An at-a-glance view of July’s news about fracking and onshore oil and gas. For the current month’s news click here
31st July 2014
The Wall Street Journal suggests the growing efforts by US state and local governments to stop fracking could end up in the Supreme Court. The efforts, the paper says, could unconstitutionally limit property owners’ ability to profit from their mineral rights.
Euractive quotes a statement by Maria Krautzberger, president of Germany’s Federal Environment Agency: “As long as crucial risks related to this technology cannot be predicted and likewise cannot be controlled, fracking should not be used in Germany to extract shale and coal bed gas,” she said. “Fracking is and remains a risky technology. For this reason it requires tight safeguards to protect the environment and health”. Germany has a moratorium on the use of fracking technology.
The Anglo Celt reports Leitrim’s county councillors joined campaigners at the gates of a drilling site operated by Tamboran Resources. Another council, Cavan, meets tomorrow to discuss the company’s operation in a former quarry at Belcoo. Campaigners have formed a protest camp but the company got a High Court injunction preventing access.
30th July 2014
The Blackpool Gazette reports that 12 Fylde District councillors declared they – or organisations they are associated with – have received payments or donations from Cuadrilla or its contractors. Three had personally received payments from a contractor carrying out seismic testing for Cuadrilla. Nine others belonged to groups, councils or organisations that had received donations from Cuadrilla. The paper says the news emerged at a debate on a motion calling for a moratorium on fracking in the UK. The motion was defeated.
In the same article, the Blackpool Gazette reports allegations that the dance floor at Kirkham social club had lifted following seismic testing. Cllr Keith Beckett, the club chair, said: “Cuadrilla said we could apply for a community grant to fix it, but if we’d have taken that we’d have been paid off like other people have been paid off.” Cuadrilla said its surveyor concluded the damage was not the result of Cuadrilla’s operations. A spokesperson said the club had been invited to apply for a donation towards a new dance floor.
The BBC says Tamboran Resources, which plans to frack in County Fermanagh, has been granted an extension to a High Court injunction to stop campaigners getting close to a quarry. The company plans to drill an exploratory borehole near Belcoo next month. Campaigners have been holding a vigil at the quarry. The injunction will continue until a further order of the court.
Mark Durkan, Northern Ireland’s environment minister, tells the Newsletter he will hear at first hand the concerns of residents worried about fracking in Fermanagh. He tells the paper fracking will not happen on his watch “unless there is very strong scientific evidence that it is safe”, which he claims “simply does not exist at this time”.
Ian Midgley, writing in the Hull Daily Mail, says “Yes we need energy, but do we really want to pave paradise to get it?”
Robert Jeffries, of the consultancy Environ UK, in a letter to the Daily Telegraph, says British fracking contractors will be working under tighter controls than their US counterparts. Water contamination and environmental damage are unlikely, he says. Mr Jeffries has a similar letter in the FT.
Anne McIntosh, the Conservative MP for Thirsk and Malton, tells the Northern Echo there are too many unknowns about potential damage to the environment, waste water and the impact of drilling on the UK. Ms McIntosh is chair of parliament’s Environment Committee, which is looking at DEFRA’s responsibility for fracking. She was deselected from her seat earlier this year.
The North West Energy Task Force publishes a video by Cuadrilla and Arup on the Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Statement that accompany the drilling company’s current planning applications in Lancashire.
According to The Guardian, the EU begins legal proceedings against Poland for changing its national laws to allow shale drilling at depths of up to 5,000 metres without first assessing potential environmental impacts.
The Canadian Press, quoted by Nationtalk, reports two men involved in last October’s shale gas protest in New Brunswick have been sentenced to 15 months in jail.
Geoffrey Lean writes in his Telegraph blog that politics has forced the government to change its tack on fracking with restrictions in National Parks. MPs from affected areas in the south are getting increasingly edgy, he writes. A com Res poll in marginal constituencies showed just 15% of prospective Conservative voters see fracking as a top energy priority.
29th July 2014
Cuadrilla’s chief executive, Francis Egan, takes part in a one-hour phone-in on BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours. Our report
The Argus reports that campaigners who demonstrated against Cuadrilla at Balcombe last year are being urged to support protests in Blackpool. Next month, the Reclaim the Power camp is based in the area near Blackpool, where Cuadrilla is applying for permission to frack up to eight wells.
Documents from the Department of Energy and Climate Change show how the ministers ignored the views of most responses to a consultation on the environmental impact of shale gas developments. The Guardian quotes from the Post-Adoption statement, which said “An analysis of the responses indicated that a substantial majority were against the licensing plan being adopted because of concerns over environmental effects.” Our report.
