West Newton modelling predicts single gas well could top many North Sea fields

Predictions for a single gas well in East Yorkshire suggest initial production could exceed many entire fields in the North Sea.

West Newton-A well site, 16 October 2021. Photo: Used with the owner’s consent

The modelling, published by Union Jack Oil plc today, is based on data from a well test at the West Newton-A site.

In a statement, the modelling predicted a single well accessing the gas section of the Kirkham Abbey formation would initially produce an average of 35.6 million standard cubic feet of gas per day (mmscfd).

A single well in the oil section of the formation would initially produce 1,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd), the modelling said.

The modelling, by RPS Group, was based on flow rate analysis from an extended well test (EWT) last year on the West Newton-A2 vertical well. The results assume a horizontal well and acid stimulation. They do not take into account any natural fracturing in the Kirkham Abbey formation, which could increase flow rates.


If accurate, the modelling would put gas production from a single well at West Newton-A in the top six of all UK gas fields, both on and offshore.

It would exceed average daily gas production from each of the Barque, South Sean, Chiswick and West Sole fields in the North Sea and the Calder field in the Irish Sea. This is based on 2021 data, when all these fields were in the top 10.

Only five offshore gas fields (Cygnus, Sillimanite, Leman, South Morecambe and Breagh) would exceed the West Newton-A modelled well, based on 2021 figures.

Compared with UK onshore wells, the predicted gas production would be 35 times higher than the largest producer, again based on 2021 data.

There is currently no gas pipeline connection at West Newton-A and formal plans for the site do not include one. Instead, during production, gas is expected to power generators on the site.

During well testing, gas would burned in a flare. There is a flaring budget of 330 mmscf of gas for the life of West Newton-A. If the predicted gas volumes were confirmed and all the gas was flared, this budget would be used up in under 10 days.


If the modelled extraction rate was confirmed, it would be more than double that from the UK’s second largest onshore producing field, at Welton in Lincolnshire.

It would also exceed the level of 884 bopd reported in September 2021 from well tests at Wressle, North Lincolnshire.

The modelled well would be behind only Wytch Farm, in Dorset, in the top UK onshore fields. Production at Wytch Farm in September 2021, the latest figure available, was 12,181 bopd.

If the predicted oil production were confirmed, a single well at West Newton would exceed the site’s proposed storage capacity of 3,600 barrels in fewer than four days.

The operator of the West Newton-A site, Rathlin Energy, is currently seeking planning permission for 20 years of hydrocarbon production and four more vertical wells, in addition to the existing two.

The application sets a maximum of 10 tankers a day to remove oil during the production phase. The larger UK tankers carry about 220 barrels of oil. So, if confirmed, the single modelled well’s oil production would require nearly half the available tankers visiting the site every day.

Wells and stimulation

Rathlin Energy has said it might drill sidetrack or lateral wells from the current two and future four boreholes at West Newton-A.

The RPS modelling concluded that the Kirkham Abbey formation could deliver substantially higher production rates from horizontal wells, rather than vertical wells.

Union Jack, an investor at West Newton-A, said:

“The [RPS] report also concluded that … most of the acid stimulation carried out during the EWT only interacted with a small section of the perforated intervals due to the permeability contrast across the Kirkham Abbey formation in both wells.

“This suggests that potential flow rates from wells in the Kirkham Abbey reservoir would benefit from a conventional optimised acid stimulation programme that includes active diversion techniques.”

David Bramhill, executive chairman of Union Jack, said:

“This initial analysis confirms the significance of the in-place resource and crucially, has de-risked the project by indicating the potential recovery of what we can now confirm to be high quality light oil, in addition to good quality gas.

“The mass of data obtained from the operation has allowed the modelling of potential flow rates, independently assessed for the first time.”

  • This is not the first time onshore hydrocarbon companies have suggested wells could equal or exceed North Sea production. In 2016, the Horse Hill-1 well in Surrey was said to show “North Sea-like oil flows”. Since production began at Horse Hill in March 2020, it has extracted an average of 113 bopd.

12 replies »

  1. Steady now

    One new onshore gas well, for a few months will exceed the production from some old dogs such as WSA (1967) and Culzean (30 years old). Tho WSA is a fine over engineered jacket.

    N Sea production ranges from 60,000bbl day oil (Magnus if I remember right), to almost nothing on a last gasp well (indeed some wells produce nothing – fat zero, while waiting for an intervention). So the target is somewhat broad. Will that well produce 5% of the UKs gas demand (or will the whole field – thought not)

    Lets look at the expected production in 30 years, to see if they compare? The ‘up to’ targets are just a number, one would leave it tot eh press to mis interpret them?

