Recent News

13th June 2016

West Newton B Update

The archaeological survey, stipulated in the planning conditions set by East Riding of Yorkshire Council, on the proposed West Newton B wellsite is now underway. Four shallow trenches will be investigated by independent archaeologists. The work is expected to last for one week.




12th April 2016

The restoration work at the Crawberry Hill site has now been completed.

These are pictures of how the site now looks:


The next step is for East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s planning department to visit the site before we formally relinquish the environmental permits to the Environment Agency – a process that is estimated to take six to eight weeks.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council has now closed out the Temporary Road Order (the speed restriction) along Walkington Heads and we have taken some soil samples from the site surface which will be analysed as part of the site closure plan. The field will then be subject to a comprehensive five-year aftercare programme.



West Newton A Update

26th November 2015

Natural Gas Discovery at West Newton Confirmed

A spokesperson for Rathlin Energy (UK) Limited, said: “We are pleased that the planning committee was minded (unanimously) to approve our planning application for an extension at West Newton A. The well we drilled there discovered natural gas. We believe this to be firm evidence of a potentially significant gas field in the Permian Kirkham Abbey formation. The approval today is an important step in our programme of operations to determine whether the gas discovery has commercial potential. We will continue to carry out our works in accordance with our permits.”



Here is a current update on our operations in Northern Ireland.

Termination of Licence

It is with much regret that I have, as Chairman of Rathlin Energy Limited, written to the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment (DETI) giving notice to terminate our petroleum licence PL3/10, related to the Rathlin Basin. The licence, granted in 2011 for 5 years, will terminate on 14 January 2016.

The company has been involved in Northern Ireland for almost 12 years, believing there to be the potential for the discovery of oil and/or natural gas in the Rathlin Basin, Co Antrim. However, we have reached a point where there no longer remains sufficient time, under the initial phase of our Petroleum Licence, to complete the planned program of work. Against the background of severely depressed world oil prices we have had to make important strategic decisions, and in view of all the uncertainties we face in Northern Ireland, especially in terms of the unforeseeable delays to our future operations, we have concluded that we cannot justify further work on our Licence at this time.

The immediate cause for our decision is the length and complexity of the process for securing planning permission for the second exploration well we need to drill to evaluate the results of our first well at Ballinlea. That was drilled in 2008 and recovered crude oil, although not in commercial quantity. We submitted a planning application for the second well in June 2013 and, regrettably, we have no sense of knowing when there will be a determination of the application.

The business of oil exploration in Northern Ireland, a region with little past history of the industry, was always going to be a technical challenge, and the risk of disappointment very high. It is therefore particularly regrettable that, notwithstanding the encouraging signs of oil we have found at Ballinlea, we are not going to be able, for reasons which have nothing to do with geology or our technical operations, to continue our work.

At all times Rathlin has sought to conduct its business with integrity, to fulfil all our obligations punctiliously, to work closely with our local communities and to cooperate fully with the planning authorities and all the other regulatory agencies.

On behalf of the company and my colleagues I would like to express our appreciation for the support and encouragement we have had from DETI. I would also like to thank all the other individuals and organisations in Northern Ireland who have helped and supported us.

We continue to believe in the potential for Northern Ireland to develop the natural resources which could make an important contribution to the security and economic benefits of energy supply. After all the work we have done, including a significant investment in the local economy, we very much regret that the conditions needed to support the development of oil and gas potential do not currently appear to be present in Northern Ireland.

David Montagu-Smith
Rathlin Energy Limited

21 October 2015

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