New test drilling sites fuel hope of East Riding oil boom
THE East Riding's burgeoning oil industry boom has taken another leap forward with two more sites identified for drilling.
Rathlin Energy, which is poised to build an exploratory drill site between Walkington and Bishop Burton, has now applied for permission to begin a similar operation west of Aldbrough.
Seismic testing is being done to see whether a third drill site near Keyingham might be possible.
A Rathlin spokesman said: "The application Rathlin has submitted for the Aldbrough site is similar to the one for Crawberry Hill.
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"The seismic studies have shown there is the potential for oil being found there."
The scheme between Walkington and Bishop Burton sparked protests from residents. But people living near Aldbrough have, so far, accepted plans to drill near their homes.
Caroline Maltas, who runs West Carlton Guest House, a mile south of the drill site, with her husband Tim, feels people should look at the plans before making up their minds.
She said: "We're very conscious that we need jobs and another form of energy, and, from a business point of view, we do well out of people coming to work in this area.
"We're a rural area but half-a-mile away is a straw-burning plant."
The Rathlin spokesman said the company will work with communities, saying: "There is not always a direct benefit for the communities in these areas. We have been out and held early consultation meetings.
"We are writing to the ward councillors offering them more meetings. If the community wants it, we will hold some exhibitions."
Plans for the initial location of the Crawberry Hill drilling site fell through after the landowner pulled out at the last minute. A new landowner was found for a new well head near the old location. Construction is due to start on Monday, November 5, and will take about five weeks. Drilling work will start there in the new year.
The Rathlin spokesman said: "Obviously, there are lessons to be learned. An agreement has been reached with the Aldbrough site."
Other sites are likely to follow.
The company spokesman said: "We will test throughout the county to see whether other areas are suitable. The geologists believe there is potential."
The company says, even before the Aldbrough application went in, it had spent about £5m in the East Riding. It believes £1.2 million of that has gone into the local economy. However, the exploratory drilling may not find oil.
East Riding Mid-Holderness Councillor Matthew Grove said: "The community has considerable experience of drilling activities due to the construction of the SSE gas storage facility between Aldbrough and Garton.
"The present proposal for an exploratory drilling to search for hydrocarbon deposits is for a very short duration. I am sure residents will accommodate this development as they have others in the past, as long as all precautions are taken to protect the environment, minimise disturbance and reinstate the landscape on completion."