Daily headlines

July 2015 fracking headlines

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

  • Reaction to refusal of Cuadrilla’s Lancashire fracking applications, including company announcement of appeals
  • Government announces exclusion zones for fracking. Criticism over no ban on fracking in SSSIs or under National Parks
  • Government releases unredacted version of report on rural impacts of shale gas
  • Companies drop Dudleston coal bed methane planning appeal and site
  • Third Energy planning application to frack at Kirby Misperton published after validation delays
  • Fracking to be tried by international human rights tribunal
  • Task Force on Shale Gas publishes second report. Campaigners describe it as a “PR ruse”
  • Anger at approval of Preesall underground gas storage facility in Lancashire 
  • Questions over SNP support for fracking and Scottish moratorium
  • Ineos presses ahead with shale gas plans

31st July 2015

Dart drops Dudleston coal bed methane planning appeal as IGas pulls out of Shropshire site Our report

Barton Moss fracking trial adjourned again because no prosecutor available Our report

Fracking could be delayed for up to two years across UK after Lancashire council rejects test drilling The and The Independent reports comments by senior government sources that shale companies are unlikely to submit further fracking applications until the outcome of Lancashire’s planning appeal. This could take at least 16 months, a senior source tells the paper. Report in the i

172 groups lambast Task Force on Shale Gas as ‘”untrustworthy propaganda” Talk Fracking reports that 172 environmental and community organisations, including Greenpeace, Climate Revolution and 38 degrees, have signed a letter describing the Task Force on Shale Gas report (published 15th July 2015) as a “PR stunt”. It said the report was “a ruse” by the Task Force secretariat, Edelman PR, to “push through fracking undemocratically”. Joe Corre of TalkFracking.org said: “The Task Force on Shale Gas report is funded by the Shale Gas Industry. It is like a Paedophile Ring being asked to investigate Paedophilia in Parliament. It’s not going to be impartial”.

Fracking should be an option for the future in a mixed energy package Louie Macari, writing in the letters’ page of the Herald Scotland, argues against a blanket ban on fracking for shale gas.

If Cuadrilla get their way on fracking, it will come at the cost of Lancashire’s democracy Hannah Martin (Greenpeace energy campaigner), writing in The Independent’s Voices column says the government needs to recognize that the fight against fracking is about “local people defending their right to a clean, safe and sustainable future for themselves, and for the whole country”.

Coal gasification presents burning issue in Scotland The FT reports that Algy Cluff, founder of Cluff Natural Resources, has called for “common sense to prevail” as pressure grows on the SNP to widen its moratorium on unconventional gas extraction. One constituency group is calling on the party to include coal gasification, while other members want a permanent ban on fracking techniques. Mr Cluff described UCG as “a matter of national importance”.

30th July 2015

Third Energy’s planning application to frack at Kirby Misperton in N Yorks includes proposals for a noise barrier built from three layers of shipping containers Our report and Guest post cartoon published with kind permission of Howard and Hilda Hiker  Reports by ITVGazette and HeraldYorkshire Post

No prosecutor for Barton Moss fracking protest trial is “inexcusable – judge says Our report  Update: case adjourned until 31st July Details

British Gas owner Centrica cuts thousands of jobs The Guardian reports Centrica is cutting back on gas exploration and the interest in UK onshore shale exploration is “under review”. The cuts are part of a restructuring by the new chief executive, Ian Conn, formerly of BP. Bloomberg report

Tory teen quits after being suspended by party over social media claims The Post reports at that a 16-year-old Conservative who tweeted about meeting Natalie Bennett at an anti-fracking protest has left the party. Connor Dwyer was suspended over his posts on social media, which the Conservatives said promoted other parties over theirs.

Local SNP branches join push for party to adopt blanket fracking ban The Herald Scotland reports local SNP branches have submitted motions ahead of October’s mass meeting calling for opposition to fracking and underground coal gasification.

SNP snake oil: guaranteed to dull the senses Alex Massie, writing in The Times, considers the news Algy Cluff of Cluff Natural Resources wrote to Scottish ministers asking if the SNP administration’s moratorium on fracking extended to his company’s plans to extract coal gas from beneath the Firth of Forth. Massie says the reaction to this ‘entirely unexceptional exchange’ was ‘remarkable’. Cluff was accused of ‘guilt-tripping’ ministers, and SNP MPs queued up to argue that Cluff’s application should be denied. He thinks the events show the extent to which the SNP is ‘given a free pass by its own supporters.’

Fracking decision may just be temporary setback Julian Mellis, of estate agents Fisher German, writing in The Shropshire Star, says the grounds for refusal of Cuadrilla’s Lancashire applications (landscape and noise) are not insurmountable. The potential for precedent looks slim, he says. But he suggests the level of regulation and the low oil price may make fracking unattractive in the UK.

New group set up to protest against fracking in Craven and the Dales The Craven Herald reports on the formation of Frack Free Craven. The group is due to leaflet Skipton town centre on Saturday and Sunday.

Brown Administration Sued for Ignoring Risk Report on Fracking The Biodiversity reports it has sued California’s oil agency for finalizing an inadequate environmental review of fracking eight days before the release of a state-mandated study showing that fracking and oil industry pollution threatens air, water and public health.

29th July 2015

Final call for comments on oil and gas consultations Our report on consultations for permits by Third Energy at Ebberston Moor South, Pickering and Kirby Misperton and Hampshire’s supplementary planning document.

MP’s anger at Lancashire gas storage plans The Fleetwood Weekly News reports that Conservative MP for Preston North and Wyre, Ben Wallace, has urged councils to seek a judicial review of his government’s approval of gas storage plans. The scheme to store up to 900m cubic meters of gas in 19 salt caverns was rejected three times and inspired a 40,000 signature petition against it. A cross-party group of Wyre councillors has called a Notice of Motion for a meeting tomorrow asking for the authority to work with Lancashire County Council on a judicial review.

Gas firm Cluff accused of ‘holding Scotland to ransom’ BBC News reports that WWF Scotland has accused the firm behind plans to use coal seams under the Forth to produce gas of “attempting to hold Scotland to ransom”. The broadcaster says this follows the publication of letters between Algy Cluff, the head of Cluff Natural Resources, and Scottish ministers. They show that the day after a ban on unconventional oil and gas development was announced Cluff warned that plans to invest more than £250m were at risk. The letters were obtained under an FOI request by The Ferret investigative website.

Upton Parish Council backs moratorium on unconventional gas exploration The Chronicle reports that the Labour-led majority of councillors on Upton Parish Council voted to block the development, extraction and prospecting for unconventional gas in the area until residents’ concerns had been addressed. It also banned companies undertaking seismic testing on parish council owned land. The council is to develop a policy on unconventional extraction within its boundary,

How to win the media war against grassroots activists: Stratfor’s strategies The US website MintPress News reports on strategies used by the private intelligence agency, Stratfor, for isolating radical activists, cultivating idealists and educating them on becoming realists. Stratfor then co-opted the realist, the website reports.

Response to Lee Petts Mr G Daniels responds to Lee Petts’ letter to the Blackpool Gazette (see 27th July). Mr Daniels says quarrying, which has taken place at the site since 1948 and as permission to work until 2042 so it is not a suitable comparison with fracking. The LCC decision was to grant additional land to be quarried, not an extended timescale, he said. He also said Mr Pett’s suggestion that the decision would generate 75,000 HGV journeys could not be substantiated.

Drillers could sidestep New York fracking ban with propane gel Shale Energy Insider reports that the use of gelled propane could exploit a potential loophole in the ban on high volume hydraulic fracturing in New York. Gelled propane technologies use liquefied gas instead of water.

28th July 2015

Fracturing democracy? State, fracking and local power in Lancashire The Our Kingdom website reports that despite refusal of Cuadrilla’s applications to frack in Lancashire power is being stripped from people in Britain.

MEP claims government’s ‘misinformed and ideological’ opposition to renewable technologies is destroying thousands of potential jobs The Dorset Echo reports on comments by Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for SW England on the removal of subsidies for solar and wind power generation.

Has gas missed its chance to be a bridging fuel? Greenpeace Energy Desk in a comment column says the numbers and rhetoric on gas replacing coal don’t match. “The reality is that gas is extremely unlikely to boom nearly as much as energy giants are hoping. Not at least in a world where global leaders are attempting to keep global warming to relatively safe levels and where renewable technology costs are plummeting”, it says.

Slashing renewable subsidies will move UK toward “Dark Age” – Veolia CIWM journal online reports on reaction to government plans to remove pre-accreditation from the Feed in Tariff. Richard Kirkman, technical director, Veolia UK and Ireland, said this was an effective withdrawal from the renewable energy sector and the government had stripped away without warning incentives for projects. “We appear to be entering another Dark Age where we will return to total fossil fuel reliance, power cuts, low confidence in UK investment, opening the door for fracking activities to maintain energy security.” Guardian report (27th July)

Labour’s abstention allowed fracking David Burley, writing in the Letters Page of the Sheffield Star, describes how Labour’s abstention on a moratorium on fracking, during a debate in January on the Infrastructure Bill, allowed the government to do what it wanted.

27th July 2015

What now for UK shale gas? Rig Zone interviews Ken Cronin, chief executive of the UK Onshore Operators’ Group about the refusal of Cuadrilla’s Lancashire applications He dismisses the idea that the industry is dead and look to the positives in the Lancashire decisions. These include the planning officers’ recommendation to approve Preston New Road. He also argues for faster planning decisions.

Support for Cuadrilla’s decision to appeal on fracking refusals Lee Petts, Managing Director of Remsol (which has worked with Cuadrilla), in the Letters’ Page of the Blackpool Gazette, contrasts the refusal of Cuadrilla’s applications with approval of plans to extend a quarry in rural Lancashire. Sean Lord, Director of Network Box (which supported Cuadrilla’s application for fracking) explains in the Lancashire Evening Post’s letters page why he is backing the company in its appeal.

It’s not climate change – it’s everything change Margaret Atwood describes three scenarios: where all nations plan for life without oil or gas, where no nations do so and where only some do.

Tories quick to drop Lib Dem green ideas Tony Somers, writing in The Independent, that the Conservative government is going in the opposite direction to the previous coalition on the promise to be the “greenest government ever”. Could the hidden agenda of cancelling the Green Deal make the need to frack for gas inevitable, he asks.

Anti-fracking group warns of danger to coastline The Hartlepool Mail reports on a protest walk and public meeting in Hartlepool against fuel extraction along the north-east coast.

Petition tops 6,000 A petition on the government website calling for fracking to be scrapped and for investment to be made in green energy has reached 6,373. At 10,000 signatures, the government will respond to the petition. At 100,000 signatures the petition will be considered for debate in parliament. The deadline for signatures is 22nd January 2016.

26th July 2015

Fury as the SNP delays decision on fracking until after the election The Scottish Mail on Sunday reports the Scottish Government will not make a decision on fracking until after next May’s Scottish election, to avoid a backlash from voters. The government imposed a temporary ban on fracking in January to allow for a consultation. But it did not publish a timetable.

Fracking permits for half of Britain The Express reports that nearly half of Britain is set to be opened up to fracking by oil and gas companies under new exploration licences awarded by the government next month.

No-one thought the lights would go out before we knew of fracking M Cairns, writing in the letters page of the Belfast News Letter, says the claim that fracking is needed to stop the lights going out is “a huge lie”.

25th July 2015

Ineos shale fleet is underway The Falkirk Herald reports that two ships built to transport shale gas from the USA to Ineos’s Grangemouth plant have been named in Shanghai: JS Ineos Insight and JS Ineos Ingenuity. They are the first of eight tankers commissioned by Ineos as part of its plans to import 800,000 tonnes of shale gas a year.

Fracking threat to National Park The Northumberland Gazette reports on the government’s draft regulations on areas where fracking is to be banned.

24th July 2015

Environment Agency board appointments The government appoints an existing board member of the EA, Emma Howard Boyd, is appointed deputy chair for four years. She has spent 25 years in financial services, including Director of Stewardship at Jupiter Asset Management until July 2014. John Varley, Karen Burrows and Peter Ainsworth are reappointed board members.

23rd July 2015

Cuadrilla to appeal against Lancashire fracking refusals; campaigners say this is “a blatant disregard of local people and democracy” Our report

Coverage of Cuadrilla’s decision to appeal against its planning refusals and conditions Cuadrilla to Appeal Fracking Veto – Wall Street Journal; Cuadrilla to appeal over Lancashire fracking refusal – BBC News; Fracking: Cuadrilla appeals against Lancashire refusal – The Telegraph; Cuadrilla to appeal against fracking refusal by Lancashire county council – The Guardian; Cuadrilla to appeal rejection of UK fracking licences – Industrial Minerals. Thanks to the APPG on Unconventional Gas and Oil for the links. Also report by The Ecologist

Fracking to go on trial at international human rights tribunal Our report  New Internationalist report  Julie Wassmer writes for the New Internationalist Blog; Damien Short and Tom Kerns write in The Ecologist Andy Rowell writes for EcoWatch and Oil Change International

Fracking subsidies would be better spent elsewhere Professor Keith Barnham, writing in the Letters Page of The Guardian, said subsidies for fracking would be better offered to landowners to encourage them to spend animal and crop waste for anaerobic digestion.

Poll: After government U-turn on controversial process – do you want fracking in Kent Kent News launches a poll on fracking and sets out some of the issues on the process.

We don’t need fracking Stewart Kemp, of Ecclesall Ward Green Party writes to the Sheffield Star says “The Peak District National Park Authority must be alert to the danger of losing its own protection as election pledges are swept aside in the Government’s drive for fossil fuel extraction.” He adds: Shale oil and gas are not needed to meet our energy needs. We don’t need to run the risk of environmental pollution from fracking.

Two new gas power stations given green light The Government announces approval of plans from gas-fired power stations at Eye, Suffolk, and near Aberdare in South Wales. The plants will provide electricity at times of surging demand or where there is a sudden drop in generated power elsewhere.

