Two roads to Rathlin Energy’s West Newton-A oil site in Holderness could be closed from as early as next week.
A formal notice said the council would make an order preventing the use of Pipers Lane and Fosham Road by any class of vehicle, or cycles, horse riders and pedestrians.
The order begins on Monday 19 April 2021 and is valid for 18 months while “works are being executed on or near the roads”.
The notice does not say where the work is taking place near the roads. But East Riding of Yorkshire Council told DrillOrDrop the order had been made because of concerns about public safety from “dealing with heavy volumes of traffic that could be going to the West Newton-A well site”.
We asked Rathlin Energy what work at West Newton-A might generate “heavy volumes of traffic”. A company spokesperson said:
“I have no information to give you on this matter.”
We also asked Union Jack Oil, one of the partners in the West Newton project. Union Jack’s spokesperson referred us to Rathlin Energy.
According to East Riding of Yorkshire Council, the road closure may not begin on the start date. But the order must be implemented within six months.
The roads will remain open at all times for emergency services, residents and “local businesses directly affected by the closures”, the council said.
This is the third closure for these roads because of work at West Newton-A.
The first closure, implemented on 10 June 2019, coincided with the final stages of drilling of the West Newton A-2 well.
The order was for 21 days. But three days later, residents heard that the council had extended the closure to six months, and possibly 18 months.
Today, Rathlin Energy and Union Jack Oil declined to say whether the latest closure was because of a planned extended well test at West Newton-A.
A year ago, the Environment Agency approved changes to the site’s permit to allow tests on the West Newton-A2 well. The variation allowed Rathlin to use a pumpjack/nodding donkey to lift wellbore fluids to the surface.
Rathlin is currently preparing a planning application to extend West Newton-A to drill six further wells, over 90 weeks, followed by 20 years of oil production at the site.
Work on Rathlin’s other site in Holderness has also led to a separate set of road closures. In January 2020, the council made an order for 18 months of closures on three roads leading to West Newton-B.