DrillorDrop’s digest of December’s news about fracking, shale, onshore oil and gas developments and campaigns in the UK and around the world.Top headlines in December:
- High Court judge upholds Third Energy planning permission to frack at Kirby Misperton in N Yorkshire – protest camp established within hours of ruling
- Campaigner wins right to mount legal challenge against the government over shale exploration licence extension
- More documents reveal labelling of anti-fracking campaigners as extremists
- Fracking opponent, Tina Rothery, spared jail as judge discharges contempt of court case involving Cuadrilla
- UK Oil & Gas announces intention to drill Sussex well in next six months and told to provide more detail for oil production plans for South Downs
- Planning permission expires at California Quarry, near Swanage, with no drilling
- Thousands travel to Standing Rock to support opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline
- US Environmental Protection Agency says fracking can contaminate drinking water – reversing previous finding
- Hundreds protest at plans to drill near Leith Hill in Surrey
- Third legal challenge announced to minister’s decision on Lancashire fracking sites
Read on for more details, more headlines and links to original stories
31 December 2016
What didn’t happen in 2016? DrillOrDrop review of what might – but didn’t happen in the past 12 months.
30 December 2016
Fylde MP, Mark Menzies, tops 2016 table for parliamentary fracking questions. DrillOrDrop report
YP Letters: Help to keep countryside free from fracking. Wendy Cross, of Beverley, writing in The Yorkshire Post, urges people in North Yorkshire to support the Protection Camp at Kirby Misperton, where Third Energy has permission to frack its existing KM8 well.
Coverage of Kirby Misperton Protection Camp: BBC News Ryedale fracking: Protest camp has ‘national focus’ (29/12/2016); Campaigners set up anti-fracking camp; The York Press Campaigners set up anti-fracking camp (29/12/2016); Energy Voice Protesters set up camp to ‘draw line in the sand’ over fracking (29/12/2016); Mail Online Protesters set up camp to `draw line in the sand´ over fracking (29/12/2016); Preston New Road Action Group reports on Twitter it has dropped off supplies to Kirby Misperton Community Protection Camp; The Guardian Anti-fracking protesters to see in new year at Yorkshire site (30/12/2016); The Northern Echo “If we can’t do anything here, then that’s it” – Ryedale anti-fracking camp becomes national focus (30/12/2016)
Top 10 Lincolnshire talking points of the year. The Lincolnshire Reporter asks whether fracking is the answer to the county’s energy needs. It quotes environment portfolio holder on Lincolnshire County Council, Colin Davie, and Ben Loryman, from the Lincoln Green Party.
Radioactive fracking waste may be destined for Stoke on Trent. Frack Off reports that waste from Cuadrilla Resources Lancashire fracking operations could go to the Valley Works, operated by Castle Environmental in Stoke on Trent.
Angus Energy annual accounts published. Link to pdf
29 December 2016
IGas talks to potential investor ahead of predicted breach of financial commitments. DrillorDrop report
Top 10 posts of 2016. DrillOrDrop unveils the most-read posts of the past year. Half the top 10 were about one company.
Police say link between anti-fracking protesters and terrorism was ‘misinterpreted’. The Southport Visitor reports comments by Merseyside Police which said documents revealing anti-fracking groups had been placed on a list of potential terrorism risks had been misinterpreted. The documents, including training materials for Prevent – the anti-radicalisation section of the counter-terrorism strategy. Detective Chief Inspector Sarah Kenwright, from Merseyside’s Intelligence Bureau said: “The slide in question is used as a prompt to discuss the range of behaviours from protest groups across the spectrum, it is not categorising all single-issue protestors as extremists. Taken out of context, the slide alone can be misinterpreted.”
Shale drillers promise no 2017 binges as oil hangover eases. Energy Voice reports US shale oil companies, including Continental Resources Inc and Pioneer Natural Resources Co. are promising not to overreact to higher prices – or to overspend. The website quotes Citigroup, which said last month that an oil price of $60 a barrel (from the current $52 West Texas Intermediate) would generate a 500,000 barrel surge in US production and $70 would double that.
28 December 2016
Who commented on DrillOrDrop in 2016? DrillOrDrop review of comments on fracking, onshore oil and gas and campaign activity.
Cold Christmas for anti-fracking campaigners. ITV News reports around a dozen protesters are entering their second week at a protest camp at Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire. BBC Look North reported on the Kirby Misperton protection camp in North Yorkshire on its morning bulletins at 7.30am and 8.30am.
U.S. shale companies to boost spending as banks loosen purse strings. Reuters reports US shale drillers are set to ramp up spending on exploration and production next year as recovering oil prices prompt banks to extend credit lines for the first time in two years. It says the credit increase is small but it greater availability of capital will make it easier for US shale drillers to boost market share to take advantage of higher prices.
