Daily headlines

April 2017 drilling headlines

Preston New Road 170403 Cheryl Atkinson 2

Cuadrila’s shale gas site at Preston New Road, near Blackpool, 3 April 2017. Photo: Cheryl Atkinson

DrillOrDrop’s April 2017 digest of news about fracking, shale and onshore oil and gas updated daily

Top headlines in April 2017

  • Judge dismisses two statutory challenges against Ministerial approval of fracking at Preston New Road
  • The same judge refuses permission for a challenge against reopening the public inquiry for Roseacre Wood but resident fights on
  • Environment Agency objects again to UKOG’s oil production plans at Markwells Wood in South Downs
  • Egdon begins appeal against refusal of planning permission for Wressle site, N Lincs
  • Five-year extensions to Horse Hill licences
  • Government refuses funding for policing Lancs anti-fracking protests 
  • Investors approve IGas restructuring plans
  • Weald campaigners protest over Broadford Bridge drilling plans but UKOG accuses them of “scaremongering”
  • INEOS gives notice of planning application for Marsh Lane, Derbyshire
  • Australian activists announce tour of their film The Bentley Effect

 30 April 2017

Oil company accuses Sussex drilling opponents of “scaremongering” – “nonsense” says “shocked” campaign group. DrillOrDrop report

What’s happening this week? 1-7 May 2017. DrillOrDrop’s weekly update of events about fracking, the onshore oil and gas industry and campaigns against it.

Fury as fracking protesters compare the police to Nazi butchers: Probe launched into ‘appalling’ film that mixes footage of a demo with scenes from Schindler’s List. Mail Online reports the police are investigating what it describes as “appalling” film that compares officers protecting a shale gas site to Nazi SS guards who murdered millions of Jews in the Holocaust. The video, no longer online, incuts footage of anti-fracking protesters confronting police with scenes from the Oscar-winning film Schindler’s List. Express and Times

LETTERS: Fight is about love of countryside. Anne Nightingale, writing to the Gazette and Herald, says local people and councils opposed Third Energy’s application to frack at Kirby Misperton but this was disregarded by North Yorkshire County Council. She says:  “This is why I and many others will continue to fight fracking in Ryedale whether or not test fracks are successful.”

“It is about the love of our countryside and the genuine concerns we have about the introduction of fracking into this country despite the mounting worldwide peer reviewed evidence of the risks involved.”

Most Australians back fracking ban but commonwealth says states causing gas shortage. The Guardian reports that the Australian federal government has told the states to “get off their backsides” and end bans on fracking. But more than twice as many Australians support moratoriums on fracking (56%) than oppose them (20%), according to a survey by the Australia Institute conducted in March.

Research Shows U.S. and UK Share Similar Fracking Concerns. Daily Nexus reports on a study from universities in Santa Barbara and Cardiff which discovered that the public in the US and the UK are not enthusiastic about fracking.

29 April 2017

Wirral MP urges government to rule out fracking on Dee estuary. The Wirral Globe reports that local MP Margaret Greenwood has written to Greg Clark, minister for business, energy and industrial strategy, asking for a commitment not to renew the licence held by Cluff Natural Resources for underground coal gasification in the Dee Estuary when it expires in January 2018.

28 April 2017

“Fake news” row erupts over fracking policy at Cheshire West and Chester Council. The Chester Standard reports that the Tory opposition on the council called for more scrutiny of the supplementary planning document on oil and gas exploration – but withdrew the request at the last minute. Labour councillor, Matt Bryan, accused the Conservatives of “wasting thousands of taxpayers’ cash”. Conservative councillor, Andrew Dawson, said the request had been withdrawn on the advice of council lawyers because of election purdah rules and he accused Cllr Bryan of peddling “fake news”.

UK Govt’s failure to support carbon capture leaves’ major gap’ in emissions plans. Energy Voice reports that the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has said the government’s failure to support the UK’s first large-scale scheme to capture carbon emissions from power plants has left a “major gap” in plans to cut greenhouse gases. The committee warns:

“Halting CCS’s deployment means that the UK will have to pay billions of pounds more to meet its decarbonisation targets, has missed opportunities to be at the forefront of a growing global industry, and has damaged investors’ confidence in working with the government on CCS in the future. There is now a major gap in the government’s decarbonisation plans, and we urge the Department to set out as soon as possible how this gap will be filled.”

