Daily headlines

October 2015 fracking headlines

OctoberHeadsOur digest of October’s headlines about fracking, shale and onshore oil and gas developments – and reaction to them – in the UK and around the world.

Including

  • Government accused of U-turn on fracking in protected areas
  • IGas submits shale gas drilling plan for Nottinghamshire and wins approval in Trafford
  • Alkane Energy loses appeal over drilling at Calow in Derbyshire
  • Record levels of opposition to fracking – survey
  • Professor explains why women don’t like fracking
  • Judicial review approved for decision on Cuadrilla’s Roseacre Wood monitoring plans
  • Energy Minister asked officials ‘Is climate change real?’
  • Councils vote against fracking
  • Rathlin Energy withdraws from Northern Ireland licence
  • Calls for halt to fracking in N Yorks and County Council investigates objections to Third Energy plans
  • Cuadrilla reports Friends of the Earth leaflet to watchdogs
  • Senior police officer could face gross misconduct charge over arrest at Barton Moss
  • Gas companies and landowners seek to evict protest camp at Upton, Cheshire
  • Celtique Energie pays up in a dispute with Sussex villagers

31st October 2015

30+ events about fracking and onshore oil and gas in November. DrillOrDrop report

Campaigners warn Lincolnshire Wolds could be at risk from fracking. The Grimsby Telegraph reports comments by Greenpeace that the Lincolnshire Wolds could be under threat from fracking. The organisation fears the government could go back on its promise to ban fracking in national parks and other protected areas.

Corbyn congratulates Lancashire for standing up to fracking. The Blackpool Gazette reports comments by Jeremy Corbyn, speaking at the North West Labour conference in Blackpool, that he was worried about fracking. The paper says he congratulated local people and the county council for standing up to government efforts to force through permission to drill for shale gas.

Campaigners’ ‘mass trespass’ warning over Peak District fracking. The Matlock Mercury quotes campaigners from Greenpeace who say the fight to save the Peak District National Park from fracking could prompt a second “mass trespass”, along the lines of the Kinder Scout trespass in 1932 which led to the creation of the park.

U-turn on fracking. Balcombe villager Helen Savage, writing to the Letters’ Page of the Mid Sussex Times, urges readers to contact their MP and encourage him or her to call for a vote on fracking regulations when they come before the House of Commons possibly this week.

Shell’s £43bn gamble of a deal for BG is sliding out of reach. The Telegraph questions whether shell will press ahead with its £43bn takeover bid for BG group, despite the slump in the oil price.

Fracking would put paid to our regular visits to Yorkshire. In a letter to The Yorkshire Post, G Marsden from Heanor in Derby writes he is doubtful if he will visit the Vale of Pickering in future because “I cannot accept this fracking business as safe to the welfare of the population”.

30th October 2015

IGas to explore for shale gas in Nottinghamshire. DrillOrDrop report

Celtique Energie pays up in dispute with villagers. DrillOrDrop report

Is Rathlin Energy’s new East Yorkshire gas site on top of a prehistoric village? DrillOrDrop report

Upton anti fracking camp: Violence predicted as court date for eviction order set. The Chester Chronicle reports that farmers Tim and Piers Dutton, Dart Energy and IGas Energy are seeing a formal eviction notice for land at Duttons Lane occupied by Upton protection camp near Chester. The High Court hearing is at Manchester County Court on Friday 6th November. A demonstration outside the court is planned. Kevin Lee, a partner in law firm Hill Dickinson, who represents the claimants, tells the paper there could be trouble at the camp once proceedings are served because he expects protester numbers to swell as calls for support go out on social media.

U-turn will allow fracking in ‘protected areas’, MPs claim. The Lancashire Evening Post quotes Labour’s Cat Smith and Gordon Marsden as saying the vote by the Delegated Legislation committee on fracking regulation will allow fracking under national parks and other areas previously protected. Mr Marsden said he would be pressing for a vote in the Commons next week. Conservative Paul Maynard, voted for the regulations. He said the government was looking in detail about how to achieve a ban on drilling within national parks.

Lower oil prices: what a gas. The Wall Street Journal says earnings in gas and oil companies have fallen with lower prices. Earnings in Royal Dutch Shell’s integrated gas business fell 71% year over year in the third quarter. BG said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization fell 65% in its liquefied natural gas shipping and marketing business.

29th October 2015

Campaigners celebrate as planning inspector dismisses appeal by Alkane Energy for gas extraction at Calow in Derbyshire. DrillOrDrop report

Costs protection in environmental claims. A government consultation opens today on changes to the environmental cost protection rules. The government says it is aimed at people involved in or affected by environmental legal challenges in England and Wales within the scope of the Aarhus Convention. The consultation closes at midnight on 10th December 2015.

Scots ‘could import electricity’ unless SNP changes plan. The Scotsman reports civil engineers have warned that Scotland could switch from being an exporter of electricity to an importer unless the SNP government changes its energy policy. The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) in Scotland has cast doubt on the SNP’s plan to generate most of its energy from renewables by 2020 and said the government had to move beyond an “at times irrational and ill-informed ­discourse” on energy to a more evidence-led approach.

Anti-fracking campaigners to meet before energy bosses roll into town. The Glasgow Evening Times reports that anti-fracking campaigners are holding a meeting on Monday ahead of the first consultation meeting by Ineos in East Dunbartonshire and North Lanarkshire on 18th November.

Shell reports net loss of $7.4 billion after Arctic exit. Business Insider reports Royal Dutch Shell revealed a third quarter loss of $7.4bn as it reorganised and cancelled projects, including drilling in the arctic. The loss compares with a profit of $4.5bn in the same period last year. The company reported $2.6bn in charges for Alaska and $2bn related to the decision to cancel the Carbon Creek project in Alberta, Canada.

28th October 2015

Review of fracking regulation in guest post on DrillOrDrop by Joanne Hawkins Click here

Crawberry Hill planning extension for drilling and testing expires. According to an East Yorkshire County Council planning decision notice permission to drill and test at Rathlin Energy’s site at Crawberry Hill expires today. The company must now abandon the well and restore the site. The company has already said it will withdraw from the site. Local people reported seeing equipment being moved onto the site yesterday (27th October) consistent with capping the well.

Low commodity prices hit a major Australian energy producer. Bloomberg Business reports the Adelaide-based Santos is in talks to sell stakes in its Western Australian oil and gas fields. A drop in commodity prices has left the company potentially exposed to too much debt, Bloomberg says. The deals could raise over $2.5 billion ($1.8 billion).

Police watchdog rules senior officer in fracking bust-up should face gross misconduct charge. The Manchester Evening News reports that Inspector David Kehoe has been accused of lying to detain an anti-fracking campaigner at Barton Moss in Eccles after footage was shown to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. The IPPC reached its conclusion after video of the arrest of Dr Steven Peers appeared on the Manchester Evening News website. The officer alleged Dr Peers had been drinking but he said he had not driven and had only drunk tea that morning. Greater Manchester Police later charged Dr Peers but the case fell apart at court when prosecutors decided there was insufficient evidence to proceed. The police watchdog has found Insp Kehoe should face a gross misconduct hearing.

UK Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom had to ask whether climate change was real. The New Statesman picks up on comments by Andrea Leadsom to DrillOrDrop on two questions she asked when appointed as Energy Minister.

Doncaster community group in fight against fracking. The Star reports that campaigners opposed to fracking at Misson near Doncaster say they are determined to defeat plans by IGas for two wells. After a day of action, Misson Community Action said it was confident many other locals would join the campaign to stop fracking in the area.

Poster linking Grasmere to fracking causes controversy. The Westmorland Gazette reports that Friends of the Earth has been accused of misleading people into thinking Grasmere could be a site for fracking – even though there are no licences for the activity in the Lake District National Park. The area featured in a picture on a FoE fundraising leaflet. Cuadrilla has complained to the Advertising Standards Authority and the Fundraising Standards Board.

