Daily headlines

February 2017 drilling headlines


National anti-fracking day of action at Maple Farm, near Preston, on 25 February 2017. Photo: Preston New Road Action Group

DrillOrDrop’s monthly digest of news about fracking, shale and onshore oil and gas

Top headlines in February 2017

  • Hundreds attend anti-fracking rallies in two shale gas areas
  • Delays to decisions on drilling plans at Horse Hill and Tinker Lane as councils ask for more detail
  • Third Energy accounts record loss of £3.8m in 2015
  • National Trust stands firm against INEOS threats of legal action over seismic surveying
  • Launch of anti-fracking lobby and networking group
  • Small rise in public support for fracking in latest government survey but fourth Cheshire study finds ¾ oppose fracking
  • Arrests and protests at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site and contractors pull out
  • Egdon announces appeal over Wressle planning refusal
  • Derbyshire’s first shale gas site clears initial hurdle
  • Lancashire residents demand stricter regulation of fracking site

Click here for the current month’s headlines

28 February 2017

Residents group vow to fight revised proposals on noise limits at Cuadrilla’s Becconsall shale gas site on the Ribble Estuary. DrillOrDrop preview of planning meeting on 1 March 2017

Derbyshire’s first shale gas site clears initial hurdle. DrillOrDrop report on county council decision that INEOS’s proposed site at Marsh Lane does not need an environmental impact assessment.  Peak FM, Derbyshire Times, and revised Derbyshire Times article (1 March 2017) The Sheffield Star (2 March 2017)

27 February 2017

Direct action announced against fracking supply chain – Cuadrilla condemns the plans. DrillOrDrop report. Blackpool Gazette

Fresh fracking fears for Formby. The Champion reports on warnings by an Frack Free Formby of potential new plans to begin drilling in the Formby oilfield. They say they are aware of plans by Aurora Energy Resources to submit a planning application to Sefton Council later this year to kickstart drilling for shale gas. Aurora said it would hold a public information event before submitted an application. Southport Visitor

YP Letters: Time for the truth about fracking risks. Russell Scott, of Frack Free Ryedale, writes to the Yorkshire Post about research on more than 6,000 spills related to fracking four states of the US. “Now just imagine if 16 percent of Third Energy’s 950 wells spill their toxic cocktail of fracking fluid – the result of this could be disastrous for 
Yorkshire. It’s about time Third Energy, INEOS and the army of PR firms they employ start to be truthful about the true risks associated with the fracking instead of trying to persuade us that our hugely underfunded and inexperienced regulators can control this highly risky and dangerous fracking industry.” The paper also includes letters from Frank Colenso, David Cragg-James and Michael Farman.

Sand mining: the global environmental crisis you’ve probably never heard of. The Guardian reports on industrial-scale sand mining across the world which, it says, is causing wildlife to die, local trade to wither and bridges to collapse.

26 February 2017

What’s happening this week? DrillOrDrop’s weekly events listing for 27 February-5 March 2017.

Revealed: Grangemouth INEOS boss urged Osborne to break unions and back fracking. The Herald Scotland and  The Ferret (27/2/2017) report that documents disclosed under Freedom of Information show Jim Ratcliffe argued in a briefing with George Osborne during the moratorium on fracking in 2013 that shale gas “was an opportunity for manufacturing”. The company also argued that moves to phase out carbon pollution would be damaging: “Decarbonisation policies will cause energy prices to increase dramatically… This will undermine economic growth”.

25 February 2017


March to Marsh Lane, Derbyshire. Photo: Jeanette Teare

Hundreds rally against fracking at events in two shale gas areas. DrillOrDrop report on events in Lancashire and north Derbyshire. The Derbyshire event, organised by Sarah Marsh and Sarah Vause saw more than 300 campaigners march from Mosborough to Eckington and then to the Marsh Lane.  Sheffield Star (Eckington anti-fracking march organisers hail event a success); Blackpool Gazette (Anti-fracking protesters ‘tried to breach’ Preston New Road site);  Derbyshire Times (Fracking protestors vow to make a difference – 27/2/2017)

YP Letters: Current gas wells not on scale of fracking risk. Josephine Downs, writing to The Yorkshire Post, says “Just because 25 years ago no great damage occurred to the countryside and local tourism following construction of Knapton Generating Station is hardly a reason to claim that a new shale gas industry would, likewise have no marked effect

24 February 2017

Decision on Horse Hill “Gatwick Gusher” plans for oil testing and drilling delayed until the summer. DrillOrDrop report

Nationwide response to anti-fracking rally in Lancashire. DrillOrDrop preview of national day of action near Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site.

Fracking Week in Parliament. DrillOrDrop compilation of what politicians said in the UK’s parliament about fracking and shale gas.

Cuadrilla protesters – a correction. The Telegraph corrects an article of 18 February 2017 which stated there had been a dozen arrests related to verbal death threats and physical assaults. It says this was incorrect and the article had been removed from its website.


Anti-frackers’ fears without foundation. Michael Roberts, a supporter of Cuadrilla’s shale gas plans, writes to the Blackpool Gazette: “I have been stunned by the behaviour of some of the protesters at Preston New Road.” Referring to an eight-person lock-on, he says “People do have a right to peaceful protest, but this is sheer intimidation”. He says “all technical bodies were unanimous in saying that fracking is safe, or rather, as safe as any other industry”. He said this implied that the concerns of anti-frackers were “without formation”.  Scan of the letter

Government pension scheme begins ditching oil and gas investments. The Guardian reports National Employment Savings Trust, a publicly-owned pension scheme with more than four million members, set up by the government, is moving £130m into a climate change fund. Nest said it wanted to protect its worker members form the risks associated with climate change by reducing their exposure to companies with reserves of coal, oil and gas. It planned to scale back investment in oil groups including Shell and ExxonMobil.

23 February 2017

Third EnergyThird Energy – company behind fracking plans at Kirby Misperton, N Yorks – records loss of £3.8m in 2015. DrillOrDrop report

Surrey County Council agrees plans to check for road damage at oil site near Leith Hill. Opponents call for tree preservation orders along the lorry route. DrillOrDrop report

Centrica posts profit in 2016, lays off 3,400 staff. Energy Voice reports Centrica has said it made £384m worth of cost savings during the year in which it laid of more than 3,400 staff. It expects to achieve a further £250m in 2017. Pre-tax profits for 2016 were £2.19bn, a marked improvement on £1.14bn loss in 2015. Revenues fell 3% to £27.1bn but operating profits rose to £1.46bn form £1.39bn. The Guardian (British Gas worst-value tariffs are not ‘evil empire’, boss says)

Anti-fracking protesters stage protest outside haulage firm. The Chester Standard reports on a protest by members of Chester and Ellesmere Port anti-fracking groups outside D Morgan depot in Ellsesmere Port over the firm’s involvement in supplying services to the Preston New Road fracking site in Lancashire. Photo of newspaper article

Another one bites the dust. Frack Off reports that CRH Plant at Ashton-in-Makerfield, outside Wigan, has ceased dealings with Cuadrilla following anti-fracking action at their business.