The Times reports that the South Downs National Park Authority has privately expressed concerns to the government that fracking could contaminate drinking water. The authority is expected to meet next month to decide an application by Celtique Energie to drill near Fernhurst in West Sussex.
Matthew Lynn, writing in The Telegraph, says the government’s response so far to opposition to fracking has been ridiculous. “It has done nothing more than offer a few minor bribes, and the occasional lecture about supporting the national interest”, he says. He recommends giving people the mineral rights to their land, as happens in the US.
The Telegraph also reports that SNP ministers are facing a dilemma over allowing fracking in Scotland. A report commissioned by the Scottish Government found there were no significant technological barriers to the development of shale gas and that it could be extracted safely. But the report said most of Scotland’s coal bed methane and shale gas reserves are in the country’s most populated areas.
Cuadrilla tells the Blackpool Gazette it welcomes the new licence sales but said its Lancashire business, at Roseacre Wood and Preston New Road on the Fylde, is where the important developments were taking place.
Click Green reports that the National Air Traffic Services, which is responsible for guiding flights through the UK airspace, has formally objected to Cuadrilla’s planning application at Preston New Road. The site is less than three miles from BAE Systems manufacturing base, used to build the RAF’s Typhoon attack jet fighter. Click Green says NATS said the fracking site would “reduce the probability of detection of real aircraft at low elevations” and trigger “the generation of false tracks” on radar screens. NATS says there could be serious risk to air traffic and the objection cannot lawfully be ignored.
A report by the US Government Accountability says the Environmental Protection Agency should review emerging risks related to safeguards for fracking wells. Bloomberg says the report found that safeguards don’t address emerging underground risks, such as seismic activity.
Simon Gray, chief executive of the East of England Energy Group tells the Eastern Daily Press, the region has services that could support a shale gas industry across the UK. But he say fracking is unlikely in East Anglia because it would be too expensive. Licences are available in north Norfolk, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in the 14th licencing round.
The BBC reports that a judge has told anti-fracking campaigners to remove a wooden tower blocking the entrance to Rathlin Energy’s site at Walkington in East Yorkshire. The company and the landowner went to the High Court for an order to force the campaigners to remove the barrier. The order was granted but the campaigners said they will not dismantle the tower.
Writers to The Guardian letters pages oppose government plans for licencing half the country for oil and gas drilling
28th July 2014
In a statement by Baroness Verma, the government formerly announces the start of the 14th round to sell licences across half the country for oil and gas drilling, including fracking. In a concession to concerns about the impact of drilling on protected landscapes, the government announced new planning guidance on developments in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. They should be allowed only in exceptional circumstances.
ENDS Report explains that companies have until 23rd October to apply for initial licences for conventional and unconventional oil and gas storage. 10 National Parks are included in the licence area, which covers large parts of north east England, central Scotland, south Wales and most of southern England.
The FT questions whether environmental and operation constraints attached to the licences will handicap the government’s ambition for a shale revolution.
The new energy minister, Matthew Hancock, tells The Guardian ministers are right to leave the door open to fracking in National Parks because oil and gas have been exploited without controversy in these areas for decades.
Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett, writing in The Guardian, says by issuing new guidance on fracking in National Parks, the government has been forced to concede that fracking is “a damaging, risky operation, something from which our most delicate areas need to be protected.” Natalie Bennett says: “if our richest habitats have to be protected from it – as they do – then your house and community should be too”.
The Guardian also reports that the government has committed nearly £2.5m to the Office of Unconventional Gas and Oil before a single home has been powered by shale gas. OUGO was set up in March 2013 to promote fracking. It has already spent £568,000 and has a budget of £1.8m for this financial year, the paper says. OUGO, with its equivalent of 10 full time staff, says in the past year it has streamlined and simplified regulation for companies.
The Telegraph says energy minister, Matthew Hancock, fails to name a single village that supports fracking. Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, he said it was “not quite right” that there is widespread disagreement over fracking and said there was broad support for the need for energy security. But when asked to name a single community that is “welcoming the frackers in”, he changed the subject, the paper says.
Craig Bennett, of Friends of the Earth, tells the BBC there should be a presumption against fracking across the whole country for climate change reasons. He said the country needed to find alternative energy supplies quickly and shale gas could not do that. He said shale gas was a “huge load of hype and a massive distraction”.
The RSPB calls for wildlife sites to be excluded from fracking developments, as well as National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. “This would send a clearer and more decisive message to the industry and public alike”, it says. It asks: “Why Government didn’t just exclude fracking from these areas. Instead they have said it will still be allowed in ‘exceptional’ circumstances. As far as I can see no one can really tell what ‘exceptional’ actually means until someone tests it and applies anyway.”
