Our digest of May’s headlines about fracking, shale and onshore oil and gas developments – and reaction to them.
This month’s top stories …
- North Yorkshire County Council approves Third Energy’s planning application to frack its KM8 well at Kirby Misperton
- Opponents vow to fight on; the companies say it’s a first step to a UK shale gas industry
- IGas announces plans for two shale gas wells for 2017 and fracking in north west England but executive predicts fracking in the NW will be “incredibly difficult”
- Anti-shale campaigners mark five years without fracking
- Council drops fracking sign against nurseryman
- Cuadrilla accuses government of not delivering on fracking decision timetable
- INEOS fires the starting gun on fracking but in Cheshire there’s a call for a referendum
- Energy minister says local people know best on fracking
- Environment Agency proposes to grant permit for IGas shale gas exploration in Nottinghamshire
- Arrest at Woodburn Forest as InfraStrata delivers drilling equipment
- Cuadrilla announces plans to start drilling monitoring boreholes at Lancashire fracking site
- NERC report says waste water treatment costs could make UK fracking uneconomic
- Rathlin Energy secures bankruptcy order against a prominent anti-fracking campaigner
- Awareness campaign launched in West Lancashire as Aurora prepares for seismic surveys
Read on for more details, more stories and links.
31 May 2016
40+ key dates and events about fracking and onshore oil and gas in June 2016.DrillOrDrop Drilling Diary.
YP Letters: Opposition to Ryedale fracking is only growing. The Yorkshire Post has nine letters about the decision by North Yorkshire County Council to approve Third Energy’s fracking plans. Seven are against fracking and two in favour or neutral.
Angling: Fracking in Derwent is a concern for anglers. The Yorkshire Post’s angling column questions whether the Environment Agency was right to approve a permit to frack at Third Energy’s KM8 well in Ryedale.
NI Water plays down fears over Woodburn forest oil drill project. The Belfast Telegraph reports that Northern Ireland Water’s chief executive, Sara Venning, has written to Belfast City Council say she is “wholly satisfied” with assurances there was no risk to the public water supply from the exploratory oil well project being undertaken by InfraStrata at the wood outside Carrickfergus. Several councillors in Belfast expressed concern earlier this year that the exploration could impact on the city’s drinking water supply. The council is planning a special meeting attended by Ms Venning.
Anti-fracking campaign in Filey. BBC Radio York reports people opposed to fracking in Filey say they’ll fight any proposals by Cuadrilla to drill near their town or surrounding villages.
IGas application ES/3524 to explore for shale gas at Tinker Lane, north Nottinghamshire is now live on Nottinghamshire County Council’s website. The public consultation is not yet open. Link to application page.
Protest against Barclays investment in Third Energy. No Fracking in Barnsley, Frack Free South Yorkshire, Sheffield Against Fracking and Frack Free Penistone & Stocksbridge announced they will be outside Barclays Bank, Queen Street, Barnsley on Saturday 4 June 2016 to ask the bank to sever all ties with Third Energy. The groups are also asking Barclays customers to switch banks and for people in the UK to boycott all Barclays branches and events sponsored by the bank.
30 May 2016
Canadian tonic as 32,000 sign anti-fracking online petition in Ryedale. The Yorkshire Post reports more than 32,000 people have signed an internet petition condemning the decision to approve fracking at Kirby Misperton in Ryedale. Support for Frack Free Ryedale has more than doubled since the decision last week. Last Friday, the provincial government in New Brunswick extended a moratorium on shale gas exploration.
YP Letters: Fracking decision in Ryedale sets a worrying precedent. Anne Nightingale, writing in The Yorkshire Post, says councillors at North Yorkshire County Council had ignored local opinion in approving Third Energy’s application. Five other writers to the paper oppose the decision and one supports it.
‘Foolish’ refusal to back fracking will cost Scotland thousands of jobs, says MSP. The Courier reports comments by Alexander Burnett, Conservative MSP for north east Scotland, who says it would be foolish to miss out on the shale industry when the need for new energy sources is “so paramount”. INEOS, which holds licences in Scotland, says its geologists are focussing on England while the Scottish government moratorium on fracking remains in place.
SNP’s Mhairi Black accused of spreading ‘misleading nonsense’ over fracking. The Herald Scotland reports accusations that Britain’s youngest MP is spreading misleading nonsense after warning that the UK government could overrule Holyrood and impose fracking in Scotland.
Fracking could impact whole region, says Green MEP. Advertiser reports comments by the Green MEP Molly Scott Cato that fracking could soon take place on Swindon’s doorstep after the process was approved in North Yorkshire.
Greater Manchester mayor hopeful Andy Burnham will oppose fracking in region if elected. This is Lancashire reports that Leigh MP and mayor candidate Andy Burnham has said he would recommend region-wide opposition to fracking if elected.
INEOS boss offers councillors assurances over impact of shale gas development. The reports comments by Gary Haywood, chief executive of INEOS Shale, who said shale gas developments would have little visual impact on the countryside if good landscaping is used. After meeting local councillors, Mr Haywood says: “I understood there is a real concern about how any potential shale gas developments could impact the local countryside, and reassured people that with good landscaping shale developments will have very little visual impact.”
29 May 2016
What’s happening this week 30 May-5 June 2016. DrillOrDrop’s weekly diary of events about fracking and onshore oil and gas. Read here
New comment policy on DrillOrDrop. Read here
How fracking can contribute to climate change. The Guardian reports that leakage of gas from drilling and pipework could mean more methane is entering the atmosphere. The writer, Gary Fuller, also says ethane is contained in shale gas and contributes to ozone production over Utah.
How a Nottinghamshire hamlet wages quiet battle against fracking? Guardian reports on the campaign against plans by IGas to explore for shale gas at Misson in North Nottinghamshire.
New SNP energy minister ‘deeply sceptical’ about fracking as Ineos moves resources to England. The Telegraph reports that Scotland’s new Energy Minister has said he is “deeply sceptical” about allowing fracking after it emerged that the petrochemical giant Ineos has moved some operations to England. Paul Wheelhouse said the controversial shale gas extraction technique would not be permitted in Scotland unless it could be proved “beyond doubt that there is no risk to health, communities or the environment.”
Greens support anti fracking demo at Barclays Bank. Sheffield Against Fracking joined a demonstration of environmental groups to draw attention to Barclay’s Bank’s investment in fracking. Green Party Sheffield and ITV News reports.
Women lead the call to arms as anti-fracking fight intensifies. The Observer reports on what it says is soaring opposition to fracking among women. It quotes Lancashire shale gas campaigner, Tina Rothery: “It has been a long battle but we have been ready for a confrontation for a long time.”
28 May 2016
Guest Post by Heather Stroud. No social licence to frack in Ryedale. DrillOrDrop report
Planning permission for Duttons Lane, Chester expires. Frack Free Dee says it is celebrating because the planning permission for land at Duttons Lane, Upton, near Chester, granted in 2013 to Dart Energy has expired.
27 May 2016
UK Oil & Gas raises £4m more for Weald basin activities and gives details of plans for southern England. DrillOrDrop report
Fracking go-ahead: What happens next? John Moylan reports for BBC News on shale gas plans by IGas and INEOS in Cheshire, the east Midlands and North Yorkshire.
