DrillorDrop’s digest of November’s news about fracking, shale, onshore oil and gas developments and campaigns in the UK and around the world.
- Go-ahead for first East Midlands shale gas plan as IGas application at Misson is approved
- Local Government Secretary faces double legal challenge over Lancashire fracking decisions
- Questions over police links between fracking opponents and domestic extremism
- Plans published for new drilling plans at Horse Hill, near Gatwick
- Emails reveal how Government delayed release of shale impact report until after Lancashire fracking decisions
- Judgement reserved in High Court challenge over approval of fracking by Third Energy in North Yorkshire
- Scottish Government reports on fracking published – decision expected 2017
- Environment Agency objects to UKOG’s South Downs oil drilling plans at Markwells Wood but grants permit for shale site at Tinker Lane in Notts
- United Against Fracking rally in Manchester
- Hundreds gather at Standing Rock to protest at the Dakota Access pipeline
Read on for more details, more headlines and links to original stories
30 November 2016
Fracking: ‘Gang plank to climate chaos’ or ‘necessary part of decarbonisation’? DrillOrDrop report on debate between Stephen Tindale (pictured right below), now an Ineos Shale consultant, and Peter Strachan, of Robert Gordon University.
IGas Energy says bondholder talks continue. IGas reports to investors that it is continuing to have discussions with “key bondholders as well as a number of strategic investors.” The company says it will “present proposals in due course following the conclusion of these discussions, and will provide further updates as and when appropriate”.
Leaner and meaner: U.S. shale greater threat to OPEC after oil price war. Reuters reports that oil companies in the Bakken shale play in North Dakota can now pump crude oil at a price almost as low as Iran and Iraq. OPEC ministers meet Wednesday to weigh output cuts to end a two-year glut that has pressured global oil prices. In shale fields from Texas to North Dakota, production costs have roughly halved since 2014, when Saudi Arabia signalled an output free-for-all in an attempt to drive higher-cost shale producers out of the market.
Ban on fracking expected to be extended after reports revealed major environmental risks. The Irish Independent says a report by Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency concludes that although fracking is possible, there is a widespread risk and that further study is required before it is allowed. Belfast Telegraph
After new regulations, Oklahoma’s shakes calm down a bit. MailOnline reports the rate of earthquakes in Oklahoma has dropped dramatically since late May, when the state limited wastewater injections into energy wells, according to an Associated Press statistical analysis. A new scientific study says the state is on its way back to calmer times that prevailed before a huge jump in man-made quakes.
Stephen Tindale to provide consultancy services to INEOS Shale. INEOS Shale confirms what DrillOrDrop reported earlier that Stephen Tindale, an Executive Director of Greenpeace UK until 2016, is to advice the company on climate change.
‘We opened eyes’: at Standing Rock, my fellow Native Americans make history. Joe Whittle, an Indigenous American, explains to The Guardian why and how he went to Standing Rock to support activists protesting against the Dakota Access pipeline.
EPA’s late changes to fracking study downplayed risk of polluted drinking water. APM Reports, an investigative journalism website, says it has found documents which show officials at the Environmental Protection Agency made eleventh-hour changes to the five-year scientific study of the effect of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water. The papers show they inserted a key phrase into the executive summary, six weeks before public release, to say researchers did not find evidence of “widespread systematic impacts” of fracking on drinking water. But earlier drafts showed more directly that fracking had contaminated drinking water in some places. The news release accompanying the study was changed the day before it was made public from “potential vulnerabilities” to drinking water to “had not led to widespread systematic impacts”. In fact, the EPA identified more than 24 instances of impacts on water resources and hundreds of spills, many of which reached soil and water.
29 November 2016
Fracking Week in Parliament. DrillOrDrop report on what politicians have said about fracking in the week up to 25 November. Including: shale wealth fund, counter terrorism and fracking and reopening the Roseacre Wood public inquiry.
Drop-in event to explain regulation of fracking. Minster FM reports on a meeting organised by the Environment Agency, Health and Safety Executive, Oil and Gas Authority, and Public Health England are hosting the event at Merchant Taylors Hall, Aldwark in York today. Frack Free York is holding an additional information event at the same location. York Press (Fracking event to be attended by campaigners)
Baker Hughes to form fracturing company with Goldman Sachs, CSL Capital. Reuters reports Baker Hughes Inc has reached agreement with the other two companies to form a hydraulic fracturing. Baker Hughes, which will own 46.7%, will contribute its North American land cementing and hydraulic fracturing businesses, which comprises of assets in the United States and Canada.
Race for £11bn UK pipeline heats up. City Am reports a global consortium of investors is pushing ahead with plans to secure a majority stake in the National Grid’s £11bn gas distribution network, submitting an offer in time for yesterday’s deadline for bids.
Standing Rock protesters hold out against extraordinary police violence. The Guardian reports that police violence against Standing Rock protesters in North Dakota, demonstrating against the Dakota Access pipeline, as risen to extraordinary levels, and activists and observers fear that, with two evacuation orders looming, the worst is yet to come. The paper says: A litany of munitions, including water cannons, combined with ambiguous government leadership and misleading police statements, have resulted in mass arrests, serious injuries and a deeply sown atmosphere of fear and distrust on the banks of the Missouri river.
Standing Rock demonstrators file class-action lawsuit over police violence. The Intercept reports that Dakota Access pipeline protesters injured by rubber bullets, tear gas canisters, and water cannons during a wintry nighttime standoff with police last week filed a class-action lawsuit Monday against the sheriff of the North Dakota county involved. The suit describes in new detail the evening of November 20, when more than 200 people protesting the Dakota Access oil pipeline were injured by “less-than-lethal” weapons.