Greenpeace says more than three-quarters of Conservative Party target seats have been licensed for fracking in the 14th round. Its analysis also found that 24 of the 31 MPs who attend cabinet could be affected by the licence sales.
The Blackpool Gazette reports that a farmer served with an enforcement notice to remove anti-fracking signs from Preston New Road, said “I would soon be prosecuted than have my children poisoned”. Fylde Council said John Tootill did not have permission to put up the signs and must take them down or go to court. But he told the paper: “It’s a fundamental principle of life that you’ve got to protect what’s dear to you.”
EnidNews.com reports that about 20,000 gallons of hydrochloric acid intended for fracking spilled in Kingfisher County, Oklahoma. Matt Skinner, of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission said “I’ve never heard of a spill this size occurring in relation to fracking materials. At the very least, this is very unusual. This might be the biggest one we’ve seen.”
25th July 2014
First anniversary of the start of anti-fracking protests against Cuadrilla at Balcombe. Our report and reflections
The Denver Post reports on a new campaign by the pro-fracking Environmental Policy Alliance in Colorado. A TV advert likens anti-frackers to flat-earthers and people who talk to glove puppets.
The Irish Journal reports that anti-fracking campaigners are protesting in a Fermanagh where the exploration company, Tamboran, is drilling to collect rock samples. The site is protected by security guards with dogs and fences are topped with razor wire, the paper says. Tamboran says no fracking is scheduled to take place and its borehole is to explore for gas.
The BBC reports that Tamboran has obtained a High Court injunction to stop campaigners getting close the quarry where it wants to drill. The order prohibits people from entering or occupying land at Gandrum Road, or preventing Tamboran from carrying out exploratory mining operations and obstructing access to and from the site.
24th July 2014
Friends of the Earth Europe publishes its guide to who’s who in the shale gas lobby in Brussels.
The Blackpool Gazette reports the North West Energy Task Force is hosting a meeting tonight of business leaders, economists, geo-scientists and engineers in Blackpool to discuss the possible benefits of fracking to the Fylde.
The Green Party Stop Fracking Now won 2.06% of the vote in a by election in the Clifton ward for Blackpool Council.
23rd July 2014
Frack Free Sussex criticises local councils for investing in fracking companies, according to the Brighton Argus. The paper says East Sussex Pension fund, which manages pension contributions for Brighton and Hove City Council and East Sussex County Council has more than $65 million of its pension portfolio invested in overseas energy companies, including some leading US fracking companies. Ellie Wyatt, of Frack Free Sussex, tells the paper councils should not be investing public money into companies that “damage health and the environment”.
The Lancashire Evening Post and Blackpool Gazette report on a motion going before Fylde Borough Council on July 28th that calls for a moratorium on regulatory, health and community impacts are resolved.
22nd July 2014
The planning committee of West Sussex County Council refuses an application by Celtique Energie to drill a vertical and horizontal exploratory oil well between Wisborough Green and Kirdford. Full report
Celtique Energie says its application was “compliant, comprehensive and of high quality” and accuses councillors of not following the spirit or letter of government policy. Report
Celtique Energie tells the Daily Telegraph councillors were “politically motivated”. Geoff Davies says: “We believe WSCC members may prefer the Planning Inspectorate or the Secretary of State to decide, on appeal, an application which is, for WSCC members, politically contentious. But this is no way for the planning system to operate. We suggest that WSCC members appear to have ignored Government advice in relation to minerals planning and indeed as to the proper and efficient operation of the planning system.”
West Sussex County Council is accused of “biased and pro-fracking”, according to The West Sussex County Times. The paper quotes Pulborough resident, Nicola Peel, who says the council failed to tell residents the whole truth about the dangers of fracking at an information meeting last month.
Greenpeace releases correspondence (obtained through a Freedom of Information request) between staff at Cuadrilla and the British Geological Survey, including a shared love of Leonard Cohen.
The Blackpool Gazette reports No Dash for Gas is holding its annual Reclaim and Power action camp near the town for seven days next month. Cuadrilla has two proposed exploration sites in the area at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood. The paper says there will be a demonstration on Sunday August 17th and a day of direct action on Monday August 18th.
According to The Guardian, Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas, describes as “untenable” Sir Philip Dilley’s appointment as the next chair of the environment, given his former company’s links with the fracking industry. Sir Philip was until April the chair of Arup, which writes planning reports for Cuadrilla. Arup has also donated money to the All Party Parliamentary Group on unconventional oil and gas, the paper says.