Fracking moves one step closer to Blyth. The Worksop Guardian reports the scoping request by IGas to Nottinghamshire County Council for a site at Tinker Lane between Blyth and Barnby Moor. The paper says this marks the company’s first steps towards submitting a planning application.

Government slammed over adoption of ‘weakened’ National Park fracking regulations. Business Green reports on the meeting of the Second Delegated Legislation Committee which voted to approve regulations that allow fracking under national parks.

‘Damaging’ fracking regulations slammed. Wigan Today reports that Wigan MP, Lisa Nandy, has joined environmental groups in accusing the Government of “sneaking in” regulations that could lead to fracking in protected areas. Ms Nandy, the shadow energy secretary said: “This Government needs to listen to people’s worries and not railroad through changes to the legislation which may well have damaging and long lasting effects on our natural environment.”

Don’t fear fracking U-turn, says Tory MP. Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake tells the Yorkshire Post that A fracking U-turn which means drilling could take place under hundreds of square miles of national parkland in Yorkshire shouldn’t strike fear into communities. He says he was assured that plans to drill at depths of 1,200m below national parks would not disrupt the landscape of beauty spots. He said ministers had told him that most concerns people have over fracking “will not be realised”.

One chart that shows big business is ‘in denial’ about demand for fossil fuels. The Independent reports on work by Carbon Tracker which finds companies are selectively quoting figures from the International Energy Agency out of context to justify fossil fuel demand to 2040. Mark Campanale, Founder of the Carbon Tracker Initiative, tells the paper that investors are stuck in a ‘business as usual’ approach to fossil fuels that could mean they face problems when demand falls with the Paris climate talks.

27th October 2015

Government accused of “spectacular U-turn” on fracking regulations. DrillOrDrop report

Live updates by DrillOrDrop during hearing by Second Delegated Legislation Committee on fracking regulations

Greenpeace accuses UK Government of “sneaking in” fracking regulations. Energy Voice reports the government has been accused by Greenpeace of trying to “sneak through the back door of parliament” regulations that could lead to fracking in protected areas. The regulations, Greenpeace says, are a U-turn on a coalition decision to accept Labour moves to tighten fracking regulations, and will allow drilling under national parks, while other important areas have no protections against exploration for shale gas, Energy Voice reports. Report in The Guardian.

Energy and climate change minister admits asking: ‘Is climate change real? The Daily Telegraph picks up on our report of Andrea Leadsom’s comments to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Unconventional Gas and Oil.

Campaigners attack government U-turn on fracking with New Forest at risk. The Bournmouth Echo reports that campaigners have attacked a government U-turn that could result in fracking under the New Forest and other national parks.

Fracking company expressed concern over national park drilling ban months before it was repealed. Greenpeace Energy Desk reports that Celtique Energie told the government that it was “confused and concerned” by coalition plans to protect national parks from shale gas drilling. The company’s chief executive, Geoff Davis, wrote on 1st August 2014 saying it would make it “difficult” for the firm to explore for shale gas in West Sussex and harm its efforts to participate in the 14th licensing round. The information is revealed in correspondence released under a Freedom of Information Act request. Details here

National park fracking step closer. The Yorkshire Post reports on the outcome of a committee vote on fracking in protected areas. The paper says fracking IS set to take place under Yorkshire’s National Parks and beauty spots after the government voted on a plan to allow it at depths below 1,200m

Who is on the government committee quietly pushing through the latest rules on fracking? Greenpeace Energy Desk also reports on members of the committee that will debate regulations on fracking. They include Paul Maynard, a late addition to the committee, who is the parliamentary private secretary to Amber Rudd, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary. He received a donation from Addison Projects, whose operations include oil and gas projects, Greenpeace says. Other members include Dominic Grieve, who has shareholdings – managed by a blind trust – in several fossil fuel companies.

Upton anti-fracking protester charged with assault on bailiff. The Chester Chronicle reports that an anti-fracking protester has been charged with common assault on a bailiff who issued warning notices that campaigners at the Upton camp were trespassing. The case will come before Chester Magistrates Court on 30th December. The protester is alleged to have pushed the bailiff but protesters claim the bailiff threw himself on the ground.

Green campaigners call for stronger scrutiny of fracking laws. The Western Morning News reports calls by campaigners for a full parliamentary debate on new legislation allowing fracking under National Parks. It quotes Greenpeace as saying an “arcane” method of approval of the measures (see our posts from today) prevented the majority of MPs from “properly” scrutinising the new rules.

Fracking company complains about anti-fracking leaflet. Friends of the Earth reports on Cuadrilla’s complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority about one of the organisation’s leaflets. FoE says Cuadrilla told them the leaflet was misleading on the issues of toxic chemicals, groundwater contamination, and on what any money raised by Friends of the Earth will be used for. FoE presents its response here. Longer version with references here

26th October 2015

Energy minister: there’s no difference between men and women on fracking. She also admitted asking Is climate change real? and Is fracking safe? DrillOrDrop report

100-200 wells needed to be sure UK fracking can work – Energy Minister. DrillOrDrop report

Campaigners call on North Yorks MP to speak against fracking regulations. DrillOrDrop report

‘Tory U-turn on fracking regulations will leave safeguards totally inadequate’. The Guardian carries a piece by shadow energy secretary, Lisa Nandy, and shadow environment secretary, Kerry McCarthy, on fracking regulations. They say: “the Government seems hell-bent on introducing fracking at any cost – more concerned about the potential cost of these protections for the industry, than addressing peoples’ legitimate fears about its environmental impact. All the conditions agreed during the passage of the Infrastructure Act need to be in place before shale extraction can happen, they say.

The facts about fugitive methane. The right-wing Centre for Policy Studies publishes a report by Richard Muller, Physics Professor at the University of California, and Elizabeth Muller. They argue that previous estimates of methane leakage in US shale gas production have been “seriously over-estimated”. They say even 12% of produced gas would need to leak to negate the advantage over coal. They say the best estimates are below 3%. Yorkshire Post report. City Am report [Richard and his daughter Elizabeth are directors of Global Shale, a company which says it offers “a unique and essential combination of expertise in early shale exploration and development”.]

Are the fracking vampires going bust? That’s how it looks. Joshua Frank, writing in The Ecologist, says high cost oil and gas are in the doldrums everywhere, production is calling and even if prices pick up risk aversion and the relentless advance of renewables will leave lakes of oil and caverns of gas underground.

Wildlife trust’s fears over fracking near Maltby nature haven. The Rotherham Advertiser reports concerns by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust that Maltby Low Common could be fracked under new licences. The Trust says it needs to be protected from fracking.

Anti-fracking group fears cross Border report is industry led. The Impartial Reporter says a meeting in Leitrim heard concerns that research for a cross-border study into fracking would be “written for the [oil and gas] industry for the industry. The study, funded by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency, aims to assist regulators in the north and south.

Act over fracking before time’s up. Anne Woodward, writing in The Pocklington Post, urges local councillors to “see sense and stop any of this [fracking plans] before it’s too late. She “it is bad enough that Cuadrilla has been granted licences to explore”. And predicts damage to the countryside should fracking to go ahead.

North Yorkshire County Council denies launching fracking inquiry over single letter. The Northern Echo reports the council has dismissed claims it launched an inquiry into alleged fake objections to a fracking planning application over one letter. A council spokeswoman declined to state how many letters had been disputed, but she added: “It is definitely more than one.”