28 November 2016
Challenges to police links between fracking opponents and domestic extremism. DrillOrDrop report
Environmental permit for shale gas drilling at Tinker Lane in Notts – no groundwater monitoring required. DrillOrDrop report
What’s happening this week? 28 November – 4 December 2016. DrillOrDrop diary featuring conferences, meetings, training, deadlines, walk and a debate.
Former First Minister warns over fracking following Oklahoma earthquake. Herald Scotland reports comments by former First Minister Henry McLeish, that an earthquake which caused devastating damage in central Oklahoma, where there is widespread use of fracking, shows why Scotland should introduce a permanent ban on the controversial practice. He said the experiences of Oklahoma should act as a warning to Scotland about the possible consequences of fracking.
Shailene Woodley joins Dakota Access Pipeline protesters and Standing Rock Sioux for march on Washington D.C. MailOnline reports that the star of Divergent, Shailene Woodley, joined hundreds of demonstrators for a march in the nation’s capital on Sunday to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline.
25 November 2016
Government delayed release of shale impact report until after Lancashire fracking decisions – read the emails. DrillOrDrop report
Government accused of ‘dirty tricks’ over controversial fracking report. The Guardian reports that emails seen by Greenpeace show that ministers deliberately delayed a report showing fracking could affect house prices, health and the environment until after the decision on Cuadrilla’s Lancashire fracking plans. Greenpeace Energy Desk Report, Business Green, BBC News, Blackpool Gazette (26/11/206)
Egdon Resources raises £2mln in oversubscribed open offer. Egdon announces it has raised about £2.06m through an open offer of shares. A total of 15,234,093 shares at 13.5p are now being issued. The offer was over-subscribed 1.3 times. Together with the preceding share placing, Egdon has now raised a total of £5.06m. Managing Director, Mark Abbott, said the company was now “well capitalised”. It was focussing on consent for the development of the Wressle oil field and progressing 14th round licences.
UK government support for shale gas explorers lifts investors. The FT reports that although there was no mention of fracking in the Autumn Statement, the accompanying Treasury Documents had a clear sign of government support for shale gas exploration. The paper reviews the progress of the companies involved in onshore UK oil and gas.
24 November 2016
Europa Oil and Gas sale of interest in Wressle Discovery. Europa announces it has sold a 10% interest in PEDL180 and PEDL182 in north Lincolnshire for £1.85m to Upland Resources (UK Onshore) Ltd. The licences cover the Wressle discovery (180) and Broughton North prospect (182). The sale is conditional on the approval of the Wressle Field Development Plan and go-ahead to the deal by the Oil and Gas Authority. Europa said the sale would fund ongoing exploration in the UK, including Bury Hill Wood (Holmwood) in Sussex in 2017.
Standing Rock Thanksgiving: a day of mourning, resistance and Jane Fonda. The Guardian reports that Native Americans gathered at Standing Rock are approaching this Thanksgiving with deeply conflicted feelings. Do they observe the historically dissonant holiday, mourn the genocide of their ancestors, celebrate the “water protector” movement, or break bread with Jane Fonda? The actor is part of a delegation to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota that will serve 500 people a Thanksgiving dinner of 30 pasture-raised turkeys from Bill Niman’s ranch prepared by a locavore chef, according to a press release littered with boldface names.
23 November 2016
Judgement reserved in High Court challenge over fracking in North Yorkshire. DrillOrDrop report on day 2 of judicial review of North Yorkshire County Council approval of Third Energy’s planning application at Kirby Misperton. Also Northern Echo, Gazette and Herald, Minster FM, Yorkshire Post, York Press
Autumn Statement 2016 policy paper. Papers accompanying the Autumn Statement had the following references to shale, oil and gas
4.8 Energy and flooding: Over the next 15 years, more than £100 billion of private investment is expected in the UK’s energy sector, providing new cleaner generating capacity, upgrading to a smarter energy system, and developing new resources such as shale.
Shale Wealth Fund – Following a consultation to ensure local communities share in the benefits of shale production, the Shale Wealth Fund will provide up to £1 billion of additional resources to local communities, over and above industry schemes and other sources of government funding. Local communities will benefit first and determine how the money is spent in their area.
5.12 Energy and transport taxes: Oil and gas – To ensure a stable tax regime that maximises economic recovery from the North Sea, the government recommits to Driving Investment,27 the long-term plan for the oil and gas ring-fence fiscal regime, and will simplify the reporting process and reduce the administrative costs of Petroleum Revenue Tax for oil and gas companies.
22 November 2016
North Yorkshire County Council defends decision to approve Third Energy fracking plans at Kirby Misperton. DrillOrDrop report
High Court fracking challenge hears evidence that council underestimated climate impact of Third Energy plans. DrillOrDrop report
Anti-fracking campaigners from North Yorkshire gather outside the High Court in London for their judicial review of the decision to approve Third Energy’s application for Kirby Misperton. DrillOrDrop report
Half of Scots back fracking ban after first imports arrive. Herald Scotland reports that an opinion poll of 1,039 people in Scotland by BMG found 54% supported a ban on fracking, 19% were opposed and the rest said neither option fitted their opinion.
21 November 2016
MP calls for a “warm Britain fund” from shale gas revenues. DrillOrDrop report of Caroline Flint’s adjournment debate on the shale wealth fund
Make Shale Pay For A Warmer Britain. Former shadow energy secretary, Caroline Flint, writing in The Huffington Post, says she will argue in an adjournment debate that the shale wealth fund should be used for energy efficiency. She says around 5m homes need cavity wall insulation, 7m need loft insulation and most of the 8m solid wall homes have no insulation.