Shale gas exploration must move ahead in the UK The British Chamber of Commerce responds to Cuadrilla announcement of an appeal against refusals in Lancashire: “Businesses across Britain, who worry about keeping on the lights, will hope this appeal is successful. Shale gas exploration must move ahead in the UK. The benefits for both local economies and our energy security must be realised.”

Chancellor takes the high carbon road The TUC blog Touchstone presents arguments that the government is about to take a series of high carbon decisions that will replace renewables with fossil fuels.

Local environmental activists call Cameron’s fracking policy a con In Loughborough interviews a local Friends of the Earth campaigner on his views on fracking’s risks.

Anti-fracking protesters return to quarry site The Impartial Reporter describes how a half-naked anti-fracking campaigner playing a harp was in Belcoo this week with a tuneful message for any company considering drilling in Fermanagh: “We will not let this happen.” The campaigner, who quoted lyrics from The Pogues star Shane MacGowan, joined others to mark one year after fracking company Tamboran moved equipment into the site of the former quarry.

22nd July 2015

Five onshore wells drilled in six months Our report on latest data on onshore oil and gas developments

Recession cut US emissions, not falling coal use Climate News Network reports on research by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and University of Maryland, which concluded that most of the 11% fall in CO2 emissions in the US from 2007-13 was caused by economic recession, rather than the switch from coal to gas in electricity production. Carbon Brief report BBC News report

ConocoPhillips halts shale gas talks with CNPC for Sichuan field Energy Voice reports that ConocoPhillips has ended discussions with China National Petroleum Corp on shale gas development in the Neijiang-Dazu field after a two-year study.

Fylde anti-frackers’ fury over Halite gas decision The Blackpool Gazette reports comments by Barbara Richardson, of Roseacre Awareness Group, who says: ““We are appalled by this decision to overrule local democracy and fear that Westminster will try and intervene in the fracking debate too against the wishes of the people and elected representatives. We elect local councillors (parish, borough and county) to represent us and this is democracy in action. Local people understand local issues and the will of the people. To blatantly ignore this is sheer arrogance and a recipe for disaster. We will stand with the people of the Wyre.”

Fracking on the agenda at West Lancashire Council meeting The Southport Visitor reports a motion by Cllr John Hodson against fracking is due to be discussed by a full meeting of West Lancashire Council on Thursday. The motion supports Lancashire County Council’s decision to refuse Cuadrilla’s applications to frack at Roseacre Wood and Preston New Road.

Ineos wants to drill now in Falkirk area The Falkirk Herald reports Ineos wants to drill four or five wells in the Midland Valley of Scotland to take core samples to check for shale gas content. The Scottish government moratorium on unconventional oil and gas planning applications is likely to extend until after the May 2016 election. But Ineos wants to start test drilling before then.

UK looks to steer renewable energy subsidies towards fracking Click Green reports that a written answer by energy minister, Andrea Leadsom, which confirms the current Spending Review is looking to redirect renewable energy subsidies towards fracking and nuclear power.

Talk Fracking statement opposing Task Force on Shale Gas TalkFracking.Org issues a statement describing the Task Force as an “astroturf” PR exercises and arguing that it cannot be trusted because of its links with Edelman PR.

The Guardian view on greening the economy: the price is worth paying The Guardian Comment Is Free column says just like fracking and nuclear, greening the energy supply needs intervention. It will not be cheap. But for future generations, not doing it will cost far more.

‘It’s the New World Record’: Earthquakes Linked to Fracking Are Getting Stronger in Alberta Vice Newsreports one of three earthquakes (measuring 4.4) that gently rocked the oil town of Fox Creek in northern Alberta this year may have been the strongest seismic event ever caused by fracking, worldwide. The number of earthquakes in the area has risen from two before 2003 to 160, according to a study in 2015.

Clean Energy, Not Fracking Kate Sinding, of Community Fracking Defense Project at the Natural Resources Defence Council writes to the letters page of The New York Times Letters Page arguing that no US state has yet implemented any fracking regulations that are sufficient to protect public health or the environment. Additionally, she says, “industry fights regulation at every turn. And fracking regulations that do exist often go unenforced.”

21st July 2015

Third Energy’s Ryedale planning application refused for validation for second time Our report Reports by The Northern Echo and Gazette and Herald

MP accuses gov of using small print to hide policy U-turn on fracking in wildlife sites Our report

Energy Secretary says shale gas developers need to make the case for fracking with local communities Our report

Keep the fracking ban in national parks and wildlife zones Greenpeace launches a petition asking the Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, to keep the government’s promises to protect national parks and wildlife sites from fracking.

Lancashire’s fracking victory was even greater than we know Damien Short, writing in The Ecologist, says the decision by Lancashire councillors to refuse Cuadrilla’s two planning applications overcame not just the company but also pro-fracking bias as well as legal and scientific misrepresentation.

How plunging oil prices have created a volatile new force in the global economy The Guardian reports that US hopes for energy independence through fracking are vulnerable to supply decisions made in Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Wall Street lenders growing impatient with US shale revolution Bloomberg reports bank regulators have issued on the risks in lending to US drillings. This threatens a cash crunch in an industry that is more dependent than ever on other people’s money, the website says. “Lenders in general are increasing pressure on oil companies either to raise more equity or do some sort of transaction to pay down their credit lines and free up extra cash,” said Jimmy Vallee, of law firm Paul Hastings LLP in Houston.

Egdon Resources sees promising results from Wressle 1 Energy Voice reports assessments in the Penistone flags zone 3A of the Wressle-1 well in PEDL 180 suggest a production rate of 180+ barrels of oil equivalent a day.

20th July 2015

We should not allow Ryedale countryside to be industrialised by fracking Two more letters to the Yorkshire on plans by Third Energy to frack at Kirby Misperton.

Wind farm backing Daragh Croxon, of West and South Dorset Green Party, in the letters’ page of the Dorset Echo, writes that the real threat to the Jurassic Coast and the coastal communities living along it, comes not from an offshore wind farm but from rising sea levels and global warming driven by fossil fuel operations like fracking.

No proper monitoring of methane emissions Robin Russell-Jones, writing to the FT letters page, suggests the increased electricity generation from gas over coal in the US may not benefit climate change. He says this is because of increased methane emissions released during the fracking process. Exemptions granted by the Bush administration mean there has been no proper monitoring of methane releases in the US. Fugitive methane emissions need to be below 2% (according to Professor Tom Wigley) to make shale gas better than coal from a climate perspective. Some independent studies show releases are well above 2%, Mr Russell-Jones says.

Halliburton secures $500m to fund drilling in old wells Reuters reports that BlackRock Inc is paying Halliburton $500m to help fund drilling existing shale wells. Halliburton President, Jeffrey Miller, says: “Though a relatively small market today, we see significant runway for refrac in the future”.

People want wind farms, not fossil fuels David Penney, of Pendle & Rossendale Green Party and Keep East Lancashire Frack Free, writing on the letters’ page of the Burnley Express, criticises local councillors and the MP for wanting to stop onshore wind farms while promoting shale and coal bed methane extraction.

Where next? A five point plan for getting UK decarbonisation back on track Business Green reports that in the past two and a half months the government has promoted fracking and reneged on promises on environmental protection regulations. This coincided with confirmation from the Committee on Climate Change that the UK is no longer on track to meet its carbon targets for the mid-2020s. The website argues for energy efficiency, auctioning clean energy subsidy contracts, simpler policy landscape, bolstering of green investment and changing the narrative on clean energy.

Government backtracks on fracking safeguards for drinking water and protected areas Friends of the Earth briefing for MPs on government regulations for fracking

19th July 2015

Ministers “selling” fracking fail to address public concerns – new research Our report on ReFine study into different government and public approaches to the shale debate. Also Chronicle Live report and Chemistry World report

Fracking pioneers win early go-ahead The Sunday Times reports the energy secretary Amber Rudd has decided to award a new round of onshore oil and gas licences in two stages to speed up the development of fracking. The government will grant some licences from the 14th onshore round within weeks, the paper says, and delay others that require additional environmental checks. Energy Minister, Andrea Leadsom, said: “We want to get shale moving and this is a clear example of the government’s progress, while still upholding our strong environmental controls”.

Jim’s big bet The Sunday Times also reports on Ineos’s plans to build a fleet of ships to carry shale gas to the Grangemouth refinery.

Frack and ruin The Sunday Times reports that fears may be misplaced that gas extraction in beauty spots could hit house prices.

Ineos accused of breaching fracking moratorium Herald Scotland reports that the petrochemical company has been accused of planning to flout the Scottish Government’s moratorium on fracking by test drilling for shale gas in central Scotland. It has revealed it is to apply for planning permission to sink four or five wells to find out how much gas is trapped. The test drilling will not involve fracking, it says. But community and environmental group insist the plans would breach the moratorium and destroy public trust.

Could your home see its value collapse due to fracking The Express reports that fracking is set to wipe £75billion off the value of Britain’s home, according to a new report. The paper says leading property experts have voiced fears fracking could bring the housing market close to collapse in large parts of the country. A survey of 60 estate agents in areas which will be affected by fracking revealed that most thought the loss of value per property could be as much as a tenth, while a handful estimated that prices could plummet by up to 70 per cent, the paper says. The Lincolnshire Echo reports prices in the county could fall by £3,400 because of fracking.

Here we go again: Fracking industry mangles more facts Reader Support News rebuts claims in Energy in Depth (see 14th July 2015) that US methane emissions are falling. Mark Brownstein, of the Environmental Defense Fund, says the US EPA’s latest inventory released in April found that in 2013 the oil and gas industry released 7.3m metric tons+ of methane from their operations, a 3% increase on 2012.

New wave of support for UK sovereign wealth fund The FT reports on growing support for a UK sovereign wealth fund which proponents believe would pump money into large infrastructure projects. Supporters include the mayor of London, Boris Johnson and what the FT calls senior figures in the fund management industry.

Call for landowners to refuse access to DIAS testing exercise Belcoo Frack Free believes tests by the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies this summer on carbon capture and sequestration in Fermanagh, Cavan and Leitrim, would be useful to fracking companies. It is asking landowners to refuse access to the tests and says the agencies involved have “completely failed to engage with any of the local communities or campaign groups”. Reports by the Irish Times and The Journal

New journal Elsevier launches the Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering. It says the objective is to bridge the gap between the engineering and science of natural gas. Articles will be intelligible to scientists and engineers working in any field of natural gas science and engineering from the reservoir to market.

18th July 2015

More letters on fracking The Yorkshire Post includes a letter from Graham Gill, who writes to express his concern “that such an inept company would even consider fracking”. He says: “I hope that Yorkshire follows Lancashire’s lead in not allowing it, not just for the local costs, but also for the global ones.” Nelly Trevelyan, also writing on the Letters’ Page, asks: “Why is it that if we are against wind farms, the Government will help us by bringing in a new rule allowing us to use the argument of the ‘cumulative effect’? We would also be allowed to use strength of local opinion as a valid argument. However, if we are against fracking, we are not able to use this argument, and nor can we use the strength of local opinion as a valid planning consideration.

Opinion: SNP has backed itself into a corner on fracking The Herald Scotland’s political correspondent, Daniel Sanderson, reports on the reaction of Ineos senior figures to the emotive and politically-charged debate about shale gas in Scotland. New members of the SNP appear to see fracking as something to be opposed at all costs, he says, despite the Scottish Government’s publically stated “evidence-based” approach. “Would the First Minister risk alienating them, potentially pushing them into the arms of the rapidly-expanding Greens?” he asks.

17th July 2015

Media coverage of government announcement on fracking exclusion zones Government makes ‘outrageous’ U-turn over fracking in precious wildlife sites – The Guardian; Fracking to be allowed in protected wildlife areas after Government U-turn – The Daily Telegraph; Fracking U-turn for wildlife site drilling – The Times; Government reveals plan for fracking exclusion zones – BusinessGreen; Fury as Government gives green light to fracking beneath national parks – The Northern Echo; Shale gas – Tories not protecting National Parks and AONB – Flint – Labour press release  [Thanks to the APPG on Unconventional Gas and Oil for links] Also British U-turn on protected areas ignore shale-sceptics’ resentment – Natural Gas Europe; Fracking go-ahead in SSSI wildlife sites, groundwater sources – The Ecologist

Fracking protected area regulations published Link

Preesall underground gas storage facility receives planning consent A government press release announced that the Energy Minister, Lord Bourne, had granted planning permission for the facility proposed to be constructed on the east side of the Wyre Estuary at Preesall in Lancashire. It will be used to store and extract gas from local underground salt caverns. Links to key documents

Beware permitting fracking, says farmer who allowed coal methane borehole The Guardian picks up the story of Paul Hickson (See Shropshire Star 16th July) who signed an access agreement with an energy company to drill a test well on land at Dudleston in Shropshire. He tells the paper he had no idea of the physical or psychological impact it could have on him and his family.

Coal gas plan for Dee Estuary ‘on hold’ BBC News reports that Cluff Natural Resources has put on hold plans to burn coal seams underneath the Dee Estuary of the Point of Ayr. The company says it wants to concentrate on a project in Scotland. A spokesman for Frack Free Dee says it will work with community groups around the licence areas in Scotland to prevent coal seam gasification in Scotland.

Environmental regulation in line for further red tape reforms The Ends Report (subscription only) says that the government is targeting the energy sector for deregulation. “The Better Regulation Executive is seeking industry views on barriers to growth and productivity, including complex licensing requirements, compliance rules and burdens on new market entrants. It also asks if the regulatory framework could be improved to better support innovation and disruptive business models”, ENDS says.

Ken Macintosh urges Scottish Labour to strengthen position on fracking Holyrood Magazine reports that hopeful Scottish Labour Ken Macintosh says the party should oppose fracking. “If we are serious about tackling climate change, we need stronger political commitment than this.  Under my leadership, Scottish Labour will lead that agenda once more”, he says.

SNP MPs urged to donate big pay rise to charity The Scotsman reports that the Edinburgh East SNP MP Tommy Sheppard will take only the same salary increase as public sector workers and donate the rest to local groups and charities. “I will make an immediate donation to Our Forth, which is an organisation campaigning against fracking”, he tells the paper.