24th October 2015

“Fracking risks are far too high” – Balcombe woman responds to industry comment on female opposition DrillOrDrop report

Sexism jib is ridiculous, says fracking professor. The Times reports on reaction to comments by Averil Macdonald, chair of the industry body UK Onshore Oil and Gas, that many women opposed fracking because they didn’t understand it. Bianca Jagger described this as “outrageous and sexist”. But Ms Macdonald defended her comments.

MP may be off committee in new Evel rules. The National reports that anti-fracking SNP MP Tommy Sheppard may have been forced off a House of Commons committee because of government rules on English votes for English law. Mr Sheppard was to be part of a committee meeting on Tuesday to scrutinise proposed fracking regulations. But because of a vote on Thursday, the Edinburgh East MP is seeking clarification on whether he can still sit on the committee.

23rd October 2015

MPs urged to attend fracking regulations committee DrillOrDrop report

Fracking? Women ‘don’t understand the science’. The Times reports comments by Averil Macdonald, the emeritus professor of science engagement at Reading University and the new chair of the industry body, UK Onshore Oil and Gas. She told the paper vast numbers of women are opposed to fracking because they don’t understand and follow their gut instinct rather than the facts. Also reported by The Guardian, The Daily Mail and Telegraph

Women can’t understand scientific facts. Are you fracking kidding me? Claire Cohen, writing in The Telegraph, reacts to comments by Averil Macdonald, new chair of the UKOOG (see The Times). Ms Cohen says the real problem isn’t women and fracking. It’s that so many of us feel detached from all things scientific.

Do women really oppose fracking because they don’t understand science? Leo Barasi in Noise of the Crowd says since the facts about shale – like whether it causes earthquakes, contaminates drinking water, will cut energy bills or reduce our emissions – are disputed, it’s hard to say whether women accept the ‘facts’. “What Professor Macdonald presumably means is that women tend not to be persuaded by what she considers to be facts, ie that fracking is safe and generally a Good Thing”.

Anti-fracking campaigner arrested at Upton fracking camp after bailiffs move in. The Chester Chronicle has video of the moment police led away a protester after it is alleged a bailiff was pushed from a gate as enforcement notices were placed at the Duttons Lane camp at Upton. Bailiffs issued warning notices today and told protesters at the camp they were trespassing. A 29-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of assaulting an enforcement officer. Activists claim the IGas bailiffs refused to provide identification and allege one officer assaulted a number of residents at the camp after they tried to obstruct the officers gaining entry onto their property.

UK Oil & Gas Investments Appoints Kiran Morzaria As Finance Director. London South East reports Kiran Morzaria replaces Donald Strang who is retiring to focus on other business interests. Mr Morzaria is currently a director of Academy Minerals Ltd, API Technology (UK) Ltd and Panguma Diamond Ltd and is the chief executive of fellow London-listed stock Rare Earth Minerals Ltd. Rare Earth Minerals is chaired by David Lenigas, the former chair of UKOG.

Anti-fracking protesters urged councillors to take gas extraction ‘off agenda’ at Shire Hall. The Gloucester Citizen reports a motion to ask the government to rescind licences in Gloucestershire has been referred to the county council’s environment oversight committee. Jojo Mehta, a campaigner against fracking, said: “We want to urge councillors to make sure fracking couldn’t happen here. I don’t think it will be allowed here because the people won’t allow it, but we mustn’t let the Government or companies try and make it happen.”

Alba completes acquisition of Horse Hill interest. InterativeInvestor reports that Alba Mineral Resources has increased its interest in Horse Hill Developments Ltd from 10-15% after completing the acquisition of a 5% stake in Angus Energy.

IEA report on benefits of coal is ‘deeply misleading. The Guardian reports that a report Socioeconomic Impacts of Advanced Technology Coal-Fuelled Power Stations, by the International Energy Agency’s coal industry advisory board, is described as “deeply confused and deeply misleading”. It is said to have a litany of errors and false assumptions.

Investigation: Top universities take £134m from fossil fuel giants despite divestment drive. Greenpeace Energy Desk reports that UK universities took about £134m from oil and mining companies in the past five years. Nearly £100m went to Manchester, Cambridge, Imperial and Oxford.

Government warned against ‘derailing’ offshore wind and new nuclear programmes. The Express and Star reports on a study by the Royal Academy of Engineering. This warns that time is running out to make crucial planning decisions and get the huge investment needed to deliver a secure, affordable and low-carbon energy system in the decades to come. It says ministers should drive forward nuclear, offshore wind farms and technology to capture and store carbon emissions for fossil fuel plants.

Fracking fears at nature areas. The Bridlington Free Press reports concerns by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust that wildlife sites could be damaged by fracking. It is calling on the government to honour a promise to ban fracking in Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

Fracking meeting in Melton. The Melton Times reports that more than 40 people attended a meeting about fracking by the local Green Party. Before the meeting, Hutton Energy, which has been offered a licence covering Melton under the 14th round, said it had permission for a well at Radcliffe on Trent but this did not involve fracking.

It’s true women don’t like fracking. I want to change that. Averil Macdonald, writing in The Guardian, rebuts criticism of her comments that women react different to men about fracking because of their understanding of science. She says: “The science behind fracking is well understood: it’s been used for more than 60 years. But we need to use a clear, accurate application of scientific evidence to help reassure local communities that reserves of British natural gas can be developed safely and with the minimum of environmental impact. We need to show people that UK gas supplies are part of a long-term sustainable solution and not just a stop gap.”

IGas share incentive plan. IGas tells shareholders its executive directors, Stephen Bowler and John Blaymires, were allowed 6,135 shares each under the monthly subscription. This brings Mr Bowler’s holding to 100,808 shares and Mr Blaymires’ to 50,891. The share price is currently around 20p.

22nd October 2015

Judicial Review gets go ahead into decision that approved Cuadrilla’s Roseacre Wood monitoring scheme. DrillOrDrop report  and reports by BBC and The Guardian

Company’s shale gas ‘scoping’ bid. The Nottingham Post reports that IGas has submitted a scoping request to Nottinghamshire County Council as part of possible plans for shale gas development at Tinker Lane, on the A634 between Barnby Moor and Blyth. This is the first step towards preparing an environmental impact assessment. The council has five weeks to comment on the request.

Torfaen becomes second Gwent council to vote against fracking. The Free Press reports Torfaen council voted against the use of fracking at a meeting this week. Cllr Gwyneira Clark, executive member for planning and public protection, told the paper “As a council we have a responsibility to tackle climate change, protect the environment and look after the wellbeing of our communities”. There have been similar actions by councils in neighbouring Monmouthshire and in the west of Wales in Ceredigion, the paper says.

Council votes to express concern about fracking in Forest of Dean. Forest of Dean District Council votes to formally register the concerns of the council regarding the use of unconventional gas exploration and extraction within the Forest of Dean District, and neighbouring areas, with the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and to inform the DECC that this Council would not currently be in a position to support this form of development. It also resolves to establish a working party on the issue and to review the impact on the area in the government’s strategic environmental assessment.

Is the Committee on Climate Change overestimating the cost of decarbonisation? Greenpeace Energy Desk says a report by the CCC ignored the benefits of the UK participating in an integrated European energy market and failed to keep up with the pace of technological innovation, particularly solar PV.

21st October 2015

UKOG announces plans for Sussex and Surrey oil exploration sites.  DrillOrDrop report

Rathlin Energy blames planning delay for withdrawal from Northern Ireland drilling licence. Campaigners celebrate. DrillOrDrop report

LetterOne transaction with Ineos completed. The Department of Energy and Climate Change reports that the Russian investment company, LetterOne, is finalising the sale of 12 North Sea assets to Ineos. DECC describes Ineos as “a well-funded, cost-conscious player who will work with us to maximise the potential of the North Sea.” Letter One ought the fields from RWE in March 2015. But DECC was concerned the sale could endanger UK oil and gas supplies if sanctions were imposed against Russia. It threatened to revoke LetterOne’s licences unless the fields were transferred.

