Daily headlines

May 2015 fracking headlines

Our digest of last month’s about fracking, shale and onshore oil and gas developments in the UK and around the world, including:

  • Investigation finds multiple problems at Cuadrilla drilling sites
  • Hunters shot geese on Cuadrilla’s wildfowl refuge
  • Third Energy applies for planning permission to frack in Ryedale
  • Rathlin Energy’s plans for second drill site  in Holderness recommended for approval
  • Coastal Oil and Gas applies for an environmental permit to drill at Bridgend
  • Magellan and Celtique Energie in legal dispute over West Sussex site
  • Government wants to control of fracking decisions – Lancashire councillors warned
  • Queen’s Speech includes measures to increase energy security and devolution of licensing to Wales
  • IGas submits new scoping request for Nottinghamshire fracking site and Andrew Austin quits as CEO
  • Judge warns campaigners of financial risk of anti-fracking protests
  • Greenpeace anti-fracking advert banned
  • Review of general election results; Amber Rudd appointed Energy Secretary

31st May 2015

Misson Frack Free Parade (1)Misson in Action The Misson Community Action Group reports that nearly 200 people, including the local MP John Mann attended its frack free event today. A parade from Bawtry to Misson was designed to raise awareness of the potential threat of fracking in the area. Supporters from across the country, including Ryedale and Lancashire, joined the event. IGas is preparing to submit a planning application for two exploratory wells in Misson Springs.

Countries warned not to count on natural gas as a “climate change bridge” A paper from The New Climate Economy concludes that the use of natural gas can support climate goals by avoiding the “lock-in” of new coal power plants. But it also poses risks, including “locking-out” other, lower emission alternatives and countries should not count on natural gas as a “climate bridge”

Anti-frackers fight with coffee and cake The Sunday Times reports that Third Energy is meeting mounting genteel resistance from villagers in Yorkshire where it wants to frack.

BREF: The UK tried to further weaken European air pollution regulations Greenpeace EnergyDesk reports it has seen documents which show British government officials worked in the run-up to the general election to weaken European air pollution standards designed to reduce fossil fuelled health problems. It reveals that the UK submitted a 31-page document in which it recommended changes to BREF, the EU pollution regulations, which it believed would do “disproportionate harm” to the fossil fuel industry by limiting pollutants known to pose serious health risks to people.

Fracking issue cause for worry Kent on Sunday (p46) carries a letter from Julie Wassmer of East Kent Against Fracking, who argues that fracking and the reinjection of waste water risk induced earthquakes, particularly in the UK’s faulted shale basins.

European energy groups seek UK back for carbon pricing system The FT reports six of Europe’s largest oil and gas companies have banded together for the first time to ask the UN to let them help devise a plan to stop global warming. The chief executives of Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Statoil, Eni, Total and BG Group have sought direct talks with governments on a global carbon pricing system.

Energy groups nod to climate of opinion The FT reports on a sharp contrast between the rhetoric of European and US oil companies’ views on climate policy. The paper says this could be explained by growing concern among investors about climate change.

30th May 2015

The great energy transition is already underway, according to a new book Public Radio International reports on a new book by environmentalist, Lester Brown, who says the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy is not only unstoppable but it will happen much faster than anyone expected.

29th May 2015

Oil tops $60 as US rig count and crude supplies drop MarketWatch reports oil futures rallied on Friday with a fall in the number of US active drilling rigs and data showing strong demand for gasoline

Oil price climbs but further drops are forecast The Week reports the 1% rise in the oil price won’t save it from an overall weekly drop because of the strong US dollar and ongoing concerns about the global oversupply of oil.

28th May 2015

Lancaster and Fleetwood’s new MP calls for parliamentary debate on fracking Our report (Fracking Week in Westminster)

How does keeping the lights on fit with the anti-fracking protests? An opinion piece in the Warrington Guardian raises questions about UK energy policy and the anti-drilling campaign.

LNG trade prepares to come out of oil’s shadow The FT reports on plans by Cheniere Energy to export LNG from its Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana for the first time in December. The paper quotes Goldman Sachs as saying LNG is expected to surpass iron ore as the second most valuable physical commodity after oil this year.

Hypocrisy of anti-fracking brigade Balcombe fracking supporter, Malc Thomason, writing in the Brighton Argus, questions why anti-fracking campaigners camped at Balcombe when Cuadrilla said it had no plans to hydraulic fracture the well near the West Sussex village.