Scotland should commit to fracking now, says Ineos. The Times quotes Tom Crotty, director of corporate affairs at INEOS who said Scotland’s economic fortunes could be transformed by fracking, with new estimates suggesting that the operation is capable of producing more gas than has been found in the North Sea.
Yorkshire’s shale war could save the SNP a tough decision on fracking. Torcuil Crichton, writing in The Daily Record, says “The protests and potential pollution of the North Yorkshire Fracking War could make the shale gas industry unpalatable to any other part of the UK”.
Finally fracking. The Economist reviews the decision to approve fracking at Kirby Misperton. “It was a long time coming, but all the sweeter for that”, it opens the article. Even if councils do defy the protesters and give out all the required permissions to drill, this initial exploration phase could take up to four years and thousands of wells, the article concludes.
Letter: Shale gas extraction – What else did we expect? Nigel Harper, writing to The Harrogate Advertiser, says the decision to approve fracking by Third Energy is a failure of strategic thinking “myopic, burying-your-head-in-the-sand on a grant scale by councillors who not only don’t listen to their constituents (4,375 objections and just 36 in favour) but who fail to critically examine the narrow planning advice of their officers.”
26 May 2016
Fracking awareness campaign launched as Aurora prepares for seismic surveys in Sefton and West Lancs. DrillOrDrop report
MP calls on fracking opponents to take to the streets. The York Press reports on comments by York Central MP, Rachael Maskell, who called on anyone opposed to fracking to ‘take to the streets’ to protest at the controversial decision this week to allow fracking in Ryedale. The paper also quotes Di Keal, of Frack Free Ryedale, who said her group’s membership had double in size since the application was approved.
Letter: Fracking – We’ve been sold down the river. In a letter to The Harrogate Advertiser, Jenny Gardner writes Yorkshire has been sold down the river by North Yorkshire County Council over its decision to support planning permission for fracking by Third Energy. She names the councillors who voted for the application and says they are not fit to stay in office. They should all lose their seats at the next elections, she adds.
A woeful lack of progress building a new nuclear power station underlines the need for fracking. Telegraph View says given what it calls “the real risk” that Hinckley nuclear power station will fail, “the Government must now give more thought to alternative means of meeting Britain’s future needs. The column continues: “Perhaps that will require making more use of gas, and accepting that doing so will make it harder to meet targets for carbon-reduction: does anyone seriously argue that meeting those targets is more important than keeping the lights on? And it will almost certainly mean more fracking.”
Tynedale fracking bids will be unlikely. The Hexham Courant reports that the Third Energy decision in North Yorkshire is unlikely to open the floodgates for controversial oil drilling in Tynedale. There are currently no licence blocks near the Northumberland National Park and the geology would not be a priority area, a spokesperson for the park authority told the paper.
The frackers are coming, MEP warns Somerset residents. Mercury reports on comments by Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, that fracking could be around the corner for parts of the south west. She says: “This is a truly disastrous decision by councillors in North Yorkshire and shows that the Tories will willingly disregard the health, wellbeing and views of local people and the protection of the environment to enable a hugely damaging industry get stuck in and line its pockets. This is the tip of the iceberg and we could now see the frackers begin their march across our beautiful region.”
Keeping fossil prospecting at bay – at home and away. Isle of Man Today includes a report by Friends of the Earth’s Cat Turner on celebrations last weekend to mark five years of no fracking in the UK.
Councils slam Northern MP Mark Menzies for backing Heathrow expansion but opposing fracking in his backyard. The Evening Standard reports on criticism by Richmond, Wandsworth and Hillingdon council leaders of Mark Menzies. They say he backed campaigners trying to stop fracking in his constituency but supported expansion at Heathrow. Mr Menzies said the two were not comparable.
Trump puts fossil fuels at US energy core. The FT reports that Donald Trump has vowed to unleash the full power of fossil fuels in US energy policy, warning that restrictions proposed by Democrats would leave the US “begging for oil” from the Middle East. Mr Trump also said he wanted to “cancel” last year’s Paris climate change accord, roll back federal regulations, revive the moribund coal industry, and see the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline built.
Legal action started against Lancashire fracking protesters. FG Insight reports that lawyers for Lancashire farmers have written to Greenpeace over the alleged breaking of a court injunction for a Frack Free Bake Off event at Preston New Road on 27 April. The landowner Allan Wensley described the event as “extremely frustrating and upsetting to his family. The land is leased to Cuadrilla. Its chief executive said “This repeated wilful trespass is clearly illegal. We will not hesitate to fully assist Mr Wensley, or other landowners, in enforcing the eviction of trespassers and bringing any further contempt of the law to the attention of and for action by, the Court”.
National Infrastructure Assessment. The National Infrastructure Commission announces a consultation on a strategic vision for how infrastructure needs, including energy, will be met over 30 years. The consultation runs until 11.45pm on 5 August 2016.
25 May 2016
IGas announces plans for two shale gas wells for 2017 plus fracking in north west England. DrillOrDrop report
More reaction to Kirby Misperton fracking approval. DrillOrDrop report
Fracking: Ministers ‘Sitting On’ Climate Change Report On Shale Industry. The Huffington Post reports Ministers have been accused of sitting on a long-awaited report by the Committee on Climate Change about the impact of shale gas technology on greenhouse gas emissions. The report, required under the Infrastructure Act, was submitted on 30 March and, under the act, should be presented to Parliament as soon as practicable after 1 April. DECC has said it cannot answer questions about the timing by Labour’s Barry Gardiner in the usual time period.
Anti-fracking campaigners threaten to set up protest camps. The Guardian reports anti-fracking campaigners are threatening to set up protest camps in Yorkshire and Lancashire to prevent energy companies drilling for shale gas. Ian Roberts, chair of Residents Action on Fylde Fracking, tells the paper: “It’s one thing going to planning meetings, but when it comes to actually moving in equipment, there will be a different kind of action. The way things are going, there will be Balcombe-style camps. They’ve chosen exactly the wrong people to do battle with: Lancashire and Yorkshire folk are no pushover. There’s a resilience, a tenacity. It’s perhaps no coincidence that a lot of us own terriers”.
UK shale gas reserves not as large as Government hopes, North East expert says. The reports comments by Andrew Alpin. Professor of unconventional petroleum at Durham University’s Energy Institute. He told Journal Energy: “While no one will know the full potential of the Bowland Shale until tests have been carried out I would say it could hold some 10 to 15 years of supply. The Bowland Shale is thicker than many of the shales in the US which means more wells and hydraulic fractures can be undertaken, however, the UK has a more complicated geology than the US, with more faults, and this could make it harder to know where to drill.” He said to recover shale predicted by the BGS would require 15,000-20,000 wells on 2,000-3,000 pads.
Fracking: Yorkshire ‘has chance to be centre of European industry’. The BBC reports on comments by Paul Glover, chair of Petrophysics at Leeds University: “Our region has the chance to be at the centre of Europe’s new fracking industry. It’s all about first mover advantage. Look at what happened in Scotland. When they found oil under the North Sea they had a choice to base the new industry in either Aberdeen and Dundee. Aberdeen was chosen and history shows us that it’s done very well.”