Study finds connection between living near oil and gas development and childhood leukemia. DeSmog reports on new research which suggests children and young adults who were diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia were 4.3 times more likely to live within 10 miles of an active oil and gas well than those with other types of cancer. The study did not find a connection between other types of cancer, such as non-Hodgkin lymphoma and proximity to oil and gas pipelines. The study team says pollution for oil and gas wells are unlikely to fully explain incidents of cancer alone but they are a significant influence. See DrillOrDrop collation of research on fracking and onshore oil and gas.

YP Letters: Fracking is not ordinary gas extraction. In a letter to the Yorkshire Post, Christopher Pickles replies to Lorraine Allanson (18 February) that fracking is different from conventional gas extraction. It is highly industrialising, expensive and would only be economic to do at huge scale. Wendy Cross and Jarvis Browning also write on the same subject.

Fracking. We can all do our bit to discover more. Duncan Coppersthwaite, writing to the Blackpool Gazette, says everyone – whether for or against fracking – has a decision to make about the world we want to leave for our children. He also appeals to motorists “The protestors standing on the roadside have not delayed your journey or demanded that you change your view, they are just people trying to be heard.”

Documents reveal UK cannot stop Green Investment Bank from fund fracking after sale. Greenpeace Energy Desk reports documents obtained through a Freedom of Information request show the government’s special share in the Green Investment Bank does not have the power to veto investments before they are made. The government shareholder can file a “derivative action” against the directors for breaching the bank’s stated purpose but success is difficult, a lawyer at ClientEarth told Energy Desk.

Police remove last Standing Rock protesters in military-style takeover. The Guardian reports dozens of national guard and law enforcement officers marched into the Dakota Access pipeline protest encampment on Thursday in a military-style takeover, one day after a deadline for the camp’s eviction. See also documentary by ABC News

FRACKING: We put your questions to representatives from INEOS – part one. The Derbyshire Times has a link to a recorded question and answer session with INEOS executives.

22 February 2017

FrancisEganFracking boss says it would be “madness” for UK to import gas. The Yorkshire Post reports on comments by Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla, to the UK Northern Powerhouse conference in Manchester. He said the industry would not know whether shale gas could be extracted on a commercial basis until test-drilling gets under way. But he said: “If, and it’s still and if, it is then we are looking at multi-decades of gas supply and multi-billion pound investment opportunities in energy across the North of England.” He added: “If we can provide it a cost-effective price in my mind it would be madness not to develop it here versus bringing it on a ship from America or Algeria or Qatar.”

YP Letters: Science shows fracking would bring conflict. Derek Chapman and David Cragg-James respond in The Yorkshire Post to a letter by Lorraine who said “the opposition to shale gas is not backed by science”. MR Chapman refers to North Yorkshire County Council concern in a waste and minerals report about the lack of cumulative traffic assessment for shale gas development in the county.

Campaigners step up fight against fracking in Derbyshire. The Derbyshire Times reports campaigners opposed to INEOS plans to drill for shale gas at Marsh Lane have set up an official committee group with regular meetings and a fundraising page. Chairman of the Eckington Against Fracking committee, David Kesteven, said: “We need to let the community know that there are plans to turn this area into a gas field with potential for hundreds of wells. We are complete amateurs and volunteers who are doing this in our time but we are very dedicated. We are fundraising for things like posters and to hire out rooms for a series of meetings.”

Last Remnants of Dakota Access Pipeline Protest Camp Are Engulfed in Flames. Time reports that the remains of the Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp was set on fire as part of a leaving ceremony ahead of a government deadline to get off federal land. Demonstrators have lived at the camp for six months to try to stop construction of the pipeline.

Thousands of Emails from Oklahoma Office of Trump EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt Published. DeSmog reports that the Center for Media and Democracy has secured thousands of emails from the office of the former Oklahoma Attorney General, Scott Pruitt (recently made head of the US EPA). The emails show extensive communication with fracking giant, Devon, on subjects including fracking rules. They also show a close relationship by the office with groups such as the Koch Industries-funded Americans for Prosperity.

21 February 2017

Article on Cuadrilla fracking protests prompts 14 complaints to press watchdog. DrillOrDrop report

Unconventional oil and gas spills: risk, mitigation priorities and state reporting requirements. A US study, published in Environmental Science and Technology, finds that 2-16% of fracked oil and gas wells spill liquids every year. Researchers found there had been 6,600 spills from fracked wells in four states over a ten-year period. The biggest problems were in North Dakota, where 67% of spills were recorded. See DrillOrDrop’s research page. Also BBC News and PhysOrg

Fracking. Speaking out nearly cost me my career. In a letter to the Blackpool Gazette, Mike Hill outlines the outcome of a complaint to his professional body, the Institution of Engineering and Technology. He tells the paper: I felt it was important to explain what has happened to me since May 2015 since many people came to meetings, asked questions and listened to what I had to say. We unfortunately live in a world where individuals have to risk their whole livelihoods by tackling governments and powerful industries. Ironically…it’s the latter that appear to have been frightened.”

Heated confrontation at fracking protest. Wigan Today reports that 16 anti-fracking demonstrators from Frack Free Wigan, Leigh and Makerfield picketed CRH Plant on the Land Gate Industrial estate. The group says company lorries had been seen entering and leaving Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road near Blackpool. Leigh Journal

FRACKING: We want your questions for a Facebook Live event on Thursday. The Derbyshire Times is holding a Facebook Live with representatives of INEOS about fracking at 12.30pm on Thursday 23 February. Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/derbyshiretimes/

LETTER: Try underwater turbines instead. Dave Simpson, writing to The Derbyshire Times, questions claims by INEOS executive, Tom Pickering, will revitalise industry in the East Midlands. He says there was no boom in the local economy from North Sea gas in the 80s and 90s and similar claims were made by the nuclear industry in the 60s and 70s. He recommends investment in underwater turbines, that have been built and tested by British manufacturers.

Anti-fracking campaigners say it with love. Brixham Today reports more than 200 Totnes residents wrote Valentine’s Day messages of love for the earth in a giant card handed to MP Dr Sarah Wollaston. It asked her to oppose fracking.

Anti-fracking activists Reclaim the Power to hold workshop at The Forum in Darlington. The Northern Echo reports on an awareness raising event on Monday 27 February. It includes a screening of the documentary Disobedience and a workshop by the climate change group, Reclaim the Power.

