History of Ryedale Oil & Gas Exploration in North Yorkshire
Oil and gas exploration has a history in North Yorkshire going back almost 80 years. In 1937 the first well was drilled at Eskdale on the North York Moors and in 1938 gas was discovered in a deeper second well. Drilling continued up to the 60's and the gas produced was piped into Whitby from 1960-67.
Other areas of the Moors were explored during the 1940's and the first well on what became the Lockton (now Ebberston Moor) Field was drilled in 1945, but was unsuccessful. It wasn't till 1966 when Home Oil and the Gas Council drilled Lockton-2 to the north of Ebberston village, that the Ebberston Moor Field was discovered. Five more wells followed in the 60's, and three in the 70's and 80's, one discovering the Wykeham Field. The Lockton gas was sent to a processing plant on Outgang Lane in Pickering and from there was sent to the National Grid up to 1974. However the Lockton Field began to produce water and the field and gas plant were closed.
VALE OF PICKERING
There was much oil and gas exploration in the Vale of Pickering during the 1970's and 1980's. A significant number of seismic surveys were shot and several fields were discovered, some of which are still in production today.
The Malton Field was discovered first, south of Great Habton. Two successful wells were drilled between 1975 and 1985 but were shut in to await a development solution.
During the 1980's the fields of Kirby Misperton and Marishes were discovered. KM-1 was drilled in March 1985 and found gas at two levels. Marishes-1, to the north east of Malton was drilled successfully in 1988. Several side-tracks were drilled (wells drilled from the existing well bore), the most recent in 2004, when to increase the flow rate the well was hydraulically stimulated at the Carboniferous level.
KNAPTON GENERATING STATION
It was proposed to use the gas from all these 'stranded' gas fields as fuel to create electricity in a next generation gas to power plant. KGS was officially opened in the summer of 1995 with the wells at Malton, Marishes and Kirby Misperton supplying the gas.
Only a small number of wells were drilled in the 1990's but Pickering-1 and a second well on the same pad were connected by pipeline to Knapton Generating Station. Since 2000 eleven new wells have been drilled in North Yorkshire with drilling at Ebberston, Marishes, Pickering and Kirby Misperton
Knapton Generating Station has provided an uninterrupted source of power since the plant opened in 1995. The plant was designed to the highest standards of the time and it still functions safely and efficiently. The electricity is generated by an LM6000 gas turbine, an industrial version of an aero engine which powers many Boeing 747, 767 and Airbus aircraft. At full production it generates around 40MW of electricity, sufficient for around 40 000 homes. Since 1995 KGS has generated over 2 000 000MW Hrs of electricity using about 30 billion cubic feet of gas. Knapton Generating Station is well screened by tall trees and lies at the end of a long drive. As a result of this not many people in Ryedale are aware of its location.