America’s frackers prepare for good times under President Trump. The Times reports US oil men can barely contain their glee at the election of Donald Trump, who they hope will trigger a lucrative boom after two years of low crude prices. Last week the US Geological Survey announced the Wolfcamp Shale west of Houston, Texas, contains 20 bn barrels of oil, predicted to be second only to the giant Saudi Ghawar oilfield.
Fracking Special Interests Spent Big in 2016 Elections. PR Watch reports on Federal Election Commission filings which show corporations that profit from fracking paid millions to political action committees for “independent expenditures” in the 2016 election cycle. Devon Energy gave $500,000 to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Super PAC dedicated to protecting and strengthening the Republic Majority in the House of Representatives. The chairman of Stewart and Stevenson, which makes well-stimulation equipment, gave $500,000 to the Congressional Leadership fund. Fracking special interests also gave $3.5m to the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC aiming to “protect and expand the Republican Senate Majority”.
20 November 2016
What’s Happening This Week? DrillOrDrop diary of fracking and onshore oil & gas events for the week starting 21 November 2016.
Opec oil cut nears as battered Saudis bow to indomitable US shale. The Telegraph reports the OPEC cartel is poised to slash crude output after weeks of diplomacy by Saudi Arabia, halting the “pump and dump” price war of the past two years. The cartel is expected to gather in Vienna soon to negotiate the final details of a deal to clear the surplus hanging over the market.
19 November 2016
New government rules could raise cost of legal challenges to fracking – lawyers warn. DrillOrDrop report
Legal challenge next week to council approval of Third Energy’s plans to frack at Kirby Misperton. DrillOrDrop report. Also Northern Echo, Yorkshire Post and The Gazette and Herald (18/11/2016)
Fracking Week In Parliament – week ending 18 November 2016. DrillOrDrop report on what politicians said this week about shale gas and health, fracking sand, earthquakes and Scottish government policy.
Householders on alert to have say in fracking debate. The Falkirk Herald reports the chance to debate fracking in Scotland begins in January with a Scottish government consultation.
18 November 2016
Government minister faces double legal challenge over Lancashire fracking decisions. DrillorDrop report on statutory challenges to Sajid Javid’s decisions on Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood. Also 2BR and ITV
The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee begins an inquiry into the implications of UK departure from the EU on the energy sector and UK national climate change commitments. Deadline for written submissions: Friday 16 December 2016. Terms of reference
Could gas from grass rival fracking to heat UK homes? The Guardian reports on the £10m investment by Dale Vince, chair of Ecotricity, in “green gas mills” – anaerobic digesters which generate biomethane from grass. Ecotricity estimates there are around 6m hectares of suitable grassland in the UK, not including arable land, which would match the amount of gas forecast to be consumed by 2035.
Fracking rigs are changing… to match Lancashire’s clouds. The Blackpool Gazette Cuadrilla has submitted detailed documents to Lancashire County Council to cover planning conditions, so that work can begin on the Preston New Road site in Little Plumpton. The documents address conditions including noise and traffic management, access arrangements and even the colour of equipment – proposing to change the colour of the rig from white, blue and yellow to light grey and white to “blend into clouds”. Others deal with dust, lighting, security fencing, landscaping and a Traffic Management Plan.
Fracking-induced Oklahoma quakes spawn new class case. Bloomberg Law reports residents of Pawnee, Oklahoma, the site of a magnitude 5.8 earthquake over the Labour Day weekend, have filed a class complaint against oil and gas companies. They seek compensatory and punitive damages against Eagle Road Oil, Cummings Oil and other unnamed defendants for damage to homes and personal property. The cases allege the injection of waste water caused the earthquakes, including that on 3 September, the biggest in the state’s history.
Why Cuadrilla’s fracking ‘megapads’ are a pipe dream. Alan Toothill, writing for Sisco Media, says Cuadrilla’s idea for a 40-well pad will not work in planning terms. He says this would involve 80-120 months of continuous drilling, 24-hours a day on UKOOG figures, plus two months per well for fracking.
17 November 2016
Portsmouth Council “very strongly objects” to UKOG’s South Downs oil drilling plans at Markwells Wood while Environment Agency and Portsmouth Water demand revised risk assessment on groundwater. DrillOrDrop report
Fracking can cause earthquakes that last for months, study finds. The Independent reports on a paper in the journal, Science, which concluded fracking can cause earthquakes that rumble on for months after the process has ended. Researchers recorded more than 900 individual tremors linked to fracking between December 2014 and march 2015 in an area of Alberta, Canada. Most were too small to notice but the largest, at 3.9, took place two weeks after fracking had stopped.
Lack of CCS strategy could cost UK. Energy Voice reports on a call by the House of Commons environmental audit committee, which says failing to produce a new strategy for carbon capture and storage would make it more expensive for the country to meet its climate change targets.
UK fracking debate desperately needed as new shale gas site given nod in former Cold War missile silo, says GMB. OilVoice reports the call by GMB union national officer, Stuart Fegan for a debate about energy needs.
Paris climate deal ratified by UK: Theresa May signs up to landmark agreement. The Independent reports Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, on behalf of the UK Government, formally ratified the Paris climate agreement at the UN climate summit in Marrakesh. In a statement, Nick Hurd, the UK’s Climate Change and Industry Minister, said: “The UK is ratifying the historic Paris Agreement so that we can help to accelerate global action on climate change and deliver on our commitments to create a safer, more prosperous future for us all.
