Third Energy has announced it is to use new techniques to plug and abandon its Malton A gas site in Ryedale, North Yorkshire.
The operation on the Malton-1 well is due to happen in next month. It is part of the company’s obligation to decommission its wells.
Malton A, in the village of Great Habton, was drilled in 1970 and supplied gas to the Knapton Generating Station. The last gas produced from the Malton gasfield was in 2018 and there’s been no significant volume since 2012.
Third Energy said the well would be plugged using a new abandonment procedure. This is intended to provide better protection against future fugitive emissions and reduce the use of heavy machinery.
The process, supported by the Oil and Gas Technology Centre, is part of a Third Energy project to pilot new plugging and abandonment techniques, reported by DrillOrDrop last year.
It intends to use an isolation plug, supplied by isol8, which creates metallurgically-bonded alloy wellbore barriers.
The company said it was “a step along the abandonment path” using new technology. The process wold be tested before further abandonment work was planned.
Third Energy said it had submitted plans to the Health and Safety Executive.
The company has previously said it hoped to re-use old gas sites for renewable geothermal energy. It also said it would challenge an order by the industry regulator, the Oil & Gas Authority, to plug and abandon all the Ryedale wells this year.
In 2017, Third Energy sought unsuccessfully to frack at Kirby Misperton in Ryedale. A year later, after a change of ownership, it said it would focus on conventional energy, rather than fracking. Six months ago, North Yorkshire County Council extended planning permission to 2035 for Third Energy’s Malton, Kirby Misperton, Marishes and Pickering gas sites, as well as the pipeline to Knapton.
The decision to abandon Malton-A has been cautiously welcomed locally. Steve Mason, of Frack Free United, said:
“This is a another signal that we could finally be seeing the fossil fuel chapter of Ryedale’s energy past closing.
“I’m interested in the technique the company are testing here as during our campaign fugitive emission ranked high in our concerns, and if this plug can seal the well as they claim, then the significance of this technique could be huge.
“In the next few years, there are going to be millions of wells that will need plugging as we transition to a renewable future and if this does prevent significant methane emissions then that must surely be a positive.”
“As the local councillor, I am witnessing the community move on from the division and conflict that fracking brought to this area and beyond. The company have some interesting proposals going forward, some of which would be complete change in energy production in the area, especially with the geothermal ideas put forward last year. These new ideas seem to me to be a progressive and positive step forward in the future of Ryedale.”