Stop Cuadrilla from breaking the rules on fracking. Friends of the Earth says Cuadrilla is “itching to get drilling in Lancashire”. The organisation says the company hasn’t completed monitoring of groundwater required by law before it can begin fracking. It is urging people to ask the Environment Agency to insist Cuadrilla “plays by the rules”.

Europa Oil & Gas extends deadline for Wressle deal with Upland Resources. Proactive Investors reports that Europa Oil & Gas has extended the deadline to sell 10% of its Wressle field in Lincolnshire to Upland Resources from 31 March 2017 to 30 September 2017.

GMB censures Dugdale over fracking stance. The Times reports that the GMB union has accused the Scottish Labour leader, Kezia Dugdale, of chasing votes, rather than jobs, in her opposition to fracking. In its response to Scottish Labour’s proposed bill to ban fracking, the GMB accused the party of “scare stories such as those from the green lobby”.

WHAT THE FRACK, KEZ? Labour leader Kezia Dugdale blasted by top party donor for opposing frac­king in Scotland. The Scottish Sun writes: “LABOUR leader Kezia Dugdale was blasted by a top party donor for opposing frac­king in Scotland. Raging GMB union bosses insisted banning shale gas extraction would cost jobs and send fuel prices rocketing.”

Third Energy operations at Pickering. Third Energy – the company that has permission to frack at Kirby Misperton, says it will begin planned workover operations at its well site in Pickering. A statement on the company’s website says:

“The short workover programme will convert the conventional gas production well into a production and re-injection well.  Early preparation work at the site has already begun. The Environment Agency permits required for the changes were issued in 2015, and planning permission was granted in 2016 for the change of use. The planned modifications will increase production from the Pickering gas field significantly and ensure continued production for up to a further 15 years.”

LETTER: What’s all the negativity about fracking? KB, writing to The Mansfield Chad, says “Mansfield needs the equivalent of the coal industry for jobs and making Mansfield the proud town it used to be.” The writer says “all the propaganda over fracking is from the early days in the USA. Safety and methods have improved considerably since then … So let’s get fracking and make the whole country prosperous and independent.”

20 February 2017

March date for legal challenge to ministerial approval of Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road fracking site. DrillOrDrop report ,  BBC News (21/2/2017) and Blackpool Gazette (22/2/2017)


Photo: Ami Roberts

Eight-person lock-on protest at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site. DrillOrDrop update on protest activity. ITV and Blackpool Gazette

Dash for gas could solve the diesel crisis. The pro-shale ga commentator, Matt Ridley, writing in The Times, makes a case for gas, rather than electric vehicles.

Research says fracking isn’t apocalyptic. Sandy Telfer, a Partner with DLA Piper, writing in The Scotsman, reviews research submitted to the Scottish Government on fracking, now under public consultation.

Oil price recovery vulnerable as US shale confounds Opec. The Telegraph reports: the short-lived recovery” of world oil prices is already in danger as Opec and Russia fail to deliver on agreed output cuts and America’s shale industry roars back to life”.

19 February 2017

What’s happening this week? DrillOrDrop events listing including: National anti-fracking rally, Preston New Road, Lancashire; Meet the Regulators drop-in event, Doncaster; Mardi Gras procession for Bury Hill Wood, Surrey; Anti-fracking march, Mosborough, nr Sheffield; Keep it in the Ground mobiliser tour event, York; Plus meetings, film screenings, lectures, regional gatherings. Salford Star (Don’t Frack Lanc National Rally 25th February 2017)


Fourth Cheshire survey finds 3/4 of residents oppose fracking. DrillOrDrop report

UK in line for American gas imports – but not from US shale. The Telegraph reports on shipments of gas to the UK from the Dominican Republic and Peru. The paper says the first cargoes are due to arrive before the end of the month, beating the anticipated “flood” of US shale into British homes and power plants. So far, the only US shale to cross the Atlantic has been imported by INEOS in the form of ethane, a feedstock for petrochemical plants.

Scottish Enterprise has given over £16.6m to fracking firm since 2009. The Sunday Herald reports that INEOS has received more than £16m by the Scottish jobs agency in the past eight years. The sums, equivalent to nearly £180,000 a month, have sparked concerns that the government has invested too much in the company to reject fracking. The paper says INEOS was awarded £7.6m in 2009 for the KG Flex project at Grangemouth. In 2013-14 it received another £9m to help establish a processing capacity to handle and deliver imported ethane.

INEOS achieves record profitability. A press release from INEOS announced today it had made a profit of 4.3 billion euros of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amoritization (EBITDA) in 2016. The company said it was also repaying 1.2 billion euros of debt from its own cash resources. “On the back of this record breaking performance, INEOS Group has refinanced 4.4 billion euros of debt, saving 100 million euros annually”, the press released added.

The state of the nation: The truth about fracking in Scotland. The Sunday herald reports on the arguments in favour and against.

Unions clash over fracking. The Sunday Herald reports that the GMB and UNISON are set to clash over fracking at the annual meeting of the Scottish TUC in April. The GMB has lodged a motion arguing that energy workers should not be “subject to lectures on their industry” and “scaremongering about emergent technologies”. It is expected to be opposed by other unions, including UNISON.

18 February 2017

Cuadrilla takes shale activist row to Government as local firms lose out. The Telegraph says Cuadrilla’s chief executive, Francis Egan, has raised concerns with the Home Office after three supply chain companies backed away from the Preston New Road project because of protests. The paper says he is asking that police be given greater clarity on laws surrounding protest action so that they can protect businesses. He told the Telegraph site contractors were facing harassment and intimidation on a daily basis. “It hasn’t impacted the schedule but local small firms, which are most vulnerable to intimidation, are losing business in Lancashire which is exactly the opposite of what we’re trying to achieve.”

Arrests at Preston New Road: The Telegraph article referred to a “dozen arrests related to verbal abuse and physical assault against workers at Cuadrilla’s site in the last month”. The Telegraph told DrillOrDrop the source of this statement was Cuadrilla. The company made a statement on 20/2/2017, saying the reference was to the dozen arrests made in connection with protests at or near the Preston New Road site. Separately, a company spokesperson said that threats of verbal abuse and physical violence are “all taken seriously and have been passed to the Police to investigate and take statements”.

The battle for Leith Hill – oil exploration in the Surrey Hills. Andy Smith, Surrey branch director of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, writes in Surrey Life about oil exploration plans at Bury Hill Wood – described as “the most controversial threat yet to Surrey’s cherished but vulnerable Green Belt countryside.

Protesters show their love for Sherwood Forest at fracking demo. The Nottingham Post reports that campaigners displayed messages of love for Sherwood Forest at the famous Major Oak during a demonstration against a INEOS plans to survey for shale gas. More than 100 people took part in the event, the second since Friends of the Earth revealed evidence that INEOS had been in contact with the Forestry Commission since August for access to the land.