Challenges to fracking, Heathrow runway and HS2 to be hit by law lifting cap on legal costs. The Guardian reports that new government rules that remove a cap on claimants’ cost in environmental legal challenges could deter organisations and individuals. Costs to claimants bring environmental judicial reviews, which account for less than 1% of all JRs, have been capped since 2013 at £5,000 for individuals and £10,000 for organisations. Under plans published by the Ministry of Justice, there will be no fixed cost, and costs could go up or down, depending on the claimant’s finances. Ministry of Justice response to a consultation
16 November 2016
Survey finds evidence of bat activity at Third Energy KM8 fracking site after N Yorks councillors told it was “devoid” of bats. DrillOrDrop report. Blue and Green Tomorrow, York Press, Northern Echo
Guest post: Frack Free Ryedale’s Chris Redston comments for DrillOrDrop on what the Misson approval, a “Trojan horse fracking application” shows failure of planning law.
Egdon Resources increases interest in East Midlands licence. Egdon Resources announces it has acquired an additional 12.5% interest in PEDL201, south of Nottingham, from Corfe Energy for an all share consideration of £50,000. This will bring Egdon’s operating interest in PEDL201 to 45% and will add a total of 2,471 acres to its holdings.
Not convinced over fracking. The Forest Review reports that the Forest District Council looks set to maintain its opposition to fracking unless strong safeguards are in place to protect the area’s unique landscape and heritage. A ‘position statement’ will go before the council in December setting out where the authority stands but a draft has been published as part of its submission to Gloucestershire County Council on quarrying in the district.
15 November 2016
John Blaymires, of IGas (left) welcomes green light for first E Mids shale gas plan. Notts councillors impose 40 conditions and a restoration bond. DrillOrDrop report on IGas application for Misson, Notts.
Live updates from Notts County Council planning committee meeting for IGas application at Misson. DrillOrDrop report
Who voted how on Misson decision? DrillorDrop full result of the vote
Other reports on Misson decision: ITV News; The Guardian; BBC News; Engineering & Technology; Doncaster Star; Public Sector Executive; The Business Desk; Energy Live News; I News; Retford Guardian; RigZone; Nottingham Post; Notts TV; Energy Voice
Fracking regulators to host public drop-in in York. Minster FM reports on a drop-in event by the Environment Agency, Health and Safety Executive, Oil and Gas Authority and Public Health England, on 29 November at 2pm. The event is at Merchant Taylors Hall, Aldwark, York
14 November 2016
Nottinghamshire’s first shale gas plan back before councillors after delay for legal advice on wildlife covenant. DrillOrDrop report
Court date for anti-fracking campaigner facing jail. DrillOrDrop report on Tina Rothery’s court hearing scheduled for 9 December in Preston
Sell-out play on fracking gets UK tour. DrillOrDrop report on plans for a regional tour for Fracked! Or Please Don’t Use the F-word.
What’s happening this week? DrillOrDrop round-up of events about fracking and onshore oil & gas.
Angus Energy receives Environment Agency permit for a side-track well at Brockham in Surrey (PL235). In a statement, Jonathan Tidswell-Pretorius, Angus Energy’s chairman says
“The upcoming sidetrack will allow the Group to increase and prolong the production from the Portland reservoir while also giving the Group an opportunity to assess the potential of, and if successful, produce from the Kimmeridge limestones and Upper Corallian layer.”
Environment Agency statement confirming approval of a standards rules permit for the Brockham well at Betchworth, Surrey (15/11/2016) for management of onshore oil exploration. The SR2015 No1 permit “authorises Angus Energy Weald Basin No.3 Limited to operate a mining waste operation at Brockham Oilfield under regulation 13 of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 to the extent authorised by and subject to the conditions of the permit”.
UK onshore oil explorer Angus Energy has big plans after joining junior market this week. MailOnline reports Angus Energy makes its debut on the AIM stock exchange.
Sue Tibballs: Beware a government that stops listening. Sue Tibballs, chief executive of the Sheila McKechnie Foundation, writing for Third Sector comments on Pat Davies, chair of the Preston New Road Action Group as “one of the most impressive campaigners I have ever come across”. Ms Tibballs says the driving belief of the Sheila McKechnie Foundation is “that people should have the ability to shape their world”. She says:
“This government seems to want us to believe it shares this view, but treating Davies and her colleagues with such contempt tells a different story. If we want a vibrant society in which people feel motivated to contribute, they need to feel they have a voice, and we need people like Davies to bring those voices together in well-evidenced campaigns. This “command-and-control” politics might suit short-term political interests. But it is to the detriment of democracy, civic engagement and society.”
13 November 2016
Francis Egan on drilling in 2017, low gas prices, financing expansion and how many fracking wells can you fit on a 2ha site. DrillOrDrop report on the Cuadrilla chief executive’s appearance before the House of Lords Economic Affairs select committee. Daily Telegraph (12/11/2016) and City Am
Petition launch on Labour’s fracking policy. Labour Party member, Vincent Booth, launches a petition on 38 Degrees calling for a change in Labour’s policy to ban fracking. It urges Jeremy Corbyn to:
“revisit the ban on fracking in the UK, and change this to a moratorium, utilise consultants with the required expertise to report on the benefits or disadvantages of fracking in the UK”
McPhillips to push for total ban on fracking. The Fermanagh Herald reports that a Northern Ireland Assembly member, Richie McPhillips, has tabled a private member’s bill to ban shale gas exploration and extraction. He tells the paper: ““We have seen the current Tory Government intervene to overturn Lancashire Council’s decision to reject an application for exploration of shale gas. We do not want to see the same intervention here.”