The Center for Public Integrity (one of the oldest non-profit investigative news organisations in the US) reports that a group of scientists is offering free health care to families in drilling areas of Pennsylvania. David Brown, a toxicologist and the group’s co-founder, tells the said government agencies haven’t done enough to study, analyse and mitigate the risks people face from drilling.
Pennsylvania regulators were unprepared for the fracking boom and put drinking water supplies at risk, according to a report by the state’s Auditor General carried by Bloomberg. The state’s Department of Environmental Protection failed to order drillers to clean or replace tainted water supplies or to act quickly on residents’ complaints. It also used a 25-year-old inspection policy, Bloomberg reports. In a letter to the state Governor, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, said the DEP is “underfunded, understaffed and does not have the infrastructure in place to meet the continuing demands” of the gas boom.
21st July 2014
Nick Herbert, Conservative MP for Arundel and South Downs, urges West Sussex County Council’s planning committee to reject Celtique Energie’s application to drill near Wisborough Green, reports the Daily Telegraph. The MP tells the paper: “Rural West Sussex cannot become a carelessly industrialised landscape.” He says local residents were united against the plans because of disruption from lorries and unsuitable roads. Promised community benefits “don’t really cut any ice locally”, he says, and government plans to allow fracking under homes without consent was “provocative and has been misunderstood”.
Nine landowners, including Sussex Wildlife Trust, form a “legal block” around Celtique Energie’s proposed drilling site between Wisborough Green and Kirdford in West Sussex. Report
IGas and Peel Environmental tell the Manchester Evening News and the Liverpool Echo that it believes 3,500 jobs could be created in the north west if it opened 30 shale gas sites, each with ten wells. A report commissioned by the firms says drilling for gas could boost the economies of Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Liverpool and Warrington by £10bn, assuming 300 wells were drilled from 2017-2021. The report predicts the first three production wells would be sunk by 2017, the paper reports.
The Liverpool Echo reports that anti-fracking campaigners have urged people to treat with scepticism the claims that thousands of jobs could be created in the region by shale gas extraction. They say the “£10bn shale gas extraction bonanza” suggested by IGas and Peel Environmental will put future generations’ health at risk.
19th July 2014
Europa Oil and Gas plc (quoted by Energy Global) reports that drilling has begun at the Wressle-1 conventional exploration well in Lincolnshire. The operator, Egdon Resources, estimates the resources of 2.1m barrels from the well.
18th July 2014
Keyon Bayandor loses his appeal against conviction for obstructing a police officer at Balcombe anti-fracking protests. Report
Schlumberger, the world’s largest oilfield servicer, says the global economic situation will be slow to change, reports Bloomberg BusinessWeek. The company saw an 11th consecutive quarter of beating earnings estimates, Bloomberg says, but failed to impress investors.
ProPublica (a US organisation producing public interest journalism) reports that California has halted the injection of fracking waste, warning that it may be contaminating aquifers. The organisation says the state has ordered an emergency shutdown of 11 oil and gas waste injection facilities and ordered a review of more than 100 others in Central valley. Cease and desist orders have been issued to seven energy companies warning they may be injecting their waste into aquifers that could be a source of drinking water.
17th July 2014
MailOnline reports that Ineos, the owners of the Grangemouth terminal in Falkirk, have secured a £230m loan guarantee from the government to build a terminal to import US shale gas.
The Guardian reports West Sussex Highways officials disagree with Celtique Energie’s predictions about the traffic implications of its drilling site between Wisborough Green and Kirdford. See our report from earlier this month.
The Blackpool Gazette reports that security guards have pitched tents in fields off Preston New Road and at Roseacre Wood, where Cuadrilla has applied for permission to frack. Residents against Fylde Fracking describe this as “desperate measures”. The paper says signs on display at the Preston New Road site say it is a criminal offence to enter the field by violence or threat of violence and that at least one person “opposed to entry” is on the site at all times.
Fatih Birol, chief economist with the International Energy Agency, says the US shale gas boom is placing 30 million jobs at risk in Europe, Bloomberg reports. European companies that rely heavily on energy are facing higher fuel prices than the US counterparts, the site explains. Many petrochemicals companies in central Europe are moving out, Birol is reported as saying.
The Hull Daily Mail reports police defending patrolling of anti-fracking camps. Superintendent Darren Downs tells the paper his officers are doing an excellent job under very difficult circumstances, despite complaints from campaigners at Walkington and West Newton. The Superintendent said police had become an easy target for complaints to allow protesters to keep their campaign in the media spotlight.
The Natural Resources Defense Council reports that the Obama administration is poised to rule on fracking in the George Washington National Forest.