A blackness beneath the village green. Will Dunn, in an energy supplement for the New Statesman, reports on drilling for oil in the Weald and the growing campaign against drilling in the region. PDF on the UK Oil and Gas (Investments) plc website

Link to report

27 April 2017

Bramley Moor Marsh LaneINEOS gives notice of application for shale gas well at Marsh Lane in north Nottinghamshire. DrillOrDrop report

Australian anti-drilling activists bring their film The Bentley Effect and their campaign methods to communities in the UK. DrillOrDrop report

Prime Minister Theresa May discusses fracking in Clay Cross. The Derbyshire Times reports what Theresa May said on fracking during a visit to the county:

“People recognise that they need an energy supply they can rely on and obviously shale gas extraction can play an important part in that,” she added. “But when it comes to local communities and the impact that will have, it’s important first of all that we have very clear and rigorous rules about that extraction.

“But when it comes to local communities and the impact that will have, it’s important first of all that we have very clear and rigorous rules about that extraction.

“This is also about what support can be given to local communities. We think, overall, something like a billion pounds could be made available and local communities can use it to support their interests.”

Total Will Invest $500 Million to Produce Shale Gas in Argentina. Bloomberg reports Total SA will spend $500m over three-four years to develop a shale gas field in Argentina as the country’s government lures investors by pledging a minimum price. The field, Vaca Muerta, is one of the largest shale formations outside North America, Bloomberg says. The Argentine government has extended a programme to ensure a minimum price for the gas until 2021.

Fast-rising U.S. shale oil output puts OPEC cut at risk: Rystad. Reuters reports comments by oil and gas consultant, Jarand Rystad, that shale oil output in the US is rising much faster than expected and gaining market share globally, increasing the risk of a volume war with OPEC and weaker oil prices. Oil Voice

Letter: Protect beauty and resources. Katja Rothe, writing to the Mid-Sussex Times, urges readers to support the campaign by “Balcombe and other affected communities to resist oil exploration and subsequent industrialisation of the Weald.”

LETTER: Fears over plan for acidising. Helen Savage, also writing to the Mid-Sussex Times, describes what she says are the risks of acidising the Balcombe well in West Sussex and Cuadrilla’s plans for flow testing and flaring.

New study finds much higher methane release from oil and gas fracking. Radio Canada International reports on a study by the environmental group, the David Suzuki Foundation, and St Francis Xavier University, which shows about 50% of 1,600 wells studied in north east British Columbia, are either leaking or deliberately venting methane. The study found that methane emissions are two-and-a-half times greater than what the industry has been estimating and reporting. Link to study

26 April 2017

Cuadrilla publishes environmental data on Lancs fracking site: opponents say company can’t be trusted. DrillOrDrop report. Blackpool Gazette

 Nottinghamshire shale gas wells  to be drilled in second half of 2017 and shale sites sought in north west England – IGas accounts. DrillOrDrop report. Proactive Investors

North Yorkshire Police statement on Kirby Misperton anti-fracking statement. DrillOrDrop protest update

Campaigners warn of fracking threat to whisky industry. The  Belfast Telegraph reports on comments by Stewart Kirkpatrick, head of 38 Degrees in Scotland, says:

“The potential risks that fracking poses to our water and our whisky far outweigh any economic benefits it might bring, so why on earth would we swap a strong and secure whisky industry for the potential hazards of fracking?”

Anadarko shares fall after Colorado blast prompts well closings. Bloomberg reports Anadarko Petroleum Corp has shut more than 3,000 Colorado wells as part of an investigation into a house explosion. Shares fell 5.6% to $56.59 in New York trading. The closures are a precaution after the explosion, which killed two people on 17 April. The closed wells, which produce about 13,000 net barrels of oil a day, will remain idle until they can be inspected and the equipment tested. The explosion happened at a home 200ft from a vertical well, drilled by a previous company in 1993.

25 April 2017

Lancashire police “stretched to the limit” but no Government refuses extra money for anti-fracking protests. DrillOrDrop, BBC News, Blackpool Gazette, Lancashire Evening Post, PoliceProfessional.com (all 24/4/2017)

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KMA well site at Kirby Misperton, North Yorkshire, 25 April 2017. Photo: Eddie Thornton

Residents gather outside Third Energy’s Kirby Misperton site as work is carried out on pressure testing the well, blockading staff for seven hours. DrillOrDrop’s protest update. York Press, Gazette and HeraldNorthern Echo

Angus Energy delays bond issue. Angus Energy updates investors on the issue of first tranche of NEX Bonds. The release had been expected on or around 27 April 2017 (Angus statement) but has now been delayed until on or around 25 May 2017. No reason is given in the statement.