Oil & Tax: How the UK taxpayer could spend millions funding the hunt for fracked gas. Greenpeace Energy Desk reports that millions of pounds which could be paid in tax could be spent on the hunt for shale gas. A tax break benefits firms which already produce oil and gas in the UK and invest in fracking. It could even include money spent on community benefits, the report suggests. Green MP Caroline Lucas responded: “It’s inexcusable that ministers are treating fracking firms to a generous tax loophole, whilst denying clean, renewable energy projects the very same tax breaks. These climate-trashing double standards fly in the face of the Prime Minister’s personal support for the Paris climate change agreement, signed barely four months ago.”
Fears over fracking impact on North Yorkshire Police as protesters vow ‘the fight continues’ The Northern Echo reports warnings from the Police Federation that anti-fracking protests will stretch North Yorkshire Police resources to the limit and cost taxpayers a fortune. The local federation chair, Mike Stubbs said, “You can have all the money in the world but if you don’t have enough cops to put out there it isn’t a solution”.
Pressure on Scottish government to explain position on fracking. Voice reports growing pressure on the Scottish Government to explain its position on fracking after Third Energy’s application was approved in England. Aberdeenshire West MSP, Alexander Burnett, the Scottish Conservative’s energy spokesman, said the SNP should review its moratorium. The issue of shale gas was critical for the north east economy with the downturn in oil and gas in the North Sea, he said.
Grant Woodward: Under this Government, we’re well and truly fracked. Grant Woodward, writing in The Yorkshire Post, says the Third Energy decision has “effectively opened Pandora’s Box. “Fracking wells run dry pretty quickly, so there will be a clamour for more sites. Applications from other companies are now going to be a lot harder to turn down.”
24 May 2016
Call for assurance on policing anti-fracking protest in North Yorkshire after Third Energy plans approved. DrillOrDrop report
We fight on, say campaigners after approval of Third Energy fracking plans. DrillOrDrop report on Byline
More coverage of North Yorkshire decision over Third Energy fracking plans (with thanks to the APPG on unconventional gas and oil for the links): Financial Times (Fracking wins first approval in 5 years thanks to North Yorkshire); The Guardian (North Yorkshire council backs first UK fracking tests for five years); The Times (Landmark ruling gives green light to fracking); The Telegraph (Fracking gets go-ahead in UK for first time since 2011 as North Yorkshire council approves plans); BBC News (Fracking decision in North Yorkshire reignites intense debate); Sky News (Fracking Given Green Light In North Yorkshire); Friends of the Earth (“Absolute travesty of a decision but the battle is very far from over”); Labour Press (Fracking is still hugely contentious yet the Tories abandoned their promise of tougher safeguards – Lisa Nandy); Yorkshire Post (YP Comment: A new frontier for fracking); ITV News (UKOOG welcomes fracking decision in North Yorkshire); British Chambers of Commerce (BCC response to shale gas development approval in North Yorkshire); Business Green (Fracking approved in North Yorkshire)
Fracking has a long way to go despite Yorkshire planning victory. The FT reports comments by Howard Rogers, director of gas research at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, who said: “There could not be a worse time to be embarking on challenging gas projects”. Ken Cronin, of UKOOG said the UK could learn from US producers who had become more competitive because of the fall in the gas price, the FT reports.
£100,000 fracking payment is ‘blood money’, campaigners claim. Telegraph reports comments by Ian Conlon of Frack Free Ryedale that the £100,000 community payment for fracking is blood money. The payment, which will be made if the well is fracked, will be administered by the Two Ridings Community Foundation, which said it would work with local communities “to define local priorities and geography, including the appointment of a community panel to decide how the money will be spent”.
IGas Energy jumps 25% as UK shale gets fracking boost. Proactive Investors reports IGas shares gained 3.75p to change hands at 19p on news of the Third Energy approval. Egdon Resources shares were up 1.87p (21.7%) to 10.50p.
UK fracking approval is just a staging post in the shale gas journey, the destination remains unknown. Business Green reports on the Kirby Misperton fracking decision. Editor James Murray writes: “the understandable temptation among the UK’s small but noisy group of shale gas cheerleaders to hail Third Energy’s planning success as a landmark for the sector risks being premature. It is less of a landmark, more of a staging post on a journey to a destination that is still very much unknown.”
Campaign group warn of Isle of Wight fracking possibilities. On the Wight reports fears by Frack Free Isle of Wight that UKOG, which holds the oil and gas licence for the Island, will be tempted to frack to access greater quantities.
Controversial fracking could be used in Wiltshire campaigners warn. ITV reports on warnings by Bill Jarvis, of Keep Wiltshire Frack Free, that house prices could fall in fracking areas, insurance would be harder to acquire but gas prices would not fall.
Cuadrilla ‘remain confident’ in appeal to frack on the Fylde. Wave965 quotes Francis Egan, of Cuadrilla, that he remains confident about winning the appeal on plans to frack up to eight wells in Lancashire.
Stellar Resources eyeing more investment as loss narrows in 2015. London South East reports that Stella Resources, which holds a 10% stake in Horse Hill Developments Ltd, saw pre-tax losses of £348,000 in 2015, compared with £560,000 in 2014. Stellar said it was encouraged by the progress the assets made over the course of 2015, particularly the discoveries made at Horse Hill, and it was looking at potential further investments given the depressed pricing environment in the resources sector.
23 May 2016
Fracking opponents vow to fight on. DrillOrDrop report
Green light is one step, says industry. DrilllOrDrop report
Breaking news: Third Energy application approved. DrillOrDrop report
Live updates on decision day on Third Energy application. DrillOrDrop report
Decision day expected at North Yorkshire County Council planning committee considering Third Energy fracking application plus details of other upcoming events DrillOrDrop’s What’s happening this week.
Councillors to decide whether to give green light to fracking scheme. Mail Online reports that councillors will decide today on whether to allow the first fracking operation in the UK for five years.
United States towns official urges North Yorkshire councillors to back fracking in Ryedale. The Yorkshire Post reports on a letter from Carolyn Warren Price, president of Upstate New York Towns Association, urging North Yorkshire County Council to approve Third Energy’s fracking plans. This follows a letter from more than 850 elected officials from New York state who urged the council’s planning committee to block the application.
Europa Oil & Gas farm-out of Holmwood. A statement by Europa Oil & Gas announces it has signed a farm-out agreement for its 40% interest in PEDL143 in the Weald Basin with Union Jack Oil and Gas. The PEDL includes the Holmwood prospect and the Bury Hill Wood site, granted planning permission last year after a planning appeal. The statement says a conventional oil well will be drilled in late 2016 or the first half of 2017.
Oil prices dip on strong dollar, firm global supply. Reuters reports oil prices slipped in Asian trade on a strong dollar and signs that global supply is holding up even as volumes are hit by unplanned outages rise to a five year high. Brent futures LCOc1 were down 18 cents at $48.54 a barrel as of 0421 GMT, after ending the previous session 9 cents down. U.S. crude futures CLc1 fell 26 cents to $48.15 a barrel, having settled down 41 cents in the previous session.
22 May 2016
Third Energy “not fit to frack”, local mother warns North Yorkshire councillors in last minute appeal. DrillOrDrop report
YP Letters: Our planning members should strongly oppose fracking. Alderman David Lloyd-Williams tells The Yorkshire Post “It is my strong belief, from nearly 50 years of involvement with local government, that North Yorkshire County Council should oppose fracking.” Councillors who push the application through will be highlighted at next year’s local elections, as will their party and leadership, he says. In another letter, Sue Gough describes a double page spread by Third Energy as “an act of sheer desperation”. Three other letters also oppose fracking.
