Daily headlines

Review of 2014

Catch up on the headlines with our quick review of fracking and onshore oil and gas news from 2014.

Click here for our more detailed month-by-month round-up of the year, with links to posts and source material.

Regulation

Cuadrilla gets permission to test its well at Balcombe in West Sussex, despite around 900 objections and a vote against by a majority of local residents. A judge refuses to overturn the permission at a judicial review. Applications to drill are refused in West Sussex, County Fermanagh and Neath Port Talbot and deferred in Shropshire and Trafford.

Cuadrilla applies to frack up to eight wells at two sites in the Fylde district of Lancashire. A record 20,000+ people object. A decision is expected in January 2015. The Welsh planning inspectorate overturns a refusal of planning permission for drilling near Wrexham. Tamboran Resources loses its drilling licence in Northern Ireland and plans to sue.

Opposition and protest

The MP Caroline Lucas is acquitted of obstructing the highway and a public order offence at an anti-fracking protest in Balcombe in 2013. Policing costs at Balcombe are calculated at £3.985 million. Of the 114 charges resulting from the protest, only 27 result in convictions. An official review reveals Sussex Police used covert surveillance and was unprepared for the protests.

Campaigners establish camps outside drilling sites in Lancashire, Wrexham, East Yorkshire, Salford, Nottinghamshire and Cheshire. Courts grant possession orders to owners of land occupied by three camps.

Kent Police ask Canterbury Christ Church University for a list of people who attended a fracking debate at one of its buildings. The outgoing Secretary General of Nato says Russia is infiltrating anti-fracking groups.

Bianca Jagger and 200+ campaign groups call for a UK ban on fracking until an impact assessment on human rights is published. 49,000 people sign an anti-fracking petition in central Scotland. An ongoing survey finds support for fracking falls below 50% for the first time.

In the US, the Governor of New York State bans fracking and the Texan city of Denton votes in favour of a moratorium.

Government and parliament

The Government’s Infrastructure Bill includes changes to the trespass laws to allow companies to drill and store substances underground without landowners’ permission. The Government also announces a sovereign wealth fund for shale revenues. Labour and backbench MPs table amendments to the fracking sections of the bill. A few Conservatives threaten to vote against the bill.

Powers over mineral access and licensing are devolved to the Scottish Government. The Government restates planning guidance that drilling should be allowed in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty only in exceptional circumstances. The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee says shale gas development should be an urgent national priority. The results are announced of geological surveys of shale oil and gas in the Weald and central Scotland.

Industry

Companies bid for oil and gas licenses in the 14th round, despite opposition by a majority of responses to a government consultation.

Ineos announces £640m investment in shale gas exploration. It offers 4% of fracking revenues to landowners and 2% to local communities. Other announcements include Cluff Natural Resources (Firth of Forth), Third Energy (North Yorkshire) and Coastal Oil and Gas (east Kent).

IGas unveils plans to drill in Surrey and the South Downs National Park. It finds shale gas at Ellesmere Port and says results from its Barton Moss well are encouraging. The company’s share price closes the year 79% down on its 2014 high.

Rathlin Energy announces a third well north of Hull. It tests its well at West Newton and is criticised by local people for a noxious smell. Planning permission is extended at Rathlin’s Crawberry Hill site. Horse Hill Developments Ltd finds hydrocarbons in the Kimmeridge Clay at its well near Horley in Surrey. A well in Leicestershire is abandoned after finding nothing. Celtique Energie prepares to drill in West Sussex.

Debate

We Need to Talk About Fracking organises six city meetings. The industry and politicians fail to take part. The operators’ group, UK Onshore Oil and Gas, launches Let’s Talk Shale, a roadshow and website for questions about fracking. Academics disagree on the value of shale gas to tackle climate change and the risks of fracking for human health. There’s debate over the strength of the UK’s regulatory system and the impact of fracking on houses prices and criticism of pension funds of local authorities and the Environment Agency which invest in oil and gas companies.

Click here for our more detailed month-by-month round-up of the year, with links to posts and source material.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s