16th July 2015

Government press release announces fracking will be allowed under National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and World Heritage Sites, below 1,200m. More details due tomorrow. Environmental groups accuse ministers of bypassing democracy and watering down protection of beautiful landscapes. Our report 

Reaction to comments by Ineos chairman, Jim Ratcliffe, that the SNP supports fracking Government must “come clean” on fracking after Ineos boss claims ministers are privately supportive – Herald Scotland; SNP under pressure after Ineos chief claims ministers said they were ‘not against fracking’ – The National; Friends of the Earth Scotland calls on SNP to clarify fracking position – Holyrood, Nicola Sturgeon urged to come clean on Ineos tycoon’s fracking claims – Daily Record, Ineos chief: Scottish Government ‘is not against fracking’ – STV; It’s time for the SNP to come clean on fracking – Scottish Labour blog, SNP has to ‘come clean’ on fracking – Express [Thanks to the APPG on Unconventional Gas and Oil for links]

Stressed Shropshire farmer in gas drilling contract warning Paul Hickson, the farmer caught up in Dart’s plan to drill for coal bed methane in north Shropshire (see our story on 15th July 2015) , warns other landowners not to sign licence agreements with energy companies. He tells the Shropshire Star he does not want other farmers to go through the three years of stress and worry he has endured after he agreed to give Dart three years in which to look for gas under his field.

Astonishing claims from fracking firm Chris Redston, of Frack Free Ryedale, on the letters’ page of the Yorkshire, describes as “extraordinary” the response by John Dewar, of Third Energy, to the paper’s article on failings in the company’s planning application. “To claim that the article’s tone was partly ‘due to the weakness of the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) procedures’ is simply astonishing”, Mr Redston said. “When Mr Dewar claims that there are ‘weaknesses in FOI procedures’, what he’s really saying is: ‘We would have gotten away with it if it hadn’t been for those pesky residents’”. Mr Redston adds: “The more people wake up to the reality of commercial fracking, the more who oppose it.”

BIS finds out National Colleges’ proposals as business plans handed in FE Week reports that the fracking national college, along with six other proposed skills colleges handed in their business plans to the Department of Business. Ken Cronin, chief executive of UK Onshore Oil and Gas, which will oversee the fracking National College with Blackpool and The Fylde College, tells the magazine he is “excited” about the project’s potential. Approval of £80m funding for national colleges is subject to the spending review.

MSP demands answers on fracking issue The Falkirk Herald reports that John Wilson, MSP for central Scotland, says the Scottish Government is failing to give detailed answers on fracking, in response to his questions asked in March.

Five reasons shale gas is fracking fantastic Guy Birchall writes for Spiked-online that shale is good value, it is not dangerous, it is clean, will create lots of jobs and there is no alternative.

IGas Notts application IGas applies for planning permission for installation of groundwater monitoring boreholes at four locations at land off Springs Road, Misson Link to application

15th July 2015

Fracking safe only with highest drilling standards and rigorous monitoring says Shale Gas Task Force Our review of its latest report.  But Frack Free Ryedale says report reads like an “industry shopping list” Our post on report reaction   Residents in Cuadrilla villages respond: Don’t treat us like guinea pigs Our report

Press coverage of Task Force report Too early to say if fracking is good for the UK, says task force – The  Guardian; Fracking: government has ‘failed to implement’ key safety recommendation – The Telegraph; U.K. Should Monitor Water, Air, Land If Gas Fracking to Succeed – Bloomberg; Ex-Government Minister warns people are sceptical about fracking – Herald Scotland; Campaigners criticise report’s ‘safe’ verdict on fracking in UK – Yorkshire Post; Frack vigilance still required – The Argus; Shale Gas Task Force calls for tougher environmental safeguards – BusinessGreen; Shale gas task force calls for tighter industry regulations – ClickGreen; Best practice and transparency are key to safe fracking operations – The Engineer; ‘Uphill struggle’ to overcome fracking’s image problem – E&T magazine; UKOOG backs shale gas report – Energy Voice [Thanks to the APPG on Unconventional Gas and Oil for the links]  Also Wastewater disposal poses challenge for fracking firms – ENDS report and Wastewater injection causes ‘larger earthquakes’ than fracking, finds report – Utility Week

UKOOG response to Task Force second interim report A UKOOG press release welcomes the report. CEO Ken Cronin: says: “I was pleased that the report highlighted a number of areas that we have already considered and have taken action on. The tone of the report is geared towards creating a better understanding of hazard and risk which I think will be invaluable for those coming to this subject for the first time.”

Dudleston camp departs as lapsed access agreement blocks Dart’s CBM drilling plan Our report

Billionaire: the SNP are not opposed to fracking The Herald Scotland reports on comments by Jim Ratcliffe, the chief executive and chair of Ineos, that he has had private assurances from the SNP that it is not against fracking. He tells the paper an onshore shale gas industry could be up and running commercially by 2018.  FT report

New campaign group launched to support Ryedale fracking plan The Gazette Herald reports that Lorraine Allanson, who owns a holiday complex in the Vale of Pickering, has set up the Friends of Ryedale Gas Exploration on Facebook, to support Third Energy’s plans for fracking at Kirby Misperton. “It’s totally hypocritical of people to benefit from the convenience of gas and all its derivatives while at the same time trying to ban its extraction,” she said

Heat rises on Britain to change shale gas laws after projects blocked Reuters reports that since Lancashire turned down Cuadrilla’s two fracking applications discussions have already taken place between government and shale gas developers. Industry representatives have urged politicians to adjust policies, sources told Reuters. Government just needs to step up. They can’t sit back and say ‘we support this industry’ but have a process in place which is clearly not working,” said David Messina, managing director of Hutton Energy, an oil and gas explorer that has submitted bids for new shale gas licences in Britain.

Ground to dust: fracking, silicosis and the politics of public health Michael Halpern, from the American Union of Concerned Scientists writes in The Guardian about how attempts to block new standards for exposure to silica dust are leading to tensions between public health and fracking corporations. He says recent field conducted by the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that nearly 80 percent of the samples it took at fracking sites showed unsafe levels of airborne silica. But the industry is trying to delay updates to silica standards until 2017.

People who live near fracking sites suffer higher rates of heart conditions and neurological illnesses, says research The Independent reports on study from Pennsylvania – though it could not find a specific reason – suggests there may be a link between drilling and ill health. Residents in high-density areas of fracking made 27% more hospital visits for treatment for heart conditions than those from locations where no fracking took place. Newsweek report

North Yorkshire County Council letter raises concerns over application to frack in Kirby Misperton The Gazette reports on reaction to the planners’ letter to Third Energy explaining why the company’s fracking application was not validated (see our report on 10th July). Sue Gough, who lives in Little Barugh, said: “We are simply astonished by this letter. Third Energy has been claiming for weeks that the application wasn’t validated for purely administrative reasons, such as the mis-spelling of a road name and an incorrect email address. Now we have seen the NYCC letter, we can see that this is completely untrue, and that the NYCC’s criticisms cut to the very heart of the application.” Joanne Bartlett, who lives in Kirby Misperton, said: “If Third Energy can’t even do the paperwork properly, it is hard to see how local residents can have any confidence in allowing the company to start fracking on their doorstep.”

More letters on Third Energy’s Ryedale fracking plans The Yorkshire Post has seven more letters about Third Energy’s plans to frack at Kirby Misperton.

Petition launched to make Conwy a fracking-free zone News North Wales reports that Friends of the Earth Conwy Group has begun a local anti-fracking petition, following on from the Welsh Government’s decision to issue a moratorium on fracking.

Permit given for controversial gas drilling at Llandow ITV news reports that Natural Resources Wales has issued an environmental permit to Coastal Oil and Gas for an exploratory borehole near Llandow in the Vale of Glamorgan. The drilling and testing operations and work to reinstate the land should last no longer than 12 months, the permit says.

14th July 2015

Cuadrilla hits out at “scaremongering” and “polluting propaganda” of anti-fracking campaigners Our report

Plans for faster fracking get go-ahead The Times reports that shale companies will be allowed to begin fracking a year earlier than at present under government plans to allow them to test groundwater without planning permission. Ministers are expected to approve an industry request for “permitted development rights” to drill boreholes at potential extraction sites before fracking has been approved.

Third Energy requests a one-month deferral A decision on Third Energy’s planning application for gas production and water re-injection at the Ebberston Moor South site is postponed after the company requests a one-month deferral. The application was scheduled for discussion by the planning committee of the North York Moors National Park, meeting on 23rd July.

Policymakers fail to address public concerns on fracking Researching Fracking in Europe, based at Newcastle University, publishes research which reveals a disconnect between policymakers and the public in the way fracking policy is portrayed and discussed. Public concerns are not properly considered during policymaking, it finds, including trustworthiness of institutions involved, importance of democratic decision-making, whether alternatives have been sufficiently considered and whether worst case scenarios have been properly reflected upon.

Eco-warrior fined £100 over fracking protest at oil drilling site The Grimsby Telegraph reports Jared Dunne, of Leyland, Lancashire, admitted obstructing a road during a protest outside the Stallingborough oil drilling site. He was fined £100, ordered to pay £250 costs and a £20 victims’ surcharge.

Coal’s slow demise as a power source leads to role reversal with natural gas Climate Progress reports on gas overtaking coal as a source of generating electricity in the US.

MP Craig Mackinlay holds hands up for error on South Thanet fracking The Thanet Gazette reports that the Thanet South MP admitted his research on fracking was “out of date” after it was revealed that exploratory drilling will no longer take place in his constituency. His blog stated that Coastal Oil & Gas had permission to explore for shale near Woodnesborough. But anti-fracking campaigners said the company relinquished all its licences in the area by the end of May.

Ineos launches vessels to ship US shale gas Reuters reports that Ineos launched two 27,000 cubic metre ships from Quidong in Jiangsu province in eastern China, as part of a $1bn project to transport US ethane to Norway and Scotland. Another six ships are due to be commissioned next August.

Egdon Resources farms-out PEDL005 (R) to Terrain, Union Jack Natural Gas Europe reports on two separate farm-outs by Egdon Resource of areas in the Lincolnshire PEDL 005 (R). Terrain will earn an additional 20% interest in the Keddington oil field, in return for pay 40% of the cost of a new appraisal/development well to be drilled later this year as a side-track to keddington-4. Union Jack will earn a 10% interest in return for paying 20% of the cost of the new side track and 20% of the cost of an exploration well on the Louth prospect.

Top methane studies confirm low and dramatically declining emissions Energy in Depth reports on studies, which it says, show that as natural gas production has “skyrocketed2 methane emissions have “plummeted”.

13th July 2015

Third Energy insist Ryedale fracking application has not collapsed John Dewar, Operations Director of Third Energy, writes to the Yorkshire Post that the company’s application is proceeding. He says the planning officer “raised a small number of minor objections”

A GP’s fears over health impact of fracking in Ryedale A GP for 30+ years, Tim Thornton, writes to the Yorkshire that the natural beauty of North Yorkshire and the health of residents are under threat by an urge to “dash for gas”. There is a wide range of ill-health found in heavily fracked areas. Many children get intense itching, skin ailments as well as recurring nosebleeds, he says.

12th July 2015

Gas overtakes coal at US power stations The FT reports that the US generated more of its electricity from gas than from coal for the first time ever in April – in a sign that shale is putting mounting pressure the American mining industry.

Crowdfunder project to raise money to challenge Cuadrilla planning permission Campaigner, Bob Dennett, is using Crowdfunder to raise £10,000 for a potential judicial review of Lancashire County Council’s planning permission to Cuadrilla for seismic monitoring stations at Roseacre Wood. The company’s application to frack at Roseacre Wood was refused and Mr Dennett argues there is no logic to the permission for the seismic arrays.

Tories display true colours on fracking The Daily Echo carries a letter from C Watts, of Southampton, who writes that nine weeks after the election, the Conservatives have come out in their true colours, in favour of fracking

11th July 2015

Fracking rigs could surround national parks under government plans In a letter to The Telegraph campaigners warn that national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty risk becoming surrounded by fracking rigs under government plans to let drilling companies extract shale gas from beneath them. An article in the paper says ministers are expected to put forward legislation this week allowing fracking under these areas as long as the rigs are outside the boundaries.  Brighton Argus report

Pennines residents mobilise to stop company drilling up to 950 wells in Thirsk and Malton The Independent reports on the action of people in Ryedale to block Third Energy’s application to frack at Kirby Misperton.

Ineos hits milestone in Grangemouth plan The Courier reports on the topping out of a new ethane storage tank at the Grangemouth petrochemical plant. The tank can hold 60,000 cubic metres of ethane is part of a project to import shale gas from the US. This includes an import terminal for so called “Dragon ships” which will transport ethane across the Atlantic. BBC Report

10th July 2015

Multiple failings with Third Energy’s fracking application revealed Our report   Yorkshire Post report

Shale will save the UK from becoming world theme park – Ineos Our report

Energy Bill published The UK government publishes the Energy Bill 2015/16. It will establish the Oil and Gas Authority and make provision for fees for oil and gas activities.

Oil and Gas UK welcomes Energy Bill The offshore industry body welcomes the publication of the bill. Chief executive, Deirdre Michie says: “The OGA [Oil and Gas Authority] is a critical catalyst for the work being done to sustain offshore oil and gas activity and the Bill aims to provide the new regulator with the tools and capabilities it will need to do the job effectively and efficiently so we support its swift passage through Parliament. “ She also welcomes the provisions to implement the Wood Review recommendations to maximise economic recovery of the UK continental shelf.

Beyond fracking, from Balcombe to Lancashire Joe Nixon, a director of RepowerBalcombe, writes for Greenpeace’s blog on the progress of the solar scheme in the West Sussex village, where Cuadrilla drilled in 2013. “We have begun to unite the village in a positive way; precisely the opposite of what the oil and gas industry had done here before. People who I thought were pro-fracking were actually just pro-energy and needed to be shown the alternative. We have the power to make positive change, so get talking, host a meeting and help the renewable energy revolution take off in Lancashire, too!”, he writes.