12 November 2016
Pictures and messages from today’s United Against Fracking march and rally in Manchester. DrillOrDrop report. Also Manchester Evening News, Vice News, and Lancashire Evening Post (16/11/2017)
Strengthen policy on “acid fracking” in South Downs – National Park Authority. DrillOrDrop report on calls for the use of acid stimulation to be included in draft minerals plan. Chichester Observer (11/11/2016), Midhurst and Petworth Observer (14/11/2016)
Fracking Week in Parliament – week ending 11 November 2016. DrillOrDrop digest of parliamentary questions, statements and speeches on fracking
11 November 2016
Human rights campaigner, Bianca Jagger, to speak at tomorrow’s anti-fracking rally in Manchester. DrillOrDrop preview of United Against Fracking rally. Manchester Evening News and Salford Star
Fury over new Fylde fracking inquiry. The Blackpool Gazette reports on the start of a legal challenge to the decision by the Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, to reopen a public inquiry into fracking at Roseacre Wood. (See also DrillOrDrop report from 2/11/2016)
Greg Clark speech at annual Energy UK conference. The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary gave a speech about change in the energy industry and low carbon technology. He said “the imperative to act on the low carbon economy will underpin our industrial strategy”. The speech had no reference to shale gas, unconventional oil and gas or fracking. It had only one reference to gas, in relation to coal-fired power stations:
“Many of these highly-polluting power plants are decades old and not as reliable as they were. The proposal to give a clear date for their closure helps cut our emissions. But crucially, it also provides a clear signal for investors, particularly in new gas-fired power stations.”
10 November 2016
Shale expert tells Scottish Government to look at US examples of good fracking. Energy Voice reports comments by Melissa Stark, managing director of the consultancy Accenture, who says there are plenty of examples of fracking being conducted without adverse effects in the US. Ms Stark advised the Scottish Government to approach US communities to see how they dovetailed effectively with shale gas operators.
Scottish fracking caution doesn’t have to breed inertia, US shale expert says. Energy Voice reports comments by Daniel Tormey, president of Catalyst Environmental Solutions, a California-based energy and water resources consultancy. He tells the website that shale gas is an ideal transition fuel with manageable environmental risks. He says the Scottish Government was right to take a cautious approach on shale. But he says caution does not necessarily have to result in inertia.
How fracking split my town in two. The Yorkshire Post interviews Amy Nassif, a member of Mars Parents Group in Pennsylvania, who gave evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Group on shale gas regulation and planning (See DrillOrDrop report 9/11/2016). She tells the paper things haven’t been the same in her community since March 2014 when residents found out Rex Energy wanted to drill six wells within half a mile of the local school.
What does Donald Trump’s victory mean for the energy industry? The Telegraph’s Emily Gosden reports on President-elect Trump’s promise to rip up energy regulations, lifting moratoriums on production in federal lands and to “save the coal industry”. She quotes Jeff Rottinghaus, of the T. Rowe Price US Large Cap Equity Fund: “Less regulation could help energy investments because it could lower companies’ costs to pull resources out of the ground”.
Here’s How Trump Plans to Dismantle Environmental Laws. EcoWatch reports that Harold Hamm, CEO of Continental Resources, who advised Trump to scrap Obama’s energy industry regulations, is considered as a leading contender for Energy Secretary. Forest Lucas, a co-founder of oil products firm, Lucas Oil, is favoured to lead the Department of the Interior.
Leith Hill protest camp appears. The Surrey Mirror reports on the protection camp at Bury Hill Wood near Leith Hill, where Europa has permission to drill for oil. But the story incorrectly reports that the company has permission for increased security and a larger site. Surrey County Council confirms the decision on a recent planning application is not likely to be made before December.
New research project seeks testimony on policing of protests against fracking. Netpol reports that researchers from universities of London, York and Liverpool John Moores are launching a joint research project to look at the policing of protests against fracking in England and Wales. It is looking to conduct interviews with people aged over 16 who were involved in protests and community activism against fracking since 2013, including at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood in Lancashire, Upton in Cheshire, Crawberry Hill and West Newton in East Yorkshire and Horse Hill in Surrey.
Youth climate lawsuit against the US government to proceed. US District Judge Ann Aiken denied motions by the US government and groups representing energy companies to dismiss a lawsuit by young climate activists. Judgement The group of 21 young people and the climate scientist, James Hansen, allege the federal government has known for decades that carbon pollution causes climate change but failed to curb greenhouse gases. ABC News and National Public Radio in Oregon
9 November 2016
Anti-fracking policing has “chilling effect” on freedom and campaigning – new report. DrillOrDrop report on Netpol report on policing of protests at oil and gas sites
Mother from Pennsylvania urges UK politicians to insist on 1-mile buffer zone between fracking sites and schools or homes. DrillorDrop report on evidence by Amy Nasif (pictured centre) at the meeting of All Party Parliamentary Group on shale gas planning and regulation
Lancs fracking site not safe, sustainable or supported, local councillor tells MPs. DrillorDrop report on All Party Parliamentary Group on shale gas planning and regulation.
Dáil fracking bill reaches committee stage. The Impartial Reporter says Sligo-Lietrim TD Tony McLoughlin’s bill proposing a ban on fracking in Ireland has been voted through the Dail. It will now be scrutinised by the Select Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment which may wish to make amendments.
Warning not to be complacent in fight against fracking. The Lietrim Observer reports county councillors have warned against complacency in the ongoing fight against hydraulic fracturing. Cllr Des Guckian warned people against “being too hopeful” about a ban on fracking for Ireland. “The danger could come back in some other guise,” he warned. Cathaoirleach Cllr Mary Bohan also cautioned against being “overly optimistic at this stage”.