Fylde visit for Australian fracking film trio. The Blackpool Gazette reports that makers of the film The Bentley Effect, are screening and talking about their work at two venues in Lancashire next month.

Quakers show solidarity over fracking in Lancashire. Totnes Today reports that Quakers held a protest walk and worship on the Sharpham estate in Devon, in support of the anti-fracking campaign in Lancashire.

24 April 2017

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Preston New Road, 24 April 2017. Photo: Frack Free Lancashire

Unions and Bolton and Wigan Diggers join the protest at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site. Police say two people were arrested during the day. DrillOrDrop’s protest update

Angus Energy delays bond issue. Angus Energy updates investors that a new bond issue will now take place on or around 25 May 2017. It had been expected on or around 27 April 2017.

UCG threat to Fife lifts as underground gas explorer surrenders licences. The Courier reports that Cluff Natural Resources behind plans to burn underground coal under the Forth has surrendered nine licences to the Coal Authority. The move will be seen as a victory for environmental campaigners, who had opposed the plans.

West Virginia groundwater not affected by fracking but surface water is. Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University reports, that its new study found that accidental spills of fracking wastewater may threaten surface water in West Virginia but fracking had not contaminated groundwater. It quotes Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality, as saying:

“Based on consistent evidence from comprehensive testing, we found no indication of groundwater contamination over the three-year course of our study. However, we did find that spill water associated with fracked wells and their wastewater has an impact on the quality of streams in areas of intense shale gas development. The bottom-line assessment,” he said, “is that groundwater is so far not being impacted, but surface water is more readily contaminated because of the frequency of spills.”

The peer-reviewed study is published in the journal Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. Link to article

23 April 2017

What’s happening this week? 24-30 April 2017. DrillOrDrop’s weekly diary of events about fracking, onshore oil and gas and campaigns about them

22 April 2017

Resident fights on for right to challenge Minister over Roseacre fracking inquiry. DrillOrDrop report

21 April 2017

“Lancs homes to be heated by local shale gas by early 2018” – Cuadrilla exec. DrillOrDrop report of an interview by Matt Lambert, of Cuadrilla, at BusinessCloud’s Lancashire Powerhouse event in Lytham

Protest update: 17-23 April 2017.  DrillOrDrop’s compilation of images from protests about fracking and the onshore oil and gas industry across the UK this week

20 April 2017

Future of fracking should be revealed to voters, says Fife councillor. The Courier reports comments by Fife councillor, Tom Adams, who says he suspects the Forties Pipeline System could eventually be used by Ineos to support carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology which is considered essential before unconventional oil and gas extraction (UOG) can go ahead. Mr Adams said:

“Fracking is coming and the Scottish Government needs to be open and tell people what’s going on instead of hiding behind a moratorium until after the elections. They think they are going to get control of the local authorities involved in this, therefore planning applications for fracking will go through much easier.”

Sale of Green Investment Bank. The government announces the sale today of the UK Green Investment Bank to Macquarie Group Ltd. A statement said the sale, for £2.3bn, secured a profit on the government’s investment in the bank, “provides value for taxpayers” and ensures the bank continues its “green mission” in the private sector. A special share in the bank will be held by five independent trustees who will have the power to approve or reject any proposed changes to its green mission, the statement said.

Green MEP warns of post-Brexit “drilling and fracking explosion”. Keith Taylor, Green Party MEP for southern England, says Theresa May’s pursuit of an extreme Brexit could open the door to an oil and gas drilling and fracking explosion across the south east. He also the sale of the Green Investment Bank is another sign that the government is intent on undermining renewable energy in Britain.

New lawsuit filed in next chapter of Dimock, Pennsylvania, fracking water pollution saga. DeSmog reports that Dimock resident Ray Kemble has filed a nuisance and negligence lawsuit against Cabot Oil and Gas for alleged contamination of his groundwater and air. He lives near Carter Road, where neighbours have struggled for years with a similar suit against Cabot.

19 April 2017

Consultation on permit application for oil drilling at Broadford Bridge, West Sussex, reveals divisions over operator’s competence. DrillOrDrop report

Slow walk protest of lorries belonging to A E Yates, in Bolton, the site construction contractor for CuadrillaDrillOrDrop Protest update

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Photo: Ben Devoy

Attempted blockade of premises of Pete Marquis Contractors, Lea Town, Preston, a contractor for Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New RoadDrillOrDrop Protest update, Lancashire Business, Blackpool Gazette

Revealed: UK provides billions in credit to fossil fuel industry despite clean energy pledge. Energydesk and Private Eye report on their investigation which they say shows the UK government provided fossil fuel companies with £6.9bn in financial support since 2000. The support came from UK Export Finance, the government agency that underwrites loans and insurance for risky export deals as part of efforts to boost international trade. Most of the money – £4.8bn – has been pledged since 2010.