27 December 2016
Review of 2016. DrillOrDrop’s review of fracking, onshore oil and gas and campaign activity in the past year.
Can US shale add 1 million barrels per day in 2017? OilPrice.com asks whether US shale could come “roaring back” and ruin the price rally. It says shale is already up about 300,000 barrels per day from a low point in the summer of 2016, at least according to preliminary data. The gains are expected to continue. The industry is producing about as much oil as it was two years ago, with only one-third of the more than 1,700 rigs in 2014. Drillers are producing just as much oil with a lot less effort.
Energy crisis facing Britain: Government ‘needs to do something soon’ before the lights go out or prices go through the roof. Mail Online quotes Aled Jones of the Global Sustainability Institute: “For energy security purposes we need to do something now. We do need to do something urgently, if only because it takes so long to change systems. It takes decades to change over from one fuel to another. If Middle East oil prices were to suddenly go up, due to a conflict of some sort, it would have a huge effect on our manufacturing. It would be similar to what happened in the 1970s. We should be thinking more strategically.”
Review of the Year: January-June. The Lancashire Evening Post includes the public inquiry into Cuadrilla’s fracking applications.
25 December 2016
Christmas cheer at the Kirby Misperton Protection Camp. A press release from the protection camp says locals left the warmth of their homes at 12.30pm on Christmas Day to deliver a roast turkey lunch with all the trimmings to camp residents. The meal was organised by Sue Gough (pictured below), who lives less than a mile from the site where Third Energy plans to frack. She said:
“This is a simple way for us to express our gratitude to the protectors and our support for the fantastic job they are doing to defend our community. They are out in the cold and wet weather so we decided to make sure they had Christmas too”
Since the camp was established, local people delivered building materials, hot food, chocolate and a kitchen sink, the press release said.
What will be the big environment events in 2017? John Vidal, writing in The Guardian, says 2017 will see exploratory fracking for shale gas in England. He predicts the first wells will likely be drilled in Lancashire and Yorkshire by summer and Cuadrilla, Third Energy and other companies will hope to confirm commercially-viable quantities of gas by the end of the year.
24 December 2016
Review of the Year. The Gazette and Herald reports the meeting of North Yorkshire County Council in May which gave the go ahead to Third Energy to frack at Kirby Misperton.
23 December 2016
Fracking Week in Parliament. DrillOrDrop’s final review of what politicians have been saying about fracking and shale gas.
Protest Against North Yorkshire Fracking. The Leeds Times reports on the protection camp at Kirby Misperton established after the failure of a legal challenge to Third Energy’s plans to frack in the village.
22 December 2016
Final chance for West Sussex to toughen rules on acid fracking. DrillOrDrop report
EIA modifications consultation launched. The Planning Portal reports a new consultation is underway on potential changes to the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and the infrastructure planning regime. They include the addition of a definition of the environmental impact assessment process and procedures for developments subject to the Habitats or Wild Birds Directive.
Fracking benefits local economies, but drives up crime rates, study finds. Fuelfix reports on a new study from the University of Chicago which concluded fracking and the shale boom had provided many benefits for communities around the country, but the boom has also driven up local crime rates and decreased residents’ quality of life. The fracking boom coincided with increases in incomes, house values and jobs. But oil and gas communities also reported higher crime rates, more traffic, pollution and general anxiety over the environmental dangers of fracking. Students, elderly residents and those without mineral rights were also less likely to benefit from increased fracking, the study found.
Formby protesters labelled as ‘domestic extremism risk’ alongside ISIS. The Southport Visitor reports anti-fracking groups are in shock after protesters have been referenced in strategies used to counter terrorism.
Shropshire campaigners’ despair at fracking court case defeat. The Shropshire Star reports A failed High Court challenge against one of the nation’s first fracking applications has been met with disappointment by campaigners in Shropshire. Chris Hesketh, chairman of Frack Free Dudleston, said the ruling against campaigners in North Yorkshire was a blow to attempts to hold back the spread of controversial drilling for gas. He said: “It seems incredible that the fracking industry is persisting with trying to impose itself on a population that doesn’t want it.”
Flamingo Land “threaten” anti-fracking protectors. A YouTube video records a contractor for the theme park, Flamingo Land, describing plans to blockade a protest camp established on its land. Camp residents say they have declared the site, near Third Energy’s fracking site at Kirby Misperton, as their home and they can be removed only by civil action in the courts.