Strict specifications: UK frac sand potential The Industrial Minerals website reports that the UK extractive industry is looking at the role it can play in providing minerals, particularly frac sand, for fracking.

27th May 2015

East Yorkshire council officers recommend approval of Rathlin Energy’s plans for second drill site at West Newton Our report

Queen’s Speech includes measures to increase energy security but no direct reference to onshore oil and gas or fracking Transcript of the speech Government briefing document

Government to give communities powers over wind farms – but not fracking Friends of the Earth, in a press release, say: “Local people should have a greater say over renewable energy projects, which are generally extremely popular – but it is ironic that this is happening as the Government is doing everything it can to overcome opposition to fracking, which most people oppose. It’s pretty clear that this has little to do with what the public actually wants.”

Welcome for devolution of onshore oil and gas licensing to Wales Ken Cronin, chief executive of the industry body, UKOOG, says: “We look forward to working with all governments of the United Kingdom in promoting the exploration and development of much needed shale gas for the benefit of all residents of the UK.” Frances Jenkins, of Frack Free Wales, describes the news as excellent but says Labour Welsh ministers would have “a responsibility to implement a ban on fracking, because it is not safe”. BBC report

Caroline Lucas MP criticises Queen’s Speech as a “missed opportunity” which fails future generations In a statement, Ms Lucas said: “The glaring omission from the Queen’s Speech is any substantial action on climate change. The evidence in favour of urgent action could not be clearer, yet the Government is set to sit idly by and miss this historic opportunity to be a world leader in facing up to the climate crisis. Credible solutions to tackle climate change and rebuild our economy exist, but the lack of environmental policy in this Queen’s Speech shows that the Government is failing in its responsibility to future generations. If the Government is serious about playing a leading role in the climate talks in Paris later this year then it must do more than offer warm words on climate change. Minister must shelve plans for fracking and take action to invest in a renewable energy system fit for the 21st century.”

Forget fracking – efficiency and renewables are the key to energy security Friends of the Earth’s Tony Bosworth, writes in the Ecologist that the government is asking the wrong question about energy. Instead of asking How can we get more gas?, he says it should be asking How much gas do we really need? As a result it is ignoring the real threat of climate change.

Fracking in Merton could start next year said energy company boss The Merton Guardian reports that fracking for oil in the borough could begin next year if the government grants an exploration licence to London Local Energy. The company’s CEO, Nick Grealy, promises the work will make no difference to the community and people will not even know it is there.

Solar as fastest growing US power source rivals shale boom Bloomberg Business reports the sun is now the fastest growing source of US electricity, growing wo-fold since 2008. Solar capacity grew by 30% in 2014 and will more than double by the end of 2016, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, creating enough power for 7.6m homes.

ExxonMobil and Chevron shareholders defeat unconventional drilling resolutions Natural Gas Intel reports that shareholders have defeated resolutions requiring companies to provide more information about unconventional drilling, including fracking. They sided with management on every proposal. These included calls for a climate change strategy and annual reporting of risks involved in unconventional drilling.

26th May 2015

Hundreds turn out for fracking awareness meeting News North Wales reports that hundreds of people attended a meeting in Prestatyn last week to hear about fracking in the Dee estuary region. The organisers, Frack Free Dee, said the turnout had been excellent and more than half of people who attended had left contact details to get involved. A future meeting has been arranged for 1st June 2015.

Anti-fracking campaigners’ appeal thrown out after convictions for Rathlin protest The Hull Daily Mail reports that two anti-fracking campaigners lost their appeals against conviction following a protest outside Rathlin Energy’s Crawberry Hill drilling site. Thomas Burke and Christopher Riden argued that their actions were not unlawful and said they failed to hear warnings by Humberside Police to move or face arrest. Judge Mark Bury did not accept their version of events and ordered them to pay £300 costs and a £15 surcharge each.

Highland Natural Resources completes acquisition of 75% interest in Diversion Technologies patents portfolio Oil Voice reports that the parent applications include a new fracking diverter technology. The Highland Natural Resources board believes this has the potential to create a “transformational shift” in the fracking industry. The technique – DT Ultravert – directs fracking fluids to unstimulated parts of the formation, releasing previously unrecoverable hydrocarbons more cheaply than drilling a new well.

25th May 2015

Salford petition calls on Peel Holdings and Salford Council to get green The Salford Star reports on a petition urging the company and council to transfer from “dirty industry” to “clean green energy”, including an end to fracking plans for the region.

