent

In a short statement on its website, the company said it planned to drill, test and produce from up to six new wells. It also wanted to test, appraise and produce from the existing two wells.

Rathlin said East Riding of Yorkshire Council had ruled that the proposed expansion would not need an environmental impact assessment.

News from Rathlin Energy’s website

The company said it would carry out a public consultation on the plans “over the coming months”, before submitting a formal planning application.

Neither Rathlin nor East Yorkshire Council have published the resulting size of the expanded site if the plans were approved. But maps on the council’s planning website suggest that the area would more than double.

Maps from original West Newton A planning application (top) and screening request for the proposed expansion.
Red lines marks the site boundary.

Last year, Rathlin drilled a borehole at the nearby West Newton B site but it missed one of the target formations. A sidetrack, drilled in December 2020, was said to “exceed expectations”.

The company also said it would apply for planning permission for two other well sites in the area, to be called West Newton C and D. If these and the expansion at West Newton A were approved, there would be planning permission for 18 hydrocarbon wells in the area.

The latest news coincides with a call from Conservative leaders on East Riding of Yorkshire Council to declare a climate emergency. A report on the issue, due to be discussed by the full council next month, described the region as “at the centre of transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy”. It did not refer to the West Newton drilling sites.


West Newton A, on land off Fosham Road, High Fosham, was first granted planning permission in 2013. The duration of consent has been extended twice, in 2015 and 2018.

The first well, WNA-1, was drilled in 2013 and tested in 2014.

In 2015, the Environment Agency investigated breaches of the environmental permit at the site.

That year, Rathlin Energy described a gas discovery at West Newton A as “very encouraging”.

The second well, WNA-2, was drilled in April 2019. That year, Reabold Resources, the major shareholder in the West Newton licence, described it as “potentially UK’s largest onshore hydrocarbon discovery since 1973”.

The well test on WNA-2 was suspended after a week following an oil find. A revised well test plan was submitted last year but so far has not been implemented.


In a statement today, Stephen Williams, the co-chief executive of Reabold, welcomed plans to extend West Newton A:

“It is encouraging that activity continues behind the scenes at West Newton, with progress being made ahead of testing and eventual production on the licence.”

Campaigners against Rathlin’s activities have opposed the expansion of West Newton A. One said:

“this new climate crisis paperwork [climate emergency report] the council chucked together doesn’t mean a thing in the face of potentially six more wells, on top of the four planned for West Newton C and D.”

Link to screening opinion on East Riding of Yorkshire Council website

16 replies »

  1. Met two girls.

    One showed insufficient reservoir development ie. thick as two short planks, so concentrated upon the other. Met both, didn’t miss either, made a judgement and concentrated upon one. Will that go anywhere? Time will tell. (No smut about horizontals, please.)

    Pretty usual situation in everyday life. Only reason to suggest not meeting the one would be to spare her feelings, but would still not be the reality.

    Also a reality that some French wind turbines have been turned off because they are too noisy, and others may follow.

    I am interested in reality, don’t get excited by that which is not. Not a good target audience for the reverse, but plenty of diversity around, so, horses for courses.

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