Cuadrilla confident of Lancashire approvals. Environment Analyst reports on comments by Cuadrilla’s CEO, Francis Egan, to the opening session of the European Shale Oil and Gas Summit on 15th October 2015. The website said Mr Egan pointed out his “obvious frustration” at the delay to fracking in Lancashire following the refusal of planning permissions at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood. But he said the process was moving ahead quickly. The planning inquiry following Cuadrilla’s appeals is set for February while a pre-inquiry will take place in November. [DrillOrDrop’s request for a press pass for this conference was refused by the organisers]

‘No adverse environmental impacts from fracking’ says GGS. In another article from the summit, Environment Analyst quotes Simon Talbot, managing director of Ground Gas Solutions who told delegates he had found no groundwater or surface water issues in the projects his firm had undertaken in the UK. But according to the website, Mr Talbot said an investigation was underway into polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon contamination found in 2014 in a clay deposit, thought to be drilling mud. Other potential sources of contamination include heavy machinery on site and a nearby aerodrome.

20th October 2015

Fracking supporter gets official role at Cuadrilla public inquiry. DrillOrDrop report

Decision on Third Energy fracking plans delayed as planners ask for more information. DrillOrDrop report

“Only one letter” disputed in response to Third Energy’s fracking plans – campaign group. DrillOrDrop report

19th October 2015

UN scientist Jacquie McGlade raps UK over renewables. BBC News reports that Professor McGlade said cuts in UK renewable subsidies, coupled with tax breaks for oil and gas, sent a worrying signal to the coming UN climate summit in Paris. Prof McGlade said the UK appeared to have abandoned its leadership on climate change, while 150 other nations were making unprecedented pledges to shift towards clean energy.

Council offers £100,000 contract to defend Lancashire fracking decisions. DrillOrDrop report

UK public perceptions of shale gas hydraulic fracturing: The role of audience, message and contextual factors on risk perceptions and policy support. A report in the latest edition of Applied Energy suggests the public is ambivalent about shale gas but sees more risks than benefits. Perceptions are more influenced by demographics, politics and environmental values of people, than where they live or what they know. Information about shale gas has the biggest impact on people who are ambivalent. Link to report. Reports by Refracktion, BlueAndGreenTomorrow and ClickGreen

University of Chester audience hears fracking warning from UN expert. The Chester Chronicle reports on a meeting organised by Frack Free Dee Coalition which heard from Dr Mariann Lloyd-Smith, currently chair of the international working group on unconventional gas chemicals. Lache councillor, Jane Mercer, said: “There are far too many uncertainties and too much evidence of environmental and social damage”.

Failure of regulation raises fresh fears over fracking. Geoff Smith, writing in the Yorkshire Post, says “Recent history is littered with instances where the authorities have failed to regulate either organisations or whole industries properly”. He says: “This must not be allowed to happen with the unconventional gas extraction industry.” In another letter, Dr Tim Thornton, writes about three papers on fracking regulation and the impacts of fracking. “Unfit regulations and unacceptable risks to health should make the Government pause in the ‘dash for gas’”, he says.

The SNP has created a rod for its back on the issue of fracking. The Herald Scotland says the mood in the SNP is for a complete ban on fracking. “This is partly the SNP’s own fault, having created a rod for its own back during the referendum campaign by conflating fracking with the Tory/Unionist Westminster status quo. SNP badges with the instruction to “Frack Off!” remained prominent in Aberdeen at the weekend”, the paper says.

NSW buys back another CBM licence. The Australian website ArgusMedia.com reports that the New South Wales state government has bought back petroleum exploration licence, PEL 445 in the Northern Rivers region from IGas for an undisclosed sum. It is part of the government’s CBM buy-back scheme launched last year. The scheme has reduced the footprint of CBM exploration areas in NSW to less than 8pc, compared with more than 60pc prior to March 2011.

18th October 2015

SNP faces two revolts over fracking and land reform. The Aberdeen Press and Journal reports on the narrow defeat at the SNP conference of a motion to ban fracking in Scotland.

Consumers should benefit from low costs of renewables’. The Scotsman reports on a study by the renewables company, Good Energy, while supporting the development of clean power adds cost to consumer bills, the electricity generated by them is cheaper as their energy sources – the wind or the Sun – are free. The study calculates that wind and solar generators brought down the wholesale cost of electricity by £1.55 billion in 2014.

17th October 2015

Burning bracken not fracking is the power future – and backed by Michael Eavis. The Western Daily Press reports on the launch of a new product to control bracken. Brackenburn turns the plant into briquettes for log burners and open fires. The company, funded by Centrica and a regional grant, will market the product throughout the west of England.

Think on, it may be our turn next. John Lawrence, of Harrogate, writing in the Harrogate Advertiser, urges local people to support the campaign against fracking in Ryedale. He says the MP Kevin Hollinrake’s call for a one mile buffer between houses and sites disregards the damage underground, as well as on the surface. He also criticises Third Energy for implying that fracking has been carried out for 20 years.

Shropshire MP Owen Paterson: Jobs at risk if fracking banned. The Shropshire Star reports comments by the local MP on Radio 4’s Any Questions that the “real jobs” were at risk if access to shale gas were blocked in the UK.

We are united against fracking. A letter to The Bolton News by Bolton Green Party welcomes the decision by Bolton council not to allow fracking on council land. It says there is “massive opposition” to fracking in Horwich, Rivington and Blackrod.

16th October 2015

SNP conference overwhelmingly opposes fracking. Utility Week reports that the SNP came out strongly against shale gas fracking at its annual conference. A majority of delegates voted in favour of the existing moratorium but many called for a harder line against fracking calling for a complete ban. In a vote 550 supported the current moratorium and 427 voted for a resolution to be sent back to include a total ban on fracking. The Guardian said no one at the debate voiced support for shale gas but calls for a ban received enthusiastic applause. BBC News report

Tommy Sheppard MP: Powerful corporations will “move heaven and earth” to beat Scottish Government. CommonSpace reports comments by MP Tommy Sheppard that “the Scottish Government is to be applauded for having the moratorium [on fracking] and committing themselves to a full evidence-based review of whether fracking or UCG should have any place in our energy policy. We have to give the Scottish Government time and space to get that decision right, because there are very powerful corporate forces who will move heaven and earth to undermine that decision.”

Scotland urged to ‘seize the opportunity’ for fracking investment. The Glasgow Evening Times reports comments by Jim Ratcliffe, CEO of Ineos that Scotland must seize the opportunity afforded by fracking or lose out to England. A YouGov poll for The Times found that 59% of Scots are opposed to fracking. Writing in the Scottish Sun, Mr Ratcliffe appealed to the Scottish Government not to delay a decision on the technology for too long, arguing that shale gas would be “crucial” to Scotland’s future as North Sea gas runs out. Shale gas is Scotland’s best and last chance to gain economic independence,” he said.

Ineos senior exec ‘not too concerned’ about fracking motion. Energy Voice reports on comments by Gary Haywood, CEO of Ineos Upstream, that he was not “too concerned” about a motion at the SNP conference that could result in a further clampdown on fracking. He said he was apply for the SNP to “take note of the science” before it gave the company the green light to exploit shale gas north of the border. Press and Journal report

Stewart McDonald: As an SNP MP, I, too, am undecided about the pros and cons of fracking. The Herald Scotland carries a column by Stewart McDonald. He says the shale gas industry had “failed to convince that they can frack safely, or as close to being safe as possible. The burden of proof must always be with these companies: asbestos is just one example of a technology that was used without adequate medium or long-term studies into its robustness.”