Energy expert says oil prices won’t top $100 a barrel. Mail Online reports an interview by Daniel Yergin, vice chair of the research firm, HIS inc. He says the worst of the collapse is over but current prices (about $48 a barrel) are not going to provide a signal for investment needed to meet demand by 2020. He predicts high prices but not back to $100 a barrel.
Energy secretary faces constituency conflict over fracking. The Herald Scotland reports half of Clakmannanshire and Dunblane, held by the new energy secretary, Keith Brown, is licensed to INEOS.
21 May 2016
Campaigners mark five years frack free. Friends of the Earth reports local campaigners are celebrating the success of the anti-fracking movement which it says “has stopped the government in its tracks in its attempt to go all out for fracking”. Rose Dickinson, of FOE, says “With crucial decisions being made in Ryedale on Monday and Lancashire later in the year, our message is clear: we will not stop campaigning until every community is free from the threat of fracking”
Haringey Friends of the Earth with the new Deputy Mayor of London, Joanne McCartney
Fracking: all your questions answered. The Yorkshire Post provides answers to frequently asked questions about fracking.
Fife Council sets out strong stance against fracking. The Courier reports Fife Council voted by 56-3 to formally stress its resistance to all forms of fracking and unconventional gas extraction. The paper says it understands there is concern about how the decision was reached and that several councillors chose to ignore advice given to them before the debate on the issue.
20 May 2016
White rose residents say no to fracking at North Yorkshire meeting on Third Energy shale gas plans. DrillOrDrop report on Byline
Pick of the quotes from North Yorkshire hearing on Third Energy’s fracking plans. DrillOrDrop report
Pictures and thoughts from Rally for Ryedale. DrillOrDrop report
Live updates from Day 1 of Third Energy fracking meeting at North Yorkshire County Council. DrillOrDrop report
Pictures from Day 1 of Third Energy fracking meeting at North Yorkshire County Council. DrillOrDrop report
Sky News (Protests as council considers fracking plan), Daily Mail Fracking opponents urge councillors to oppose scheme); Northern Echo (Dave Vivienne Westwood sends message of support to fracking protesters); The Guardian (Fracking protesters gather in North Yorkshire as crucial planning meeting begins); BBC (Fracking approval being considered for first time in four years); Tottenham and Wood Green Independent(Fracking opponents urge councillors to oppose scheme); Yorkshire Post (Fracking plan ‘could devastate rural economy’, warns ex-MP).
Do you agree with fracking in Herefordshire? The Herefordshire Times publishes an online poll.
New licence to start shale gas drilling in Notts. The Mansfield Chad reports an application by Dart Energy (East England) Ltd for shale gas exploration at Tinker Lane, Bassetlaw.
Fracking sign case dropped against John Tootill. Fylde Borough Council formally drops its prosecution against John Tootill for anti-fracking signs at his plant nursery next to Cuadrilla’s proposed Preston New Road site. The council had taken action at Blackpool Magistrates Court over allegations that Mr Tootill had displayed illegal advertisements. He denied the charges and the council later said it was withdrawing its case. In a statement, Mr Tootill said:
“It’s so very wrong that a council have been allowed to aggressively pursue a prosecution of this scale and nature for almost two years, only to drop it without a full explanation. All of this by using the public’s hard-earned money.
“The toll this has taken on my life is beyond words. It’s ironic that the council felt that they could save face and abandon this malicious prosecution due to my house perishing in a fire. I believe it is a convenient excuse because it wasn’t a legitimate prosecution.”
19 May 2016
Guide to the Third Energy application decision meeting – links, facts and information from DrillOrDrop on North Yorkshire planning meeting tomorrow
IGas executive predicts fracking in north-west England will be “incredibly difficult”. DrillOrDrop report
Anti-fracking campaigners suspected over email hacking – Times headline. Ben Webster, of The Times, reports on news from last year over allegations that parish council email accounts were hacked by opponents of Third Energy’s fracking plans.
Church leaders reassure Halsall residents that they are not backing potential ‘fracking’ plans. The Champion News reports that Edward Mason, of the Church Commissioners, which owns the Halsall Estate, has moved to reassure Halsall residents that they are co-operating with a gas and oil company’s surveys on their land as their hand has been forced by licensing laws and to allow them to protect their tenants – and have said that they do not support ‘fracking.’ Aurora are undertaking a six-week geophysical survey across 100km square areas where it holds PEDL licences.
Fracking protest meeting to be held in Padiham. The Burnley Express reports on a meeting at St Leonard’s Church, Church Street, Padiham on Friday 27 May organised by Keep East Lancashire Frack Free
18 May 2016
IGas submits second shale gas application for North Nottinghamshire. DrillOrDrop report
Campaigners blast “desperate” tactics on eve of fracking meeting. The Yorkshire Post reports on an open letter from the energy industry appealing to councillors to give the go-ahead to fracking in North Yorkshire. The paper says opponents of the application have branded it desperate. Earlier this week, the paper says, the company behind the fracking application Third Energy took out full page adverts accompanied by the letter from the Onshore Energy Services Group.
D-Day for fracking – thousands expected at meeting. The Gazette and Herald reports thousands of protesters are expected to gather at County Hall in Northallerton on Friday for a two-day meeting to decide plans to frack at Kirby Misperton.
Changes to drilling approved in shadow of fracking site. The Northern Echo reports that Third Energy has been given the go ahead to alter operations on an existing well at Malton Road near Pickering. The company applied for permission for water re-injection to stop gas supplies being watered down. The application was recommended for approval by officers.
Letters – May 18 2016. Matt Lambert, director of Cuadrilla, responds to a letter in the Blackpool Gazette from Elizabeth Warner of Roseacre Awareness Group on groundwater monitoring. Mr Lambert says “Cuadrilla is not pre-empting the decision of the Planning Inspector and the Secretary of State on our appeals, but merely intending to commence this work, at our own risk, so that in the event of a go-ahead we will be able to reassure the public that the process is safe.
Queen’s Speech on devolving onshore oil and gas. Business Green reports on government proposals to devolve oil and gas exploration in Wales to the Welsh Assembly. It added that documents published alongside the speech said the government would use the transition to a low carbon global economy unleashed by the Paris Agreement to maximise commercial opportunities for the UK in areas of British expertise.
Fracking opponents call on Keith Brown to commit to ban. The Courier reports fracking opponents have welcomed Fergus Ewing’s removal from the Scotland Government’s energy brief and called on his successor Keith Brown to ban the divisive gas extraction technology.
Scottish government hardens line against fracking? The Edinburgh News reports that the appointment of Keith Brown to the Scottish cabinet will lead to suggestions that the Scottish Government is hardening its line against fracking. He represents Clackmannanshire, a constituency that has seen many anti-fracking protests.
How does the fracking debate affect you? Share your experiences. The Guardian reports on the decision on plans to frack at Kirby Misperton and the wider issue of shale gas development.
Final fracking meeting from campaign group to be held in Rudheath. The Northwhich Guardian reports on a public meeting on fracking at Rudheath Social Club on Friday 20 May 2016 at 7.30pm, organised by the anti-fracking group, Frack Free Northwich.
17 May 2016
Call for referendum on INEOS fracking plans in Cheshire and a clean-up contingency fund. DrillOrDrop report
Frack Free Ryedale hands in a 2,500 signature petition to Cllr Peter Sowray, the chairman of North Yorkshire County Council’s planning committee, opposing Third Energy’s KM8 application.