21 December 2016
Anti-fracking camp set up near Third Energy shale gas site at Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire. DrillOrDrop report, Minster FM, Yorkshire Coast radio, The Gazette and Herald, The Northern Echo (23/12/2016)
New energy minister. 10 Downing Street announces the appointment of Lord Prior of Brampton as an energy minister. He is the former investment banker, David Prior, and MP for North Norfolk from 1997-2001. He was formerly a health minister. Lord Prior replaces Baroness Neville-Rolfe, who becomes Commercial Secretary at the Treasury.
Petition calls for Barack Obama to fulfil Green Climate Fund pledge. The Guardian reports more than 100 climate and development organisations, along with 70,000 people, have called on Barack Obama to help secure the future of the Paris agreement by transferring the remaining $2.5bn committed by the US. The Green Climate Fund was a key aspect of the historic Paris agreement signed in 2015, which aims to keep global warming “well below” 2C and aspires to keep warming to 1.5C.
Judge: Seattle kids can move ahead with climate rights case. Mail Online reports County Superior Court Judge Hollis Hill ruled on Monday that eight Seattle children can move ahead in their case that Washington State and others aren’t protecting them from climate change. Judge Hill said “it is time for these youths to have the opportunity to address their concerns in a court of law, concerns raised under statute and under the state and federal constitutions.” The petitioners, between 12 and 16 years old, asked the judge last month to find the state Department of Ecology in contempt for failing to adequately protect them and future generations from global warming.
The latest news from Margaret Greenwood MP. The Wirral West MP, writing in The Liverpool Echo, “I was pleased to see that the Government appears to have changed its position on Underground Coal Gasification. I have long campaigned against UCG in the Dee Estuary because of the risks it poses to the local environment.”
20 December 2016
Breaking: Judge gives go-ahead for Third Energy’s North Yorkshire fracking site. DrillOrDrop report
What the judge said about allowing fracking at Kirby Misperton. DrillOrDrop report on the ruling from Mrs Justice Lang.
Other reports: Fracking can go ahead after High Court ruling – The Times; Fracking to go ahead in North Yorkshire after high court ruling – The Guardian; ‘IT DOESN’T END HERE’ Anti-fracking campaigners LOSE landmark High Court challenge against one of the first planning applications in England – The Sun; Fracking given go-ahead in North Yorkshire – ITV News; Fracking CAN go ahead at North Yorkshire site after protesters lose landmark High Court challenge – Daily Mail; VIDEO – Anti-Fracking protest in Malton tonight after High Court ruling – Minister FM; Anti-fracking campaigners from North Yorkshire lose High Court challenge against fracking application – City A.M; Dismay as campaigners lose anti-fracking court fight – The York Press; Judge Rules In Favour Of Fracking In Ryedale – Yorkshire Coast Radio; Anti-fracking campaigners lose landmark case to prevent drilling in Yorkshire – Energy Voice; High Court rules fracking can go ahead in North Yorkshire – BBC News; Frack Free Ryedale Press Release
Leading MPs demand British Gas owner Centrica stop funding climate change denial. Greenpeace Energy Desk reports that Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party, has written to Centrica – which owns British Gas – to demand it stop funding the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), and “any other organisations involved in promoting climate change denialism”. In a letter to Centrica’s chief executive Iain Conn on Friday Ms Lucas describes the company’s behaviour as “reckless and shameful”. Labour’s Mary Creagh, who chairs the environmental audit select committee, condemned the payments as “outrageous, anti-science nonsense.”
Barack Obama bans oil and gas drilling in most of Arctic and Atlantic oceans. The Guardian reports Barack Obama has used a 1953 law to ban permanently new oil and gas drilling in most US-owned waters in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans. The law allows presidents to block the sale of new offshore drilling and mining rights and makes it difficult for their successors to reverse the decision.
US trying harder on climate change than ‘unambitious’ China, says study. Carbon Brief reports on research published in Nature Climate Change. The finding relies on a number of definitions for “equity”, and are based on the climate pledges that countries submitted to the UN as part of the Paris climate deal, known as “nationally determined contributions” (NDCs). Each country has to say why their pledge is “fair and ambitious”, but there has so far been no formal way to assess these claims. Scientists have now developed a method to determine how equitable each pledge really is.
Yorkshire Party call for fracking ban. Radio KCFM reports that Yorkshire Party members are backing a motion calling for an outright ban on fracking. Leader Stewart Arnold says there’s a lot of overwhelming evidence against the process: “There is quite a lot of risk involved with shale gas extraction or what we know as fracking. particularly in terms of public water supplies being polluted. In our region, this is certainly going to affect communities in the East Riding but also, Hull has its water supply from other parts of Yorkshire.”