    Independent study by RPS Group* indicates initial average potential production rates of up to 35.6 million cubic feet of gas per day (“mmcfd”) (5,900 barrels of oil equivalent per day “boepd”) from a horizontally drilled well situated in the gas zone, based on the data from West Newton A-2 well.

  2. Strange approach again from DoD. Once again suggesting that output from UK on shore sites is minimal.

    In many cases that is correct. However, with that being the case, why make all the fuss attempting to manufacture a case that they will impact climate change?

    Cake and eat it?

    Meanwhile, Brent Crude moving close to $90/barrel. So, the reality is that oil produced on shore in UK with very low production costs and stringent environmental controls, looks to be a prime candidate for production if local demand creates a need for production. People pay their money and the best choice is obvious.

  3. “So, the reality is that oil produced on shore in UK with very low production costs and stringent environmental controls……”

    Stringent environmental controls!
    The reality…..

    “Hundreds of tonnes of climate-warming methane is being released into the atmosphere by the UK’s longest continuously producing onshore oil well, despite curbs ordered by the environmental regulator.”

    • The reality:

      That a plan is in place to correct the methane emissions from that well, (Kimmeridge) with a defined timescale.

      Perhaps 1720 would like to provide information as to whether that is the case with imported oil? It has been suggested on DoD previously that is not the case.

      So, yes, the best choice is obvious-as long as one reads beyond the headline. Thanks for allowing people to focus upon those UK standards in action, 1720. What a great service you provide-for UK on shore oil!

      • Your “U.K. standards in action” were evident when the curbs were ordered in the first place,Martin. But………
        Your heralding of the new “standards in action” have yet to bear fruit.

        The evidence, I am afraid, is that the excellence of the regulatory system in the U.K., often vaunted by such as yourself who continually mistake statements and promises for facts, is still unproven. Thank heavens the anti-fracking lobby did not fall for such boasts.

        You are clearly still having difficulty in grasping the drift of the article in question – continuing emissions despite EA curbs which consequently need reinforcement, rather than ‘Hurrah, the EA has done it. New curbs are here. We have a solution to emissions.’

        Not much more we can do to help a pupil who simply will not see.

        • But the teacher first needs to demonstrate some competence in order to teach, 1720. Otherwise, they should, and will be ignored.

          So, you were unable to show the situation with imported oil.

          It would have saved some time if you had just admitted that.

          Activists are activists, teachers are teachers. The two should not be confused. The first, usually, is proud of a lack of knowledge, the second, usually is proud to pass on knowledge.

          But then 1720, it was stated by someone famous for their grasp of science, that 1720 (the year of the South Sea Bubble) was a period of “irrational exuberance”.

          It all adds up!

          • Distraction and diversion. This is culpable. You can’t be allowed to lead the discussion in another direction simply to avoid detection. You could practise a real apology, if you like, but are you man enough?
            We were not talking about oil, Martin, but about your difficulty in comprehending the article, either that or yet another attempt at diversion and distraction. Why should I react to or engage with an attempt to throw your readers off the scent. Johnson would welcome such a weak-minded reaction just now, would he not? {Edited by moderator]

            I doubt that you will find much support for your eccentric reading of the relevant article on the EA’s failures and attempts to rectify them.

            • I can post what I like, 1720, as long as it is okay with DoD. I would add, that it is researched and accurate. You may fear that, but sorry, such is life.

              You don’t have to react. You have said before you will not-then you do.

              I am posting about oil, 1720. You or “we” may not be doing so. [Edited by moderator]

              If you do some research you will find that oil site, that your [edited by moderator] gas site, is indicating some fairly substantial oil output projections. How good would that be, to enable some of the £400k willfully robbed from the local community to be refunded, simply via a transfer of production to a more local source!

  4. I wonder why this news isn’t headlines in the media. A gas well the size of a football field producing a significant contribution to U.K. gas supply, almost certainly with a lower CO2 cost than imported LNG. Let’s celebrate.

  5. Wonderful news. We should push for our home produced Gas and Oil as hard as we can. To argue it is necessary to import these products from overseas when we have our own resources is insane. We will remain dependant on these products for many years to come. We must act as soon as we possibly can !

  6. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” (Einstein) Apply to the continuing development of fossil fuels.

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