Independent councillors form new group on Sefton Council. Independent councillors who won four seats on Sefton Council in local elections have formed a new group and are seeking local views on fracking, reports The Visitor.
YP Letters: Fracking will be toxic to life in Ryedale. Sue Cuthbert, writing in The Yorkshire Post, welcomes comments by Tory peer Anne McIntosh, the area’s former MP, about harmful effects of fracking on local livelihoods. She said “It was a bad day when Anne McIntosh was de-selected by the Tories as their MP for Thirsk and Malton.”
New anti-fracking group in Ashfield to hold public meeting. The Mansfield Chad reports that Frack Free Ashfield is holding a public meeting on Wednesday 25 May at 7.30pm at Mansfield Weatherspoons.
16 May 2016
What’s happening this week? 16-22 May 2016. DrillOrDrop round-up of events about fracking and onshore oil and gas.
Crunch week for fracking. DrillOrDrop’s weekly newsletter on Byline
Frack Free Ryedale report there is no social licence for Third Energy’s plan to frack at Kirby Misperton, which is to be decided this week. The group points out that of the 4,200 representations, only 32 were comments of support.
Representations on Third Energy’s application to frack at Kirby Misperton. (Red symbols are objections and green are comments in support). Image: North Yorkshire County Council
Earthquake surge rattles Oklahoma’s fracking industry. The FT reports on the rising number of magnitude 3 earthquakes in Oklahoma – up from one in 2007 to 890 in 2015. The state’s geological survey said it was “very likely” the “majority of recent earthquakes …. are triggered by injection of produced water in disposal wells” as a result of oil and gas extraction. Increasing numbers of homeowners are buying earthquake insurance but the insurance industry is in flux, the paper says, because there is not yet a legal precedent for who is liable for the damage.
Gas plan a vital part of the UK’s energy economy, says Rudd. The Shetland Times quotes Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, as saying the long-term future of UK gas production would be assured as the government has embraced fracking. Mrs Rudd was opening the Shetland Gas Plan.
Airport college is not just for shale says MP. Fleetwood Today reports comments by Gordon Marsden, Blackpool South MP about the National College for Onshore Oil and Gas. He said the college would focus on a wide range of energy issues and the government was trying to pass it off as “fracking central”.
Letter: Fracking – The public are less supportive. Brian Appleby, chair of Frack Free Harrogate District, calls in The Harrogate Advertiser for a legally binding commitment for a huge contingency fund that would be made available for damages from fracking. He says: “As the public become more aware of the intention to develop a fracking gasfield over North Yorkshire they are becoming less and less supportive of this industry. I urge readers to research this for themselves.”
15 May 2016
Key issues facing North Yorkshire County Councillors who are deciding Third Energy’s fracking application this week. DrillOrDrop report
In the timeless Yorkshire moors of my childhood, the frackers are poised to start drilling. The Observer’s Madeline Bunting reports from her home region of Ryedale, as councillors prepare to decide Third Energy’s planning application to frack at Kirby Misperton.
14 May 2016
‘We have to fight this’: North Yorkshire village opposes fracking plans. The Guardian reports on the no fracking campaign in Kirby Misperton.
Bid for Worcestershire County Council to lobby Government on fracking changes is defeated. The Malvern Gazette reports Worcestershire County Council has rejected a motion urging the authority to lobby against government changes to fracking planning decisions. The vote was passed by 27-18, with Labour, Lib Dems, Greens, Independents and UKIP in favour of the motion.
Anti-fracking group concerns over future of quarry. The Fermanagh Herald reports that Fermanagh Fracking Awareness Network has repeated its fears that a quarry at Belcoo has been bought by the gas drilling company, Tamboran. Last week, the owners, Acheson & Glover, and Tamboran denied the quarry had changed hands. But a spokesperson for the group said it had been informed that Tamboran were in the process of buying or leasing the site.
Power broker Patrick Harvie agenda on tax, fracking and football. The Scotsman reports on Scottish Green party leader, Patrick Harvie, who wants to make sure the incoming SNP government has “absolutely nothing to do with fracking”. The paper says his “implacable opposition aims to kill any prospect of Scottish unconventional gas playing a role in the energy mix”.
13 May 2016
Tory peer makes last minute plea as fracking D-day looms. The Yorkshire Post reports on comments by Tory peer, Anne McIntosh, who said she could not imagine anything “more harmful” to the livelihoods of people living in and around the village than fracking at Kirby Misperton. The former MP for Thirsk and Malton tells the paper the planning committee deciding Third Energy’s application should rake through policy guidance with a fine tooth comb. If granted, she believes the application could involve fugitive emissions, contamination of waste water, affect air quality, landscape, heritage, the amount of traffic and the price of homes.
Acheson and Glover clarify position on Fermanagh quarry. The Leitrim Observer reports that the construction company Acheson and Glover, has denied that one of its quarries in Belcoo has been bought by Tamboran, following claims of a possible new attempt to introduce fracking in Ireland. The drilling company, Tamboran Resources, has made a court challenge against the adoption of the Strategic Planning Policy Statement in Northern Ireland, which includes a presumption against fracking.
Expansion of fracking will push global warming above international targets, say Greens. Brighton Greens tell Radio Free Brighton about their “grave concerns” that Treasury Minister, Damian Hinds, failed to deny final decision on fracking schemes could be taken out of local authority hands. Leading local Greens, Caroline Lucas MP, Keith Taylor MEP and Cllr Phelim Mac Cafferty, said his argument that shale gas is a “bridging fuel to a greener future” is “deeply misleading”. They said extraction of shale gas for electricity production will mean the UK is unable to meet the target it agreed in Paris to keep temperature rise below 2 degrees C.
12 May 2016
Breaking: County Councillors urged to overrule planners and vote against Third Energy fracking plans at Kirby Misperton. DrillOrDrop report
Third Energy welcomes planners’ recommendation to approve fracking plans at Kirby Misperton. DrillOrDrop report
Vivienne Westwood joins protests as planners recommend go-ahead for fracking in Yorkshire. The Yorkshire Post reports that fashion designer, Dame Vivienne Westwood, will join protesters outside next week’s meeting when councillors decide whether plans to frack in North Yorkshire should get the go ahead.
Anti-fracking campaigners protest on first day of new Scottish Parliament. Commonspace reports that new members of the Scottish Parliament were welcomed by anti-fracking protests as they began their first sitting at Holyrood. Trish Buchan, of Scotland Against Fracking, said “We’re basically here because the MSPs have now been elected so it’s time to hold their feet to the fire and make sure they stick to the promises they made before the election.” Herald Scotland (13/05/2016)
Picture: Friends of the Earth Scotland
Greens urge Nicola Sturgeon not to soften stance on fracking. The Herald Scotland has urged Nicola Sturgeon to stick to her guns on fracking after a former adviser, Professor paul Younger, accused of taking “flight from reason”.
Fracking facts well hidden. Alex Bell, writing in The Courier, reviews the arguments for and against fracking in Scotland and suggests that the evidence of the polls will always beat the facts.