Long Man of Wilmington targeted by anti-fracking protesters. The BBC reports that anti-fracking protesters placed a slogan made from white tarpaulin above a famous giant chalk figure, the Long Man of Wilmington, cut into the South Downs. The words Frack Off appeared above the 235ft figure on the hillside near Eastbourne.

Group’s concern about fracking linked to premature births and high risk pregnancy Preston New Road Action Group notes the findings of a report by Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health linking hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to premature births and high-risk pregnancies. Claire Stephenson of the group says: : “Due to the high population density of the Fylde Coast area and close proximity to a primary school, the Preston New Road site is entirely unsuitable for testing such a risky technology. The proximity of the proposed drill site, currently within 350 yards of residents and the recent massive surge in new-build housing with further proposed large estates within one-two miles, will greatly increase these health risks.”

Trafford primary school in top 10 most polluted schools in England The Breath Clean Air Group in Trafford, which has been sampling nitrogen dioxide concentrations in Urmston and Davyhulme, says Trafford Council must take action to protect pupils at the primary school. Peter Kilvert, chair of the group, says: “We are genuinely concerned that the Davyhulme Incinerator and the Coal Bed Methane Fracking venture (passed by the Council last week), will add to the already too high level of air pollution. The children are our future.”

Fracking studies overwhelmingly indicate threats to public health. Inside Climate News reports on the compendium of fracking research, published by Concerned Health Professionals of New York and Physicians for Social Responsibility. It says the vast majority of studies conclude that fracking worsens air quality, contaminates water sources and harms public health. The compendium review more than 500 fracking-related studies and concluded there was “not evidence that fracking can be practiced in a manner that does not threaten human health”.

Alba Mineral Resources extends option to increase Horse Hill stake LSE.co.uk reports Alba Mineral Resources PLC has extended the deadline by which it will acquire a further 5% stake in one of the holding companies that owns the prospective Horse Hill licence in the Weald basin of the UK, but said it has lost an option to acquire an additional 5% as a result.

Energy groups pledge to tackle climate change The FT reports that chief executives from 10 of the world’s largest oil and gas groups, including Saudi Arabia’s state oil company, have vowed to do more to fight global warming ahead of the December UN climate conference in Paris. But they were not supported by US energy companies, drew a lukewarm welcome from the French government hosting the talks, and attracted charges of hypocrisy from green groups. It also received a cutting response from the coal industry, frustrated by fresh efforts to paint it as the fossil fuel sector’s chief climate villain.

Obama administration blocks new oil drilling in the Arctic. The Guardian reports the US Interior Department has cancelled two future offshore leases in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas and will refuse requests from oil companies to renew existing leases

15th October 2015

North Yorkshire County Council investigates objections to Third Energy fracking application DrillOrDrop report, reports by The Times,  Yorkshire Post, The Northern Echo and York Press

Council can’t stall on Ryedale fracking bid, minister warns. The Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, tells the Yorkshire Post the decision over whether to grant permission to Third Energy to dig a well to extract shale gas near the village of Kirkby Misperton should follow the strict guidelines set out in planning rules. On whether shale gas should be extracted in Ryedale, she said ‘that’s going to be up to Third Energy”. She said: “It’s up to them to pursue the opportunities that they have there. It’s up to them and the councils. We’ve set out the parameters.”

Natural Resources Minister cannot give reassurance on stopping fracking. News North Wales reports that Carl Sargeant, the minister of natural resources in the Welsh Government, has admitted he can’t give an assurance about stopping fracking. He was being questioned at this morning’s Senedd. Mr Sargeant has claimed in the past he was imposing a moratorium. But when he was asked to give a categorical assurance that if a fracking application did come to him he would reject it, Mr Sargeant said: “I can’t say that. I can’t prejudge.”

Fracking fears: What will happen if fracking came to Worksop? The Worksop Guardian reports on the concerns of residents following the announcement of licences for oil and gas exploration in Worksop, which could involve fracking.

Midlothian MP welcomes fracking intervention. The Midlothian Advertiser reports on comments by Midlothian’s SNP MP welcoming the moratorium on underground coal gasification in Scotland.

Torfaen councillor backs fracking ban. The South Wales Argus reports on comments by Mary Barnett, Labour councillor for Upper Cwmbran, who plans to table a motion against shale gas extraction at the October 20th meeting of Torfaen Council.

Fracking chemicals lower sperm count in mice when they reach adulthood, says new research. The Independent reports on US research which tested 24 chemicals used in oil and gas drilling techniques in Colorado. It discovered that all but one were endocrine-disrupting chemicals. EDCs mimic, block or otherwise interfere with hormones. Lead researcher Susan Negel, Associate Professor at the University of Missouri Health, said: “It is clear EDCs used in fracking can act alone or in combination with other chemicals to interfere with the body’s hormone function.”

The tangle of loose lending to tight oil. Gillian Tett, writing in the FT, says big US bank lenders have admitted they are setting money aside to cover losses on fossil fuel loans. One major Wall Street bank said was relaxing borrowing conditions on 72 out of 74 loans to the oil and gas sector to avoid the loans going into default. She says non-bank funding is preparing to fund energy groups but this will be more expensive to borrowers.

Ex-chancellor says blocking fracking is ‘deplorable’. The Lancashire Evening Post reports comments by Lord Lawson that Lancashire’s decision to block fracking in the county was “deplorable” and curbed its ability to exploit its “best possible prospect”. DrillOrDrop’s Fracking Week in Westminster

14th October 2015

Growing opposition to shale gas extraction, particularly among women, says latest Nottingham University fracking attitudes survey. DrillOrDrop report, Guardian report

Magellan to contest court action over West Sussex drilling site. DrillOrDrop report

Cuadrilla reports Friends of the Earth fracking leaflet to the Advertising Standards Authority and Charity Commission DrillOrDrop report, and reports by the Sun and Onshore Energy Services Groups

2,500 sign petition against fracking in Bolton. The Bolton News reports a petition against fracking — signed by 2,500 Bolton residents — will be handed to Bolton Council at a meeting tonight. The petition has been organised by the Bolton Liberal Democrats and asks the authority to not allow any fracking to take place on council land and to ensure that the environmental impacts of any application are “thoroughly assessed”.

Ineos launch bid to convince SNP fracking is “once in a generation” opportunity for Scotland. Tom Pickering, a director of Ineos, writing in The Herald Scotland, says fracking presents Scotland with a once-in-a-generation opportunity while fears over safety are fuelled by misinformation. He said the country had the chance to create jobs, boost the economy and provide a showcase for engineers by embracing the controversial gas extraction technique.

Helsby fracking campaigners prompt public meeting vow from Weaver Vale MP Graham Evans. The Chester Chronicle reports that anti-fracking campaigners in Helsby have taken their fight to their MP who is under pressure to hold a public meeting. Mr Evans tells the paper: “I’m concerned too, but can I say there’s nothing new about fracking. If you look at the scientific reports they say it’s perfectly safe as long as it’s done professionally.”

Decision whether to allow fracking in Ryedale will be made next month The Malton Gazette and Herald reports that a decision on Third Energy’s application to frack at Kirby Misperton is expected to be made at meeting of North Yorkshire County Council’s planning committee on Monday 2nd November.

Council officers propose site visit to fracking site. A report by planning officers at North Yorkshire County Council is recommending a site visit to Third Energy’s proposed fracking site at Kirby Misperton. The report will be considered at a planning committee meeting on 20th October. A decision is expected in November.

UK’s green subsidies to end in a decade, says official. The FT reports on comments by Stephen Lovegrove, lead civil servant at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, who told a conference on Tuesday (13/10/15) that he expected the UK to be largely free of renewables subsidies in 10 years’ time.

13th October 2015

Planning system on the brink as local authorities suffer from lack of resource. The British Property Federation reports on its survey of local planning authorities which found that 55% said under-resourcing was no a significant challenge. Determination times for major new planning applications hit a three-year high of 32 weeks, over double the government target, the research found. Over half LPAs said the planning system was not operating as well as it was in 2010.