Candidate’s festive fracking furore. The Lancashire Evening Post reports that Gail Hodson, who is standing for Leyland South in Lancashire County Council elections next year, has been accused of Christmas time electioneering. South Ribble councillor, Paul Wharton, tells the paper: ““She’s been delivering Christmas cards with a picture of her on it. She’s been delivering them with anti-fracking leaflets and she’s got her address on as @hotmail.gov.uk” Cllr Hodson tells the paper: “I believe it is my duty to inform the people of Leyland and Lancashire at every opportunity about the impending threat from the fracking industry, of which I have kept myself very well informed over the last five years. “This industry, with plans for thousands of wells across Lancashire, will have an enormous impact on everyone’s lives with huge risks to the environment, water and health.”
19 December 2016
Environment Secretary urged to revoke lease on Forestry Commission oil drilling site near Leith Hill. DrillOrDrop report
What’s happening this week? Fracking, onshore oil & gas and campaign events in the final fortnight of the year. DrillOrDrop report
16 December 2016
Fracking Week in Parliament: 12-16 December 2016. DrillOrDrop review of what politicians have been saying about fracking.
Brockham oil field interest and Lidsey Option. Angus Energy, the operator of the Brockham oil field in Surrey, announces it has increased its interest in Brockham from 55% to 65% in exchange for £100,000 payment to Terrain Energy Ltd. it also entered into an option with Terrain for £1 to acquire a 10% interest in the Lidsey oil field in West Sussex, bringing Angus Energy’s interest to 60%.
Firefighters called to Brockham oil field after ‘chemical spill’ reported. The Surrey Mirror reports firefighters in Reigate and Dorking were called to an incident near an oil field in Brockham after fears that a vehicle had spilled chemicals. A liquid was spotted dripping from a cement mixer but it turned out to be water.
15 December 2016
What’s happening at the Brockham oil site in Surrey? DrillOrDrop report
Guest post by Peter Strachan and Alex Russell: It’s time for the UK to Fraxit. In this guest post for DrillOrDrop, Professors Strachan and Russell assess the case for fracking against six stress tests and argue that it’s time for the UK to ban the technique and Fraxit now.
14 December 2016
Mark Carney: firms must come clean on exposure to climate change risks. The Guardian reports warnings by Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England that the fight against climate change will be jeopardised unless companies with big carbon footprints come clean about their exposure to global warming risks. In a joint article for the paper with New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg, he says citizens, consumers, businesses, governments and international organisations were all taking action in response to extreme weather events. “The challenge is that investors currently don’t have the information to respond to these developments,” they said. “This must change if financial markets are going to do what they do best: allocate capital to manage risks and seize new opportunities
13 December 2016
Reversing course, E.P.A. says fracking can contaminate drinking water. The New York Times, among many others, reports that the US Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that hydraulic fracturing has contaminated drinking water in some circumstances. The final version of a report – the largest and most comprehensive to date – differs from the first, issued in 2015, which found “no evidence that fracking systematically contaminates” water supplies. This conclusion has been deleted from the final study. The EPA’s science adviser, Thomas A Burke, said “the scientists concluded it could not be quantitatively supported”. See also Reuters, CNBC, Wall Street Journal, AP for Business Insider UK, State Impact for NPR, Natural Gas Intel
BP leak: Report reveals BP came close to lethal incident at Hull plant. Greenpeace Energy Desk reports on a leaked internal document which concludes that a serious incident at BP’s chemical plant in Hull could have been lethal. Greenpeace says the incident, defined as the equivalent of a near-miss and never made public, happened because of the way the company handles crucial engineering information. Important files were found to have “gone missing at critical times” and the document noted “a lack of clear government, accountability and responsibility to manage information”. Lack of clear and managed data “led to increased number of incidents and increased duration of incidents”. See also The Times (BP criticised over serious safety flaws at top sites 14/12/2016)
Trump presidency: Rick Perry tipped to be energy secretary. BBC News reports that Donald Trump is expected to name the former Texas governor, Rick Perry, as energy secretary. The nomination puts Mr Perry in charge of a department he proposed abolishing in a failed 2012 White House bid. Environmental groups called the oil-drilling advocate’s selection “an insult to our functioning democracy”.
U.S. Energy Department balks at Trump request for names on climate change. Reuters reports the U.S. Energy Department said on Tuesday it will not comply with a request from President-elect Donald Trump’s Energy Department transition team for the names of people who have worked on climate change and the professional society memberships of lab workers. The memo sought a list of all department employees or contractors who have attended any meetings on the social cost of carbon, a measurement that federal agencies use to weigh the costs and benefits of new energy and environmental regulations. It also asked for all publications written by employees at the department’s 17 national laboratories for the past three years. Energy Voice
The Gazette launches Young Engineers 2017. The Blackpool Gazette announces its Young Engineers 2017 competition, sponsored by Centrica and Cuadrilla Resources and run in association with Blackpool and Fylde College. The prize fund is £12,000 to improve science, technology and engineering facilities in schools.