17 February 2017

Fracking: Demo to show “love for Major Oak”. The Mansfield Chad reports that demonstrators are to gather in Sherwood Forest on 18 February to show support for the iconic Nottinghamshire woodland, now licenced for shale gas exploration. INEOS, which holds the licence, has said it could frack under the forest and landowners at the Thorsby Estate have agreed to formal requests to allow test cores. But the estate has said it would never allow fracking within the national nature reserve.

Could fracking replace old mining jobs in Nottinghamshire? The Nottingham Post examines what economic benefits fracking for shale gas could bring to the county.

‘Fracking is safer than mining,’ says chemical giant. The Rotherham Advertiser reports on comments by INEOS Shale, which hopes to drill in Rotherham. Ineos Shale operations director Tom Pickering tells the paper: “Putting a man down a coal shaft is like open-heart surgery. What we do is more like keyhole surgery.

“Good news about cancelled contract”. G Kavanagh, writing to the Lancashire Evening Post, says Frack Free Chorley and South Ribble welcomes the recent announcement from Armstrongs Aggregates that it has cancelled its contract with the fracking company Cuadrilla. The writer says: “This was down to the persistent pressure from residents of Lancashire and Bolton who worked together with Bolton Against Fracking to protect our land, water, and children’s health for a cleaner environment and for standing up for democracy.”

Gas supplier granted water retail licence. Utility Week reports that Regent Gas has become the first energy firm to receive a water  retail licence, allowing it to participate in the open water market. Ofwat confirmed on 16 February 2017 that it had granted Regent Water, a subsidiary of Regent Gas, a water supply and sewerage licence.  company’s subsidiary.

Fracking causes Pa. earthquakes, state regulators say. CBSNews reports that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection says there’s a likely correlation between fracking for gas and a series of minor earthquakes in the western part of the state. The quakes were recorded in April 2016 in Lawrence County, about 50 miles north of Pittsburg and ¾ of a mile from a gas well owned by Houston-based Hilcorp Energy. The quakes were too weak to be felt by people and no damage was reported, CBSNews said. Hilcorp stopped fracking at the site after the quakes.

16 February 2017

heartofsherwoodcIs INEOS planning to drill for shale in Sherwood Forest? DrillOrDrop reviews Friends of the Earth’s claim and the INEOS response.

Six-person lock-on outside Cuadrilla’s fracking site at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton. DrillOrDrop Protest Weekly Update.  BBC News, 2BR Lancashire, The Blackpool Gazette

East Midlands parish councils reject Ineos’ assault on community spaces. An investigation by Spinwatch reveals that town and parish councils in Derbyshire (Whitwell, Langwith, Killamarsh, Hodthorpe and Belph) and South Yorkshire (Harthill with Woodall) had refused access to INEOS for seismic testing on their sports field and recreation grounds. Calow Parish Council in Derbyshire approved the request but with conditions for access to land, which included the village’s war memorial. INEOS later pulled out of plans to survey there due to “time constraints within a designated six month period, driven by planning policy guidelines”.

Fracking: We turn a blind eye to too many things. Paul Burton, writing in the Blackpool Gazette, says “The evidence from America is there for all to see, fracking IS a dirty and dangerous business. The fact there are relatively few protesters is a sad indictment of our greedy, self obsessed society. We turn a blind or indifferent eye to poverty, nuclear waste, pollution of the oceans, greed, obscene spending on horrific weapons, political corruption – the list is never ending. Fracking will be just one more issue where future generations will ask “why did we let it happen?”

15 February 2017

National Trust stands firm against INEOS threats of legal action over refusal to allow access for seismic surveying. DrillOrDrop report

broadford-bridge-zone-of-variationWest Sussex varies drilling area for UKOG’s Broadford Bridge well. DrillOrDrop report on zone of variation for oil exploration well

Government publishes guidance on securing hydraulic fracturing consent. DrillOrDrop report

Fracking research roundup: February 2017. DrillOrDrop report on recent research, studies and evidence, including acidising, methane emissions, public attitudes to fracking, economics of fossil fuels, impacts of noise on health and dealing with waste.

Why not look for shale gas under London? In this Guest Post on DrillOrDrop, would-be operator, Nick Grealy, makes his pitch for fracking in the capital and questions why his company and a competitor were turned down for a licence in south central London in 2014.

Get your facts right John. David Haythornthwaite, chair of AFC Fylde, writes to the Blackpool Gazette, in reply to John Hobson. He says it is incorrect to suggest Cuadrilla cannot work on Saturdays because police are needed for crowd control at AFC Fylde.

It’s time to speak out against fracking. Barbara Richardson, writing to the Blackpool Gazette, says Cuadrilla’s fracking friends have “mounted a serious letter writing campaign to local papers trying to denigrate anti-fracking protesters and make fracking seem more acceptable to the general public. She says “This is still a democracy and people still have a legal right to peaceful protest….If people If people do not want Lancashire to become the largest gas field in western Europe now is the time for them to speak out.

Fife MSP calls for full fracking ban. Fife Today reports MSP Claire Baker has called for a full ban on onshore unconventional oil and gas extraction in Scotland, claiming that fracking could risk residents in Mid Scotland and Fife.

BP boss says US shale will keep oil price rises in check. Energy Voice reports comments by BP chief executive, Bob Dudley, who says he expects US shale production will keep oil prices from rising above $60 a barrel.

14 February 2017

Protesters are acting legally. Jules Burton, of Roseacre, writing to The Blackpool Gazette, describes a letter by Babs Murphy (see 9 February 2017) as “completely misleading”. He says:

“It is clear that she does no research but simply portrays her view of the world as the truth. It should be remembered that the protesters – most of whom are local contrary to Ms Murphy’s allegations – are acting perfectly legally. The police are aware of their actions and are often consulted before action is taken to ensure that no laws are contravened. So what Babs Murphy, Michael Damms and Lee Petts are actually saying is that the police should take ‘swift action’ against any person pursuing their legal right to protest against an industry that the people, parish, borough and county councils all agree is wrong for this – or any – area, poses a danger to residents and is totally unnecessary for our energy requirements.”

Protesters to gather at Major Oak over Sherwood Forest fracking survey plans. The Nottingham Post reports that protesters will gather around the Major Oak on Saturday to oppose plans by INEOS to carry out surveys for shale gas in Sherwood Forest.