16th July 2014
ABC News reports that Denton City Council voted down a petition to ban fracking by 5-2, after eight hours of public testimony. An estimated 500 people attending the hearing and more than 100 people registered to speak. The city is in the Barnett shale gas field. City leaders introduced a temporary ban on new fracking permits in May but this is due to expire in September.
The BBC carries a personal film by Dame Vivienne Westwood in which she says nearly half British people don’t know what fracking is. She says it will lead to the production of more fossil fuels, which will increase climate change. There is no democratic mandate for fracking, she said.
15th July 2014
In the Government reshuffle, Greg Barker is replaced as climate change minister by Amber Rudd, but in the more junior position of parliamentary undersecretary. Michael Fallon, who worked for both the Energy and Climate Change and Business Departments, is replaced by Matt Hancock.
The Carbon Brief analyses the implications of the reshuffle. The Daily Telegraph reports that Matt Hancock’s first job is to persuade world-scale oil and gas companies to bid for licences in the forthcoming 14th round. The paper says major players, such as Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Chevron have expressed no interested in unconventional drilling in southern or North West England.
Industry representatives decline invitations to take part in the BBC’s live debate programme on fracking from Fernhurst. Report
Business Recorder reports that Schlumberger, the world’s biggest oil services company, plans to invest for the first time in shale – by working with Mexico’s state oil company, Pemex.
Hydrogen Fuel News reports that a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil is being held legally responsible for a large fracking waste water leak in north-central Pennsylvania in 2010. This is the first case in which a public company drilling in the state’s Marcellus shale has been criminally charged, the site says. Exxon is reported as saying it is being singled out to stop fracking.
Fracking News Today reports Denton could be the first city in Texas to ban hydraulic fracturing if the city authorities approve a citizen-led petition.
14th July 2014
Celtique Energie calls for a postponement of the decision on its planning application to drill an exploratory oil well near Wisborough Green and Kirdford. Report
The Surrey Mirror reports Horse Hill Developments plans to start exploratory oil drilling near Horley next month, providing it gets a mining waste permit from the Environment Agency. Residents have until tomorrow to comment. The paper says the company is already preparing an area near Horley town centre and a nature reserve for a 35m drilling rig. Chief Executive Scott Bradley tells the paper the site will cost £20,000 a day to run. Drilling is scheduled to last from 47-60 days and will not include fracking.
The Wirral Globe reports that opponents of fracking and underground coal gasification will protest outside a meeting of Wirral Borough Council tonight. Councillors are due to discuss a motion, submitted by Conservative Geoffrey Watt, which confirms the authority’s opposition to unconventional gas extraction and fracking under Wirral, its offshore coastal waters and the Dee and Mersey estuaries.
The President of Stay Blackpool, Claire Smith, tells Hotel Owner local business should get behind a shale gas industry in the area. It could, she said “revitalise our economy and restore confidence” in Blackpool’s future prospects.
Newsweek asks how long with the US shale revolution last and is it just a bubble. It quotes IEA figures which predict the US shale industry will need to bring 2,500 wells into service every year in one of the main oil reserves in North Dakota to sustain output of 1 million barrels a day.
The Independent reports concerns of environmental groups about the links of David Cameron’s election adviser, Lynton Crosby, to the fracking industry. Mr Crosby’s lobbying firm, Crosby Textor, represents the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, a group campaigning aggressively for fracking, the paper says. Association members include Dart, the company behind coal bed methane extraction in Scotland. Frack Off told the Independent: “Crosby Textor and their clients are embedded at the heart of government. By smearing groups and communities that oppose shale oil and gas development they are simply trying to further their own financial interests and those of their clients.”
13th July 2014
Nick Herbert, MP for Arundel and South Downs, tells the West Sussex Country Times he urged the Local Highways Authority to test figures from Celtique Energie on the likely increase in traffic generated by its proposed exploratory drilling site between Kirdford and Wisborough Green. The company predicted an increase of less than three per cent. The Highways Authority suggested the increase would be over 60% for six months and has no formally objected to the plan.
The FT reports that Whiting Petroleum, one of the largest oil producers in the Bakken field of North Dakota, is acquiring Kodiak Oil and Gas. The deal will make Whiting by some distance the largest producer in the Bakken, the paper says.
The Miami Herald reports on one of the few attempts in Ohio to test drinking water quality before, during and after gas drilling. A researcher from the University of Cincinnati is testing for methane in samples from more than 100 water wells up to four times a year in Carroll County.
12th July 2014
Associated Press (quoted by the Huffington Post) reports that Pennsylvania’s former health secretary as saying the state failed to study seriously the potential health impacts of shale gas drilling. Dr Eli Avila says senior political advisors to the Governor, Tom Corbett, delayed a study of health effects of fracking. That has led to a cycle of public fear and confusion, Avila told AP. The US Geological Survey reports at least four earthquakes in the magnitude 2.9-4.3 stuck about 30 miles north of Oklahoma City today.