US shale finally sees production rise. OilPrice.com reports the US shale patch is forecast to yield 4.542m barrels of oil a day in January 2017, according to the latest drilling assessment of the Energy Information Administration.
12 December 2016
Decision on Tinker Lane (left) – second IGas shale site in Nottinghamshire – delayed until 2017. DrillOrDrop report
What’s happening this week? DrillOrDrop diary of events about fracking, onshore oil and gas and campaign activity.
Fracking Week in Parliament: 5-9 December 2016. DrillOrDrop update on parliamentary questions and debates.
Britain facing energy crisis that could see families pay extra to keep the lights on while neighbours ‘sit in the dark’. The Telegraph reports comments by Andrew Wright, a senior partner at Ofgem and former interim chief executive. He warns that households could be forced to pay extra to keep their lights on while their neighbours “sit in the dark” because “not everyone will be able to use as much as electricity as they want”. He said in future richer customers will be able to “pay for a higher level of reliability” while other households are left without electricity. An Ofgem spokesman said: ” Ofgem is fully committed to delivering secure supplies for all consumers now and in the future.”
Methane emissions growing at fastest rate in 20 years, scientists say. Energy Voice reports that an international team of scientists is warning that surging methane emissions threaten to undermine efforts to slow climate change. About a third is leaks for oil and gas wells during drilling. Levels had a sudden upsurge after 2007, following a flat period from 2000-2006. In 2014 and 2015, concentrations rose by 10 or more parts per billion annually, compared with a creeping rise of 0.5 parts in the early 2000s.
Oil rockets past $50 after non-OPEC members joined deal. Energy Voice reports that oil prices jumped to the highest since July 2015 after Saudi Arabia signalled it’s ready to cut output more than earlier agreed while non-OPEC countries including Russia pledged to pump less next year, strengthening the coordinated commitment by the world’s largest producers to tighten supply.
New Data Reveals Uptick in Global Gas Flaring. New data from the Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership, an organisation of oil companies, governments and institutions led by the World Bank, reports an increase over the past five years in the amount of gas flared at oil production sites worldwide. This reverse a previous trend of reducing flaring. The increase is attributed to an overall growth in oil production, particularly in Iraq and the US.
10 December 2016
Home Office forced to defend anti-fracking groups from extremism claims. The Guardian reports the Home Office has been forced to make it clear that anti-fracking campaigners should not be considered extremists after a council and a school in North Yorkshire used the government’s counter-terrorism programme to target environmental protesters. The Home Office said: “Prevent is about safeguarding people at risk of being drawn into terrorism – support for anti-fracking is not an indicator of vulnerability.”
Do the police work for us, or for the Fracking corporations? Jenny Jones, Green Party Member of the House of Lords, says “Given the mounting evidence of recent years, either the police are regularly abusing their powers, or the government has deliberately kept the guidelines loose in order to encourage the police to act against campaigners on particular policies? I hope that by asking the right questions I can get the police focused on the job they are meant to be doing, including their duty to facilitate the right to protest. We are a democracy after all.”
Town council votes for Watchet to be kept free of fracking. West Somerset Free Press reports that Watchet was declared a Frack Free Zone this week by the town council despite protests from councillors that there was “no empirical information” and that “decisions should be based on evidence and fact rather than emotion.”
9 December 2016
No jail for anti-fracking campaigner, Tina Rothery, after contempt of court case is discharged: DrillOrDrop breaking news. Cheering crowds greet the news: Full report Also: The Guardian, Energy Voice, Lancashire Evening Post, Scisco Media, BBC News, 2BR
Pictures from outside Preston Combined Court where anti-fracking campaigner, Tina Rothery, faces jail over contempt of court.
Europa Oil & Gas: Annual general meeting statement
YP Letters: Public must carry on the fracking fight. Wendy Cross, writing to The Yorkshire Post, asks “Is the Government expecting that those who are against shale gas exploration will roll over, accepting what the people fear cannot be changed – the creation of more sites, throughout the North especially, with hundreds of well-heads drilling 24/7? A glance at last year’s document from the Department for Communities and Local Government ‘Invitation to Bid’, makes it seem as if the tankers are already on our lawns. How much closer are they a year on?”
8 December 2016
National Park planners and locals tell UK Oil & Gas to give more details on application for oil production at Markwells Wood (left) in the South Downs. DrillOrDrop report
Underground coal gasification will not go ahead in UK. The Guardian reports the government will not support underground coal gasification, which involves injecting oxygen and steam underground to release gas from coal seams. The paper says the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said the government was “minded not to support”. Report by Atkins dated 28 November 2015 but released today.