Chemical Plant Boom Spurred by Fracking Will Bring Smog, Plastic Glut, and Risks to Workers’ Health, New Report Warns. DeSmog Blog reports on a report from Food and Water Watch, How fracking supports the plastic industry on the impact of fracking a rush for plastic and petrochemical manufacturing in the US. DeSmog says this will make smog worse in communities already breathing air pollution from fracking, sicken workers, and expand the plastic trash gyres in the world’s oceans

Judge denies tribes’ request to block final link in Dakota pipeline. Reuters, posted on OilPro, reports that US federal judge, James Boasberg, sitting in Washington DC, denied a request Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes for a halt to construction of the final link in the Dakota Access Pipeline. They said the project would prevent them from practising religious ceremonies at a lake they contend is surrounded by sacred ground.

Brexit: environment and climate change. The House of Lords European Union Committee report on the impact of Brexit on environment and climate change warns that environmental and climate change regulations could slip at Brexit. It warns that maintaining existing standards through the Great Repeal Bill will be “an immensely complex task”. It adds: “Environment legislation and policy will be more vulnerable to short term, unpredictable changes after Brexit. Maintaining policy stability will be critical to ensure both investor confidence in the environmental sector and civil society’s ability to engage with these policies.” Link to report and summary

House prices go potty! They’re falling or stagnant in many desirable spots but soaring in the least glamorous. So what’s going on? This is Money says fracking is one cause of falling prices in the picturesque town of Helmsley on the edge of the North York Moors.

13 February 2017


Launch of anti-fracking lobby group, Frack Free United, which is encouraging candidates in upcoming council elections to make their position clear on fracking. DrillOrDrop report. The Gazette and Herald (14/2/2017)

What’s happening this week? DrillOrDrop report on events about fracking, onshore oil and gas and the campaigns about them.


Updated: Eight established UK oil and gas sites apply for environmental permits. DrillOrDrop report

Launch for Frack Free United alliance of campaigners and communities opposed to fracking. The group is expected to promote the anti-fracking cause at this year’s May local elections. DrillOrDrop report (see Monday 13 February)

Putting a stop to town hall boycotts. Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, announced measures to prevent councils from boycotting companies and countries if it is against the government’s position. The plans would require local authorities by law to treat suppliers in line with British government policies. No council could boycott any countries or industry unless the government and put restrictions in place already. The press release does not refer to commitments by some councils to oppose fracking.

Council urges Fifers to fight against fracking. The Dundee Courier reports Fife Council is urging residents to air their views about fracking in a Scottish government consultation.

INEOS to build “uncompromising” 4×4 off-roader. The chemicals and shale gas company, INEOS, says it is preparing to invest many hundreds of millions producing a new off-roader following Jaguar Land Rover’s decision to cease production of the Land Rover Defender. INEOS chairman, Jim Ratcliffe, says: ““This is a fantastically exciting project. We want to build the world’s purest 4 x 4 and are aiming it at explorers, farmers and off-road enthusiasts across the globe”.

US shale oil production to jump by 80,000 barrels a day in March, EIA say. CNBC reports on data from the US Energy Information Administration that US shale oil production in seven major regions will rise by a total of 80,000 barrels a day to 4.87m a day in March. This is the third month in a row the agency has projected output to rise.

Oil poised for biggest drop in nearly 4 weeks despite Opec cut. The FT reports that Brent Crude, the global oil oil benchmark, was poised for its first daily drop in four days and its biggest one day decline in nearly a month despite a deep production cut by Opec. Brent crude slid 2.1 per cent to $55.53 a barrel on Monday, while West Texas Intermediate, the US oil standard, was down 1.8 per cent to $52.89 and if it were to hold on to those losses it would also be on track for its worst daily performance since January 18.

Investor Honeymoon With OPEC Falters as Shale Drilling Booms. Bloomberg Markets reports money managers reduced their bets on rising West Texas Intermediate prices for the first time in a month. US inventories are on the rise and shale drillers keep adding rigs. The US benchmark has traded between $50 and $55 a barrel for the last two months.

Inside the anti-frackers’ protest camp. The Blackpool Gazette reports on an anti-fracking camp at Whitehills Business Park, near Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site.

12 February 2017

What’s happening this week? 13-19 February 2017. DrillOrDrop listing of events about UK fracking, onshore oil and gas and campaigns about them.

11 February 2017

How did you find out about fracking? DrillOrDrop compilation of answers to a post on Facebook

10 February 2017


Photo: Roseacre Awareness Group

Who wants to drill where? February 2017 update of UK fracking, shale gas and onshore oil and gas operations. DrillOrDrop report

Campaigner arrested under trades union legislation. A 31-year-0ld man from Blackpool was arrested at about 10am outside Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site under section 241 of the Trades Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act. DrillOrDrop update.

UK set to receive first LNG import from Peru. The FT reports the UK is set to import its first ever cargo of liquefied natural gas from Peru as a pricing dispute forces shipments to Europe, with growing supplies of the supercooled fuel carving out new export routes. Peru LNG loaded a vessel this week that has its destination listed as the UK, according to data on Lima-based Perupetro’s website. It is carrying about 61,146 metric tonnes of LNG.

Leith Hill court order “very frightening” for locals offering showers and drinks to anti-drilling campers. BBC Surrey reports that an injunction by Europa Oil and Gas against the protection camp at Leith Hill also applies to people who may help. It says “any other person who knows of this order and does anything with the purpose of helping or permitting the defendants or protesters to breach the order may also be held in contempt of court and may be imprisoned, fined or have their assets seized.” Cllr Clayton Wellman said this would be frightening to local people. He described the breadth of the injunction as “draconian”.

EA spent £2m of taxpayer money clearing abandoned waste sites. The subscription journal, ENDS, reports that the Environment Agency spent £1,989,000 from a contingency fund since August 2104 to partially clear four non-compliant abandoned waste sites. The EA said these were cases where it intervened “as a last resort” because it was unable to recoup the clean-up costs from the operators or landowners. Most of these cases have not been publicised. The actual cost of the work could be higher because the EA said other costs may have been incurred that were not covered by the contingency fund. The sites have been partially cleared only to reduce the immediate short-term risk of fire. One site at Great Heck, Selby, North Yorkshire, was partially cleared at a cost of £934,000 funded jointly with Selby Council.

New call for ban on fracking. The Quakers call for a ban on new and intensive forms of fossil fuel extraction, including fracking for shale gas and oil, and underground coal gasification. The Quakers said: “Quakers said, “The UK needs to be investing in efficient and renewable energy, and reducing demand, not in additional fossil fuels. Fracked gas is not the low-carbon solution some suggest that it is and is incompatible with tackling the climate crisis. It is destructive of the environment, land and communities.”

Developers set for Brexit triumph over great crested newt. The FT reports Britain’s great crested newts are facing a less certain future post-Brexit as ministers prepare to axe rights afforded to them by European legislation in a bid to speed up development projects. The paper says government figures have told the FT that the EU habitats directive is among measures set to be repealed, citing the “excessive” protection given to the amphibian as a reason to change the law.