Decision on light management plan for Bury Hill Wood deferred. Surrey County Council’s planning committee deferred a decision on the light management plan by Europa Oil & Gas for its exploratory oil site Bury Hill Wood. Leith Hill Action Group had objected to aspects in the plan and the company said it wanted to change its submission. It is now likely to go before the committee on 7 December 2016. Webcast
Monterey becomes California’s first major oil producing county to ban fracking. EcoWatch reports that Monterey County, California’s fourth largest oil producing county passed Measure Z to ban fracking. The measure received more than 55% of the vote, despite supporters being outspent by 30 to 1 by oil companies, EcoWatch said. Measure Z also phases out toxic wastewater injection and prohibits new oil wells in the county.
8 November 2016
Scottish Government to decide on fracking in 2017. DrillOrDrop report on findings of Scottish research studies, plus public consultation plans and reaction
Other reports: STV News (Scottish Government will make fracking decision next year); The Times (Fracking decision is delayed for a year by cautious SNP); Glasgow South and Eastwood Extra (Government vows MSPs will get fracking vote as £6.5bn of investment forecast); Blue & Green Tomorrow (Unconventional Oil And Gas Research Released); Energy Voice (Green group says evidence against fracking ‘damning’); BBC News (Minister Paul Wheelhouse details economic report on fracking); The Courier (Fracking could create 1,400 jobs in Scotland, energy minister says); The Independent (Fracking is harmful to health, Scottish Government report says); Herald Scotland (Health fears spark new ban call on fracking); Energy Voice (Opinion: SNP fracking approach is ‘democracy in action’ – Callum McCaig SNP MP and energy spokesperson); The National (New reports now seem to spell the end for fracking in Scotland); Daily Record (Fracking looks ‘doomed’ after Scottish Government delays decision until 2017); The Scotsman (Fracking reports: SNP accused of kicking issue ‘into long grass’); Daily Telegraph (Fracking ‘could generate £3.9 billion for the Scottish economy’); The Ferret (Controls not tough enough to prevent fracking pollution, says report); Falkirk Herald (Government pledge on fracking debate)
SNP to face pressure on fracking as expert findings published. Energy Voice reports the SNP will face renewed pressure to make a decision on fracking today when ministers publish expert evidence on its impact. Paul Wheelhouse, the energy minister, is to release reports commissioned by the Scottish Government on the environmental, health and economic impacts of fracking, following his statement to MSPs this afternoon. BBC News
Green groups call for urgent ban on fracking as Scottish Government’s evidence due to be published. The National says environmental groups are calling on the Scottish Government to work towards a ban on fracking “as soon as possible” as it prepares to publish its evidence on shale gas fracking and coalbed methane.
Facts before Fracking meeting at House of Lords, chaired by Baroness Featherstone. Speakers included Amy Nassif, of Mars Parents Group in Pennsylvania, and Bishop Graham Cray, of Kirby Misperton. Audio recording of presentations.
Oklahoma agency plans to shut disposal wells after earthquake. Energy Voice reports Oklahoma’s oil and gas regulator plans to shut some disposal wells and reduce the volume of others as its initial response to Sunday’s earthquake near the oil hub of Cushing. “Other plans are being developed that will encompass larger areas” and more details are coming tomorrow, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission said. There’s currently no information about how many wells would be affected.
Wall Street cash gives shale drillers fuel for deals. Houston Chronicle reports an unprecedented surge of Wall Street cash has given U.S. drillers a war chest for mergers and acquisitions that could rearrange the board in oil-rich West Texas and Oklahoma. The paper says a review of regulatory filings shows domestic oil companies have collected a record $28 billion so far this year in more than 60 secondary stock offerings.
Judge puts hold on some new Pa. shale drilling rules. Power Source reports a judge in Pennsylvania has put a temporary stay on some new rules for Marcellus shale drilling operations until a court can consider the merits of the Marcellus Shale Coalition’s challenge to the regulations. The rules relate to public resource protections, large fluid holding ponds, well site restoration standards and monitoring for underground hazards around fracking operations. He found that some aspects of the rules might exceed regulators’ authority to impose them and that the costs of complying with those provisions now would cause the industry irreparable harm if the sections are later found to be invalid.
Danish group Dong Energy to exit oil and gas business to focus on wind power. City Am reports the former state controlled company has announced it will focus solely on offshore wind. It posted a 627% rise in profits to 3.3bn krone (£395m) in the third quarter to the end of September. The company has plans to build the world’s biggest offshore windfarm. Reuters quotes Chief Executive Henrik Poulsen who said of the decision to sell the oil and gas business: “We are still in a very early stage of exploring market interest, but it is our impression that there is interest in an asset of this kind”.
Oklahoma’s Latest Fracking-Related Earthquake Sparks Demand for Withdrawal of Oil and Gas Leases. EcoWatch reports comments by the Centre for Biological Diversity which said Sunday’s earthquake near the oil and gas pipeline hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, is further proof that fracking and wastewater injection are too dangerous to people and property to be allowed to continue.
7 November 2016
First shale gas plan for Nottinghamshire back on council agenda for decision later this month. DrillOrDrop report on decision day for IGas application on Springs Road, Misson. Gainsborough Standard
What’s happening this week? DrillorDrop listing on events from 7-13 November 2016, including the United Against Fracking national rally in Manchester, four film screenings, two parliamentary meetings plus a lecture, talks and debate.