Ecotricity challenges fracking with new Green Gas Mills. Ecotricity announces it has put in planning applications for Cuadrilla’s sites at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood to use grass in its anaerobic digesters. The company does not have rights of access to the grass. BBC News, Business Green, Blackpool Gazette, Independent
Forest of Dean district council votes for frack-free zone. Frack Off Our Forest reports that the council voted in favour of declaring its area a frack-free zone. The group reports three councillors voted against and one abstained.
Update: more documents show police, councils and schools labelling anti-fracking protestors as extremists. Russell Scott and Melissa Jones, writing for Spinwatch.org reveal more counter-terrorism documents from Hambleton and Richmondshire districts of Yorkshire which have labelled anti-fracking campaigners as extremists.
We’re no terrorists: The rural anti-fracking campaigners labelled ‘extremists’. I News interviews Rt Rev Graham Cray and Rev Jackie Cray, the retired Church of England clergy, who live in Kirby Misperton and oppose plans by Third Energy to frack in the village. Rt Rev Cray tells the website: “We are just people who are concerned about our community and are not afraid to say so. We have the brains to state our case. We often use cake.” In response to labelling of anti-fracking campaigners as extremists, he adds: “So many people across the country oppose fracking. Does that make them all terrorists? If we are thought of in this way because we stand up to something like fracking, which the Government wants to do, then we are living in a different country than we thought.”
Brockham Protection camp established. Social media reports say a protection camp has been established at Brockham, Old School Lane, Brockham, Surrey, RH3 7AU, where Angus Energy has consents to drill a new side-track oil well.
Cuadrilla – drop your £55,000 claim against Lancashire fracking ‘Nana’! The Ecologist previews tomorrow’s Contempt of Court case, involving Tina Rothery.
7 December 2016
Cuadrilla accused of “aggressive and sustained” pursuit of costs against anti-fracking campaigner, Tina Rothery, facing jail. The company’s lawyers accuse her of “persisting in inaccurately portraying” the legal process. DrillOrDrop report and link to correspondence
Small step towards oil exploration near Surrey’s Leith Hill beauty spot – but no prospect of drilling soon. DrillOrDrop reports
6 December 2016
York rethinks labelling anti-fracking campaigners as a terror threat and West Sussex school apologises. DrillOrDrop report
Leaked memo outlines Trump’s energy agenda. Greenpeace Energy Desk reports a leaked memo shows President-elect Donald Trump is set to gut US environmental regulations, open up federal lands for fossil fuel extraction, and quit the Paris climate agreement. The memo, by Thomas Pyle, head of the Department of Energy team, and obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy, lists 14 energy and environment policies the Trump administration would be expected to enact. Thomas Pyle was a top lobbyist for Koch Industries (2001-4) and is president of the Institute of Energy Research and the American Energy Alliance, which includes ExxonMobil, Peabody Energy and Koch Industries among its donors.
Anti-fracking MP Chris Green welcomes firm’s contract but says he still doesn’t want controversial process in his constituency. The Bolton News reports that Conservative MP Chris Green has congratulated A E Yates, based at Lostock, Bolton, for winning the contract for site work at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road fracking site. Much of Bolton is licensed for shale gas exploration. But Mr Green tells the paper “I am still very sceptical that my constituency of Bolton West is a suitable place for fracking”.
Australian fracking inquiry to kick off this week. Energy Voice reports that a panel will meet for the first time on Thursday 8 December as part of an investigation into the potential impacts of fracking in the Northern Territory of Australia. A team of 10 scientists who specialise in water, geology, ecology, health, sociology and engineering have been assembled to conduct the inquiry. In September, the territory’s government placed a moratorium on fracking, which will remain in place until the inquiry is finished.
INEOS officially opens UK HQ. INEOS announces a new UK headquarters at Hans Crescent, Knightsbridge, London. Founder and Chairman Jim Ratcliffe said: “Whilst INEOS is an Anglo-Swiss company, our new base in London reflects our British roots. The future for INEOS is very bright and much of this optimism comes from our UK based operations. We currently supply 1 in 10 British homes with gas, we have a growing trading and shipping business and our chlorovinyls business has doubled in size. We are also planning to extract shale gas in the north of England and to grow the newly revitalised Grangemouth.”
East Kent Against Fracking “powers up” opposition to drilling Surrey. East Kent Against Fracking reports in a press release it has donated £500 to Bore Fill South to buy solar panel kits to enable protection camps to have lighting and a power supply.
5 December 2016
More official documents label anti-fracking campaigners as extremists alongside terrorist groups: updates from Yorkshire, Merseyside, Dorset and Sussex. DrillOrDrop report plus MinsterFM and BBC News for York
What’s happening this week? 5-11 December 2016. DrillOrDrop events listing for fracking, shale, onshore oil and gas and campaign activity.