23rd May 2015

DECC must “come clean over decision-making process” says Green MP Caroline Lucas The Independent reports calls on the government to come clean about how it will decide a 12-year planning dispute over an underground gas storage facility in Lancashire. The new Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, had been expected to rule on the application by the Halite Energy Group but officials now say it is not part of her brief. The £660m project would become the UK’s largest onshore gas storage site. But it has been opposed by local people. Halite Energy is represented by Finsbury, headed by Ms Rudd’s brother, Roland.

MP seeks ministerial meeting over Third Energy fracking application Our report

22nd May 2015

“Going all out for shale” may fail to boost UK energy security, warns Friends of the Earth  Our report and article by Business Green

SNP to chair House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee The Guido Fawkes blog, quoting a leaked email, reports that the SNP gets the chair the influential Energy and Climate Change Committee.

Third Energy asks to frack in North Yorkshire The Yorkshire Post reports that Third Energy has applied to use fracking at its well at Kirby Misperton, between Malton and Pickering. Gazette and Herald and MinsterFM reports Our report coming soon

IGas submits new scoping request for fracking site in Nottinghamshire Our report Retford Times report

Britain’s new government set to kick-start shale ambitions Reuters reports that the new Conservative government could take control of planning decisions on shale gas to speed up development. It quotes lawyers who say the government’s parliamentary majority should make it easier to pass legislation in England and Wales. Jason Lovell, of law firm Eversheds said: “There’s going to be less need for fudges, there’s going to be clearer direction”.

Fracking to be allowed under national parks The Hastings and St Leonards Observer reports comments by the Hastings and Rye MP, Amber Rudd, which the government will loosen rules to allow fracking in national parks. Ms Rudd, the energy secretary, confirmed the government would kick-start a shale gas revolution, allowing it to be extracted from national parks.

Fracking friction The Scottish Farmer reports on how Leslie Dick, of Linkfield Farm, tackled INEOS’s Tom Pickering at a meeting in Larbert. “We are talking about a number of sites being built, and the concern is what will happen to the farms after the fracking has been done,” he said. “Only 10% of the gas can be harvested and it frightens me to think about what could happen to our farms and their value when the wells are left”, Mr Dick said.

Anti-fracking campaigner says earthquake should serve as a warning Kent News reports comments by Thanet South Green councillor, Ian Driver, on Kent’s earthquake. He tells the website: “There has been an established link between seismic activity and fracking. We have had two earthquakes in eight years. There is now a very strong argument that that fracking shouldn’t be allowed here because it could start even more.”

21st May 2015

Government wants to take control of Lancashire fracking decisions, councillors warned Our report

New UK Government should develop UK shale industry The Journal reports that the appointment of Amber Rudd as Energy Secretary will encourage a home-grown shale industry. She is expected to support more fracking planning applications, the paper said.

Fracking motion Lancashire County Councillor, Paul Hayhurst, tables a motion to be debated at a full council meeting at 1.30pm, which says: “This Council urges the new government to extend to the people of Lancashire the same rights as those proposed for Scotland in relation to shale gas, with any decisions regarding exploration or extraction in Lancashire devolved to Lancashire County Council.”

Letters about Greenpeace censured advert Mr G Daniels, of Westby-with-Plumptons, responds in the Lancashire Evening Post to a letter by Frank McLaughlin, a member of the North West Energy Task Force, who wrote about the ASA censure of Greenpeace for an advert on fracking. Mr Daniels said there were a “plethora of unsubstantiated claims” from Cuadrilla.

Boris Johnson’s decision not to divest goes against his climate goals for London Lucy Flynn, of Divest London, writing in The Guardian, criticises the Mayor of London’s decision last week to reject the London Assembly’s call for City Hall and the London Pensions Fund Authority to divest from fossil fuels. She says the mayor has committed to a 60% reduction in London’s carbon by 2025. How does he reconcile these commitments with the LPFA’s £48m of indirect investments in Chevron, BP, Nexen, Shell, Suncor Energy and Total?, she asks.

Fracking will contaminate our water supply Fracking opponent, Kenny Lloyd, in a letter to the Brighton Argus, explains his concerns about the effect of the technique water quality and shortages.

Total in talks to give up Danish shale licence Rigzone reports that Total is in talks with Danish regulators about giving up one of its two shale gas licences. The website quotes a “well-placed source” which said Total had decided the play did not contain enough hydrocarbons to continue with exploration.