Dutch government bans fracking Energy Voice reports the Dutch government is to ban shale gas drilling for five years and not renew existing exploration licences because of uncertainties about the environmental impact.

9th July 2015

Guest Post: Fossil fuel firms accused of failing to report climate risks our report

Water and wildlife may be at risk from fracking’s toxic chemicals, panel finds The Times reports on the final assessment from the California Council on Science and Technology on fracking. It says that because of data gaps and inadequate state testing, overwhelmed regulatory agencies do not have a complete picture of what oil companies are doing. The risks and hazards associated with about two-thirds of the additives used in fracking are not clear, and the toxicity of more than half remains “uninvestigated, unmeasured and unknown. Basic information about how these chemicals would move through the environment does not exist.”

East Lothian should plan to say no to fracking The East Lothian News reports that the local Green Party branch is urging East Lothian residents to register their opposition to the SES plan Main Issues Report which will set the parameters of the Local Development Plans of Edinburgh, Lothians, Scottish Borders and Fife. Consultation on the report begins on 21st July and runs until 15th September.

8th July 2015

No North-South divide on fracking, peers urge Our report

David Lenigas steps down from UKOG board as company expands interests in southern England Our report

Licence relinquishments The Oil and Gas Authority publishes details of licences surrendered for onshore, offshore and gas storage

Comment: Lancashire decision is the final nail in the coffin of UK fracking This is how Professor Paul Stevens, of Chatham House, describes the refusal of Cuadrilla’s applications by Lancashire County Council. Writing for Greenpeace Energy Desk he says it is likely the Government will grant Cuadrilla an appeal. “But the prospects of continuing fracking operations in the face of what would certainly be serious and concerted mass opposition look virtually non-existent”, he says.

Safe, low carbon, inexpensive: the renewable alternatives to fracking Keith Barnham, Emeritus Professor of Physics and Imperial College, writes in The Ecologist that new and rapidly expanding sources of biomethane and heat energy are already delivering all over the UK. “They are far more safe and sustainable, with less environmental impact and much smaller carbon emissions than fracking – and clearly demonstrate that fracking is unnecessary”, he says.

7th July 2015

Trust, communication and monitoring: key issues for fracking conference Our report and Infrastructure Intelligence report on Lord Smith’s comments on a single regulator for shale gas and oil.

The mysterious case of frack free Witney David Smythe, Emeritus Professor of Geophysics at Glasgow University, reports in his Frackland blog on possible reasons why David Cameron’s Whitney constituency was not included in the 14th onshore oil and gas licensing round.

Major polluter pledges not enough to meet emissions targets, says report The Guardian reports on conclusions of research by New Climate Economy which says commitments on carbon emission cuts made ahead of the Paris Conference are not enough to bring about reductions that are needed. The remaining reductions can be found if actions are taking locally, deforestation is halted and other greenhouse gases are tackled.

Carbon Tracker sees $283bn of LNG projects as uneconomic Bloomberg Business reports on conclusions by Carbon Tracker Initiative  which says about $283bn of liquefied natural gas projects may be surplus to requirements if the world is to keep carbon emissions below levels aimed at holding global warming to under 2 degrees Celsius.

Refracking is the new fracking Bloomberg Business reports refracking of shale wells could extend their life to about 50 years. It provides a much-needed sense of hope or the US shale industry, the website says. The process is similar to the original frack but risks are high. Refracking can take oil from the producing zones of other wells or ruin a reservoir. But the low cost is appealing.

Shale gas “will not succeed” in Europe says think tank Energy Live News reports on comments by Andrew Grant of Carbon Tracker who said shale gas will not succeed in Europe because gas demand in the continent could be satisfied by other sources. “Europe has a significant need for gas but it also has a number of options in order to supply it”, he said.

Fracking facing crisis of trust from public Upstream Online reports on the refusals by Lancashire County Council of Cuadrilla’s planning applications and the formalisation of a ban on fracking in New York. The website says “many people don’t trust the industry and don’t trust fracking. For many climate campaigners fracking has become a lightning rod issue that has allowed them to build momentum in campaigns against fossil fuels in general.”

The myths about fracking are many and damaging Merrill Matthews, writing in Investor’s Business Daily Viewpoint column looks at the association of earthquakes and water contamination with fracking. “The scientific evidence does not support the media confusion and hyperbole”, it says. “Earthquakes and occasionally contaminated groundwater existed long before fracking, which appears to be a safe industrial process”.

The Carbon Brief Interview: Syukuro Manabe Meteorologist Manabe tells The Carbon Brief: “I think for the time being – and this will probably happen anyway – that we will use natural gas produced by fracking. It will buy us some time. Meanwhile, we should put a major emphasis on clean technologies and optimise our electricity grid systems so we use less fossil fuel.”

Fracking Nightmare episode 58: Westminster debate, Defra report uncensored, fracking in North Yorkshire and who is Amanda Webster

Fracking vote was major victory for people and planet MP Cat Smith, writing in The Visitor, describes the refusal of Cuadrilla’s applications as “an amazing victory for the people of Lancashire, people in Britain and worldwide – for people and for planet”.

6th July 2015

National fracking college bosses reaction to planning rejection blows FE Week reports that bosses at Blackpool and Fylde College – the hub of the new National College for Onshore Oil and Gas – were waiting to find out if appeals would be launched against two refusals of planning permission in Lancashire. The college has already said it won’t be affected.

UK energy sector must decarbonise by 2030, says UN-backed report Business Green reports on conclusions from the Deep Decarbonisation Pathway Project which says the UK’s power sector must eliminate 85-90% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and drastically scale up carbon capture and storage if it is to meet 2050 climate targets.

SRBC: Water quality not impacted by shale gas drilling Natural Gas Intel reports on findings by the Susquehama River Basin Commission which says Marcellus Shale development has had no impact on water quality of rivers, streams and watersheds in northern Pennsylvania and southern New York over the past three years.

North East MPs lobby Prime Minister David Cameron over fracking decisions Chronicle Live reports that Mary Clindon (North Tyneside) and Ian Mearns (Gateshead) want David Cameron to ensure that decisions are made locally and that they are not overturned by national government.

Green Party fears fracking ‘go ahead’ in town The Warrington Guardian reports that the town’s Green Party is warning residents that a major fracking go-ahead could be on the horizon. The Greens fear planners could soon approve fracking in the area at Woolston, next to M6 junction 21. They think noise, traffic and air pollution are harder to argue as reasons for rejection because the site is on a motorway junction.

Vince slams UK government over double-standards Business Review Europe reports comments by Ecotricity founder, Dale Vince that government moves to end financial support for onshore wind represents double standards compared with subsidy for nuclear and fracking.

Our energy system is sick and it’s being fed with poison A blog by the New Economics Foundation says with campaigns racking up wins for fracking it is time to expose what it says are the failings of neoliberal energy. Alternative models, such as community energy cooperatives, should be taken seriously. But the first step is to admit the system isn’t working.

5th July 2015

Secrecy over fracking chemicals clouds environmental risks, advocates say The Guardian reports from New York on calls by members of the Union for Concerned Scientists for the fracking industry to provide more detailed information to regulators. A list of more than 1,076 chemicals used in fracking remains unknown to the public, the paper says.

Reform fracking planning applications An economic bulletin by the Centre for Policy Studies says “The need to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds, and more than a year, to gain planning permission merely for exploratory projects is a barrier to the growth of fracking. The Government should reduce this barrier by placing a strict time limit for local councils to make their decision before it is passed on to Central Government. The Government should also examine treating shale gas fields a matter of national importance and thus a decision for Central Government.

Fracking’s Waterloo shatters power plans. The Sunday Times reports that whether plans by IGas in Nottinghamshire and Third Energy in North Yorkshire will succeed where Cuadrilla failed will be of great interest to Whitehall and the industry. Without shale gas, Britain could face a 30% shortfall between power demand and supply by 2030, the paper says.

Explorer opens new front on fracking The Sunday Times reports that Third Energy had resubmitted its application to frack at Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire.

3rd July 2015

Britain needs to get fracking The Spectator says something went seriously wrong with democracy when Lancashire County Council voted to refuse an application by Cuadrilla to frack near Blackpool. The magazine says: “We need a planning system that recognises from the outset that infrastructure projects of national importance can only sensibly be decided by national government”.

Removing local powers on fracking at this stage would be a draconian step Planning Resource (subscription only) discusses the implications of the government overruling Lancashire County Council’s decision to refuse planning permission to Cuadrilla for fracking in Fylde.

What the Lancashire fracking refusals mean for future shale gas applications Planning Resource(subscription only) reports that Lancashire County Council’s decision to refuse two fracking applications – one against officers’ advice – has prompted debate over whether the current rules for determining such applications are fit for purpose.

Opposition to fracking in Sussex and Surrey mounts Proactive Investors reports on the implications of the refusals of Cuadrilla’s fracking planning applications

Seismic: Fracking stumbles again The Economist says the decision against fracking in Lancashire puts the government in a bind.

People power has shut the doors on fracking in the UK The Guardian reports Relentless local protests and a damning report by DEFRA have dealt a double blow to a fledgling fracking industry, but the companies aren’t going to go away

What new spending reductions could mean for DECC The Green Alliance analyses the impact of proposed departmental spending reductions on the government’s ability to deliver planned energy reforms and climate policy. It says reductions would have a major impact on staffing, research and energy-efficiency spending. This may increase costs to consumers because it will be harder for government to negotiate good deals for back-up capacity, low carbon generation and other energy services.

Anti-fracking Nanas: ‘The government is all out for shale – we’re all out to stop it’ The Guardian reports on how headscarf-wearing women in Lancashire faced up to Cuadrilla and became the frontline against fracking in Lancashire.

Council leader: Decision has not been made to turn town into a ‘no fracking’ borough Terry O’Neill, leader of Warrington Borough Council, tells the Warrington Guardian no decision has been made to make the town an “anti-fracking borough”. This is despite a call by Warrington North’s MP, Helen Jones. Cllr Kevin Bennett is looking for a seconder for his motion to declare Warrington a frack-free zone, the paper says.

A plentiful source of energy Michael Barker, in the letters page of the Hastings Observer, supports shale fracking. If there is enough gas in the Bowland shale to supply UK needs for 50 years, he asks: “Why should we remain beholden to foreign powers, paying high prices as a result, for what we can produce ourselves?”

2nd July 2015

Campaigners question “gold standard” regulation after revealing IGas coal bed methane site has no environmental permit Our report

Caroline Lucas urges Prime Minister to stand by local refusal of Cuadrilla’s Lancashire fracking plans Our report

MP Cat Smith grills PM on Lancashire fracking decision The Lancashire Evening Post reports on the warning by Lancaster and Fylde MP, Cat Smith, to the Prime Minister that pushing fracking through after local councillors rejected it would be anti-democratic.

Oklahoma case could open doors to more earthquake-fracking lawsuits Inside Climate News reports that the State Supreme Court’s decision to allow 65 year old Sandra Ladra to sue energy companies over a quake which damaged her house and injured her could encourage others to stop forward with liability cases. Climate Profess report

Third Energy fracking permit consultation extended The Environment Agency announces that the public consultation, which opened on 10th June, will be extended for public submissions until 7th August.

Lancashire MP joins fracking debate The Lancashire Evening Post reports that Seema Kennedy, MP for South Ribble, highlighted in a parliamentary debate her constituents’ concerns about fracking.

Any more cock-ups will be a very big problem Nigel Mills, chair of the APPG on unconventional oil and gas, tells the Shale Gas in the UK conference: “This [fracking] has to be done safely. It has to be done cleanly, it has to be done responsibly. All the rules have to be complied with”. He says “any more cock-ups on it will be a very big problem”. He adds it will be a policy challenge to “put in place a sufficiently robust framework that we can have confidence in, that we can sell to our constituents, that they can have confidence in, then that has to be made to work for the long term future of the industry.”

Devon MP suggests public could “buy in” to idea of fracking The Western Morning News reports that the new chair of the Commons Environmental and Rural Affairs Committee, Neil Parish, has urged ministers to do more to encourage people to “buy-in” to fracking. He says fracking would be good for the country but the Government must demonstrate to communities there are tangible benefits first in order to get their support.

1st July 2015

Government finally releases full version of rural fracking report Our post and reaction

The economics of fracking for the UK OilPrice.com reports that the economic benefits of UK shale are not easy to assess.

UK oil and gas revenues halve as OPEC wages war on shale Breitbart.com reports that UK revenue from oil and gas has fallen by 54% in a year, from £4.7bn in 2013-14 to £2.1bn in 2014-15 as world oil prices continue to drop.

Residents in push for fracking plan answers The Gazette and Herald reports that councillors and residents in Ryedale, North Yorkshire, are pushing to know why Third Energy’s application to frack at Kirby Misperton failed to pass its initial validation process. Ryedale District Councillors and members of Frack Free Ryedale say they have unanswered questions for the gas company. Sue Gough, from Little Barugh, said: “Third Energy are claiming that they are ‘good neighbours’ yet they still refuse to tell local residents the reasons why their fracking application failed its validation test. We deserve to know the reasons.”