Fracking Week In Parliament – week ending 2 December 2016. Two Conservative MPs quiz the Government on impacts on health, air and communities in DrillOrDrop’s digest of parliament business on fracking, shale and onshore oil & gas
Campaigners call on Government to demonstrate commitment to protecting England’s National Parks. The Campaign to Protect Rural England, in a new report with the National Trust and Campaign for National Parks, says short-term economic priorities are overriding long-established protections and allowing inappropriate development in England’s National Parks. Based on research commissioned from Sheffield Hallam University, the report says interpretations of “major development” vary between the National Parks and decisions to approve planning applications often reflect the Government ‘mood’ at the time, with policy changes that lean toward economic growth rather than environmental protection. This varying approach has led to a number of recent major developments being granted permission that threaten the protected areas’ beauty, along with their cultural and environmental significance. Link to report. The Times
Standing Rock: US denies key permit for Dakota Access pipeline, in win for tribe. The Guardian, among many others, reports that the Army Corps of Engineers will not grant the permit for the Dakota Access pipeline to drill under the Missouri river. The decision, announced on Sunday (4 December 2016) is a major victory to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe after a campaign against the oil pipeline since April. The army corps will undertake an environmental impact statement and look for alternative routes, the tribe said in its own announcement. The announcement came a day before the corps’ deadline for thousands of Native American and environmental activists to leave a camp established on the banks of the river. Hundreds of US military veterans joined the activists last week. President-elect Trump has stocks in the project’s builder, Energy Transfer Partners, and Phillips 66, which owns a quarter of the pipeline. BBC News, Rolling Stone, New York Times
Saudi Arabia has surrendered control of the global oil market to US shale. CityAm reports the new Opec deal to cut oil output – the cartel’s first since 2008 – amounts to nothing less than Saudi Arabia’s surrender to the power of American shale. The website site it has come about due to Riyadh’s belated, horrified understanding that it has utterly lost control over the energy market, running through its capital reserves in the process.
Oil tops $55 for first time in 16 months as OPEC deal fuels buying. Reuters reports that Brent crude oil prices rose above $55 a barrel on Monday, trading at a fresh 16-month high, on rising prospects of a tightening market after OPEC members agreed on a landmark deal to cut production last week. Monday’s gains take the rally since the agreement was struck on Wednesday to 19 percent for Brent, the biggest jump in almost eight years, and 16 percent for U.S. crude.
Cushing residents file lawsuit in wake of 5.0-magnitude earthquake. Koco News 5 reports from Oklahoma that four residents in Cushing have filed a class action law suit against White Star Petroleum and four other related companies over 6 November’s magnitude 5.0 earthquake. The lawsuit claims that the companies “introduced contaminants into the natural environment that caused an adverse change to it in the form of unnatural seismic activity” by disposing fracking wastewater. It sees to recover damages for pollution of the environment.
Shell to link executive bonuses to greenhouse gas emissions. Business Green reports that Shell has revealed plans to link part of executive bonuses to performance on curbing greenhouse gas emissions. The firm is also planning to conduct a “more active screening” of future investments as a further way to reduce its carbon footprint.
Trump advisors aim to privatize oil-rich Indian reservations. Reuters reports that a group of advisors to President-elect Donald Trump want to free the estimated 20% of US oil and gas resources under Native American reservations from what they call a “suffocating federal bureaucracy that holds title to 56 million acres of tribal lands”.
4 December 2016
November 2016 Drilling Headlines. DrillOrDrop digest of news from the past month on fracking, shale, onshore oil and gas and campaign activity.
Guest Post: Stuart Lane reports for DrillOrDrop on the end of consent this weekend for exploratory oil drilling at California Quarry, near Swanage in Dorset.
Thousands Of Veterans Travel To Standing Rock To Support Activists. National Public Radio interviews Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, one of thousands of veterans who have gathered at Standing Rock in North Dakota to act as “human shields” to protect activists from possible law enforcement action in a protest over the Dakota Access Pipeline.
OPEC deal could lead to US shale surge. The Nation reports with this week’s deal to cut output, announced on 30 November, OPEC is creating incentives for American shale producers to boost output just as the incoming Trump administration vows measures to promote US oil development.
Fracking in Fermanagh: Council plan ‘too weak’ on fracking. The Impartial Reporter says Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s draft Local Development Plan “is not explicit enough in its opposition to fracking,” according to anti-fracking campaigners. Representatives from three local anti-fracking groups: Fermanagh Fracking Awareness Network (FFAN), Belcoo Frack Free and Letterbreen and Mullaghdun Partnership (LAMP) attended Enniskillen Town hall on Monday and submitted 675 submissions from the local community calling for the Council to include a more strongly worded opposition to fracking in the plans.