9 February 2017

New consultation delays decision on IGas shale gas plans for Tinker Lane, Notts. DrillOrDrop report

Small rise in support for fracking in latest government survey of public attitudes. DrillOrDrop report


A photo-journalist was arrested in a protest about the contract held by Bolton firm, A E Yates, at the Preston New Road fracking site.  DrillOrDrop compilation of photos from protests around the UK.

Protesters targeting local small firms. Babs Murphy, of North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, Michael Damms East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce and Lee Petts IoD Lancashire, write to the Blackpool Gazette. They say:

“Anti-fracking protests targeting small local companies cannot be tolerated In recent days, protesters opposed to shale gas exploration in Lancashire have deliberately targeted small local companies with direct action blockades just because they have chosen to supply goods and services to Cuadrilla at its Preston New Road site.

“Activists know these small firms are unlikely to be able to withstand such disruption for any length of time because of the knock-on impacts it has to the remainder of their business. Such actions, conducted largely by people with little or no connection to the area, are unjust and deeply unfair.

“Small business owners that are simply trying to ply their trade should be allowed to get on with their lawful business without interruption and fear of intimidation.”

In depth: Drilling down into prospect of fracking on Sheffileld’s doorstep. Rob Blackledge, writing for the Sheffield Telegraph, interviews a local person, an academic and an INEOS executive about the plans for shale gas exploration at Marsh Lane in Derbyshire.

Fracking in Scotland is economic marginal. Roy Thompson, emeritus professor of geosciences, Edinburgh University, writes to The Guardian, that his research shows “Scottish shales to be below the thermal maturity needed for effective gas generation, at low reservoir pressures and so geologically faulted that they do not provide a match with even the poorest of the US systems”. He says deeper, structurally simpler and higher carbon content shales in northern England seem to have more potential. But if they are unsuccessful or uncommercial then a US-style shale gas industry in Scotland is unlikely.

Pre-fracking tests to start in Nottinghamshire soon, says drilling firm boss. Tom Pickering, operations director of INEOS Shale tells the Nottingham Post it will begin seismic surveys in the coming months and will submit 10 planning applications in its licences across England this year. He confirmed that the company could take legal action against the National Trust which has refused permission for seismic surveys at Clumber Park. Drilling could begin in mid 2018.

PeakFM speaks to fracking company INEOS in detail. PeakFM reports that it spoke to Operations Director, Tom Pickering, and Commercial Director, Lynn Calder, about its plans for a well at Marsh Lane in Derbyshire. Includes link to the audio interview.

Campaigners from Skipton visit fracking protest in North Yorkshire. The Craven Herald reports a representative from the Skipton branch of the campaign group 38 degrees visited the Kirby Misperton protection camp.

Jane Fonda supports Leitrim campaign. The Leitrim Observer reports that Hollywood actor, Jane Fonda, has supported a bill going through the Dail to ban fracking. The bill, also supported by Americans Susan Sarandon, Sean Lennon, Shailene Woodley, while Robert F Kennedy Junior, received unanimous cross-party support when it was introduced. It was put out for consultation until 10 February, causing supporters to worry that this might be a stalling measure.

We said NO! Dvid Beethoven song opposing fracking, with a new video on YouTube.

Methane levels have increased in Marcellus Shale region despite dip in well installation. PhysOrg reports that research from Drexel University has found that atmospheric methane levels in the Marcellus Shale in north east Pennsylvania are increasing, despite a slow down in the number of new gas wells. Measurements showed a substantial increase from 2012-2015. Peter DeCarlo, who led the study, said “Methane is increasing globally, but the rate of increase for this region is much more rapid than global increases”. He ascribes the rapid increase to increased gas production. He said: “With the increased background levels of methane, the relative climate benefit of natural gas over coal for power production is reduced.”

Dakota Access pipeline work restarts amid tribe’s legal challenge: ‘It’s not over’The Guardian reports that the Dakota Access Pipeline workers have begun the final phase of drilling across the Missouri river despite massive international protests and a legal challenge from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. The restarting of the drilling operation, which a pipeline spokeswoman confirmed on Thursday morning, began soon after the US government gave the oil corporation the green light to proceed on Wednesday. The controversial pipeline could be transporting crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois within three months.

Proof that chemical fracking harms fish. Anglers Mail reports on a study by University of Alberta which found liquids released from fracked oil and gas wells can harm fish at very low concentrations. Researcher, Greg Goss, tells the magazine: “The real risk comes from the disposal process where there is a danger of spills as they truck it or pipeline it to a new site and Alberta has experienced more than 2,500 such spills between 2011 and 2014.

Green energy is evolving, so why aren’t the attitudes of ministers? At the end of an editorial about investment in renewables, the Independent writes Fracking is merely a way of reinventing fossil fuels; it may be cheap, but it can never be clean. Green energy is developing faster than the minds of Treasury officials seem able to comprehend, and it can make a disproportionate difference to the diversity and environmental soundness of how we fuel our homes and transport.

EU needs to shut all coal plants by 2030, or will vastly overshoot Paris Agreement – report. Climate Analytics reports on its new study that the EU must phase out CO2 emissions from all its coal plants in the next 15 years to meeting Paris Agreement temperature goals. A quarter need to switch off before 2020 and a further 47% by 2025.

8 February 2017

Pro-shale group invites businesses to comment on protests at Cuadrilla’s fracking site. DrillOrDrop report


Third Cheshire village opposes fracking – survey. DrillOrDrop report on a survey in Frodsham

Breached traffic rules at Cuadrilla fracking site led to two-car crash DrillOrDrop report. Blackpool Gazette (Collision near frack site sparks rumpus)

Security guard is knocked over by reversing truck during anti-fracking demonstration as police investigate ‘threats made against workers’. The Daily Mail reports on last Friday’s incident outside Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site. The paper also says police have confirmed they are looking into alleged threats made against contractors.

Investigation into fracking camp complaints. The Gazette and Herald reports that Ryedale District Council is looking into 12 complaints in the past three weeks about the anti-fracking camp at Kirby Misperton. The council’s head of planning Gary Housden, said most were about highway issues, the number of visitors and parking on the roadside.

Frack off! Frack on! INEOS shale CEO rattled in Notts. Greenpeace Greenwire reports on a debate on fracking hosted by the Secular Society in Nottingham. Gary Haywood, chief executive of INEOS Shale spoke for the motion (Fracking is intrinsically safe and will be of great benefit to the country) and Dennis May, of Frack Free Notts against.

YP Letters: Way too much hot air in row over fracking. Dave Roberts, writing to The Yorkshire Post encourages correspondence to rely on the strength of their argument, rather than what he calls terms that unreasonably can subconsciously persuade readers of their argument. He takes issue with letters from Lorraine Allanson, who said “undeniably gas is an essential commodity and will be for decades. Ms Allanson’s letter is also criticised by David Cragg-James, Michael Tanner  and Jon Mager. Jordan Brooke, in the same paper, appears to urge opponents of fracking to stand for election.