MPs raise fears about impact of fracking on farms and water Farmers Weekly reports from the parliamentary debate on fracking. MPs across the political spectrum raised multiple concerns, including the destruction of prime farmland, water contamination and the ability of farmers to produce safe food that the publi

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

  • Reaction to refusal of Cuadrilla’s Lancashire fracking applications, including company announcement of appeals
  • Government announces exclusion zones for fracking. Criticism over no ban on fracking in SSSIs or under National Parks
  • Government releases unredacted version of report on rural impacts of shale gas
  • Companies drop Dudleston coal bed methane planning appeal and site
  • Third Energy planning application to frack at Kirby Misperton published after validation delays
  • Fracking to be tried by international human rights tribunal
  • Task Force on Shale Gas publishes second report. Campaigners describe it as a “PR ruse”
  • Anger at approval of Preesall underground gas storage facility in Lancashire and campaigners raise money for judicial review of approval of Roseacre Wood monitoring plan
  • Questions over SNP support for fracking and Scottish moratorium
  • Ineos launches first two ships to bring shale gas from the US to Grangemouth

31st July 2015

Dart drops Dudleston coal bed methane planning appeal as IGas pulls out of Shropshire site Our report

Barton Moss fracking trial adjourned again because no prosecutor available Our report

Fracking could be delayed for up to two years across UK after Lancashire council rejects test drilling The and The Independent reports comments by senior government sources that shale companies are unlikely to submit further fracking applications until the outcome of Lancashire’s planning appeal. This could take at least 16 months, a senior source tells the paper. Report in the i

172 groups lambast Task Force on Shale Gas as ‘”untrustworthy propaganda” Talk Fracking reports that 172 environmental and community organisations, including Greenpeace, Climate Revolution and 38 degrees, have signed a letter describing the Task Force on Shale Gas report (published 15th July 2015) as a “PR stunt”. It said the report was “a ruse” by the Task Force secretariat, Edelman PR, to “push through fracking undemocratically”. Joe Corre of TalkFracking.org said: “The Task Force on Shale Gas report is funded by the Shale Gas Industry. It is like a Paedophile Ring being asked to investigate Paedophilia in Parliament. It’s not going to be impartial”.

Fracking should be an option for the future in a mixed energy package Louie Macari, writing in the letters’ page of the Herald Scotland, argues against a blanket ban on fracking for shale gas.

If Cuadrilla get their way on fracking, it will come at the cost of Lancashire’s democracy Hannah Martin (Greenpeace energy campaigner), writing in The Independent’s Voices column says the government needs to recognize that the fight against fracking is about “local people defending their right to a clean, safe and sustainable future for themselves, and for the whole country”.

Coal gasification presents burning issue in Scotland The FT reports that Algy Cluff, founder of Cluff Natural Resources, has called for “common sense to prevail” as pressure grows on the SNP to widen its moratorium on unconventional gas extraction. One constituency group is calling on the party to include coal gasification, while other members want a permanent ban on fracking techniques. Mr Cluff described UCG as “a matter of national importance”.

30th July 2015

Third Energy’s planning application to frack at Kirby Misperton in N Yorks includes proposals for a noise barrier built from three layers of shipping containers Our report and Guest post cartoon published with kind permission of Howard and Hilda Hiker  Reports by ITVGazette and HeraldYorkshire Post

No prosecutor for Barton Moss fracking protest trial is “inexcusable – judge says Our report  Update: case adjourned until 31st July Details

British Gas owner Centrica cuts thousands of jobs The Guardian reports Centrica is cutting back on gas exploration and the interest in UK onshore shale exploration is “under review”. The cuts are part of a restructuring by the new chief executive, Ian Conn, formerly of BP. Bloomberg report

Tory teen quits after being suspended by party over social media claims The Post reports at that a 16-year-old Conservative who tweeted about meeting Natalie Bennett at an anti-fracking protest has left the party. Connor Dwyer was suspended over his posts on social media, which the Conservatives said promoted other parties over theirs.

Local SNP branches join push for party to adopt blanket fracking ban The Herald Scotland reports local SNP branches have submitted motions ahead of October’s mass meeting calling for opposition to fracking and underground coal gasification.

SNP snake oil: guaranteed to dull the senses Alex Massie, writing in The Times, considers the news Algy Cluff of Cluff Natural Resources wrote to Scottish ministers asking if the SNP administration’s moratorium on fracking extended to his company’s plans to extract coal gas from beneath the Firth of Forth. Massie says the reaction to this ‘entirely unexceptional exchange’ was ‘remarkable’. Cluff was accused of ‘guilt-tripping’ ministers, and SNP MPs queued up to argue that Cluff’s application should be denied. He thinks the events show the extent to which the SNP is ‘given a free pass by its own supporters.’

Fracking decision may just be temporary setback Julian Mellis, of estate agents Fisher German, writing in The Shropshire Star, says the grounds for refusal of Cuadrilla’s Lancashire applications (landscape and noise) are not insurmountable. The potential for precedent looks slim, he says. But he suggests the level of regulation and the low oil price may make fracking unattractive in the UK.

New group set up to protest against fracking in Craven and the Dales The Craven Herald reports on the formation of Frack Free Craven. The group is due to leaflet Skipton town centre on Saturday and Sunday.

Brown Administration Sued for Ignoring Risk Report on Fracking The Biodiversity reports it has sued California’s oil agency for finalizing an inadequate environmental review of fracking eight days before the release of a state-mandated study showing that fracking and oil industry pollution threatens air, water and public health.

29th July 2015

Final call for comments on oil and gas consultations Our report on consultations for permits by Third Energy at Ebberston Moor South, Pickering and Kirby Misperton and Hampshire’s supplementary planning document.

MP’s anger at Lancashire gas storage plans The Fleetwood Weekly News reports that Conservative MP for Preston North and Wyre, Ben Wallace, has urged councils to seek a judicial review of his government’s approval of gas storage plans. The scheme to store up to 900m cubic meters of gas in 19 salt caverns was rejected three times and inspired a 40,000 signature petition against it. A cross-party group of Wyre councillors has called a Notice of Motion for a meeting tomorrow asking for the authority to work with Lancashire County Council on a judicial review.

Gas firm Cluff accused of ‘holding Scotland to ransom’ BBC News reports that WWF Scotland has accused the firm behind plans to use coal seams under the Forth to produce gas of “attempting to hold Scotland to ransom”. The broadcaster says this follows the publication of letters between Algy Cluff, the head of Cluff Natural Resources, and Scottish ministers. They show that the day after a ban on unconventional oil and gas development was announced Cluff warned that plans to invest more than £250m were at risk. The letters were obtained under an FOI request by The Ferret investigative website.

Upton Parish Council backs moratorium on unconventional gas exploration The Chronicle reports that the Labour-led majority of councillors on Upton Parish Council voted to block the development, extraction and prospecting for unconventional gas in the area until residents’ concerns had been addressed. It also banned companies undertaking seismic testing on parish council owned land. The council is to develop a policy on unconventional extraction within its boundary,

How to win the media war against grassroots activists: Stratfor’s strategies The US website MintPress News reports on strategies used by the private intelligence agency, Stratfor, for isolating radical activists, cultivating idealists and educating them on becoming realists. Stratfor then co-opted the realist, the website reports.

Response to Lee Petts Mr G Daniels responds to Lee Petts’ letter to the Blackpool Gazette (see 27th July). Mr Daniels says quarrying, which has taken place at the site since 1948 and as permission to work until 2042 so it is not a suitable comparison with fracking. The LCC decision was to grant additional land to be quarried, not an extended timescale, he said. He also said Mr Pett’s suggestion that the decision would generate 75,000 HGV journeys could not be substantiated.

Drillers could sidestep New York fracking ban with propane gel Shale Energy Insider reports that the use of gelled propane could exploit a potential loophole in the ban on high volume hydraulic fracturing in New York. Gelled propane technologies use liquefied gas instead of water.

28th July 2015

Fracturing democracy? State, fracking and local power in Lancashire The Our Kingdom website reports that despite refusal of Cuadrilla’s applications to frack in Lancashire power is being stripped from people in Britain.

MEP claims government’s ‘misinformed and ideological’ opposition to renewable technologies is destroying thousands of potential jobs The Dorset Echo reports on comments by Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for SW England on the removal of subsidies for solar and wind power generation.

Has gas missed its chance to be a bridging fuel? Greenpeace Energy Desk in a comment column says the numbers and rhetoric on gas replacing coal don’t match. “The reality is that gas is extremely unlikely to boom nearly as much as energy giants are hoping. Not at least in a world where global leaders are attempting to keep global warming to relatively safe levels and where renewable technology costs are plummeting”, it says.

Slashing renewable subsidies will move UK toward “Dark Age” – Veolia CIWM journal online reports on reaction to government plans to remove pre-accreditation from the Feed in Tariff. Richard Kirkman, technical director, Veolia UK and Ireland, said this was an effective withdrawal from the renewable energy sector and the government had stripped away without warning incentives for projects. “We appear to be entering another Dark Age where we will return to total fossil fuel reliance, power cuts, low confidence in UK investment, opening the door for fracking activities to maintain energy security.” Guardian report (27th July)

Labour’s abstention allowed fracking David Burley, writing in the Letters Page of the Sheffield Star, describes how Labour’s abstention on a moratorium on fracking, during a debate in January on the Infrastructure Bill, allowed the government to do what it wanted.

27th July 2015

What now for UK shale gas? Rig Zone interviews Ken Cronin, chief executive of the UK Onshore Operators’ Group about the refusal of Cuadrilla’s Lancashire applications He dismisses the idea that the industry is dead and look to the positives in the Lancashire decisions. These include the planning officers’ recommendation to approve Preston New Road. He also argues for faster planning decisions.

Support for Cuadrilla’s decision to appeal on fracking refusals Lee Petts, Managing Director of Remsol (which has worked with Cuadrilla), in the Letters’ Page of the Blackpool Gazette, contrasts the refusal of Cuadrilla’s applications with approval of plans to extend a quarry in rural Lancashire. Sean Lord, Director of Network Box (which supported Cuadrilla’s application for fracking) explains in the Lancashire Evening Post’s letters page why he is backing the company in its appeal.

It’s not climate change – it’s everything change Margaret Atwood describes three scenarios: where all nations plan for life without oil or gas, where no nations do so and where only some do.

Tories quick to drop Lib Dem green ideas Tony Somers, writing in The Independent, that the Conservative government is going in the opposite direction to the previous coalition on the promise to be the “greenest government ever”. Could the hidden agenda of cancelling the Green Deal make the need to frack for gas inevitable, he asks.

Anti-fracking group warns of danger to coastline The Hartlepool Mail reports on a protest walk and public meeting in Hartlepool against fuel extraction along the north-east coast.

Petition tops 6,000 A petition on the government website calling for fracking to be scrapped and for investment to be made in green energy has reached 6,373. At 10,000 signatures, the government will respond to the petition. At 100,000 signatures the petition will be considered for debate in parliament. The deadline for signatures is 22nd January 2016.

26th July 2015

Fury as the SNP delays decision on fracking until after the election The Scottish Mail on Sunday reports the Scottish Government will not make a decision on fracking until after next May’s Scottish election, to avoid a backlash from voters. The government imposed a temporary ban on fracking in January to allow for a consultation. But it did not publish a timetable.

Fracking permits for half of Britain The Express reports that nearly half of Britain is set to be opened up to fracking by oil and gas companies under new exploration licences awarded by the government next month.

No-one thought the lights would go out before we knew of fracking M Cairns, writing in the letters page of the Belfast News Letter, says the claim that fracking is needed to stop the lights going out is “a huge lie”.

25th July 2015

Ineos shale fleet is underway The Falkirk Herald reports that two ships built to transport shale gas from the USA to Ineos’s Grangemouth plant have been named in Shanghai: JS Ineos Insight and JS Ineos Ingenuity. They are the first of eight tankers commissioned by Ineos as part of its plans to import 800,000 tonnes of shale gas a year.

Fracking threat to National Park The Northumberland Gazette reports on the government’s draft regulations on areas where fracking is to be banned.

24th July 2015

Environment Agency board appointments The government appoints an existing board member of the EA, Emma Howard Boyd, is appointed deputy chair for four years. She has spent 25 years in financial services, including Director of Stewardship at Jupiter Asset Management until July 2014. John Varley, Karen Burrows and Peter Ainsworth are reappointed board members.

23rd July 2015

Cuadrilla to appeal against Lancashire fracking refusals; campaigners say this is “a blatant disregard of local people and democracy” Our report

Coverage of Cuadrilla’s decision to appeal against its planning refusals and conditions Cuadrilla to Appeal Fracking Veto – Wall Street Journal; Cuadrilla to appeal over Lancashire fracking refusal – BBC News; Fracking: Cuadrilla appeals against Lancashire refusal – The Telegraph; Cuadrilla to appeal against fracking refusal by Lancashire county council – The Guardian; Cuadrilla to appeal rejection of UK fracking licences – Industrial Minerals. Thanks to the APPG on Unconventional Gas and Oil for the links. Also report by The Ecologist

Fracking to go on trial at international human rights tribunal Our report  New Internationalist report  Julie Wassmer writes for the New Internationalist Blog; Damien Short and Tom Kerns write in The Ecologist Andy Rowell writes for EcoWatch and Oil Change International

Fracking subsidies would be better spent elsewhere Professor Keith Barnham, writing in the Letters Page of The Guardian, said subsidies for fracking would be better offered to landowners to encourage them to spend animal and crop waste for anaerobic digestion.

Poll: After government U-turn on controversial process – do you want fracking in Kent Kent News launches a poll on fracking and sets out some of the issues on the process.

We don’t need fracking Stewart Kemp, of Ecclesall Ward Green Party writes to the Sheffield Star says “The Peak District National Park Authority must be alert to the danger of losing its own protection as election pledges are swept aside in the Government’s drive for fossil fuel extraction.” He adds: Shale oil and gas are not needed to meet our energy needs. We don’t need to run the risk of environmental pollution from fracking.

Two new gas power stations given green light The Government announces approval of plans from gas-fired power stations at Eye, Suffolk, and near Aberdare in South Wales. The plants will provide electricity at times of surging demand or where there is a sudden drop in generated power elsewhere.

Shale gas exploration must move ahead in the UK The British Chamber of Commerce responds to Cuadrilla announcement of an appeal against refusals in Lancashire: “Businesses across Britain, who worry about keeping on the lights, will hope this appeal is successful. Shale gas exploration must move ahead in the UK. The benefits for both local economies and our energy security must be realised.”

Chancellor takes the high carbon road The TUC blog Touchstone presents arguments that the government is about to take a series of high carbon decisions that will replace renewables with fossil fuels.

Local environmental activists call Cameron’s fracking policy a con In Loughborough interviews a local Friends of the Earth campaigner on his views on fracking’s risks.

Anti-fracking protesters return to quarry site The Impartial Reporter describes how a half-naked anti-fracking campaigner playing a harp was in Belcoo this week with a tuneful message for any company considering drilling in Fermanagh: “We will not let this happen.” The campaigner, who quoted lyrics from The Pogues star Shane MacGowan, joined others to mark one year after fracking company Tamboran moved equipment into the site of the former quarry.