3 December 2016
2 December 2016
Third legal challenge gets underway to minister’s decision on Lancashire fracking sites. DrillOrDrop report
Driffield headmaster sorry for linking anti-fracking to Islamic State in school newsletter. The Yorkshire Post reports Driffield School and Sixth Form has issued a statement and apology after linking anti-fracking groups with extremism. See DrillOrDrop report
US Civil Rights Commission Will Observe Standing Rock Standoff. BuzzFeedNews reports The US Commission on Civil Rights will send a delegation to visit the campsite in North Dakota, where hundreds of people have gathered to protest the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The goal is to meet with tribal leaders, water protectors, as well as state and government authorities.
Thousands expected at Standing Rock interfaith event Sunday. USA Today Between 2,000 and 3,000 members of interfaith religious groups from across the country are expected to converge in North Dakota Sunday at the site where protesters are trying to stop a pipeline that they say will threaten water resources and Native American sacred sites. The representatives of United Religions Initiative, a non-profit based in San Francisco, will take part in an Interfaith Day of Prayer at the Oceti Sakowin Camp, where members of the Standing Rock Sioux and their supporters have been trying to block a segment of the 1,200-mile Dakota Access Pipeline from threatening their land.
More false claims about fracking. FactCheck.org, a project by the Anneberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, says the chairman of the Senate environment committee falsely claimed that a new report “confirms” that “hydraulic fracturing has not impacted drinking water” in Wyoming. The report, on water supply wells in Pavillion, southeast of Yellowstone National Park, said a lack of water quality data predating oil and gas exploration prevented it from reaching “firm conclusions.” FactCheck.org said:
“The ‘fact sheet’ for the Wyoming report said it’s “unlikely” that hydraulic fracturing had “any impacts” on these water-supply wells, but “[l]imited baseline water quality data, predating development of the Pavillion Gas Field hinders reaching firm conclusions on causes and effects of reported water quality changes.”
1 December 2016
Drilling Diary for December 2016. DrillOrDrop’s listing of events about fracking and onshore oil and gas for the coming month.
Look, just tell us your fracking stance. The Falkirk Herald reports that Falkirk’s Labour administration was asked to clarify its position on fracking after two members spoke out in favour of the process.
Fury as Driffield School lists fracking groups alongside Islamic State in anti-terrorism advice. The Hull Daily Mail picks up DrillOrDrop’s story on Driffield School’s safeguarding newsletter which says anti-fracking protesters are a priority for East Yorkshire’s counter-terrorism and extremism strategy.
YP Letters: Fracking is vital to meet energy needs. David Downs, of Wakefield, writing in The Yorkshire Post, criticises opponents of fracking: “These pseudo-country folk are the ones who promote wind farms, providing that they are not constructed within sight of their back gardens. Fracking production sites will be no more intrusive than the many existing gas and oil wells sited around the country side, which, in most instances, can only be seen from the air.”
Case against fracking. Cllr Paul Andrews, also writing in The Yorkshire Post, says policies in the Joint Waste and Minerals Plan for North Yorkshire would allow 10 fracking pads per 38 sq miles (100 sq km). If evenly spaced, this would amount to a site every three miles. In the same paper, Steven White asks what Thirsk and Malton MP, Kevin Hollinrake, has achieved from a self-funded trip to Pennsylvania. “One-mile setbacks from settlements? Rejected. Six-mile buffer zones between fracking installations? Rejected. Only 10 new sites across his 2,200-square mile constituency? Rejected. His failures to secure even minimal protections seem to have spurred him to still more dogged promotion of the industry. It’s mystifying.”
Fracking: Report recommends more research to allay concerns. BBC News reports a study partly funded by Stormont and compiled by the Irish Environment Protection Agency on fracking has found more research is needed.
Shale exploration support for mineral authorities: invitation to bid. The Government announces an offer of £800,000 to local authorities dealing with shale gas planning applications.
Facing police violence, Standing Rock protesters hold moving Thanksgiving Action. Josh Fox, writing in Rolling Stone magazine, describes how the movement for indigenous sovereignty, clean water and human rights at Standing Rock is smashing the myth of Thanksgiving and fighting to protect not only our water, but the very soul of this nation.
Dakota Access: UK banks back pipeline builder Energy Transfer Partners. Greenpeace Energy Desk reports that in the last five years, Barclays, HSBC and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) have together funded the Dakota Access pipeline firm, Energy Transfer Partners, and its subsidiaries to the tune of more than $800 million. There are currently two outstanding loans in which the UK banks are involved, a $3.75 billion credit line issued to the company in 2011 and a $1.5 billion package for subsidiary Energy Transfer Equity signed in 2013.
Categories: Daily headlines