Readers’ Opinion: It is right to show caution and to reject fracking option. Professor Andrew Watterson, of University of Stirling, responds in The Herald Scotland to comments in favour of fracking by Professor Paul Younger. Professor Watterson says research shows there is no consensus on the risk of fracking to public health, community wellbeing, house prices or local and national economies. He recommends a precautionary approach could generate many more green jobs. The paper also carries a letter by GMB Scotland Secretary, Gary Smith, who says “It’s time for some honesty on fracking and our energy future”.
Fracking’s air pollution puts infants and children at risk of developing heart, lung problems: new study. DeSmog reports on a new study which concludes air pollution from fracking puts lungs, hearts and immune systems at risk, particularly among young children and infants. The US study, Potential Hazards of Air Pollutant Emissions from Unconventional Oil and Natural Gas Operations on the Respiratory Health of Children and Infants, is published in Reviews on Environmental Health. The researchers write: “We believe that protecting children’s health is a social, scientific, and ethical priority. Large-scale and long-term epidemiological studies are needed but we strongly recommend precautionary measures at this time, in order to protect the health of infants and children”.
Obama just cracked down on pollution from fracking. The US investigative website, Mother Jones, reports that the Environmental Protection Agency has released the final version of new federal rules intended to curb emissions of methane. The regulation aims to reduce methane emissions from the gas sector to 40-45% below 2012 levels by 2025 by tightening the allowed emissions from pumps, compressors, wells and other infrastructure, requiring more frequent surveys for leaks and better data-gathering.
11 May 2016
EA proposes to grant permit for IGas shale exploration at Misson – new consultation underway. DrillOrDrop report
GP Taylor: Give us a referendum on fracking. The writer, GP Taylor, says in a column in The Yorkshire Post he attended a protest against fracking in Scarborough and comments: There was not a single anarchist in sight. Here was a collection of aunties, uncles, grans and granddads. They were normal folk of all ages and great in number. They shared one passion and that was to stop fracking for gas in Yorkshire. He asks: “Surely then, this debate is of such importance that it should be put out to a local referendum for the county? I fear that without a public vote then the Tory-dominated NYCC might just do the bidding of their Westminster paymasters and agree to let fracking happen under our feet.”
‘Climate Risk’ Proposals Gaining Steam. The Wall Street Journal reports gaining support for shareholder resolutions urging Exxon Mobil and Chevron to disclose more information about how they would be affected by climate policies. The company boards have advised that reports are unnecessary because they already integrate climate-change risks into their long-term planning. But the paper says investors are increasingly interested in assessing the risk that climate change or climate-related policies could pose to their portfolios.
Top Shell investor vents anger at boss pay. The Telegraph reports Shell could become one of the most high profile casualties of this year’s Shareholder Spring after a top investor and several leading advisory groups hit out at the company’s plans to award a multi-million pound bonus to its chief executive Ben van Beurden on the back of an 80pc plunge in annual profits.
Tate suffers blow in efforts to keep amount of BP funding secret. The Guardian reports attempts by Tate to keep secret the scale of its funding from BP suffered a setback when the information commissioner withdrew his support for the arts institution at a legal hearing in London. Lawyers for the Tate had insisted that disclosure of the exact amount of money it received from the oil company would break a confidentiality agreement and prejudice negotiations with other sponsors. But the commissioner withdrew opposition to disclosure after hearing Tate struggled to outline the possible damage.
More than 130 people attend meeting on fracking in borough. The Accrington Observer reports on a meeting in Accrington to discuss two drilling licences in the Hyndburn area.
Algy Cluff attacks SNP over block on offshore coal gas. The Courier reports criticism of SNP energy policy by Algy Cluff, of Cluff Natural Resources. The company considered underground coal gasification could make a significant contribution to energy. But the process was opposed by the Scottish Government.
Fracking protestor spends the day outside MP’s office. The Herefordshire Times reports on Greenpeace campaigner, Rick Guest, who set up camp outside the office of Hereford and South Herefordshire MP, Jesse Norman, last week with a message “Don’t frack the shire Jesse. The Wye Valley and Forest of Dean were licensed in the 14th round to South Western Energy Ltd.
10 May 2016
Summer fracking rallies “will stretch struggling Yorkshire police force”. The Yorkshire Post reports that the Police Federation is warning that fracking protests expected in Yorkshire this summer will pose a “significant challenge” to over-stretched police resources in parts of the region. Mike Stubbs, of North Yorkshire’s Federation branch, says the difficulties the county’s force faces in maintaining order at major events over the summer will be made worse by the need to police the protests. He said: “We know we invariably have a huge influx of visitors, and a variety of large scale events across the summer, such as York Races and the Great Yorkshire Show. Cuts to neighbouring forces will limit the support that they can offer us. If we see large scale protests over fracking, it will be a significant challenge for the force.”
INEOS launches community consultation over fracking plans. The Northwich Guardian previews the meeting of INEOS with local councillors in Frodsham.
Herald View: Sturgeon must come clean on fracking. The Herald Scotland, in its opinion column, quotes comments by Professor Paul Younger, part of a panel advising the Scottish Government on shale gas, that Nicola Sturgeon had “cynically hardened her stance” on fracking for electoral purposes. The paper says the SNP has “some serious questions to answer”, including the public consultation and research project which, it says, is starting to look like an intentionally expensive and lengthy process that is losing integrity by the day. Energy Voice (11/16/2016)
Study finds no evidence that climate change policies are harming the UK’s competitiveness. New research concludes that the proposed Fifth Carbon Budget, which if adopted would reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions in 2028-2032 by 57% compared with 1990, will not affect UK competitiveness and could help deliver long-term economic growth. The study is by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy. Its authors found no evidence that businesses are less competitive globally as a result of existing policies that aim to reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions. Link to report
Britain gets no power from coal for ‘first time on record’. The Telegraph reports Britain generated no electricity from coal on Tuesday morning for what is believed to be the first time since the 19th century, in a major milestone in the decline of the polluting power source. National Grid confirmed that none of Britain’s coal stations were running between midnight and 4am.
Poland’s last big shale gas explorer set to quit. Intellinews.com reports PGNiG, the last big company actively exploring for shale gas in Poland, will end operations if a “last chance” well does not yield promising results from fracking, starting on 6 June.
France studying possible ban on import of U.S. Shale gas – minister. Reuters reports the answer to a parliamentary question by French Energy Minister Segolene Royal. She said contracts signed by French gas utility Engie and power utility EDF with a U.S. producer have led to the import of LNG which contained about 40 percent shale gas. “I have asked the two companies why they weren’t vigilant and I have also asked for an examination of a legal means for us to ban the import of shale gas.”
New Permanent Secretary for the Department of Energy and Climate Change. A government press releases announces Alex Chisholm is to replace Stephen Lovegrove at DECC. Mr Chisholm is currently Chief Executive at the Competition and Markets Authority and his appointment to DECC has made by the Prime Minister in agreement with the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, and the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd.
YP Letters: Why fracking will never do a world of good. In a letter to The Yorkshire Post, Sir Richard Storey, urges North Yorkshire County council to reject fracking when it considers Third Energy’s application on 20 May. He says: “unpopular fracking in North Yorkshire would be betting the exploitation of people and the devastation of countryside on unneeded and unquantifiable gas. Any new employment just matches tourism unemployment.”
UK losing appeal among green energy investors. Energy Voice reports that UK government policy to replace coal with gas and nuclear, rather than renewables, for electricity generation is responsible for a fall in the country’s appeal as a market for investment in renewable energy. The UK now ranks 13, down one place, out of 40, in terms of ability to lure backers, an all-time low.