22nd July 2015

Five onshore wells drilled in six months Our report on latest data on onshore oil and gas developments

Recession cut US emissions, not falling coal use Climate News Network reports on research by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and University of Maryland, which concluded that most of the 11% fall in CO2 emissions in the US from 2007-13 was caused by economic recession, rather than the switch from coal to gas in electricity production. Carbon Brief report BBC News report

ConocoPhillips halts shale gas talks with CNPC for Sichuan field Energy Voice reports that ConocoPhillips has ended discussions with China National Petroleum Corp on shale gas development in the Neijiang-Dazu field after a two-year study.

Fylde anti-frackers’ fury over Halite gas decision The Blackpool Gazette reports comments by Barbara Richardson, of Roseacre Awareness Group, who says: ““We are appalled by this decision to overrule local democracy and fear that Westminster will try and intervene in the fracking debate too against the wishes of the people and elected representatives. We elect local councillors (parish, borough and county) to represent us and this is democracy in action. Local people understand local issues and the will of the people. To blatantly ignore this is sheer arrogance and a recipe for disaster. We will stand with the people of the Wyre.”

Fracking on the agenda at West Lancashire Council meeting The Southport Visitor reports a motion by Cllr John Hodson against fracking is due to be discussed by a full meeting of West Lancashire Council on Thursday. The motion supports Lancashire County Council’s decision to refuse Cuadrilla’s applications to frack at Roseacre Wood and Preston New Road.

Ineos wants to drill now in Falkirk area The Falkirk Herald reports Ineos wants to drill four or five wells in the Midland Valley of Scotland to take core samples to check for shale gas content. The Scottish government moratorium on unconventional oil and gas planning applications is likely to extend until after the May 2016 election. But Ineos wants to start test drilling before then.

UK looks to steer renewable energy subsidies towards fracking Click Green reports that a written answer by energy minister, Andrea Leadsom, which confirms the current Spending Review is looking to redirect renewable energy subsidies towards fracking and nuclear power.

Talk Fracking statement opposing Task Force on Shale Gas TalkFracking.Org issues a statement describing the Task Force as an “astroturf” PR exercises and arguing that it cannot be trusted because of its links with Edelman PR.

The Guardian view on greening the economy: the price is worth paying The Guardian Comment Is Free column says just like fracking and nuclear, greening the energy supply needs intervention. It will not be cheap. But for future generations, not doing it will cost far more.

‘It’s the New World Record’: Earthquakes Linked to Fracking Are Getting Stronger in Alberta Vice Newsreports one of three earthquakes (measuring 4.4) that gently rocked the oil town of Fox Creek in northern Alberta this year may have been the strongest seismic event ever caused by fracking, worldwide. The number of earthquakes in the area has risen from two before 2003 to 160, according to a study in 2015.

Clean Energy, Not Fracking Kate Sinding, of Community Fracking Defense Project at the Natural Resources Defence Council writes to the letters page of The New York Times Letters Page arguing that no US state has yet implemented any fracking regulations that are sufficient to protect public health or the environment. Additionally, she says, “industry fights regulation at every turn. And fracking regulations that do exist often go unenforced.”

21st July 2015

Third Energy’s Ryedale planning application refused for validation for second time Our report Reports by The Northern Echo and Gazette and Herald

MP accuses gov of using small print to hide policy U-turn on fracking in wildlife sites Our report

Energy Secretary says shale gas developers need to make the case for fracking with local communities Our report

Keep the fracking ban in national parks and wildlife zones Greenpeace launches a petition asking the Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, to keep the government’s promises to protect national parks and wildlife sites from fracking.

Lancashire’s fracking victory was even greater than we know Damien Short, writing in The Ecologist, says the decision by Lancashire councillors to refuse Cuadrilla’s two planning applications overcame not just the company but also pro-fracking bias as well as legal and scientific misrepresentation.

How plunging oil prices have created a volatile new force in the global economy The Guardian reports that US hopes for energy independence through fracking are vulnerable to supply decisions made in Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Wall Street lenders growing impatient with US shale revolution Bloomberg reports bank regulators have issued on the risks in lending to US drillings. This threatens a cash crunch in an industry that is more dependent than ever on other people’s money, the website says. “Lenders in general are increasing pressure on oil companies either to raise more equity or do some sort of transaction to pay down their credit lines and free up extra cash,” said Jimmy Vallee, of law firm Paul Hastings LLP in Houston.

Egdon Resources sees promising results from Wressle 1 Energy Voice reports assessments in the Penistone flags zone 3A of the Wressle-1 well in PEDL 180 suggest a production rate of 180+ barrels of oil equivalent a day.

20th July 2015

We should not allow Ryedale countryside to be industrialised by fracking Two more letters to the Yorkshire on plans by Third Energy to frack at Kirby Misperton.

Wind farm backing Daragh Croxon, of West and South Dorset Green Party, in the letters’ page of the Dorset Echo, writes that the real threat to the Jurassic Coast and the coastal communities living along it, comes not from an offshore wind farm but from rising sea levels and global warming driven by fossil fuel operations like fracking.

No proper monitoring of methane emissions Robin Russell-Jones, writing to the FT letters page, suggests the increased electricity generation from gas over coal in the US may not benefit climate change. He says this is because of increased methane emissions released during the fracking process. Exemptions granted by the Bush administration mean there has been no proper monitoring of methane releases in the US. Fugitive methane emissions need to be below 2% (according to Professor Tom Wigley) to make shale gas better than coal from a climate perspective. Some independent studies show releases are well above 2%, Mr Russell-Jones says.

Halliburton secures $500m to fund drilling in old wells Reuters reports that BlackRock Inc is paying Halliburton $500m to help fund drilling existing shale wells. Halliburton President, Jeffrey Miller, says: “Though a relatively small market today, we see significant runway for refrac in the future”.

People want wind farms, not fossil fuels David Penney, of Pendle & Rossendale Green Party and Keep East Lancashire Frack Free, writing on the letters’ page of the Burnley Express, criticises local councillors and the MP for wanting to stop onshore wind farms while promoting shale and coal bed methane extraction.

Where next? A five point plan for getting UK decarbonisation back on track Business Green reports that in the past two and a half months the government has promoted fracking and reneged on promises on environmental protection regulations. This coincided with confirmation from the Committee on Climate Change that the UK is no longer on track to meet its carbon targets for the mid-2020s. The website argues for energy efficiency, auctioning clean energy subsidy contracts, simpler policy landscape, bolstering of green investment and changing the narrative on clean energy.

Government backtracks on fracking safeguards for drinking water and protected areas Friends of the Earth briefing for MPs on government regulations for fracking

19th July 2015

Ministers “selling” fracking fail to address public concerns – new research Our report on ReFine study into different government and public approaches to the shale debate. Also Chronicle Live report and Chemistry World report

Fracking pioneers win early go-ahead The Sunday Times reports the energy secretary Amber Rudd has decided to award a new round of onshore oil and gas licences in two stages to speed up the development of fracking. The government will grant some licences from the 14th onshore round within weeks, the paper says, and delay others that require additional environmental checks. Energy Minister, Andrea Leadsom, said: “We want to get shale moving and this is a clear example of the government’s progress, while still upholding our strong environmental controls”.

Jim’s big bet The Sunday Times also reports on Ineos’s plans to build a fleet of ships to carry shale gas to the Grangemouth refinery.

Frack and ruin The Sunday Times reports that fears may be misplaced that gas extraction in beauty spots could hit house prices.

Ineos accused of breaching fracking moratorium Herald Scotland reports that the petrochemical company has been accused of planning to flout the Scottish Government’s moratorium on fracking by test drilling for shale gas in central Scotland. It has revealed it is to apply for planning permission to sink four or five wells to find out how much gas is trapped. The test drilling will not involve fracking, it says. But community and environmental group insist the plans would breach the moratorium and destroy public trust.

Could your home see its value collapse due to fracking The Express reports that fracking is set to wipe £75billion off the value of Britain’s home, according to a new report. The paper says leading property experts have voiced fears fracking could bring the housing market close to collapse in large parts of the country. A survey of 60 estate agents in areas which will be affected by fracking revealed that most thought the loss of value per property could be as much as a tenth, while a handful estimated that prices could plummet by up to 70 per cent, the paper says. The Lincolnshire Echo reports prices in the county could fall by £3,400 because of fracking.

Here we go again: Fracking industry mangles more facts Reader Support News rebuts claims in Energy in Depth (see 14th July 2015) that US methane emissions are falling. Mark Brownstein, of the Environmental Defense Fund, says the US EPA’s latest inventory released in April found that in 2013 the oil and gas industry released 7.3m metric tons+ of methane from their operations, a 3% increase on 2012.

New wave of support for UK sovereign wealth fund The FT reports on growing support for a UK sovereign wealth fund which proponents believe would pump money into large infrastructure projects. Supporters include the mayor of London, Boris Johnson and what the FT calls senior figures in the fund management industry.

Call for landowners to refuse access to DIAS testing exercise Belcoo Frack Free believes tests by the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies this summer on carbon capture and sequestration in Fermanagh, Cavan and Leitrim, would be useful to fracking companies. It is asking landowners to refuse access to the tests and says the agencies involved have “completely failed to engage with any of the local communities or campaign groups”. Reports by the Irish Times and The Journal

New journal Elsevier launches the Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering. It says the objective is to bridge the gap between the engineering and science of natural gas. Articles will be intelligible to scientists and engineers working in any field of natural gas science and engineering from the reservoir to market.

18th July 2015

More letters on fracking The Yorkshire Post includes a letter from Graham Gill, who writes to express his concern “that such an inept company would even consider fracking”. He says: “I hope that Yorkshire follows Lancashire’s lead in not allowing it, not just for the local costs, but also for the global ones.” Nelly Trevelyan, also writing on the Letters’ Page, asks: “Why is it that if we are against wind farms, the Government will help us by bringing in a new rule allowing us to use the argument of the ‘cumulative effect’? We would also be allowed to use strength of local opinion as a valid argument. However, if we are against fracking, we are not able to use this argument, and nor can we use the strength of local opinion as a valid planning consideration.

Opinion: SNP has backed itself into a corner on fracking The Herald Scotland’s political correspondent, Daniel Sanderson, reports on the reaction of Ineos senior figures to the emotive and politically-charged debate about shale gas in Scotland. New members of the SNP appear to see fracking as something to be opposed at all costs, he says, despite the Scottish Government’s publically stated “evidence-based” approach. “Would the First Minister risk alienating them, potentially pushing them into the arms of the rapidly-expanding Greens?” he asks.

17th July 2015

Media coverage of government announcement on fracking exclusion zones Government makes ‘outrageous’ U-turn over fracking in precious wildlife sites – The Guardian; Fracking to be allowed in protected wildlife areas after Government U-turn – The Daily Telegraph; Fracking U-turn for wildlife site drilling – The Times; Government reveals plan for fracking exclusion zones – BusinessGreen; Fury as Government gives green light to fracking beneath national parks – The Northern Echo; Shale gas – Tories not protecting National Parks and AONB – Flint – Labour press release  [Thanks to the APPG on Unconventional Gas and Oil for links] Also British U-turn on protected areas ignore shale-sceptics’ resentment – Natural Gas Europe; Fracking go-ahead in SSSI wildlife sites, groundwater sources – The Ecologist

Fracking protected area regulations published Link

Preesall underground gas storage facility receives planning consent A government press release announced that the Energy Minister, Lord Bourne, had granted planning permission for the facility proposed to be constructed on the east side of the Wyre Estuary at Preesall in Lancashire. It will be used to store and extract gas from local underground salt caverns. Links to key documents

Beware permitting fracking, says farmer who allowed coal methane borehole The Guardian picks up the story of Paul Hickson (See Shropshire Star 16th July) who signed an access agreement with an energy company to drill a test well on land at Dudleston in Shropshire. He tells the paper he had no idea of the physical or psychological impact it could have on him and his family.

Coal gas plan for Dee Estuary ‘on hold’ BBC News reports that Cluff Natural Resources has put on hold plans to burn coal seams underneath the Dee Estuary of the Point of Ayr. The company says it wants to concentrate on a project in Scotland. A spokesman for Frack Free Dee says it will work with community groups around the licence areas in Scotland to prevent coal seam gasification in Scotland.

Environmental regulation in line for further red tape reforms The Ends Report (subscription only) says that the government is targeting the energy sector for deregulation. “The Better Regulation Executive is seeking industry views on barriers to growth and productivity, including complex licensing requirements, compliance rules and burdens on new market entrants. It also asks if the regulatory framework could be improved to better support innovation and disruptive business models”, ENDS says.

Ken Macintosh urges Scottish Labour to strengthen position on fracking Holyrood Magazine reports that hopeful Scottish Labour Ken Macintosh says the party should oppose fracking. “If we are serious about tackling climate change, we need stronger political commitment than this.  Under my leadership, Scottish Labour will lead that agenda once more”, he says.

SNP MPs urged to donate big pay rise to charity The Scotsman reports that the Edinburgh East SNP MP Tommy Sheppard will take only the same salary increase as public sector workers and donate the rest to local groups and charities. “I will make an immediate donation to Our Forth, which is an organisation campaigning against fracking”, he tells the paper.

16th July 2015

Government press release announces fracking will be allowed under National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and World Heritage Sites, below 1,200m. More details due tomorrow. Environmental groups accuse ministers of bypassing democracy and watering down protection of beautiful landscapes. Our report 

Reaction to comments by Ineos chairman, Jim Ratcliffe, that the SNP supports fracking Government must “come clean” on fracking after Ineos boss claims ministers are privately supportive – Herald Scotland; SNP under pressure after Ineos chief claims ministers said they were ‘not against fracking’ – The National; Friends of the Earth Scotland calls on SNP to clarify fracking position – Holyrood, Nicola Sturgeon urged to come clean on Ineos tycoon’s fracking claims – Daily Record, Ineos chief: Scottish Government ‘is not against fracking’ – STV; It’s time for the SNP to come clean on fracking – Scottish Labour blog, SNP has to ‘come clean’ on fracking – Express [Thanks to the APPG on Unconventional Gas and Oil for links]

Stressed Shropshire farmer in gas drilling contract warning Paul Hickson, the farmer caught up in Dart’s plan to drill for coal bed methane in north Shropshire (see our story on 15th July 2015) , warns other landowners not to sign licence agreements with energy companies. He tells the Shropshire Star he does not want other farmers to go through the three years of stress and worry he has endured after he agreed to give Dart three years in which to look for gas under his field.