20th May 2015

Frack monitor site refused The Blackpool Gazette reports on the decision by Lancashire County Council to refuse permission to Cuadrilla to use a former shale gas borehole at Grange Road, Singleton, for monitoring. Meeting agenda Our report on criticism of reports by planning officers

Chester Labour MP Chris Matheson back at Parliament The Chester Chronicle reports that the city’s new MP believes opposition to fracking in his constituency chimed with the electorate. He said: “There was a general feeling there were wrong priorities in local planning issues and certainly fracking”.

Anti-fracking campaigner new chair of Balcombe Parish Council Charles Metcalfe, an opponent of Cuadrilla’s plans to drill in the West Sussex village of Balcombe, has been elected chair of the parish council. Mr Metcalfe, who stood in the 7th May election, replaces Alison Stevenson. Mr Metcalfe has campaigned against fracking across the UK and in Europe.

North east scientist calls on Kirk members to oppose fracking on moral grounds The Aberdeen press and Journal reports that Hannah-Mary Goodland, an oil industry geologist, has told Church of Scotland members that they must fight the threat of fracking on moral grounds. Ms Goodland, also moderator-in-waiting of the National Youth Assembly, told ministers and elders they must argue for future energy from renewables, rather than fossil fuels.

19th May 2015

East Riding of Yorkshire Council sets decision date for Rathlin’s West Newton B well site our report

Councillor criticises planning report on Cuadrilla’s Grange Road testing plans Our report

Texas confirms legislation restricting fracking bans Shale Energy Insider reports that the state of Texas has confirmed legislation that restricts local authorities over governing fracking. It also returns the powers to restrict fracking to the state.

Fracking protesters still on Woolston site, despite eviction order The Warrington Guardian reports that anti-fracking protesters are remaining outside the IGas and Peel Land and Property site at Woolston. The companies obtained an order last Thursday, with a deadline of 4pm on Monday to leave.

18th May 2015

Celtique Energie and Magellan in legal dispute over Broadford Bridge exploratory well in Sussex Our report

Council confirms reasons for refusal of Cuadrilla’s Lancashire test plans at Grange Road, Singleton Our report

Campaigners “very disappointed” as Third Energy prepares to submit Yorkshire fracking plans today Our report

Opposition to fracking increases again, finds Sunday Times poll The Carbon Brief reports that British people are becoming increasingly opposed to fracking for shale gas, according to polls by the Sunday Times. But the paper did not report the findings. Support for shale gas has fallen to its lowest level since the polls began, to under one-third. Opposition has reached its highest level at more than 40%

17th May 2015

Lancashire County Council urged to look at US fracking report The Lancashire Evening Post reports that anti-fracking campaigners have welcomed the publication of a report on the environmental risks of fracking in New York state. Pat Davies, of the Preston New Road Action Group, said the county council should consider the report when deciding Cuadrilla’s applications in Lancashire.

Fracking disaster set to hit Ireland warns councillor The Irish Mirror reports the call for a ban on fracking by Fianna Fail councillor, John Paul Feeley. He said fracking would cause an environmental disaster that Ireland would be unable to deal with. Mr Feeley said new evidence from the US showed that fracking was unsafe. Last month, Fianna Fail formally opposed the use of fracking in Ireland.

US states seek to block city fracking bans The FT reports that US cities that want to ban fracking are clashing with oil-friendly state governments trying to stop policymakers from outlawing shale production.

Oil and gas company applies for permit to drill borehole in South Wales village and stresses no fracking will be involved Wales Online reports Coastal Oil and Gas has applied for an environmental permit to drill a borehole at Merthyr Mawr, Bridgend. The proposed site is 800m from the village and 1.7km from a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Planning permission was granted last December.

15th May 2015

Waterless fracking disappoints in Ohio Shale Energy Insider reports that results from one of the first waterless fracking wells in Ohio have proved disappointing. EV Energy Partners drilled a test well to pioneer waterless fracking at a cost of $22m. The well, in Tuscarawas County, eastern Ohio, was online for 90 days but produced about half the amount of oil than neighbouring wells that use water-based fracking.