Oklahoma town is evacuated after 5.0 magnitude earthquake damages buildings and gas lines – the latest tremor after the state’s fracking boom. MailOnline reports on a 5.0-magnitude quote which led to the evacuation of downtown Cushing following gas leaks and damage to buildings. The quake caused no injuries but was felt in Kansas and Arkansas. It was the fifth biggest ever in the state and the second in two weeks. The government says the increase in quakes are caused by disposal of wastewater in wells, rather than fracking. But opponents say increased fracking means increased wastewater.
Alba Mineral Resources Plc revised buy note from Dowgate Capital. Dowgate Capital, quoted by Directors Talk, issued a revised ‘BUY’ research note for Alba Mineral Resources. It said the Brockham side track well in production area PL235 area in Surrey, in which Alba has a share, was expected to be spudded within the next few weeks. A new well is also planned for the Lidsey oil field (PL241) in West Sussex.
Angus Energy offer. Angus Energy, which operates the Brockham and Lidsey oilfields, offers 214,980,287 ordinary shares of £0.002 each to be issued at £0.06 per share. The offer is expected to raise £3,500,000. Investegate and LondonStockExchange.com
Egdon Resources share issue. LSE.co.uk reports Egdon Resources has issued 100,000 new ordinary shares of 1pm, bringing the company’s issued ordinary share capital to 243,745,490. The move follows the exercise of share options by an employee on 4 November 2016.
Oil industry’s sneaky plan could make it nearly impossible to ban fracking in Colorado. Grist.org reports that the Colorado oil and gas industry is poised to strike a devastating blow against anti-fracking activists on Tuesday. The enactment of Amendment 71, a state-wide ballot initiative campaign backed by the industry, will make it nearly impossible for Colorado voters to amend their state constitution to allow for fracking bans.
Lancashire readers on the Cuadrilla fracking decision one month on. The Guardian asked readers about the overturning of Lancashire County Council’s rejection of Cuadrilla’s plans to frack at Roseacre Wood and Preston New Road.
6 November 2016
Fracking Week in Parliament. DrillOrDrop report on what politicians said in parliament about fracking, onshore oil and gas and campaigns around it.
North West Labour conference unanimously backs motions on fracking. Fylde Constituency Labour Party asks the conference to:
“try to secure national support from the Labour Party and others to accept and campaign for a reinstatement of a UK moratorium on all planning and other decisions regarding the introduction of fracking pending the detailed formulation, ratification and implementation of the policy.”
Warrington South requests support to develop local and regional campaigns “to communicate and raise awareness [about fracking] to residents across the CLP and region. Pictures below show (left) Ribble Estuary Against Fracking members with REAF with shadow chancellor John McDonnell and Gordon Marsden MP for Blackpool South and (right) MPs Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram with West Lancs councillors John and Gail Hodson.
5 November 2016
Drilling headlines for October 2016. DrillOrDrop’s round-up of headlines on fracking, onshore oil & gas and campaigns.
Access denied: Government rejects Sir Ed Davey’s request for energy report he ordered. The Telegraph reports that a Freedom of Information request by the former Energy Secretary to see a report on the true cost of energy source he commissioned has been refused. In its response, the government acknowledged a public interest in publishing the report but said it would do so “in due course” when it could provide “sufficient context”.
4 November 2016
Scottish Labour’s Claudia Beamish launches bid to ban fracking. DrillOrDrop report
IGas investors watch share price as company avoids covenant breach. DrillOrDrop report. Reports from 3/11/2016 Proactive Investors, LSE.co.uk, Morning Star, StockMarketWire
Fracking ban bill to be put before MSPs by Scottish Labour. The Courier reports Labour is to heap pressure on the SNP government by putting forward its own plan to MSPs to ban fracking. Claudia Beamish, Scottish Labour’s environment spokesperson, is expected to release details of a member’s bill on Friday. She tells the paper: “SNP ministers now face an urgent choice. They can work with Labour to ban fracking, or they can work with the Tories to allow drilling under family homes in parts of central Scotland.” Energy Voice, Evening Express,
Shale drillers finding it harder to charm investors. Energy Voice reports shale companies are finding it harder to deliver shockingly big output numbers to impress Wall Street’s oil analysts after horizontal drilling and fracking are becoming routine. Bloomberg,
3 November 2016
Environment Agency calls for refusal of Markwells Wood oil production plans over risk to water. DrillOrDrop report
Horse Hill new oil drilling and testing plans published. DrillOrDrop report on the key points
Steel union backs UK fracking. DrillOrDrop report. BBC News, The Times, Belfast Telegraph
”This is not a government in waiting which intends to deliver for steelworkers‘: MP’s blast for Labour leadership. The Northern Echo reports on comments by Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland MP Tom Blenkinsop who says Labour under Jeremy Corbyn is offering “false comfort of the moral high ground” by its position on fracking, Trident and Heathrow expansion. In a Westminster Hall debate, he says a ban on fracking would deny people well-trained, highly-skilled long-term roles.
Green Party leader criticises fracking decision. Co-leader of the Green Party, Jonathan Bartley, tells MinsterFM the decision to pursue fracking near Kirby Misperton was reckless and “rode roughshod over local opinion”. Mr Bartley says a legal challenge to the decision to be heard later this month has a strong case. If the decision is upheld there could be “ramifications for generations in this community” and “generations throughout the UK”.
Biodiversity study from the University of Reading suggests Dorset’s habitats could be at risk of fracking. The Dorset Echo reports on the study by University of Reading which suggests Dorset’s sensitive and important habitats could be at risk if fracking is carried out.