9 May 2016
What’s happening this week? New weekly events update from DrillOrDrop
Police close Carrickfergus road over Stop the Drill Woodburn forest protest. The Belfast Telegraph reports police have closed Paisley Road in Carrickfergus due to a protest over drilling at Woodburn Forest.
Fracking promoters face ban from leading parties in Scottish and Welsh governments. Planning Resource (subscription) reports that with an SNP-minority Government in Scotland and a Labour-minority Government in Wales, fracking is unlikely to see the light of day in either nation. The SNP has promised not to allow fracking unless it can be proved the technology will not “harm our environment, communities or public health.” The Welsh Labour Party has been more forthright with its view, having promised that its “robust and unequivocal” opposition to fracking will continue.
“Fracking” college lands £5.6million funding. Energy Voice reports the UK Government has given £5.6m in funding to the National College for Onshore Oil and Gas in Blackpool to buy training equipment and offer courses. The college says this will unlock industry donations worth a further £2.25m. In a separate statement, Claire Stephenson, of Preston New Road Action Group, said: “Reports produced on UK fracking have confirmed this is a short-term industry at best in the UK. There is no long-term future for college graduates in fracking. It frustrates us, when many of us locally are faced with losses of tens and hundreds of thousands of pounds per household on our property values, to see the government throwing money away on such short-term strategies.”
Fracking chemicals and fluids market to be negatively affected by growing environmental concerns about fracking. Your Oil and Gas News quotes conclusions from a report Fracking chemicals and fluids markets – global industry analysis, size, share, growth, trends and forecast 2013-2019. The website says growing concerns about adverse environmental impacts of fracking are expected to hinder the growth of the market.
Duke Study: Rivers contaminated with radium and lead from thousands of fracking wastewater spills. EcoWatch reports on a new peer-reviewed study by Duke University, published in Environmental Science and Technology. It concludes that 3,900 recent accidental wastewater spills in North Dakota have caused widespread contamination from radioactive materials, heavy metals and corrosive salts, putting the health of people and wildlife at risk.
Evidence of unconventional oil and gas wastewater found in surface waters near underground injection site. The US Geological Survey reports on the first studies to demonstrate water quality impacts to a surface stream from activities at a deep well injection disposal site. The studies did not assess how the wastewaters were able to migrate from the disposal site to the surface stream. They found endocrine disrupting activity at levels high enough to block some hormone receptors and potentially lead to adverse health effects in aquatic organisms. Link to study details
What will Mayor Khan do for London’s economy? The Week reports on Sadiq Khan’s promises as London mayor, including a ban on fracking in the Greater London area.
North Yorks needs ‘buffer zones’ around fracking sites – petition. The York Press reports comments by a York Green councillor that buffer zones should be created around fracking sites and gas wells to stop rural North Yorkshire becoming an industrialised landscape. A petition by Cllr Lars Kramm calls for 1-mile buffer zones between extraction sites and homes, schools or hospitals. He also wants 3-mile buffers around sites like National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, and World Heritage Sites; and a minimum of 6 miles between individual drilling sites to stop a proliferation of drills in a small area.
8 May 2016
Despite moratorium … energy giant hires crews to frack central Scotland. The Herald Scotland reports INEOS is hiring new managers and scientists in London with the “immediate intention” of pushing ahead with fracking in central Scotland. The paper says INEOS is advertising for a new director, a land manager and geologists to exploit licences granted by the UK government to frack for underground shale gas across hundreds of square kilometres around Falkirk and Stirling. The company is proceeding despite a Scottish Government moratorium and widespread opposition to fracking from communities and political parties. Its move has prompted furious responses from environmentalists and campaigners.
7 May 2016
Fracking decision could see shale gas powering UK homes this year. The Telegraph reports fracking could take place in Britain this year for the first time since 2011, under plans by Third Energy that could get the green light from council officials this week.
6 May 2016
Waste water treatment costs could make UK fracking uneconomic, says new report from NERC. DrillOrDrop report on 140+ research priorities on unconventional oil and gas identified by UK and US academics
Gaps, flips and starting guns. This week’s top fracking stories in DrillOrDrop’s newsletter for Byline.com
Court case aims to halt Co Antrim oil exploration in its tracks. The Newsletter reports a legal bid is being made on Friday to scupper plans for oil exploration in a Co Antrim forest, with one protestor saying it is likely to be just the first of many challenges. Belfast’s High Court will hear a bid by a nearby resident opposed to the project, who is calling for a judge to rule on whether the work should indeed go ahead as planned.
“Massive victory for the campaign today in the High Court” In a statement, Stop The Drill campaign said it was “delighted that the judge ruled in favour of the concerned local resident and granted leave that the Judicial Review can proceed. Link to Facebook page
Oil extraction go-ahead sought for drilling site in North Lincolnshire. The Scunthorpe Telegraph reports on plans by Egdon Resources to apply for permission to turn its site at Wressle, near Broughton, in Lincolnshire into a conventional oil production facility.
5 May 2016
Fracking at Kirby Misperton: Flamingo Land changes its mind and objects. Third Energy blames a misconception. DrillOrDrop report
INEOS claims media’s ‘scare stories’ over fracking are distorting public’s perceptions of the issue. The National reports comments by Gary Haywood, chief executive of INEOS Shale. He said people in Scotland don’t have the facts when it comes to fracking and read “scare stories” in the media. Friends of the Earth Scotland said: “As the mountain of evidence about the detrimental health and environmental impacts of fracking continues to grow, so does the number of communities around the world, here in Scotland and in northern England who are organising to resist this dirty, unnecessary industry.”
Greens sue EPA over fracking waste. The Hill blog reports that groups led by the National Resources Defense Council and Environmental Integrity Project is suing the US Environmental Protection Agency to try to improve regulation of waste fracking fluids. The groups said regulations are about 30 years overdue to address potential groundwater contamination, earthquakes and other problems associated with fracking waste. The blog says the EPA is prohibited from regulating fracking, except in a few limited circumstances, under a 2005 law.
Opinions on fracking linked to political persuasion – study. Plymouth University reports on a study by its researchers which indicates the importance of political affinity in opinions about fracking. The study, carried out in the US with 421 adults found that political conservative people were more were more likely to be in favour of the practice and to believe fracking offers greater economic benefits and fewer health risks. People with a more politically liberal outlook had greater concern about the health risks, were less likely to perceive fracking as offering economic benefits and were more interested in renewable forms of energy. People who knew little about fracking thought it had fewer risks than those who knew more.
LETTERS: Wakefield readers on fracking. Paul Dainton, writing to the Wakefield Express, says: “Fracking is about one thing – profit for the investment companies. No amount of regulation will keep the environment safe, just as masses of regulation has failed to keep the nuclear industry clean and safe.”
Fracking pollution raising the earth’s levels of ethane, Bakken oilfield is largely to blame. DeSmog blog reports on peer-reviewed research which shows the Bakken shale oilfield is single-handedly responsible for most of a mysterious global rise in atmospheric ethane. The study, Fugitive emissions from the Bakken shale illustrate role of shale production in global ethane shift, was published in Geophysical Research Letters (link). The study collected airborne data over the North Dakota part of the Bakken shale in May 2014 and calculated ethane emissions at about 250,000 tons a year or equivalent to 1-3% of total global sources.