Fracking poses “major uncertainties” for health and the environment, warns DEC Shale Energy Insider reports that New York’s Department for Environmental Conservation has published its long awaited environmental review into fracking. The report is based on seven years of research and a key element of the state governor’s pledge to issue a state-wide ban on fracking. “Even with mitigation measures in place, the risk of spills and other unplanned events resulting in the discharge of toxic pollutants over a wide area would not be eliminated. Moreover, the level of risk such spills pose to public health is highly uncertain,” the report said

Denmark allows Total to resume fracking OilandGasPeople.com reports Total was granted permission to continue shale gas exploration in Denmark, following a week-long ban over using hazardous chemicals not approved by local authorities. The Danish Energy Agency confirmed Total could resume drilling once it obtained all the necessary permits from the environmental authorities.

Fracking – we’re winning but we’ve not won yet Donna Hume, of Friends of the Earth, urges opponents of fracking to sign a petition against the use of the technology in Lancashire. “If enough of us, from all over the country, stand with the people of Lancashire, we can halt fracking in its tracks”, she says.

Oil tycoon Harold Hamm reportedly tried to get scientists fired over their earthquake research Business Insider reports a Bloomberg story that emails showed that Hamm, the CEO of Continental Resources, tried to get scientists at the University of Oklahoma fired after the research linked increased seismic activity in the Midwest with waste water disposal from fracking. No scientists were sacked from the university, which has received many millions of dollars in funding from Hamm.

e-petition Amendment to unconventional oil and gas direction 2015 An e-petition calls on the Minister for Natural Resources to amend the Unconventional Oil and Gas Wales Direction to call in all Planning Applications for Unconventional Oil and Gas development including exploratory drilling for Coal Bed Methane, to the Minister. At present the Direction only states that applications where the LPA is inclined to refuse the application should be referred to the Minister. A recent grant of an application shows that there is a loophole that needs closing. The deadline for signatures is 16th July 2015.

14th May 2015

Fracking could unlock 140 bn barrels of oil, says study Energy Voice reports on a study by HIS, which suggests fracking could unlock equivalent volumes of oil to Russia’s reserves. The study said Iran, Mexico, China and Russia were likely to benefit. Two-thirds of the extra recoverable oil was likely to come from the Middle East and Latin America.

Fracking produces air pollution that increases the risk of breathing problems and cancer, study claims Boston Newstime reports on a study which found people living within three miles of a fracking site could be exposed to pollution levels significantly higher than official safe limits. The study by Oregon State University College of Agricultural Sciences, suggests air pollution from fracking operations may pose an under-recognised health hazard to people living nearby. Newsweek report

13th May 2015

Cuadrilla’s Lancashire fracking applications to be decided at the end of June Our Report

12th May 2015

Planning Inspectorate downgrades Dart Energy appeal over Dudleston coalbed methane borehole from inquiry to hearing Our report Shropshire Star report

Shell gets amber light for drilling in the arctic The Times and others that the US government has conditionally approved a plan by Shell to drill in the Arctic Ocean this summer.

11th May 2015

Amber Rudd appointed Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Business Green report. Greenpeace welcomes the appointment as “a hopeful sign that the Government remains committed to implementing the Climate Change Act and achieving a strong international climate deal in Paris later this year”.

OGA makes further senior team appointments Energy Voice reports on executive appointments to the Oil and Gas Authority, the new regulator for the onshore and offshore industry

Upgrade to Horse Hill conventional Portland Sandstone oil in place volumes UK Oil & Gas Investments, one of the companies behind the Horse Hill exploration well near Gatwick Airport, announces the results of a study by Xodus of the Portland Sandstone reservoir. Xodus calculated a best estimate of 21.0 million barrels. This is an increase of 12.8 m barrels on the report in December last year.

Drilling diary: list of upcoming events about fracking and onshore oil and gas Our report

9th May 2015                                                   

Election results review Our report

8th May 2015

Judge warns campaigners of financial risk of anti-fracking protests Our report

Anti-fracking campaigners defend their lock-on protest at Horse Hill Our report

Andrew Austin quits IGas as company cuts 25% of workforce Our report

Genuine concerns over fracking The Yorkshire Post carries five letters addressing concerns about fracking by Third Energy in Ryedale

7th May 2015

Fracking protest trial hears allegation of assaults on campaigners Our report

“Gatwick gusher” former boss fails to give evidence at anti-fracking protest trial Our report

No rush on fracking The Blackpool Gazette reports David Cameron, on a visit to Lancashire, said he wanted to reassure communities on the Fylde coast there would be no “dash into technology [shale gas] without the safeguards in place. Business Green report.