Government urged to reverse policy on fracking. Rebecca Newsom, political adviser to Greenpeace UK, tells the APPG on Climate Change the government should reverse its policy of “forcing fracking on communities across the UK” and stop the sale of the Green Investment Bank to an “asset-stripping firm that supports fracking and coal”

7 February 2017

Second supplier pulls out of Cuadrilla contract for fracking site at Preston New Road. DrillOrDrop report. BBC News (Fracking protests: Supplier ends contract in ‘bullying’ row); 2BR (Anti-fracking protestor hit by a vehicle); Blackpool Gazette (Video: Police probe ‘collision’ during anti-fracking protests outside business). Blackpool Gazette (Fracking furore as firm quits scheme after protests 8/2/2017)


Reaction from Cuadrilla, Frack Free Lancashire and Lancashire for Shale to suppliers quitting fracking contracts. DrillorDrop report

Threats force firms to quit fracking site. The Times reports police are investigating threats made against workers at a fracking site and protests which forced local companies to stop supplying the project. The paper says notes were left for construction workers at Cuadrilla’s site near Blackpool saying “watch out, we know where you live” and giving their names and home towns.

Fracking company seeks relaxation of planning conditions for restoration at Becconsall. DrillOrDrop report

egdon_logoEgdon to appeal over Wressle refusal. DrillOrDrop report

Police investigating fracking truck incident. The Blackpool Gazette reports police are investigating an incident at the Preston New Road fracking site which saw a security guard hit by a reversing truck on Friday. Lancashire Police said the 49-year-old driver from Manchester had been reported for summons for careless and inconsiderate driving.

2015 UK greenhouse gas emissions, final figures. The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy reports that UK emissions of seven greenhouse gases were estimated at 495.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e), a decrease of 3.8% compared to the 2014 figure of 515.1 million tonnes. BEIS said the fall was mainly caused by: replacement of coal by nuclear and renewables in electricity generation; closure of three integrated steelworks in September 2015; decreased emissions from landfill waste.

Final phase of Dakota Access pipeline to be approved, a major blow to Standing Rock Sioux. The Guardian reports the US government is set to allow the final phase of construction of the Dakota Access pipeline to begin early on Wednesday.

Upgrade to Portland Oil Resources at Horse Hill. UK Oil & Gas Investments reports Xodus has calculated Portland sandstone P50 oil in place at 32 million barrels, a 53% increase from the 21 million barrels previously reported. Proactive Investors

Fracking tests to be carried out in Staveley. The Derbyshire Times reports that INEOS has permission from the Chatsworth Settlement Trustees to conduct a seismic survey on the Scarcliffe and Staveley estates between Chesterfield and Worksop.

LETTER: Fracking supplement did little to allay my fears and some suspicions. Roger Pendleton, writing to The Derbyshire Times said he welcomed the provision of some clarity on the issue of fracking. But he said the INEOS supplement in last week’s paper was “deficient in my view in providing data on the financial vicissitudes of the industry”. He also said “The stated fact that the UK Government has the most stringent safeguards on operations is open to question, for an industry new to the UK.”

Fracking: Life on the frontline of Kirby Misperton protest camp. Emily Flanagan, reporting in The Northern Echo, describes her stay at the Kirby Misperton Protection Camp

Derbyshire Against Fracking petition. Petition launched by Liberal Democrats

INEOS Seismic Surveys. Bagshaws property specialists offers to act for landowners in the East Midlands approached by INEOS for access to carry out seismic surveying.

6 February 2017

Bolton company quits supply contract to Cuadrilla fracking site at Preston New Road. DrillOrDrop report. Bolton Rise and Bolton News

Angus Energy takes a stake in Europa’s Leith Hill Surrey licence. DrillOrDrop report. Energy Voice, Proactive Investors

leith-hill-road1Forestry Commission refuses to drop oil drilling deal with Europa for land at Bury Hill Wood, near Leith Hill in Surrey. DrillOrDrop report

Response to fracking protest was an “overraction” says Labour leader. The Scunthorpe Telegraph reports comments by the Labour leader of Lincolnshire North Council, Len Foster after it was revealed the council spent £452 on six security guards for a planning meeting to decide an application by Egdon Resources last month. Cllr Foster said: “I do think it turned out to be an overreaction. We have to trust our residents in the future instead of totally relying on mixed messages from the police”. The council said it had hired security following advice from Humberside Police.

Nothing to Fear? Terry Jones, writing to the Sheffield Star, says he is not reassured about the safety of fracking made in INEOS’s eight-page supplement.

“We are fortunate to live in a beautiful, generally peaceful, part of the country. This could change very rapidly if INEOS is granted planning permission for exploratory drilling followed by fracking. The very essence of our countryside could be damaged irreparably. Let’s not be fooled by reassurances from INEOS. If there were nothing to fear, this expenditure would not be necessary.”

YP Letters: Fracking opponents cannot call on MP for help. Edward Grainger, writing to the Yorkshire Post, says he was disappointed that Scarborough MP, Robert Goodwill, failed to voice is opposition to fracking in Ryedale.

Protesters at Letchwoth Barclays call on bank to dump investments in fracking companies. The Hertfordshire Mercury reports that around 15 campaigners gathered outside the Letchworth branch of Barclays with placards, accusing the bank of cheating the planet. The bank has a 97% stake in Third Energy, which has permission to frack a well at Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire.

5 February 2017

INEOS accused of bullying landowners to gain access for fracking surveys. DrillOrDrop report. Sunday Times  (Shale giant looms over National Trust Parkland). Greenpeace EnergyDesk (Fracking firm INEOS accused of threatening landowners to allow exploration), Herald Scotland 

What’s happening this week? 6-11 February 2017. DrillOrDrop listing of events about fracking, shale gas and onshore operations


Fracked! Or Please don’t use the F-word.
Tour dates released for performances in Guildford, Malvern, Brighton, Richmond and Bath, 12 April-20 May 2017.
More details on the play

4 February 2017

Fracking Week in Parliament 30 January-3 February 2017. DrillOrDrop report on what politicians said about fracking, shale gas and onshore drilling.

January 20117 drilling headlines. DrillOrDrop’s monthly digest of news

MSP urges public to speak up about fracking. The Milngavie Herald reports that MSP Rona Mackay is appealing to the public to make their views heard about fracking in the Scottish Government consultation. The deadline for submissions is 31 May 2017.