What if hydraulic fracturing was banned? The US Chamber of Commerce Institute for 21st Century Energy concludes that if fracking were banned starting next year the country would lose 14.8m jobs, gasoline prices would almost double, natural gas prices would rise to over $12 per mmbtu, electricity prices would nearly double, the cost of living would rise by nearly $4,000 a year while household incomes would fall by $873 billion, the US would surrender its status as a global energy superpower and US GDP would be reduced by $1.6 trillion. Under a fracking ban, Ohio would lose 397,000 jobs; Pennsylvania 466,000 jobs; Colorado 215,000 jobs; and Texas 1.49 million jobs. The cost-of-living for the average family would rise by $3,500 per year in Colorado and Pennsylvania, $4,000 per year in Ohio, and over $4,600 per year in Texas.
2 November 2016
Resident, Jules Burton (left), challenges minister’s decision to reopen inquiry on Cuadrilla’s Roseacre Wood fracking plans. DrillOrDrop report
Egdon and Celtique count on go-ahead for Wressle oil production in Lincolnshire. DrillOrDrop report
High Court victory for air pollution campaigners in legal battle with Government. A judge at the High Court allows an application for a judicial review by the campaign group, ClientEarth, over the government’s Air Quality Plan. Client Earth won a case in the UK Supreme court in April 2015 and justices declared that “immediate” action was needed to address air quality. it set a deadline for the Government to produce new plans to comply with European Union laws on limits for nitrogen dioxide. But Client Earth said the Air Quality Plan subsequently produced was “flawed”, “woefully inadequate” and needed to be “drastically improved”. Telegraph, BBC News, ITV
Government must act now to ditch diesel. Friends of the Earth welcomes the court ruling (see above). It calls for a new Clean Air Act and Clean Air Zones in all cities. A report out today by the Institute of Public Policy Research and Greenpeace finds most air pollution in London is caused by road transport, of which diesel vehicles emit about 40% of the capital’s Nitrogen Oxide emissions and PM10 particles. Policies that would bring diesel cars down to 5% in inner London would bring 99.96% of London into compliance with legal levels. Guardian
Exclusive: Oil majors join forces in climate push with renewable energy fund. Reuters reports Top oil companies including Saudi Aramco and Shell are joining forces to create an investment fund to develop technologies to promote renewable energy, as they seek an active role in the fight against global warming. The chief executives of seven oil and gas companies — BP, Eni, Repsol, Saudi Aramco, Royal Dutch Shell, Statoil and Total — will announce details of the fund and other steps to reduce greenhouse gases in London on Friday.
Energy Giant Shell Says Oil Demand Could Peak in Just Five Years. Bloomberg reports that Royal Dutch Shell Plc, the world’s second-biggest energy company by market value, thinks demand for oil could peak in as little as five years. Chief Financial Officer Simon Henry said “We’ve long been of the opinion that demand will peak before supply. And that peak may be somewhere between 5 and 15 years hence, and it will be driven by efficiency and substitution, more than offsetting the new demand for transport.”
Meet the US Investors Linked to Koch and Tobacco Making a Play for UK Fracking Firm IGas. DeSmogUK reports on the US private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Trans European Oil & Gas in its bid to gain control of IGas.
1 November 2016
MEP backs “protection” camp at Europa’s oil site near Leith Hill in Surrey. DrillOrDrop report
Shell Smashes Estimates as BG Acquisition Drives Up Output. Royal Dutch Shell plc reports third-quarter profits of $2.79 bn, up 17% compared with a year before, beating analyst predictions, says Bloomberg.
BP Profit Slides on Weaker Refining, Oil-Production Loss. BP Plc reported a 49% decline in third-quarter earnings after crude prices fell, refining margins shrank and its exploration/production division posted a loss, Bloomberg says.
Shell and BP warn not to expect strong oil rebound in 2017. The FT reports warnings by Royal Dutch Shell and BP to investors not to expect a strong rebound in oil prices next year. The companies said they were planning for prices per barrel in the low $50s in 2017, only a little above current levels.
Weir profit warning adds to industry woes. The FT reports Weir Group, makers of pumps and valves for the oil and gas industry, has warned profits will be lower than previously thought. Shares in the company fell 2.4% after it blamed tough pricing for its equipment and difficult conditions in the Middle East for pushing is oil and gas division into expected operating losses in 2016. As a result, pre-tax profit would be “slightly lower” than the £187m forecast by analysts.
Amendments to three-year debt facility arrangements. A J Lucas, owner for 45% of Cuadrilla, announces that its major shareholder Kerogen and its senior debt provider OCP Asia (Singapore) Pte waiving and amending some conditions in the finance facility agreements. A statement said OCP had allowed the company to draw down the second tranche of $20m to be used to fund Cuadrilla’s Lancashire exploration assets. A J Lucas must raise $30m of new equity by March 2017 to repay at least $25m of the Kerogen Tranche 1 facility.
Denis Naughten confirms he will work on legislation to ban fracking. Shannonside reports the Irish Environment Minister, Denis Naughten, has confirmed he will work on legislation to bring forward a ban on fracking in Ireland. This follows cross-party support for a bill introduced in the Dail, the Irish parliament, last week.
Fracking could cause childhood cancer, says US study. The Scottish investigative journalism site, The Ferret, reports on a study by Yale School of Public Health, which found 55 fracking pollutants that could cause cancer, including 20 associated with leukaemia or lymphoma.
Labour council bitterly opposed to fracking demands share of £1bn tax pot profits. The Sun reports that Lancashire County Council has been accused of rank hypocrisy after telling the Treasury it wants to cash in on fracking, despite rejected planning bids for new wells. In a letter seen by the paper, the council backs a shale wealth fund and is demanding local councillors decide how the money is spent in the region to create “a lasting positive legacy”. The pro-fracking GMB union said the submission was “beyond parody”.
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