Any commercial gas production at West Newton in East Yorkshire is about four years away, companies behind the plans revealed this morning.
Formal statements from the companies and the operator, Rathlin Energy, follow an article by DrillOrDrop five days ago.
We reported that Rathlin Energy had told residents it was switching the target hydrocarbon at West Newton back to gas, after pursuing oil for three years. The company reportedly said that any new drilling would not start for some time.
The move from oil to gas would mean fewer tanker visits to the sites, Rathlin said.
Today’s statements confirmed:
“Commercial production from West Newton could start as early as 2026, provided regulatory approvals are expedited and supply chain delays con be managed.”
The statements also said future drilling at West Newton would use oil-based muds.
Previous drilling with water-based muds had caused wellbore damage, the statements said. Problems were later compounded by the use of dilute acid during the completion programme.
DrillOrDrop reported in August 2021 on formation damage on the West Newton-B well.
The statements said an application had been made to the Environment Agency for the use of oil-based muds.
It also said the “anticipated recoverable gas resource at West Newton will have the potential to meet the daily gas demands of over 380,000 homes in the UK for many years to come.”
The statements did not define what was meant by “many years to come”.
The partners are looking at the best orientation for a horizontal well that may be drilled from West Newton-B or nearby West Newton-A, the statements also said.
Modelling had been carried out on 1.5km wells running horizontally through the Kirkham Abbey formation. Horizontal wells were more likely to encounter “significant sections of the reservoir with open natural fractures”, which would increase production, the statements said.
The partner companies are also looking at the availability of drilling rigs that can drill a 1.5km horizontal well, the statements added. Items such as steel casing for the well had been ordered.
A report on West Newton and other prospects in licence area PEDL183 is expected next week.
The Union Jack Oil share price dropped more than 15% to 26.25p, while Reabold Resources fell more than 20% to 0.25p. At the time of writing, Union Jack Oil was down 6.4% and Reabold Resources down more than 14%.