Green Party candidate joins fracking protesters at Woolston site The Warrington Guardian reports that the Green Party’s candidate for Warrington North, Sarah Hayes, visited the camp alongside IGas’s test coal bed methane drilling site at Woolston.

Denmark suspends Total shale gas exploration Shale Energy Insider reports that the Danish government has suspended the country’s first shale gas exploration project after one day, claiming that the operator, Total, used an unauthorised defoamer, which can be potentially environmentally damaging.

6th May 2015

ASA bans Greenpeace anti-fracking advert – Greenpeace says decision is “baseless, biased and bonkers” Our report

Does Rathlin Energy have enough time to test and drill at Crawberry Hill? Our report

Shale groups rise to oil price challenge EOG Resources, the US largest shale oil producer, raised the prospect of crude production returning to growth by the end of the year, the FT reports.

Dee Estuary fracking plans highlighted by campaigners The Daily Post reports that anti-fracking campaigners have launched a campaign to raise awareness about plans for Underground Coal Gasification in the Dee estuary. Cluff Natural Resources has a conditional license from the Coal Authority for a 17,000 acre site.

5th May 2015

Investigation finds multiple planning breaches and technical problems at Cuadrilla’s drilling sites Our report

Hunters shot geese on fracking company’s wildfowl refuge Our report

UK Oil and Gas Investments issues 2nd clarification on Horse Hill Gatwick 100bn barrels claim City AM reports that UKOG, the firm behind the potentially huge oil discovery near Gatwick has issued a second statement clarifying the size of the find. The company says: “It has not undertaken work outside of its licence areas sufficient to comment on the possible oil in place in either the approximate 1,100 square miles of the relevant Jurassic section of the Weald Basin or the whole of the Weald Basin.” The statement follows an interview by David Lenigas in the Evening Standard (see 1st May 2015) in which he repeated a claim that there could be 100bn barrels in the Weald

Fracking fears: drinking water foams with chemicals used in shale gas drilling International Business Times findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences which found substances used in shale gas drilling found in drinking water in three Pennsylvania homes. Bloomberg Business report

Fracking issue “buried”, Greens say The BBC reports comments by the Welsh Green Party leader, Pippa Bartolotti, that fracking has been “deliberately buried” by the major parties in Wales as an election issue.

Protestors lobby Ineos in anti-fracking campaign The Kirkintilloch Herald reports that more than 60 protestors demonstrated in Bishopbriggs last week to coincide with a presentation on fracking by Ineos.

Report claims fracking will hit price of homes The Blackpool Gazette carries the results of the Greenpeace survey on the impact of fracking proposals on house prices. A Cuadrilla spokesman tells the paper an analysis by one of the UK’s largest estate agents found house prices performed better in areas around drilling operations in north west England. The company accused Greenpeace of trying to promote fear in local communities. But Roseacre Awareness Group said the Greenpeace study confirmed what local people had been saying

Shale oil drillers plunge after Einhorn slams fracking costs Business Times reports that David Einhorn, president at Greenlight Capital, criticised the US shale drilling industry for being wasteful, expensive and a terrible investment. Speaking at the Sohn Investment Conference in New York, he said investors should avoid buying stock in oil producers and invest in the commodity itself. He said companies like Pioneer, Concho Resources, Whiting Petroleum and Continental Resources as examples of shale producers that spent too much and generated too little cash. Report by Fuel Fix

Texas seems on verge of banning fracking bans CBS News reports that Texas moved to prevent cities in the stage from imposing bans on fracking. Since Denton voted to ban fracking, lawmakers in Texas have tried to prevent local energy exploration prohibitions, CBS says. The Hydraulic Fracking Blog report

Company in pledge to frack despite the flak Glasgow Evening Times reports that the Ineos community engagement event in Cumbernauld turned into a heated exchange when the company admitted it would go ahead with fracking, regardless of whether communities were in favour. When asked if communities being overwhelmingly against fracking would impact the company’s decision, operations director, Tom Pickering said: “We think it can be done safely and we will explain what we’re doing at every stage. The system is there to determine if it’s safe. If it was there to determine if it’s liked I doubt very much would get done.” Cumbernauld News report

4th May 2015

Why we’re opposed to fracking in Ryedale The Yorkshire Post carries a response by Chris Redstone, of Frack Free Ryedale, to John Dewar’s opinion piece (see 1st May 2015). “We urge readers to do their own research and come to their own conclusions. Unfortunately for Mr Dewar, thousands of people across Yorkshire are doing just that and realise what a threat this industry is to their businesses, water, land and health. And it all starts with just one well”, Chris Redstone said.

