Densholme Care Farm, Great Hatfield Notes of Meeting (7 pm on 29 October 2019)
David Montagu Smith (Chairman, Rathlin Energy (UK) Limited) – DM-S
Tom Selkirk (Country Manager, Rathlin Energy (UK) Limited) – TS
Caroline Foster (Operations Engineer, Rathlin Energy (UK) Limited) – CF
Andy Sloan (Wells Manager, Rathlin Energy (UK) Limited) – AS
Stephen Croft (Site Technical and Local Liaison, Rathlin Energy (UK) Limited) – SC
Sarah Blanchard (Resident Representative Aldborough) – SB
Deborah Stabler (Representing Burton Constable Parish Council) – DS
Ron Jagger (Resident Representative Burton Constable) – RJ
Anita Howell (Representing Ellerby Parish Council) – AH
Harry Clark (Ellerby resident representative) – HC
Lisa Brazier (Representing Humbleton Parish Council) – LB
Annette Ford (Resident Representative Sproatley) – AF
Charlie Sharp (Representing Withernwick Parish Council) – CS
Matthew Grove (Resident Representative Withernwick) – MG
Don Fields (Resident Representative Sproatley) – DF
Philip Loades (Rathlin Energy (UK) Limited Communications) – PL (vice Simon Taylor – ST)
Vanessa Nolan (Resident Representative, Humbleton) – VN
Geoff North (Representing Aldborough Parish Council) – GN
DM-S opened the liaison group meeting, welcomed everyone and thanked them for attending. The notes from the last meeting on 12 June 2019 were agreed as a true and accurate reflection of the discussions at that time. Apologies were noted on behalf of Vanessa Nolan and Geoff North who had both indicated beforehand that they could not attend this evening’s meeting.
DM-S reminded the committee about the recent introduction of new partners to the project which include new shareholders within Rathlin Energy (UK) Limited and two joint venture partners that have taken a share in the PEDL 183 licence. He said that Rathlin Energy (UK) Limited still remains the Operator of the licence and, as can be seen, this evening, the strategic and operational team consists of the same people who have been involved in the company’s work at West Newton since the very beginning.
DM-S said that the new venture partners are very important, with their financial investments giving the company’s oil and gas exploration activities new impetus. HC asked about the messages that the investment companies were putting out, suggesting that the investors’ communications seemed very ambitious and positive whereas the information from Rathlin Energy (UK) Limited always seemed to be more cautious. TS said that early indications of the West Newton prospect are very encouraging. He said it is in the very nature of oil and gas explorers is to take one step at a time, letting the science inform
the next steps.
He said that the investors are right to be very positive about what Rathlin Energy (UK) Limited has found so far and he committed to keep the local community informed about progress and planned operations in the usual way. TS said that he understands the importance of messaging alignment between all partners and that this is something that would be discussed further internally.
DM-S said that the team is currently in the process of bringing together all the resources for the next 12-months of activity. He said that this meeting would cover the planning and operations for finalising the work at West Newton A-2 (WNA-2) alongside preparation work at West Newton B (WNB).
2. WN-A2 Update
TS said that before drilling and completing the analysis of the core and logging programme, the understanding was that the target was likely going to be a gas reservoir. However, it has since become evident that around 1/3 of the reservoir at WNA-2 is filled with gas and 2/3 filled with oil.
The testing programme for the WNA-2 well had originally been designed to cater for what was thought to be primarily a gas prospect and as such the oil reservoir was not able to be fully evaluated during the testing phase conducted between 6th and 30th August.
He said that this underlines the challenges with exploration work and the discovery of the unknown – this positive outcome hadn’t been anticipated. TS said that this meant, initially, that the testing team were unable to lift all of the liquids in the well to surface in an effective manner. He said, in light of this, the team performed an N2 lift which involved the injection of nitrogen into the wellbore to try and lift all fluids to the surface.
He explained that this was permitted by the Environment Agency and is a tried and tested method of lifting liquids to surface as part of oil and gas field testing and production. He said that it is a safe system of operation. TS explained that wellbore fluids were recovered at the surface with associated gas but there was not enough energy in the reservoir to recover any reservoir fluids to surface, but that fluids were tagged someway up the wellbore.
TS explained that in order to recover the fluids effectively from the wellbore, the team will need to install a suitable pump. He said that because the Environmental Agency permit did not provide for the installation of a pump, a decision was taken to temporarily suspend the operations so that the team could arrange to go back to the Environment Agency with a revised solution. He explained that the work was suspended, and the equipment was demobilised from site on 30 August 2019.
CF said that the regulatory compliance audits for the WNA-2 work had all been positive throughout both the drilling and testing phase. She said that a number of different Compliance Officers from the Environment Agency had visited the site and the office on several occasions as part of both scheduled and unplanned visits and that there had been no compliance issues to report. She also mentioned that there had been a joint audit between the Environment Agency and the Health and Safety Executive which was very positive. HC mentioned that all of the compliance assessment reports are available on the Environment Agency website 28 days after the report has been issued.
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