YP Letters: No excuse for abusive comments on fracking. Michael Farman, writing in The Yorkshire Post apologises to another newspaper’s correspondent, Lorraine Allanson, who said she had received insults from people opposed to fracking. He encourages her to continue to express her opinions but also would “gently suggest that she would benefit from reading some of the many peer-reviewed papers that clearly warn of the dangers from shale exploration”. Wendy Cross, also writing to the paper, says Ms Allanson’s letter reads “like an advert for the oil and gas industry” but she misses the point that “fracking is proven to be unsafe”.

3 February 2017

proposed-springs-road-misson-shale-site-aerial-pictureLegal agreement on Nottinghamshire’s first shale gas site at Springs Road, Misson (left), is delayed again. DrillOrDrop report. Worksop Guardian, NottsTV, Gainsborough Standard, Nottingham Post, West Bridgford Wire

Boy, 8, writes to Theresa May to object to Derbyshire fracking plans. The Sheffield Star picks up the story covered by DrillOrDrop on 19 January 2017.

YP Letters: Our beautiful coast in fracking’s danger zone. Sylvia Milner, writing to The Yorkshire Post, says she was shocked to learn that fracking could occur close to the internationally-important RSPB Bempton Cliffs nature reserve where thousands of seabirds nest each year.

There is no guarantee that fracking is safe. Helen Hartnell, writing to the letters pages of The Worksop Guardian and Gainsborough Standard, describes INEOS’s paid-for supplement on fracking as “propaganda exercise intended to influence the people of Nottinghamshire into believing fracking is safe and good for the country”. She says “In my view, fracking is dangerous to health, the global climate, water supplies and it will blight the local environment.” She adds that she doesn’t believe fracking is of national importance and that local people should decide the future of the environment in which they live.

Take action to ban fracking now. Friends of the Earth Scotland has launched a petition calling on the Scottish Government to ban fracking. At 3pm on 4 February 2017, the petition at 11,482 signatures.

House overturns Obama Administration’s methane gas emission rule. Time reports that the Republican-controlled House voted by 221-191 on Friday to overturn an Obama administration rule that sought to reduce harmful methane emissions into the environment, part of the Democratic president’s campaign to combat climate change. The Interior Department rule had clamped down on oil companies that burn off natural gas during drilling operations on public lands. Three Democrats voted in favor of repealing the rule, which was finalized in November, while 11 Republicans opposed repeal.

2 February 2017

wrea-green-mtr-170201-1Residents demand stricter regulation and monitoring of Cuadrilla’s fracking site at Preston New Road near Blackpool. DrillOrDrop report on a Meet the Regulators event. Blackpool Gazette (Farce claims over frack info summit)

Brockham could open up oil exploration in the Weald – Lenigas. DrillOrDrop report

Police step up presence at Blackpool court as anti-fracking protestor granted bail. The Blackpool Gazette reports on the previous day’s court appearance of people arrested at a lock-on at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road fracking site. Louise Hammond, 52, formerly of Scunthrope, pleaded guilty to breaching a bail condition not to enter the borough of Fylde. Along with Jared Dunne, 22 of Warrington, Edward Thornton, 33, of Pickering and Joseph Boyd, 43 of Bootle, denied failing to comply with a prohibited assembly police direction. They are due to appear at Blackpool Magistrates Court on 3 March 2017.

Over 70 arrested at Standing Rock as Dakota Access aims to finish pipeline. The Guardian reports that North Dakota police arrested 76 people one day after federal officials suggested that the government could soon approve the final stage of pipeline construction.

The Big Challenge: Fracking will never be the answer. Cate Dixon, of Sheffield Against Fracking, writes a column in the Sheffield Telegraph addressing points made by INEOS in its advertising supplement last week. She questions INEOS’s comments on the UK’s regulatory system, the conclusions of the Committee on Climate Change on the compatibility of fracking and carbon reduction, the characteristics of shale gas, job creation and energy prices.

£700m energy hub near Ellesmere Port could create 15,000 jobs. The Chester Standard reports that Northern Powerhouse minister, Andrew Percy, opened the Peel Environment Protos energy project at Thornton Science Park, Thornton-le-Moors. The paper says the site, which is closely linked to the University of Chester, aims to be a leader in energy production and research in the UK.

YP Letters: Bury the hatchet and make fracking work for Ryedale. Shale gas supporter Lorraine Allanson, writing to The Yorkshire Post, says “now is the time for the council to engage, communicate and work with the gas companies rather than battle against them. Far more can be achieved by opening lines of communication…. History tells us that councils who work with companies rather than against, create the best outcomes for all.” She says councillors need to ensure the companies observe their promises of local jobs and contracts for local businesses in the supply chain.

Cheaper electric vehicles and solar panels ‘may leave fossil fuels’ stranded. The Press Association, quoted by various outlets, reports on a study by the Grantham Institute and Carbon Tracker Initiative. This concluded that falling costs of electric vehicles and solar panels could halt worldwide growth in demand for oil and coal by 2020. The study claims big energy companies are seriously underestimating the low-carbon transition by sticking to their “business as usual” scenarios which expect continued growth of fossil fuels and could see their assets stranded. The study predicts solar panels could supply 29% of global power generation by 2050, phasing out coal entirely and leaving gas with a 1% share.

Train like a pro returns four times bigger with Cuadrilla and Centrica’s support. Lancashire Chamber of Commerce reports that AFC Fylde Community Foundation is celebrating the return of its Train Like A Pro football development programme for young people. The Chamber says the programme had been funded by a £16,500 grant from Cuadrilla and Centrica

1 February 2017

Drilling Diary – February 2017. DrillOrDrop listing of events about UK fracking and onshore oil and gas in February and beyond.

Seattle council committee votes to divest from Wells Fargo over DAPL. The news network K5 reports Seattle is on track to end ties with Wells Fargo over the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline. The city council’s finance committee voted 8-0 on Wednesday to divest $3bn in City of Seattle money out of Wells Fargo over the bank’s role as a lender for the pipeline. It is to seek what it describes as a more socially responsible bank to manage the city’s money.


Four people charged pictured with their solicitor (left). Photo: Ian Crane

Little Plumpton fracking protest: four charged over lock-in.  BBC News reports that people have been charged with failing to comply with a prohibited assembly police direction. The charges followed a lock-on outside Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site. Two men of no fixed address, aged 22 and 33, another man, 43, from Bootle and a 53-year-old woman from Scunthorpe were arrested at about 13:00 on Tuesday. DrillorDrop weekly protest update and Blackpool Gazette

POLL: Should fracking take place in Yorkshire? The Yorkshire Post invites readers to vote on whether fracking for shale gas should take place in the county.

Get talking: Fracking – a lesson in bad PR? Mike Turner, from Lancashire, writing in Materials World, explains why the public in potential fracking areas are reluctant to believe either the government or the operator. “It is going to be very hard, if not impossible, for the fracking industry to row back from a PR disaster of its own making.”

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