How fracking for shale gas is becoming a foreign policy issue A Guardian video explains how supporters of fracking are trying to reframe the debate as a geo-political issue in the oil price war with the Middle East

Future dustbowl? Fracking ravages Great Plains land and water The Ecologist reports on how the fracking boom and water extraction to supply it has caused the loss of vegetation across North America’s rangelands.

Rolls Royce and Weir form joint venture in fracking The Telegraph reports that the two companies are working together on an all-in-one fracking pump aimed at cutting costs in the industry

Fracking “essential” – UKIP Scottish manifesto The BBC reports that David Coburn, UKIP MEP, launching the party’s Scottish manifesto said of fracking “I think it is essential… if some people had their way we would still be with William Wallace in a cave. If you want to have modern technology you have to break a few eggs. Fracking has to be done safely and must be done properly”

3rd May 2015

Fracking fear for Tory safe seat The Lancashire Magazine reported that Fylde constituency candidates Bob Dennet of the Greens and Elizabeth Clarkson of the Northern Party took party in an anti-fracking march in Lytham.

What’s happened to the Dudleston planning appeal? Frack Free Dudleston tells supporters it is still waiting to hear (seven weeks on) whether the planning inspectorate will stick to its decision to hold a public inquiry into Dart energy’s appeal. The company wants to drill for coalbed methane at Dudleston, near Ellesmere. It objected to the decision to allow a public inquiry, which would allow local people to cross-examine the company’s witnesses.

1st May 2015

Oil well in Surrey Hills could be UK’s fifth biggest, Europa tells planning inquiry Our report

Planning inspector tells inquiry Surrey County Council appeared to have approved traffic plan for Europa’s oil drilling site without checking details Our report

Estates agents warn fracking will hit house values Greenpeace says estate agents close to potential fracking sites are warning tens of thousands are likely to be wiped of the value of nearby properties and make them hard to sell. The findings are based on a survey of 60 estate agents in West Sussex, Lancashire and Manchester. 67% of those interviewed said fracking could bring down houses prices. Estimates ranged by between 8 and 70%. Telegraph report [Item amended on 5/5/15 to correct number of estate agents surveyed from 600 to 60]

Horse Hill gush is a test case for new onshore oil regulator The Telegraph reports the decision to be taken by the new Oil and Gas Authority on whether to approve a well flow test at Horse Hill will be closely watched

David Lenigas: Is the Gatwick oil bonanza a con? No fracking way The Evening Standard interviews David Lenigas, of UK Oil and Gas, one of the companies behind the Horse Hill well near Gatwick. Asked whether he would frack at Horse Hill, he said: “Will I f***. We could get even more out if we fracked but we’ve no need to frack.”

Smaller parties under pressure to pull out of South Thanet race The Isle of Thanet Gazette reports Nigel Askew, a candidate of the anti-fracking Reality Party, says he’s been approached by Labour asking him to form an alliance. Mr Askew says he has “no intention” of joining Labour in an alliance for the general election

Teachers’ union urges fracking ban The Blackpool Gazette reports members of the Lancashire branch of the NUT had voted to support Fylde members and called for a ban on fracking.

“It all stinks” – Fife Trades Union Council calls for halt to fracking and UCG plans The Dundee Courier reports Fife TUC has passed a motion to the Scottish TUC conference has called for investment in “real and sustainable industry. The author of the motion, Tam Kirby, said: “Fracking and UCG are under continual attack from local communities and environmental groups. What is proposed in Fife at the moment – underground coal gasification – is not even covered by the Scottish Government’s moratorium. Campaigning groups continue to push the Scottish Government to include UCG.”

EA amends regulatory approach to conventional oil and gas The Ends Report says regulations for conventional oil and gas exploration are being brought into line with shale gas. All operations, including around 200 existing facilities, will now be subject to the environmental permitting regime for extractive wastes, flaring of gas, groundwater activity and radioactive substances.

John Dewar: Shattering the myths over risk from fracking The Yorkshire Post carries an article by John Dewar of Third Energy about its plans to frack in North Yorkshire.

Updated on 10/6/15 to include details of Misson Springs parade and picture

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