The Los Angeles Times reports Oklahoma experienced 109 tremors measuring 3.0 or greater in 2013, 5,000% above normal. The USGS and several universities have suggested a link between the quakes and fracking, the paper says.
MailOnline asks “Is fracking the reason why Oklahoma now has more earthquakes a year than California?” The site says earthquakes in Oklahoma are shallower and weaker than in California. The increase in earthquakes coincide with the start of fracking in the state. Scientists are now trying to discover if fracking is to blame.
Associated Press, quoted by Fracking News Today, reports Halliburton is entering its first joint venture in China. The venture will focus on fracking and “production enhancement services” in Xingiang.
In a letter to the Sussex Express, Friends of the Earth Eastbourne says it is handing in a petition to East Sussex County Council before its full council meeting in Lewes on July 15, calling on ESCC to refuse applications to frack anywhere in East Sussex until there is a full public debate.
11th July 2014
West Sussex planners recommend refusal of application by Celtique Energie to drill and exploratory oil well between Kirdford and Wisborough Green. Report
Bloomberg reports a poll by Com Res, commissioned by the industry group, Renewable UK, which suggests Conservatives may lose votes in next year’s general election because of its opposition to onshore wind power. The poll found 30% of respondents would be less likely to vote for a party against wind turbines on land, compared with 15% who would be more likely to. ComRes interviewed 2,065 adults online from June 20-22 and weighted the data to be representative of all UK adults.
Bloomberg, quoting figures from the International Energy Agency, says global oil demand will rise at the fastest pace in five years in 2015. World oil consumption is predicted to increase by 1.4 million barrels a day. Growth in demand will be highest in China, the IEA predicts, and prices will stay near historically high levels.
The Blackpool Gazette reports that John Toothill, owner of Maple Farm Nurseries, as put up billboards on the A583 Preston New Road encouraging motorists to look into fracking. The signs are near the site where Cuadrilla plans to drill and frack four exploratory shale gas wells. Mr Toothill described Cuadrilla’s plans as a “frightening proposal” and told the paper: “It’s just to make people aware and to make people think about what they’re proposing to do just a few hundred yards up the road from where we are.”
10th July 2014
The Click Green website reports that Cuadrilla’s chair, Lord Browne, has the power to hand-pick the board of non-executive directors at the Department of Energy and Climate Change. The website says Lord Browne’s power includes hiring and firing the department’s permanent secretary. The non-executive director panel, led by Lord Browne, is also responsible for helping to determine DECC strategy and advising on management, Click Green reports.
Frack Off reports that Cuadrilla’s fracking rig has arrived at Rathlin Energy’s site at West Newton in east Yorkshire. Frack-Off says Rathlin proposes in its permit application to do a mini fall-off test at West Newton. This is described by Schlumberger as a mini-frac and involves injecting fluid at increasing pressure until rock begins to crack.
Actress Sue Jameson tells the Midhurst and Petworth Observer: “We want to leave a legacy of tranquillity for our grandchildren, not one that is fraught with potential for long-term pollution and degradation of our glorious Sussex landscape and its wildlife.
The paper quotes accompany a report on the CPRE Sussex launch of the Sussex Countryside Charter. This says fracking risks “irreversible damage unless there are cast iron guarantees that it can be made safe”.
National Grid’s report UK Future Energy Scenarios presents four versions of future energy use. Even in the “greenest” domestic shale gas obtained by fracking will be important. In the Low Carbon Life scenario, more than 40% of gas demand, or 32 billion cubic metres, would be met by shale by 2035. In the No Progression scenario, where no investment is made in domestic shale or renewables, the UK would need to import 90% of its gas. But the report acknowledges that the very wide range in shale gas projections “reflect the lack of hard evidence that can only be provided by experience in drilling and developing wells”.
World Coal reports that IGas is looking to drill a 2,100m well near Chester this autumn to test for coal bed methane reserves. If CBM proves unviable, the website reports, the company could drill for shale gas or oil in the area.
The Lancashire Evening Post reports that more than 50 Blackpool hoteliers today have joined a new campaign calling for the development of shale gas to revitalise the town. Claire Smith, President of Stay Blackpool, tells the paper: “We should all get behind this unique opportunity which could be a real boost for the town.” The paper says the hoteliers have signed a letter in today’s Daily Telegraph urging party leaders to support shale gas in north west England.