U.S. shale oil output to fall by most on record in November: EIA. Reuters reports on an estimate by the US Energy Information Administration that U.S. shale production is expected to fall the most on record in November, extending a nationwide output decline into its seventh consecutive month. Total output is set to fall by more than 93,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 5.12 million bpd, according to the EIA’s monthly drilling productivity report. That’s the largest monthly cut forecast since data was available in 2007.

Meeting plans to fight fracking. The Rotherham Advertiser reports on a meeting planned for 1pm on Saturday at Centenary Hall in Hellaby.

Climate fears mean oil will stay in ground, says BP. The Times reports comments by Spencer Dale, chief economist of BP, who said most of the world’s remaining oil will stay in the ground because of rising concerns about climate change. He says “The pace at which estimates of recoverable oil resources are increasing, together with growing concerns about the environment, means that it seems unlikely that all the world’s oil will be consumed. Guardian report

MP’s fracking findings do not reassure. In a letter to The Yorkshire Post, Rosalind Field, says “I am not reassured about fracking after reading Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake’s account of his trip to Pennsylvania (The Yorkshire Post, October 5). The description of his journey is of a depressing voyage through an empty landscape interspersed with fracking well pads and isolated dwellings dependent on bottled drinking water. Fracking is welcome in the rural “one-horse” towns that have fallen on hard times and can’t fill a restaurant. This does not sound like Ryedale.”

500 nature refuges ‘at risk from fracking’ – Complete list in Yorkshire The Yorkshire Evening Post reports 31 Yorkshire Wildlife Trust nature reserves are in oil and gas licence areas released by the government and 35 more are within 500 metres. Rob Stoneman, chief executive of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, said: “We simply cannot allow the provision of licenses awarded to oil and gas exploration companies for shale gas extraction to threaten what has taken decades of work to protect. The Government must uphold their commitment not to use hydraulic fracturing (fracking) on sites protected for wildlife.” The paper lists the reserves that could be affected.  Whitby Gazette report

Oil giants to miss third-quarter profit estimates, says Barclays. Energy Voice reports on a note from Barclays oil industry analyst, Paul Cheng, that the biggest publicly traded oil producers based in the Western Hemisphere will fall short of Wall Street profit estimates when third-quarter results are released in coming weeks because energy prices have continued to slump.

Oil price holds steady but global oversupply remains. Energy Voice also reports that oil halted its decline after falling the most in six weeks as signs of rising demand in China countered an increase in OPEC production. Futures climbed as much as 1.3% in New York after Monday’s 5.1% drop.

IGas fund helps makeover to school pond in Ellesmere Port. The Chester Chronicle reports on a £2,000 grant by IGas to re-establish a pond at Brookside Primary in Great Sutton. The company tells the paper it has “made £700,000 available to help communities close to IGas sites”.

12th October 2015

MP’s Ryedale meeting hears calls for halt to fracking. DrillOrDrop report, York Press report

Drilling at Horse Hill BBC Inside Out South East examines claims about the volume of oil in the Weald, made by UKOG, one of the companies by the Horse Hill Well. It says David Lenigas, the former chairman, bought shares worth £22,000 in the company about two years ago, which are now worth £1.2m. The programme also showed untransmitted video in which the then CEO, Stephen Sanderson, said there were 50-100 billion barrels of oil in the Weald. Programme available to watch until 10/11/15.

Ineos buys 12 North Sea gas fields for £490m. The Guardian, FT and BBC, among others, report that the Grangemouth-based chemicals group, Ineos, has bought 12 North Sea gas fields in a £490m deal. The fields are off the east coast of Scotland and north east England, provide up to 8% of the UK’s gas. They belonged to LetterOne, the company set up by the Russian billionaire, Mikhail Fridman. It was forced to sell assets when the UK government ruled it was not in the UK’s interests to have the fields at risk of international sanctions against Russian companies and individuals.

Hands joined across Forth Road Bridge in fight against fracking. The Courier reports around 600 campaigners joined the Hands Over Our Forth demonstration against underground coal gasification.

Oklahoma earthquake likely caused by wastewater injection, seismologist says. The Guardian reports an earthquake measuring 4.4, in northern Oklahoma is the seventh of magnitude 3.0 or more this week. US Geological Survey seismologist George Choy said it had all the hallmarks of an induced quake, meaning it was triggered by the injection of drilling wastewater underground.

Conservation charities urge Government to ban fracking near wildlife havens. The Northern Echo reports on a coalition of nature conservation organisations urging the government to uphold its pledge to ban fracking at protected sites. The coalition includes Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, RSPB, Campaign for Protection of Rural England and the Campaign for National Parks.

Barclays Bank protest Reports in Hampshire Chronicle, York Press, Eastbourne Herald, East Grinstead Courier

Golden age for fracking but not for humanity. Chris Broome, writing in the Yorkshire Post, responds to an article by MP Kevin Hollinrake which quoted a 2012 report Golden Age for Gas by the International Energy Agency. This estimated, Mr Broome said, that temperatures would rise above 3.5Ca if a global unconventional gas industry developed. Mr Broome said “We need to reduce reliance on all fossil fuels more rapidly than our politicians have envisaged.

9th October 2015

Reaction for and against Ryedale District Council’s vote to ban fracking for 5 years. DrillOrDrop report

SNP attacked over coal gasification ban Algy Cluff, the head of Cluff Natural Resources, the company hoping to extract gas from under the Firth of Forth has attacked SNP ministers’ new moratorium on the technology as politically motivated and not “in the national interest”, The Times reports.

Upton frackers and anti-frackers in stand-off near protest camp. The Chester Chronicle reports that campaigners blockaded vehicles belong to the seismic testing company, Tesla, from leaving a potential fracking site this afternoon. Frack Free Upton claimed tractors and Land Rovers near a protest camp didn’t have consent to use a newly-laid farm track. But the farmer who owned the land, Peers Dutton, said IGas had options on his land and the testing was not related to the Upton site.

Campaigners call for Ineos fracking drilling to be “cancelled immediately”.  CommonSpace reports campaigners have reacted with anger to news that Ineos is preparing to begin drilling as part of a Scottish Government investigation into the viability and safety of fracking in Scotland. The socialist coalition, Rise, told CommonSpace the plans should be cancelled immediately.

Stop fracking action pack. Friends of the Earth publish and promote what it calls “a one stop shop of information about fracking and top tips on how to stop it near you”

Protect Woodburn Forest and Reservoirs. StopTheDrillCampaign launches a crowd-funding campaign to raise £6,000 to cover the professional fees of a planning consultant and support legal costs to review the decision to drill at Woodburn Forest, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Infrastrata, which has a licence to drill, expects work to begin in the final three months of 2015.

8th October 2015

Ryedale council votes for 5-year ban on fracking and objection to Third Energy plans at Kirby Misperton DrillOrDrop report  Yorkshire Post report   Guardian report

IGas coal bed methane plans for Davyhulme get the go-ahead DrillOrDrop report

Scottish moratorium on underground coal gasification confirmed. BBC News reports the Scottish Government has imposed a moratorium on underground coal gasification. Cluff Natural Resources had been planning to use the technique to extract gas from under the Firth of Forth near Kincardine. Energy Voice report

Scottish Government will not take final decision on fracking in Scotland until 2017. Herald Scotland reports on an announcement by the Scottish Energy minister, Fergus Ewing, that a public consultation on fracking will begin at the end of next year and conclude in Spring 2017. A report will be published in Autumn next year.