Astonishing claims from fracking firm Chris Redston, of Frack Free Ryedale, on the letters’ page of the Yorkshire, describes as “extraordinary” the response by John Dewar, of Third Energy, to the paper’s article on failings in the company’s planning application. “To claim that the article’s tone was partly ‘due to the weakness of the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) procedures’ is simply astonishing”, Mr Redston said. “When Mr Dewar claims that there are ‘weaknesses in FOI procedures’, what he’s really saying is: ‘We would have gotten away with it if it hadn’t been for those pesky residents’”. Mr Redston adds: “The more people wake up to the reality of commercial fracking, the more who oppose it.”

BIS finds out National Colleges’ proposals as business plans handed in FE Week reports that the fracking national college, along with six other proposed skills colleges handed in their business plans to the Department of Business. Ken Cronin, chief executive of UK Onshore Oil and Gas, which will oversee the fracking National College with Blackpool and The Fylde College, tells the magazine he is “excited” about the project’s potential. Approval of £80m funding for national colleges is subject to the spending review.

MSP demands answers on fracking issue The Falkirk Herald reports that John Wilson, MSP for central Scotland, says the Scottish Government is failing to give detailed answers on fracking, in response to his questions asked in March.

Five reasons shale gas is fracking fantastic Guy Birchall writes for Spiked-online that shale is good value, it is not dangerous, it is clean, will create lots of jobs and there is no alternative.

IGas Notts application IGas applies for planning permission for installation of groundwater monitoring boreholes at four locations at land off Springs Road, Misson Link to application

15th July 2015

Fracking safe only with highest drilling standards and rigorous monitoring says Shale Gas Task Force Our review of its latest report.  But Frack Free Ryedale says report reads like an “industry shopping list” Our post on report reaction   Residents in Cuadrilla villages respond: Don’t treat us like guinea pigs Our report

Press coverage of Task Force report Too early to say if fracking is good for the UK, says task force – The  Guardian; Fracking: government has ‘failed to implement’ key safety recommendation – The Telegraph; U.K. Should Monitor Water, Air, Land If Gas Fracking to Succeed – Bloomberg; Ex-Government Minister warns people are sceptical about fracking – Herald Scotland; Campaigners criticise report’s ‘safe’ verdict on fracking in UK – Yorkshire Post; Frack vigilance still required – The Argus; Shale Gas Task Force calls for tougher environmental safeguards – BusinessGreen; Shale gas task force calls for tighter industry regulations – ClickGreen; Best practice and transparency are key to safe fracking operations – The Engineer; ‘Uphill struggle’ to overcome fracking’s image problem – E&T magazine; UKOOG backs shale gas report – Energy Voice [Thanks to the APPG on Unconventional Gas and Oil for the links]  Also Wastewater disposal poses challenge for fracking firms – ENDS report and Wastewater injection causes ‘larger earthquakes’ than fracking, finds report – Utility Week

UKOOG response to Task Force second interim report A UKOOG press release welcomes the report. CEO Ken Cronin: says: “I was pleased that the report highlighted a number of areas that we have already considered and have taken action on. The tone of the report is geared towards creating a better understanding of hazard and risk which I think will be invaluable for those coming to this subject for the first time.”

Dudleston camp departs as lapsed access agreement blocks Dart’s CBM drilling plan Our report

Billionaire: the SNP are not opposed to fracking The Herald Scotland reports on comments by Jim Ratcliffe, the chief executive and chair of Ineos, that he has had private assurances from the SNP that it is not against fracking. He tells the paper an onshore shale gas industry could be up and running commercially by 2018.  FT report

New campaign group launched to support Ryedale fracking plan The Gazette Herald reports that Lorraine Allanson, who owns a holiday complex in the Vale of Pickering, has set up the Friends of Ryedale Gas Exploration on Facebook, to support Third Energy’s plans for fracking at Kirby Misperton. “It’s totally hypocritical of people to benefit from the convenience of gas and all its derivatives while at the same time trying to ban its extraction,” she said

Heat rises on Britain to change shale gas laws after projects blocked Reuters reports that since Lancashire turned down Cuadrilla’s two fracking applications discussions have already taken place between government and shale gas developers. Industry representatives have urged politicians to adjust policies, sources told Reuters. Government just needs to step up. They can’t sit back and say ‘we support this industry’ but have a process in place which is clearly not working,” said David Messina, managing director of Hutton Energy, an oil and gas explorer that has submitted bids for new shale gas licences in Britain.

Ground to dust: fracking, silicosis and the politics of public health Michael Halpern, from the American Union of Concerned Scientists writes in The Guardian about how attempts to block new standards for exposure to silica dust are leading to tensions between public health and fracking corporations. He says recent field conducted by the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that nearly 80 percent of the samples it took at fracking sites showed unsafe levels of airborne silica. But the industry is trying to delay updates to silica standards until 2017.

People who live near fracking sites suffer higher rates of heart conditions and neurological illnesses, says research The Independent reports on study from Pennsylvania – though it could not find a specific reason – suggests there may be a link between drilling and ill health. Residents in high-density areas of fracking made 27% more hospital visits for treatment for heart conditions than those from locations where no fracking took place. Newsweek report

North Yorkshire County Council letter raises concerns over application to frack in Kirby Misperton The Gazette reports on reaction to the planners’ letter to Third Energy explaining why the company’s fracking application was not validated (see our report on 10th July). Sue Gough, who lives in Little Barugh, said: “We are simply astonished by this letter. Third Energy has been claiming for weeks that the application wasn’t validated for purely administrative reasons, such as the mis-spelling of a road name and an incorrect email address. Now we have seen the NYCC letter, we can see that this is completely untrue, and that the NYCC’s criticisms cut to the very heart of the application.” Joanne Bartlett, who lives in Kirby Misperton, said: “If Third Energy can’t even do the paperwork properly, it is hard to see how local residents can have any confidence in allowing the company to start fracking on their doorstep.”

More letters on Third Energy’s Ryedale fracking plans The Yorkshire Post has seven more letters about Third Energy’s plans to frack at Kirby Misperton.

Petition launched to make Conwy a fracking-free zone News North Wales reports that Friends of the Earth Conwy Group has begun a local anti-fracking petition, following on from the Welsh Government’s decision to issue a moratorium on fracking.

Permit given for controversial gas drilling at Llandow ITV news reports that Natural Resources Wales has issued an environmental permit to Coastal Oil and Gas for an exploratory borehole near Llandow in the Vale of Glamorgan. The drilling and testing operations and work to reinstate the land should last no longer than 12 months, the permit says.

14th July 2015

Cuadrilla hits out at “scaremongering” and “polluting propaganda” of anti-fracking campaigners Our report

Plans for faster fracking get go-ahead The Times reports that shale companies will be allowed to begin fracking a year earlier than at present under government plans to allow them to test groundwater without planning permission. Ministers are expected to approve an industry request for “permitted development rights” to drill boreholes at potential extraction sites before fracking has been approved.

Third Energy requests a one-month deferral A decision on Third Energy’s planning application for gas production and water re-injection at the Ebberston Moor South site is postponed after the company requests a one-month deferral. The application was scheduled for discussion by the planning committee of the North York Moors National Park, meeting on 23rd July.

Policymakers fail to address public concerns on fracking Researching Fracking in Europe, based at Newcastle University, publishes research which reveals a disconnect between policymakers and the public in the way fracking policy is portrayed and discussed. Public concerns are not properly considered during policymaking, it finds, including trustworthiness of institutions involved, importance of democratic decision-making, whether alternatives have been sufficiently considered and whether worst case scenarios have been properly reflected upon.

Eco-warrior fined £100 over fracking protest at oil drilling site The Grimsby Telegraph reports Jared Dunne, of Leyland, Lancashire, admitted obstructing a road during a protest outside the Stallingborough oil drilling site. He was fined £100, ordered to pay £250 costs and a £20 victims’ surcharge.

Coal’s slow demise as a power source leads to role reversal with natural gas Climate Progress reports on gas overtaking coal as a source of generating electricity in the US.

MP Craig Mackinlay holds hands up for error on South Thanet fracking The Thanet Gazette reports that the Thanet South MP admitted his research on fracking was “out of date” after it was revealed that exploratory drilling will no longer take place in his constituency. His blog stated that Coastal Oil & Gas had permission to explore for shale near Woodnesborough. But anti-fracking campaigners said the company relinquished all its licences in the area by the end of May.

Ineos launches vessels to ship US shale gas Reuters reports that Ineos launched two 27,000 cubic metre ships from Quidong in Jiangsu province in eastern China, as part of a $1bn project to transport US ethane to Norway and Scotland. Another six ships are due to be commissioned next August.

Egdon Resources farms-out PEDL005 (R) to Terrain, Union Jack Natural Gas Europe reports on two separate farm-outs by Egdon Resource of areas in the Lincolnshire PEDL 005 (R). Terrain will earn an additional 20% interest in the Keddington oil field, in return for pay 40% of the cost of a new appraisal/development well to be drilled later this year as a side-track to keddington-4. Union Jack will earn a 10% interest in return for paying 20% of the cost of the new side track and 20% of the cost of an exploration well on the Louth prospect.

Top methane studies confirm low and dramatically declining emissions Energy in Depth reports on studies, which it says, show that as natural gas production has “skyrocketed2 methane emissions have “plummeted”.

13th July 2015

Third Energy insist Ryedale fracking application has not collapsed John Dewar, Operations Director of Third Energy, writes to the Yorkshire Post that the company’s application is proceeding. He says the planning officer “raised a small number of minor objections”

A GP’s fears over health impact of fracking in Ryedale A GP for 30+ years, Tim Thornton, writes to the Yorkshire that the natural beauty of North Yorkshire and the health of residents are under threat by an urge to “dash for gas”. There is a wide range of ill-health found in heavily fracked areas. Many children get intense itching, skin ailments as well as recurring nosebleeds, he says.

12th July 2015

Gas overtakes coal at US power stations The FT reports that the US generated more of its electricity from gas than from coal for the first time ever in April – in a sign that shale is putting mounting pressure the American mining industry.

Crowdfunder project to raise money to challenge Cuadrilla planning permission Campaigner, Bob Dennett, is using Crowdfunder to raise £10,000 for a potential judicial review of Lancashire County Council’s planning permission to Cuadrilla for seismic monitoring stations at Roseacre Wood. The company’s application to frack at Roseacre Wood was refused and Mr Dennett argues there is no logic to the permission for the seismic arrays.

Tories display true colours on fracking The Daily Echo carries a letter from C Watts, of Southampton, who writes that nine weeks after the election, the Conservatives have come out in their true colours, in favour of fracking

11th July 2015

Fracking rigs could surround national parks under government plans In a letter to The Telegraph campaigners warn that national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty risk becoming surrounded by fracking rigs under government plans to let drilling companies extract shale gas from beneath them. An article in the paper says ministers are expected to put forward legislation this week allowing fracking under these areas as long as the rigs are outside the boundaries.  Brighton Argus report

Pennines residents mobilise to stop company drilling up to 950 wells in Thirsk and Malton The Independent reports on the action of people in Ryedale to block Third Energy’s application to frack at Kirby Misperton.

Ineos hits milestone in Grangemouth plan The Courier reports on the topping out of a new ethane storage tank at the Grangemouth petrochemical plant. The tank can hold 60,000 cubic metres of ethane is part of a project to import shale gas from the US. This includes an import terminal for so called “Dragon ships” which will transport ethane across the Atlantic. BBC Report

10th July 2015

Multiple failings with Third Energy’s fracking application revealed Our report   Yorkshire Post report

Shale will save the UK from becoming world theme park – Ineos Our report

Energy Bill published The UK government publishes the Energy Bill 2015/16. It will establish the Oil and Gas Authority and make provision for fees for oil and gas activities.

Oil and Gas UK welcomes Energy Bill The offshore industry body welcomes the publication of the bill. Chief executive, Deirdre Michie says: “The OGA [Oil and Gas Authority] is a critical catalyst for the work being done to sustain offshore oil and gas activity and the Bill aims to provide the new regulator with the tools and capabilities it will need to do the job effectively and efficiently so we support its swift passage through Parliament. “ She also welcomes the provisions to implement the Wood Review recommendations to maximise economic recovery of the UK continental shelf.

Beyond fracking, from Balcombe to Lancashire Joe Nixon, a director of RepowerBalcombe, writes for Greenpeace’s blog on the progress of the solar scheme in the West Sussex village, where Cuadrilla drilled in 2013. “We have begun to unite the village in a positive way; precisely the opposite of what the oil and gas industry had done here before. People who I thought were pro-fracking were actually just pro-energy and needed to be shown the alternative. We have the power to make positive change, so get talking, host a meeting and help the renewable energy revolution take off in Lancashire, too!”, he writes.

Dutch government bans fracking Energy Voice reports the Dutch government is to ban shale gas drilling for five years and not renew existing exploration licences because of uncertainties about the environmental impact.

9th July 2015

Guest Post: Fossil fuel firms accused of failing to report climate risks our report

Water and wildlife may be at risk from fracking’s toxic chemicals, panel finds The Times reports on the final assessment from the California Council on Science and Technology on fracking. It says that because of data gaps and inadequate state testing, overwhelmed regulatory agencies do not have a complete picture of what oil companies are doing. The risks and hazards associated with about two-thirds of the additives used in fracking are not clear, and the toxicity of more than half remains “uninvestigated, unmeasured and unknown. Basic information about how these chemicals would move through the environment does not exist.”