9th July 2014
Talk Fracking confirms London debate planned for 14th July at Central Hall Westminster is cancelled because pro-frackers refuse to take part. Report
The Warrington Guardian reports that IGas will not carry out its planned seismic survey in the Glazebury area until it has had interpreted data from the Barton Moss exploration site. The paper quotes a letter from Tesla, the company due to do the tests, to Warrington Borough Council. The Warrington North MP, Helen Jones, tells the paper: “This is excellent news but we must remain vigilant.”
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard tells the Daily Telegraph says investors in oil, gas and coal are throwing the most good money after bad and are likely to be left holding a clutch of worthless projects as renewable technology sweeps in below the radar. He says data from Bank of America shows that US oil and gas investment has reached $200bn a year, or an unprecedented 20% of total US private fixed investment.
An analysis by Reuters says four years into the shale revolution the US is on track to pass Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest producer of crude oil.
Reuters also reports that the US and China signed eight partnership agreements to cut greenhouse gases. The news agency says the agreements will bring the world’s two biggest carbon emitters close together on climate policy but fundamental difference between them remain.
Bloomberg reports The American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry’s largest lobbying group, releases guidelines for improving community relations in fracking areas. The group’s director of standards, David Miller, says the proposals will “raise the bar for the industry” and help oil and gas companies develop “lasting relationships” with communities where drilling occurs.
Oxfordshire County Council is to hold a debate on fracking, even though no planning applications to use the technique have come before it, according to the Oxford Mail.
8th July 2014
The debate begins in the House of Lords of government plans to change the trespass laws to allow oil and gas companies to drill without the landowner’s permission.
7th July 2014
Carbon Brief rebuts claims by Chris Faulkner, head of Breitling Energy, that the US shale gas revolution has saved more global carbon emissions than all the world’s wind farms and solar panels put together in 2012.
DeutcheWelle reports the German government wants to largely ban fracking. But the policy drafted by the economics and the environment ministries are not strict enough for the opposition. The draft law will be ready after the summer break, Deutche Welle reports.
EurActiv.com reports an interview in the BZ am Sonntag newspaper with the German conservative, Günther Oettinger, who said: “I estimate that Europe has the potential to secure about a tenth of our needs this way [shale gas] in the long term.” EurActiv says Oettinger has previously warned Germany not to dismiss shale gas, arguing the technology would lessen reliance on Russian gas imports and help sustain manufacturing.
Reuters reports that 25 Greenpeace campaigners from across central Europe chained themselves to the gates of a Chevron shale gas exploration site in eastern Romania. According to Reuters, they urged the Romanian government to ban fracking.
The leader of Bath and North East Somerset Council urges the government to protect Bath’s natural hot springs from fracking in areas around the city, according to the Bath Chronicle. Cllr Paul Crossley has written to the energy minister, Michael Fallon, to express the council’s concern about potential damage to the thermal waters and the impact this could have on Bath’s tourism and economy.
Reuters reports that Chevron has divested its shale gas assets in Lithuania and pulled out of the country.
6th July 2014
The Telegraph city diary reports that Fylde Rugby Club has accepted a £19,000 sponsorship deal with Cuadrilla. The column says Cuadrilla’s logo will be carried on Fylde players’ shirts from September. Anti-fracking campaigners say the sponsorship deal could be a “PR disaster”.
OilPrice.com , a website which describes itself as being for the oil and gas insider, reports on a study by Cornell University which made a probable link between drilling activity and an increased frequency of earthquakes in Oklahoma. The website says the practice of injecting millions of gallons of wastewater underground after a well is hydraulically fractured may increase the occurrence of earthquakes.
5th July 2014
ITV reports 18 anti-fracking events held over Wales by Friends of the Earth Cymru. The organisation says more than a million people in Wales live in areas at risk from fracking.
ITV also reports on an anti-fracking march through Beverley town centre in protest at plans by Rathlin Energy to extract gas in the area.
The Telegraph reports that Royal Dutch Shell is sceptical about potential for shale oil and gas development in Britain. Andrew Brown, director of upstream international business tells the paper: “At the moment the UK position, you know, is not ranking for us.” He adds: “This is a matter of just being disciplined about where we expect to get returns if our exploration is successful.”
4th July 2014
Research by the British Geological Survey suggests the risk of water supplies being contaminated by fracking is lower in the UK than the US, according to The Times. The paper says recoverable shale in the UK is almost all at least 650 metres below groundwater. The study found almost half the main natural sources of water in the UK lie above shale that could be targeted by fracking companies, The Times adds.
The Guardian says the BGS research suggests that complex geology in the UK will pose challenges for fracking companies to avoid water contamination. Shale in the Bowland Basin is 800m below the aquifer, the paper says, but it quotes John Bloomfield, a hydrogeologist with the BGS, as saying water and shale gas may be much closer in some areas. “Even in one region it can vary considerably,” he tells the paper.