Fracking industry wells associated with premature birth. A study by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, published in Epidemiology, finds that living in the most active quartile of drilling and production activity was associated with a 40% increase in the likelihood of a woman giving birth before 37 weeks and a 30% increase in the chance of the pregnancy being labelled “high risk” by an obstetrician. The study does not establish why pregnant women had worse outcomes near the most active wells. One of the authors said changes in air quality and stress levels were leading areas for more research. Link to research paper

Land to be assessed for possible ‘fracking’.  The Pocklington Post reports that swathes of land throughout the Pocklington and Market Weighton areas are to be assessed for the exploration and extraction of shale gas. Jon Mager, of the campaign group Frack Free East Yorkshire, said further talks between environmental groups, parish councils and Cuadrilla would take place over the coming months. What we know is Cuadrilla are going to all the council parish meetings. We have started going as well and we have also been invited to go to meetings of Protecting Our Wolds Environment and Resources.”

Wiltshire Council concerned over fracking. The Wiltshire Times reports that CAMPAIGNERS and councillors believe Wiltshire Council’s response to a consultation into fracking has sent out the right message, after the local authority stated they were “particularly concerned about the identification of the four blocks in Wiltshire”. In response to the consultation, Wiltshire Council stated: “The opportunity should be taken at this stage to rule out the granting of licences in higher risk areas and thus avoid abortive investment by developers and tension with local communities.”

EU fracking guidelines fail to protect citizens. Real Independent News and Film reports on a new study by Friends of the Earth Europe and the Food & Water Europe group. Called Fracking business (as usual), the European Commission’s recommendations on fracking lack the ability to force member states to even make minimal changes to their shale gas regulations. It also relies too heavily on self-monitoring by the oil and gas industry to control the worst impacts of fracking.

Talk Thursday DrillOrDrop report on today’s debates, talks, exhibitions and meetings

7th October 2015

IGas coal bed methane plans should go ahead, Trafford planners say DrillOrDrop report

Anti-fracking campaigners call for MP to oppose plan. The Gazette and Herald follows up our interview with Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake, with local reaction to his call for fracking sites to be one mile from properties. The paper interviews the Reverend Jackie Cray, who lives in Kirby Misperton, where Third Energy has applied for permission to frack an existing well. She points out that the site is 0.44 miles from a caravan site and 0.6 miles from the village centre.

MP to chair fracking meeting. The Gazette and Herald also reports on a meeting in Malton on 12th October to be chaired by Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake. Participants will have the chance to question representatives from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the Environment Agency and the Health and Safety Executive, together with the British Geographical Survey and the Planning Advisory Service.

I won’t try to block fracking plans, says North Yorkshire MP. The York Press also follows up our interview with questions for Mr Hollinrake about whether he would stop applications less than a mile away from communities. He told the paper he said: “It’s up to the local authorities where these sites go and what I would say to them is they need to take in the proximity to local villages and schools and make sure they have access to main roads rather than going through villages. I don’t think it’s a case of me fighting against a particular application. What I’m saying is let’s plan this so we minimize the impact on communities. It’s not for me to defend applications.”

Letter: Current fracking regulations are unreliable. The Malton Mercury carries a letter by anti-fracking campaigner, Chris Redston, who says thousands of constituents in Ryedale will be disappointed by a report by MP Kevin Hollinrake of his trip to Pennsylvania.

Activist ex-diplomat addresses Scottish Parliament on fracking Blue&Green reports that former climate change envoy, John Ashton, will to a cross-party group of MPs at a Scottish Parliament reception tonight on his experiences in the campaign against fracking.

Campaigners call to protect Lincolnshire Wolds from fracking. The East Lindsey Target reports comments by campaigners from No Frack East Lindsey that areas around Louth, Alford, Spilsby, Mablethorpe, Horncastle and Skegness are at risk from fracking.

UK is accused of rigging market against renewables. Climate News Network reports comments by Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity, who calls on the UK government to end subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear power to “create a level playing field” with renewable energy. The trade body, RenewableUK, announces that in the second quarter of this year renewable energy produced 25.3% of UK electricity, more than either nuclear power (21.5%) or coal (20.5%).

Valley ‘next on the list’ to be explored for fracking sites, council leader claims. Rossendale Free Press reports the area could be next on the list for exploring possible sites for fracking, according to Rossendale District Council leader Alyson Barnes. She told a full meeting of the council Rossendale “is one of the areas expected to be offered up for exploration next year.”

Fracking, climate change and public attitudes Matthew Sheppard, writing in LocalGov, says public perception of shale gas remains a major challenge for the industry and the authorities that have to manage the planning process. Improved awareness and engagement with the planning process is required, he says. He adds: “Applicants should also be encouraged to systematically and directly respond to the questions and concerns raised during consultation.”

6th October 2015

UK Oil & Gas reveals concept of multiple oil production sites across southern England DrillOrDrop report

Wind and solar keep getting cheaper and cheaper. The Washington Post reports on analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance of the cost of electricity. Based on a review of 55,000 projects around the world, it found that onshore wind costs on average $83 per megawatt-hour of electricity ($2 cheaper than in the first half of the year) and thin film solar photovoltaics costs $122, a drop of $7 in half a year. In the UK, electricity from wind is now considerable cheaper than that from fossil fuels at $85 per megawatt–hour, compared with $105 for generation from coal and $118 from gas.

Keep on truckin’ with UKOOG. The campaigning website Refracktion reports that UK Onshore Oil and Gas – the industry organisation, has updated its web page about the number of truck movements to fracking sites. Refracktion says the original text said there would be 100-300 truck movements per year over 20 years. This was updated to say truck movements would average 6.1-17.1 per day, assuming all took place in the five years of drilling. Both sets of text compared this to 370,000 truck movements needed to transport milk produced in the UK. Refracktion adds that other estimates of truck movements for a 40-well pad range from 31,257 truck (Institute of Directors) and 59,810 (European Commission).

Brazil to auction Amazon fracking licences. The Ecologist reports that Brazil will auction 266 licence blocks tomorrow (7th October) extending deep into the Amazon forest, including territories of remote and vulnerable indigenous people. Bidders include BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Statoil, GDF Suez and Total, the Ecologist says. It adds that the areas include main groundwater aquifers, areas of high agricultural productivity, as well as rainforest and important conservation areas.

Royal Dutch Shell warns of risk of oil price spike. The FT reports on a warning from Royal Dutch Shell of a spike in oil prices if OPEC continues to pump “flat-out” in the face of an expected decline in output after spending cuts by energy groups outside the producers’ cartel.

Shale oil pioneer sees ‘dramatic decline’ in US output growth Gulf News reports comments by Mark Papa, of EOG Resources, one of the biggest US shale producers. He says the US growth in output will stop this month and production will be significantly lower by January, compared with a year earlier.

Coal-fired power stations ‘to close’. The Times reports the Department of Energy and Climate Change is discussing plans to set a date for the UK’s coal-fired power stations to close. The paper suggests the date could by 2023 and this will be announced before the Paris climate change conference begins on 30th November.

The world wastes more than twice as much energy as it uses every year. Tech Insider reports on a study by Lawrence Livermore University that found the world used 534,000 petajoules (PJ) of energy in 2011 but 290,000 was lost because we can’t use energy sources with 100% efficiency.

5th October 2015

Rathlin Energy describes West Newton gas find as “very encouraging”. DrillOrDrop report on the company’s planning and environmental permit applications.

Councillors urged to impose a ‘ban’ on fracking in Ryedale. The Yorkshire Post reports Ryedale councillors John Clark and Joy Andrews will ask colleagues to back a motion that attempts to force the district council to object to Third Energy’s plans for fracking at Kirby Misperton.