East Lothian should plan to say no to fracking The East Lothian News reports that the local Green Party branch is urging East Lothian residents to register their opposition to the SES plan Main Issues Report which will set the parameters of the Local Development Plans of Edinburgh, Lothians, Scottish Borders and Fife. Consultation on the report begins on 21st July and runs until 15th September.

8th July 2015

No North-South divide on fracking, peers urge Our report

David Lenigas steps down from UKOG board as company expands interests in southern England Our report

Licence relinquishments The Oil and Gas Authority publishes details of licences surrendered for onshore, offshore and gas storage

Comment: Lancashire decision is the final nail in the coffin of UK fracking This is how Professor Paul Stevens, of Chatham House, describes the refusal of Cuadrilla’s applications by Lancashire County Council. Writing for Greenpeace Energy Desk he says it is likely the Government will grant Cuadrilla an appeal. “But the prospects of continuing fracking operations in the face of what would certainly be serious and concerted mass opposition look virtually non-existent”, he says.

Safe, low carbon, inexpensive: the renewable alternatives to fracking Keith Barnham, Emeritus Professor of Physics and Imperial College, writes in The Ecologist that new and rapidly expanding sources of biomethane and heat energy are already delivering all over the UK. “They are far more safe and sustainable, with less environmental impact and much smaller carbon emissions than fracking – and clearly demonstrate that fracking is unnecessary”, he says.

7th July 2015

Trust, communication and monitoring: key issues for fracking conference Our report and Infrastructure Intelligence report on Lord Smith’s comments on a single regulator for shale gas and oil.

The mysterious case of frack free Witney David Smythe, Emeritus Professor of Geophysics at Glasgow University, reports in his Frackland blog on possible reasons why David Cameron’s Whitney constituency was not included in the 14th onshore oil and gas licensing round.

Major polluter pledges not enough to meet emissions targets, says report The Guardian reports on conclusions of research by New Climate Economy which says commitments on carbon emission cuts made ahead of the Paris Conference are not enough to bring about reductions that are needed. The remaining reductions can be found if actions are taking locally, deforestation is halted and other greenhouse gases are tackled.

Carbon Tracker sees $283bn of LNG projects as uneconomic Bloomberg Business reports on conclusions by Carbon Tracker Initiative  which says about $283bn of liquefied natural gas projects may be surplus to requirements if the world is to keep carbon emissions below levels aimed at holding global warming to under 2 degrees Celsius.

Refracking is the new fracking Bloomberg Business reports refracking of shale wells could extend their life to about 50 years. It provides a much-needed sense of hope or the US shale industry, the website says. The process is similar to the original frack but risks are high. Refracking can take oil from the producing zones of other wells or ruin a reservoir. But the low cost is appealing.

Shale gas “will not succeed” in Europe says think tank Energy Live News reports on comments by Andrew Grant of Carbon Tracker who said shale gas will not succeed in Europe because gas demand in the continent could be satisfied by other sources. “Europe has a significant need for gas but it also has a number of options in order to supply it”, he said.

Fracking facing crisis of trust from public Upstream Online reports on the refusals by Lancashire County Council of Cuadrilla’s planning applications and the formalisation of a ban on fracking in New York. The website says “many people don’t trust the industry and don’t trust fracking. For many climate campaigners fracking has become a lightning rod issue that has allowed them to build momentum in campaigns against fossil fuels in general.”

The myths about fracking are many and damaging Merrill Matthews, writing in Investor’s Business Daily Viewpoint column looks at the association of earthquakes and water contamination with fracking. “The scientific evidence does not support the media confusion and hyperbole”, it says. “Earthquakes and occasionally contaminated groundwater existed long before fracking, which appears to be a safe industrial process”.

The Carbon Brief Interview: Syukuro Manabe Meteorologist Manabe tells The Carbon Brief: “I think for the time being – and this will probably happen anyway – that we will use natural gas produced by fracking. It will buy us some time. Meanwhile, we should put a major emphasis on clean technologies and optimise our electricity grid systems so we use less fossil fuel.”

Fracking Nightmare episode 58: Westminster debate, Defra report uncensored, fracking in North Yorkshire and who is Amanda Webster

Fracking vote was major victory for people and planet MP Cat Smith, writing in The Visitor, describes the refusal of Cuadrilla’s applications as “an amazing victory for the people of Lancashire, people in Britain and worldwide – for people and for planet”.

6th July 2015

National fracking college bosses reaction to planning rejection blows FE Week reports that bosses at Blackpool and Fylde College – the hub of the new National College for Onshore Oil and Gas – were waiting to find out if appeals would be launched against two refusals of planning permission in Lancashire. The college has already said it won’t be affected.

UK energy sector must decarbonise by 2030, says UN-backed report Business Green reports on conclusions from the Deep Decarbonisation Pathway Project which says the UK’s power sector must eliminate 85-90% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and drastically scale up carbon capture and storage if it is to meet 2050 climate targets.

SRBC: Water quality not impacted by shale gas drilling Natural Gas Intel reports on findings by the Susquehama River Basin Commission which says Marcellus Shale development has had no impact on water quality of rivers, streams and watersheds in northern Pennsylvania and southern New York over the past three years.

North East MPs lobby Prime Minister David Cameron over fracking decisions Chronicle Live reports that Mary Clindon (North Tyneside) and Ian Mearns (Gateshead) want David Cameron to ensure that decisions are made locally and that they are not overturned by national government.

Green Party fears fracking ‘go ahead’ in town The Warrington Guardian reports that the town’s Green Party is warning residents that a major fracking go-ahead could be on the horizon. The Greens fear planners could soon approve fracking in the area at Woolston, next to M6 junction 21. They think noise, traffic and air pollution are harder to argue as reasons for rejection because the site is on a motorway junction.

Vince slams UK government over double-standards Business Review Europe reports comments by Ecotricity founder, Dale Vince that government moves to end financial support for onshore wind represents double standards compared with subsidy for nuclear and fracking.

Our energy system is sick and it’s being fed with poison A blog by the New Economics Foundation says with campaigns racking up wins for fracking it is time to expose what it says are the failings of neoliberal energy. Alternative models, such as community energy cooperatives, should be taken seriously. But the first step is to admit the system isn’t working.

5th July 2015

Secrecy over fracking chemicals clouds environmental risks, advocates say The Guardian reports from New York on calls by members of the Union for Concerned Scientists for the fracking industry to provide more detailed information to regulators. A list of more than 1,076 chemicals used in fracking remains unknown to the public, the paper says.

Reform fracking planning applications An economic bulletin by the Centre for Policy Studies says “The need to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds, and more than a year, to gain planning permission merely for exploratory projects is a barrier to the growth of fracking. The Government should reduce this barrier by placing a strict time limit for local councils to make their decision before it is passed on to Central Government. The Government should also examine treating shale gas fields a matter of national importance and thus a decision for Central Government.

Fracking’s Waterloo shatters power plans. The Sunday Times reports that whether plans by IGas in Nottinghamshire and Third Energy in North Yorkshire will succeed where Cuadrilla failed will be of great interest to Whitehall and the industry. Without shale gas, Britain could face a 30% shortfall between power demand and supply by 2030, the paper says.

Explorer opens new front on fracking The Sunday Times reports that Third Energy had resubmitted its application to frack at Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire.

3rd July 2015

Britain needs to get fracking The Spectator says something went seriously wrong with democracy when Lancashire County Council voted to refuse an application by Cuadrilla to frack near Blackpool. The magazine says: “We need a planning system that recognises from the outset that infrastructure projects of national importance can only sensibly be decided by national government”.

Removing local powers on fracking at this stage would be a draconian step Planning Resource (subscription only) discusses the implications of the government overruling Lancashire County Council’s decision to refuse planning permission to Cuadrilla for fracking in Fylde.

What the Lancashire fracking refusals mean for future shale gas applications Planning Resource(subscription only) reports that Lancashire County Council’s decision to refuse two fracking applications – one against officers’ advice – has prompted debate over whether the current rules for determining such applications are fit for purpose.

Opposition to fracking in Sussex and Surrey mounts Proactive Investors reports on the implications of the refusals of Cuadrilla’s fracking planning applications

Seismic: Fracking stumbles again The Economist says the decision against fracking in Lancashire puts the government in a bind.

People power has shut the doors on fracking in the UK The Guardian reports Relentless local protests and a damning report by DEFRA have dealt a double blow to a fledgling fracking industry, but the companies aren’t going to go away

What new spending reductions could mean for DECC The Green Alliance analyses the impact of proposed departmental spending reductions on the government’s ability to deliver planned energy reforms and climate policy. It says reductions would have a major impact on staffing, research and energy-efficiency spending. This may increase costs to consumers because it will be harder for government to negotiate good deals for back-up capacity, low carbon generation and other energy services.

Anti-fracking Nanas: ‘The government is all out for shale – we’re all out to stop it’ The Guardian reports on how headscarf-wearing women in Lancashire faced up to Cuadrilla and became the frontline against fracking in Lancashire.

Council leader: Decision has not been made to turn town into a ‘no fracking’ borough Terry O’Neill, leader of Warrington Borough Council, tells the Warrington Guardian no decision has been made to make the town an “anti-fracking borough”. This is despite a call by Warrington North’s MP, Helen Jones. Cllr Kevin Bennett is looking for a seconder for his motion to declare Warrington a frack-free zone, the paper says.

A plentiful source of energy Michael Barker, in the letters page of the Hastings Observer, supports shale fracking. If there is enough gas in the Bowland shale to supply UK needs for 50 years, he asks: “Why should we remain beholden to foreign powers, paying high prices as a result, for what we can produce ourselves?”

2nd July 2015

Campaigners question “gold standard” regulation after revealing IGas coal bed methane site has no environmental permit Our report

Caroline Lucas urges Prime Minister to stand by local refusal of Cuadrilla’s Lancashire fracking plans Our report

MP Cat Smith grills PM on Lancashire fracking decision The Lancashire Evening Post reports on the warning by Lancaster and Fylde MP, Cat Smith, to the Prime Minister that pushing fracking through after local councillors rejected it would be anti-democratic.

Oklahoma case could open doors to more earthquake-fracking lawsuits Inside Climate News reports that the State Supreme Court’s decision to allow 65 year old Sandra Ladra to sue energy companies over a quake which damaged her house and injured her could encourage others to stop forward with liability cases. Climate Profess report

Third Energy fracking permit consultation extended The Environment Agency announces that the public consultation, which opened on 10th June, will be extended for public submissions until 7th August.

Lancashire MP joins fracking debate The Lancashire Evening Post reports that Seema Kennedy, MP for South Ribble, highlighted in a parliamentary debate her constituents’ concerns about fracking.

Any more cock-ups will be a very big problem Nigel Mills, chair of the APPG on unconventional oil and gas, tells the Shale Gas in the UK conference: “This [fracking] has to be done safely. It has to be done cleanly, it has to be done responsibly. All the rules have to be complied with”. He says “any more cock-ups on it will be a very big problem”. He adds it will be a policy challenge to “put in place a sufficiently robust framework that we can have confidence in, that we can sell to our constituents, that they can have confidence in, then that has to be made to work for the long term future of the industry.”

Devon MP suggests public could “buy in” to idea of fracking The Western Morning News reports that the new chair of the Commons Environmental and Rural Affairs Committee, Neil Parish, has urged ministers to do more to encourage people to “buy-in” to fracking. He says fracking would be good for the country but the Government must demonstrate to communities there are tangible benefits first in order to get their support.

1st July 2015

Government finally releases full version of rural fracking report Our post and reaction

The economics of fracking for the UK OilPrice.com reports that the economic benefits of UK shale are not easy to assess.

UK oil and gas revenues halve as OPEC wages war on shale Breitbart.com reports that UK revenue from oil and gas has fallen by 54% in a year, from £4.7bn in 2013-14 to £2.1bn in 2014-15 as world oil prices continue to drop.

Residents in push for fracking plan answers The Gazette and Herald reports that councillors and residents in Ryedale, North Yorkshire, are pushing to know why Third Energy’s application to frack at Kirby Misperton failed to pass its initial validation process. Ryedale District Councillors and members of Frack Free Ryedale say they have unanswered questions for the gas company. Sue Gough, from Little Barugh, said: “Third Energy are claiming that they are ‘good neighbours’ yet they still refuse to tell local residents the reasons why their fracking application failed its validation test. We deserve to know the reasons.”

MPs raise fears about impact of fracking on farms and water Farmers Weekly reports from the parliamentary debate on fracking. MPs across the political spectrum raised multiple concerns, including the destruction of prime farmland, water contamination and the ability of farmers to produce safe food that the public trusted, it reports.

CCC calls for immediate action to meet carbon budgets Ends Report says the Committee on Climate Change has called on the government to take immediate action to ensure investor clarity if future carbon budgets are to be met. The 2014/15 progress report praises work done so far on transforming the energy market but it says early action is needed to meet post-2020 carbon reductions on time and cost effectively.

Shropshire gas bid firm still optimistic after fracking ruling The Shropshire Star reports that Stephen Bowler, CEO of IGas Energy, which incorporated Dart, remains positive about the company’s plans for an exploratory borehole for coal bed methane extraction in Dudleston Heath, near Ellesmere.

Rathlin cleared of misleading claims Complaints to the ASA about a Rathlin Energy brochure on proposed drilling at Ballinlea 2 in Northern Ireland are not upheld. ASA ruling

c trusted, it reports.

CCC calls for immediate action to meet carbon budgets Ends Report says the Committee on Climate Change has called on the government to take immediate action to ensure investor clarity if future carbon budgets are to be met. The 2014/15 progress report praises work done so far on transforming the energy market but it says early action is needed to meet post-2020 carbon reductions on time and cost effectively.

Shropshire gas bid firm still optimistic after fracking ruling The Shropshire Star reports that Stephen Bowler, CEO of IGas Energy, which incorporated Dart, remains positive about the company’s plans for an exploratory borehole for coal bed methane extraction in Dudleston Heath, near Ellesmere.

Rathlin cleared of misleading claims Complaints to the ASA about a Rathlin Energy brochure on proposed drilling at Ballinlea 2 in Northern Ireland are not upheld. ASA ruling

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