Lancashire county Council extends the consultation period for Cuadrilla’s planning applications to frack at its exploration sites at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood. The council says it was asked to consider an extension given the size of the supporting documents to the applications. “It is appropriate to allow consultees from public bodies, individuals and local interest groups additional time to consider the proposals and express their views”, the council says.
The Dallas News reports that two members of the state panel that regulates oil and natural gas drilling received more than $70,000 in campaign contributions from individuals and political action committees associated with injection well operators. The wells are in an area which has experienced earthquakes, which scientists say could be caused by the wells, the paper says.
The Manchester Evening News reports that Happy Monday’s dancer, Bez, joined anti-fracking campaigners after they abandoned their camp at Davyhulme, where IGas is seeking an extension of planning permission for coal bed methane extraction. The paper says the camp, which lasted for 18 days, was ruled to be illegal in the High Court. The campaigners were refused the chance to appeal against a possession order granted to the landowner, Peel Holdings.
BusinessDesk.com reports that IGas has earmarked land in Ellesmere Port for its next drilling site. The website says the location has not been identified but a public consultation is being held at the Holiday Inn, Lower Mersey Street, Ellesmere Port on July 10th from 3pm-8pm.
The Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust awards a two-year grant to Netpol to monitor policing at future anti-fracking protests. Netpol says it will use the evidence to campaign for “a less antagonistic national policing strategy towards opponents of unconventional energy extraction”.
Germany’s environment minister, Barbara Hendricks, says the country plans to halt shale gas drilling for the next seven years over concerns that groundwater could be polluted, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
3rd July 2014
The Environment Agency extends the consultation for Cuadrilla’s permit applications for Roseacre Wood and Preston New Road sites by four weeks. The Environment Agency says the request for additional time is appropriate to allow local interested groups to respond as these are the first permit applications which include activities relating to high volume hydraulic fracturing for shale gas.
Anti-fracking campaigners at Rathlin Energy’s site at West Newton, near Aldbrough, say more than 100 officers, including some in riot vans, were sent to ensure equipment could be safely transported in, the Hull Daily Mail reports. One resident said the site resembled a crime scene, according to the paper. The paper quotes campaigners as saying two convoys with a total of 40 vehicles entered the site.
The Daily Mail reports that members of Unite, Britain’s biggest union, is to lobby for a moratorium on fracking for shale gas. The paper says delegates at the national conference called for members to be made aware of the dangers of fracking and to be advised not to work on fracking sites. The meeting also decided to urge the union to support the activities of local anti-fracking groups.
A report by the National Audit Office says the UK met the carbon reduction target set for the period 2008-12 and it expects to meet targets for 2013-17 and 2018-22. But current policies alone mean it would not meet the target for the period 2023-7.
2nd July 2014
The Telegraph has a feature about RePower Balcombe, the community scheme which aims to generate village electricity needs from solar panels. Environmental organisations defend their anti-fracking campaigns and hit back at government inaction on coal. Our report and Greg Barker comments about green groups.
1st July 2014
Energy Minister, Michael Fallon, tells The Times Scotland would be unable to develop its own “modest” shale oil and gas deposits without help from the rest of the UK. According to the paper, Mr Fallon said independence threatened to stop Scotland’s shale industry in its tracks. “Turning resources into reserves would require huge investment that can only be funded by the broad shoulders of the UK-wide treasury”, he said.
Thousands of people have opposed Cuadrilla’s plans for gas exploration at Preston New Road in Lancashire, according to the Lancashire Evening Telegraph. Friends of the Earth says more than 3,500 people have submitted objections. Lancashire County Council could not confirm the figure, the paper reports.
Cuadrilla welcomes the latest version of the Public Health England review of risks of shale gas extraction for public health, reports the Blackpool Gazette. The company says “This confirms that the country’s leading authorities in public and environmental health are agreed that shale operations pose a low risk to human health if properly run and regulated.”
Bloomberg reports renewable energy may get two-thirds of the forecast $7.7 trillion invested in building new power plants by 2030. This comes as declining costs make renewables more competitive with fossil fuels. A report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts half the investment will be in Asia. This will help global CO2 emissions peak by the end of the next decade.
Work will start this winter preparing California Quarry near Swanage for oil and gas exploration, according to The Bournemouth Echo. The work will be carried out by InfraStrata Plc and the paper reports will use conventional drilling methods.
The Wall Street Journal reports on The Fracking Truth, a book by Chris Faulkner, who says “The US will never run out of oil and natural gas. Never. Same goes for the rest of the world. Won’t happen.”
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