Hands across the Forth against fracking. Fife Today reports that Fifers opposed to fracking to join hands with fellow protestors in a chain across the Forth Road Bridge on Sunday (October 11) in a call to the Scottish Government to extend the moratorium on fracking to underground coal gasification. Cluff Natural Resources has three UCG licences for the Firth of Forth, covering large areas around Kincardine, East Wemyss, Kirkcaldy and Largo Bay, the paper says. In a separate move, Fife Council has demanded a moratorium on UCG to allow a full public health impact study and consultation.

Confusing government policy biggest threat to UK clean energy, says top academic. The Guardian reports comments by Rob Gross, director for the centre for energy policy at Imperial College that lack of clarity is damaging investment in renewable energy, as well as gas and nuclear.

Comment: How UK energy policy is now backing losers at taxpayer’s expense. Greenpeace EnergyDesk reviews government energy policy, including fracking.

Solar cheaper than natural gas? It’s happening. Forbes reports that under power purchase agreements in the US, developers will deliver power from large utility-scale solar plants at below the price of electricity from gas by 2021. The figures are based on a report from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Between 2017 and 2040, the average cost of power from solar plants will be $42/1 per megawatt hour, compared with $48.1 for the cost of gas alone.

Crude up over 2 percent as gasoline jumps, Russia mulls oil talks. Reuters reports Brent crude settled up 2.3% at $49.25 a barrel, bolstered by a rally in US gasoline and Russia’s willingness to meet other major oil producers to discuss the market.

Oil explorers face testing month over asset revaluations. The FT reports that for the next month independent companies will be negotiating with the banks about the value of their oil reserves, upon which loans are secured. The FT says the process, called redetermination, could have significant ramifications for the whole industry, though it is unlikely to cause “instant havoc in the UK2.

Oil up as Russia ready to talk with producers, U.S. rig count drops. Reuters reports crude oil futures rose this morning after Russia said it was ready to meet other producers to discuss the global oil market, where prices have more than halved from last year’s high because of a supply glut.

Can the oil industry lead the way on international development and climate change? Greenpeace EnergyDesk examines the record of the oil industry on its promise on these issues

4th October 2015

Mark Carney under attack from investors. The FT reports that Mark Carney’s warning that investors face potentially huge losses from stranded fossil fuel assets has riled many in the investment community who believe the Bank of England governor has spoken out of turn. (See 29th September 2015)

Manchester fundraising Campaigners against Cuadrilla’s plans to frack at Preston New Road in Lancashire say they raised £1,432.38 from people taking part in the March Against Austerity in Manchester. The money will be used by the campaigners to fight Cuadrilla’s appeal against the refusal of planning permission. RT report

Protestors looking for 4,000 people to sign anti-fracking petition. The Bolton News reports that Bolton Against Fracking took its campaign to the public in Victoria Square on Saturday. The group is hoping to collect 4,000 signatures against fracking, before handing in a petition to Bolton Council.

SNP MP warns of fracking threat to Scotland’s “clean, green” food and drink industry. John McNally MP, convenor of the SNP’s Westminster fracking group, warns fracking could threaten Scotland’s £14bn-a-year food and drink industry, reports Herald Scotland.

Russia bombing in Syria escalates oil price war with Saudi Arabia. The Telegraph’s Andrew Critchlow reports that the decision by Moscow to start bombing targets in Syria will rattle crude prices.

3rd October 2015

Government feared anti-fracking campaigners would use unredacted shale gas report to undermine policy DrillOrDrop report

Blood from stone BBC Radio 4 broadcasts oil comedy play set in 2045 by Tamsin Oglesby. Available here for 28 days

Camp departed Opposition camp outside the site earmarked by Rathlin Energy for West Newton B well is cleared before the deadline set in a removal notice issued on 4th September 2015 by East Riding of Yorkshire Council. Details on this date on the camp’s Facebook page

2nd October 2015

Help needed on details about fracking and drilling applications DrillOrDrop report

DrillOrDrop wins grant for new project DrillOrDrop report

September 2015 fracking headlines DrillOrDrop report

Mark Carney is wrong: humanity still needs fossil fuels. Philip Lambert, chief executive of Lambert Energy Advisory, writing in the FT, says comments by the Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, (see 29th September 2015) are likely to engender misplaced and counterproductive despair. Investors will strip useful assets of their value, deterring them from investing in crucial new oil and gas production capacity

Oil drillers bet choking wells will keep shale from going bust. Bloomberg reports how a technique used by the Canadian shale oil company, Encana Corp, to restrict initial output from wells in return for more oil over the long term. The process, known as choking back, has been used across the US. Companies concede huge up-front gushers of crude oil, in exchange for smaller production declines over time so that the wells ultimately generate more oil, Bloomberg says.

Face to face with fracking, September 2015. Thirsk and Malton MP, Kevin Hollinrake, posts his report on his website of a visit to Pennsylvania. More detail coming soon.

Oil and gas exploration and fracking in West Sussex. West Sussex County Council updates its page about hydrocarbon extraction in West Sussex. The information includes the status of permitted sites and planning permissions. Permission at Markwells Wood, near Rowlands Castle, expired on 31st March 2015.

Ineos’s softly, softly approach may win over fracking doubters. Jim Armitage in the Evening Standard writes that Jim Ratcliffe, of Ineos, is being uncharacteristically softly, softly, in his attempt to get the go-ahead for Ineos’s 700 square miles of fracking licences in Scotland. “Ineos could find itself among the first in the UK to win fracking approval. When it does, let’s hope it doesn’t screw up like the Lancashire earthquake mob”, Armitage writes.

Fracking saves water, a new pro-industry report claims. A new report, Natural Gas Development Saves Texas Water, released by the pro-industry group North Texans for Natural Gas, says hydraulic fracturing uses a small fraction of freshwater consumed in Texas and that natural gas-fire power plans save 33 gallons for every one gallon used to extract it from the ground. Reported by San Antonio Business Journal

1st October 2015

Update on Lancashire fracking appeals and judicial review. DrillOrDrop report

Cuadrilla announces HQ move to Preston. DrillOrDrop report

Campaigning steps up on N Yorkshire fracking plan. DrillOrDrop report on meetings and campaign action in the final fortnight for comments on Third Energy’s application to frack at Kirby Misperton

Helsby shaken up by seismic survey. The Chester Chronicle reports on complaints by residents in Helsby that they have been disturbed by tremors and thumps from seismic testing. Tesla Enterprises is conducting the tests for IGas Energy. Adrienne Baines told the paper: “It’s affected a lot of people, for me the walls actually shook. The booms built up as the tests came closer to my house until it felt like they were coming from beneath the property.”

Anti-fracking group call meeting in Shireoaks. The Worksop Guardian reports on an anti-fracking meeting at Shireoaks Village Hall, at 7.15pm on 8th October. The event, organised by Bassetlaw Against Fracking, includes the screening of the Canadian film, Shattered Ground.

Fracking consultation should be extended, claims Chippenham Green Party chairman. The Wiltshire Times reports on comments by Tina Johnston that the government’s consultation on new oil and gas licences, which ended this week, should be extended. She says not enough was done to bring the consultation to the public’s attention.

Mid Sussex planners approve RePower Balcombe solar scheme. DrillOrDrop report with links to The Guardian and Brighton Argus

Defra delayed release of fracking social impacts report because of ‘damage’ to government policies. Greenpeace EnergyDesk reports on the outcome of an FOI request which reveals that DEFRA did not want to release the full version of a report on the rural impacts of fracking because the information could be useful to anti-fracking groups. DEFRA said the information would have been “disproportionately damaging” to its attempts to allow fracking under people’s homes and two planning applications underway in Lancashire, Greenpeace says.

Fracking company Ineos to woo SNP at conference. The FT reports that Ineos has booked a stand at the SNP conference for the first time as it looks to soften the Scottish Government’s resistance to fracking. Director, Tom Crotty, said the stall was a “natural extension” of local meetings in Scotland. Herald Scotland report (2/10/15)

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