Fracking now accounts for two-thirds of nation’s natural gas. Philly.com reports that fracked wells now produce two-thirds of US natural gas output, up from less than 7% in 2000, according to analysis released by the US Energy Information Administration.
International Oil Companies: The Death of the Old Business Model. Professor Paul Stevens, of Chatham House, says international oil companies are faced with the choice of managing a gentle decline by downsizing or risking a rapid collapse by trying to carry on business as usual. He says their business model is no longer fit for purpose. The only realistic option for the IOCs lies in restructuring and realizing many of their current assets to provide cash for their shareholders. Inevitably, this means that they must shrink into the remaining areas of operation, functionally and geographically, where they can earn an acceptable return.
4 May 2016
Rathlin Energy secures bankruptcy order in High Court against prominent anti-fracking campaigner. DrillOrDrop report
Flamingo Land expresses concern over fracking impact on animals. The Yorkshire Post reports Flamingo Land has written to North Yorkshire County Council to express concern about plans to frack at Kirby Misperton in Ryedale. The park’s letter says changes in Third Energy’s plan for dealing with water from the drilling site means it has “concern for our beloved, and in many cases critically endangered, animal collection’s welfare”. It adds: “Over and above our animal collection we now have health concerns for local residents, visiting public and our Resort guests. During the summer season, overnight visitor numbers exceed those of towns the size of Malton.” Third Energy said the park had a misconception over its plans for water at the site.
HSE vows to maintain regulation despite funding cuts. ENDS reports that because of the spending review HSE’s taxpayer funding will fall to £123.4m in 2019/2020 from £140.9m for 2016/2017. The organisation says in its business plan it wil “seek to maintain current levels” of core regulatory activities, including permitting, inspection, investigation and enforcement. It aims to make savings by sharing government facilities and moving to cheaper offices. It also hopes to grow its commercial activities, particularly by providing advice overseas, and it is raising its fees.
Greenpeace campaigners present ‘frack free’ cupcakes to councillors. The Bournemouth Echo reports the campaigners presented the cupcakes to nine councillors before a full meeting of Poole Borough Council in April to raise awareness about fracking. They want all the borough’s councillors to write to the Communities Secretary, Greg Clark, about fracking concerns.
Quarry firm denies selling property to fracking company. The Fermanagh Herald reports that the local construction firm, Acheson and Glover, has denied claims that one of its quarries in Belcoo has been bought by Tamboran, the company that previously held a licence to drill in Fermanagh. The issue was raised this week on social media. In February, it emerged that Tamboran had submitted an application to the High Court to challenge the adoption of the Strategic Planning Policy Statement which included a presumption against fracking in Northern Ireland.
Fracking survey set up by county’s Greenpeace. The Herefordshire Times reports that Herefordshire Greenpeace has set up an online survey asking people about how they feel about the prospect of fracking at Symonds Yat. The Wye Valley and Forest of Dean was licensed for coal bed methane exploration in the 14th Round of exploration and development licences.
Fracking is NOT allowed at Avonmouth – contract prevents port company from applying for a licence. The Bristol Post reports details of a legally-binding document have emerged following allegations in The Bristol Cable that Mayor George Ferguson and council officials hid the potential for deep well fracking in Avonmouth. The Mayor told the Post he was “totally opposed to fracking” and would do whatever he could within his powers to stop the practice in Bristol. “When I heard there was the possibility of fracking at Avonmouth I insisted that alongside the sale of the freehold, there was a contract which prevented the port company from applying for a fracking licence.”
Fylde fracking signs businessman tells of court case hell. The Blackpool Gazette reports on reaction by John Tootill to a decision by Fylde Council to drop plans to prosecute him over anti-fracking signs, which the council said were unauthorised advertising. He had said the prosecution was an abuse of process. “The councillors had acted like children having a tantrum. It was vindictive. “These were not advertisements; they were signs which had no profit to me. They are designed to warn people about fracking, so are for the benefit of the wider community.”
3 May 2016
Fylde Council says prosecution over anti-fracking signs not in the public interest – but campaign group calls for statement over decision to drop legal action.DrillOrDrop report
Exclusive: Fracking risks hidden by Mayor from Councillors and public. The Bristol Cable reports an exclusive on plans for fracking in Avonmouth, kept secret by the Mayor of Bristol and senior council officers during the sale of Bristol Port land. The website says it has obtained documents which show Bristol Port Company applied for PEDL licences for the Bristol area. The council was aware of the potential in October 2014, the website says, and the Mayor said there would be “major embarrassment” if this was revealed after the port sale. Both the Port Company and Council “orchestrated” a PR campaign, the website said.
Wind and solar a waste of money for UK, Prof Sir David MacKay said in final interview. The Telegraph reports on comments by the late Professor Sir David MacKay, a former chief scientist to DECC, who died last month. In an interview with the science writer Mark Lynas, filmed 11 days before he died, Professor MacKay said the “sensible thing” for the UK to do was to focus on nuclear and on carbon capture and storage technology, which traps the emissions from power stations.” He criticised the “appalling delusion” that renewable sources of power could simply be scaled up and paired with battery storage to provide all the UK’s energy needs, citing the high costs and large areas of land that would be required.
Anti-fracking campaign launches project. The Barnsley Chronicle reports local anti-fracking campaigners have launched a video project, Voices against fracking, promising to give Barnsley people a voice on fracking.
2 May 2016
Halliburton and Baker Hughes call off $28billion merger. Energy Voice reports that companies – the second and third largest oil services firms, announced on 1 May 2016 that their merger had been terminated. Halliburton with pay Baker Hughes a $3.5 bn termination fee by 4 May. The takeover had been announced in November 2014 but the US Justice Department filed a law suit to stop the merger, saying it threatened to eliminate head-t0-head competition in 23 productions and services used in oil exploration.
US gas fireball fuels shale critics and agitates energy markets. The FT reports a towering fireball from a ruptured pipeline linking the most prolific shale gas region in the US to New York has agitated energy markets and provided new fuel for critics of fracking. The paper says the Texas Eastern pipeline burst into flames outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A man fleeing his house was seriously burned and the explosion created a crater in the ground.
Weir, Rolls-Royce launch new company. Energy Voice reports Weir Oil & Gas has joined forces with Rolls Royce to launch a new firm, EPIX, which will be based in Houston and provide the industry’s first integrated system for hydraulic fracturing.
1 May 2016
IEA chief says oil price bottoming depends on global growth. Reuters reports comments by Fatih Birol, head of the International Energy Agency, that oil prices may have bottomed out, providing that the health of the global economy does not pose a concern. Brent crude reached $48/50 a barrel on Friday – a 2016 high.
Rules are in place to make fracking safer. Ken Cronin, chief executive of UKOOG, writing in The Herald Scotland, says: “There are specific rules in place in the UK to minimise risk, critically that regulators – the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) – will only approve non-hazardous chemicals for use in hydraulic fracturing, and that waste water cannot be stored in open ponds or poured into rivers but rather is kept in enclosed double-skinned tanks on top of areas protected by impermeable membranes. Once collected, the waste must be treated at a licensed centre. Operators are required to disclose all chemicals used in fracking, and their volumes.”
YP Letters: The fracking issue in North Yorkshire, from A to Z. In a letter to the Yorkshire Post, Malcolm Hara, of Beverley, runs through an A-Z of what he says are the risks of fracking.
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