‘87% backing’ for Labour bid to ban fracking in Scotland. The Sunday Post reports that Labour’s move to ban fracking in Scotland has been backed by nearly 90% of the public in a consultation. A total of 1,067 people responded the consultation by Scottish Labour’s environment spokesperson, Claudia Beamish. 934 (87%) are in favour of a ban, while 12 (1%) were neutral, 114 (11%) were opposed and seven were unsure. Energy VoiceEvening Express, STV

Greenpeace fined over election spending. The Times reports Greenpeace has been fined £30,000 by the Electoral Commission for failing to register as a campaigning organisation in the 2015 general election. The fine, the first given to a body that is not a political party since tougher rules on election spending were introduced in the 2014 Lobbying Act, may deter similar groups from campaigning in the election announced yesterday. Greenpeace press release

Hazardous chemicals go unregulated in routine oil and gas operations. Phys Org reports on a study in Plos One which found that many chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing go undisclosed when they are used in numerous routine, unregulated oil- and gas-field activities such as the drilling, cleaning and maintenance of wells. Link to study

Fracking good entertainment. Reviews of Fracked! Or: Please Don’t Use the F-Word, the play by Alistair Beaton, currently playing at the Yvonne Arnaud theatre, Guildford, as part of a tour. Surrey and Hants News, The Guildford Dragon, The Reviews Hub

Frack Free Zone for North Yorkshire. Steve Mason, standing in the North Yorkshire County Council elections, says in his manifesto he will strive to make the county a frack free zone. He says: “fracking will lead to the industrialisation of the countryside and will have a huge effect on our rural economy and lifestyle. Even our National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are now threatened by the fracking industry.”

18 April 2017

Angus comes step closer to drilling new oil well at Lidsey, West Sussex. DrillOrDrop report details of plans

PNR violinist arrest 170418 Ben Devoy 2Arrest of a violinist at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site. DrillOrDrop Protest update

MEP launches guide to acidisation. Keith Taylor Green Party MEP for Southern England launches a pamphlet guide about drilling and acidisation in the Weald.

Keith Taylor 170418 Green PartyThe guide was launched during a visit to oil and gas sites in the region. Mr Taylor says “Oil and gas drilling, along with acidisation and fracking, is a dangerous form of climate change denial. It is an affront to local communities and flies in the face of the scientific consensus. Yet the Government is intent on fast-tracking fracking and other forms of fossil fuel extraction across the UK.”

16 April 2017

What’s happening this week? 17-23 April 2017. DrillOrDrop weekly events listing for fracking, onshore oil and gas and the campaigns around it.

All About Oil meeting in Brockham. About 80 people attended an event in Brockham Village Hall, near Dorking, Surrey, organised by Brockham Oil Watch. The event was a response to concerns about drilling by Angus Energy at the nearby Brockham oil field.

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All About Oil event, Brockham, 16 April 2017. Photo: Dan Harvey

15 April 2017

Breaking: Judge blocks resident’s legal challenge over second Cuadrilla Lancashire fracking site. DrillOrDrop report on refusal of permission for challenge against reopening inquiry into Roseacre Wood shale gas plans. BBC News (19/4/2017), Blackpool Gazette (20/4/2017)

Residents’ surprise at blocked legal challenge over Roseacre Wood fracking site. DrillOrDrop report on reaction to refusal of permission

13 April 2017

Cuadrilla announces viewing area for Lancs fracking site at Preston New Road – opponents say it’s a PR stunt. DrillOrDrop report

Protester complains of police ‘assault’. Big Issue North reports how a former naval officer described being reduced to tears in pain following what he described as ‘assault’ by a police officer during a demonstration at the Preston New Road fracking site. The report also says there have been a total of 86 arrests involving 53 individuals and 77 charges.

New fears for Wirral coast as anti-fracking campaigners lose High Court challenge. Wirral Globe reports comments by West Wirral MP, Margaret Greenwood, following the dismissal of a challenge to approval of planning permission for Preston New Road. She tells the paper:

“People across Wirral obviously will have concerns about the implications of this decision for the area. I have grave concerns that the Government will push ahead with fracking regardless of the environmental considerations and in the face of opposition from people who live nearby and from further afield. “This decision will potentially have implications for underground coal gasification too.

“I will continue to monitor and oppose any moves to push ahead with Underground Coal Gasification in the Dee or along the Wirral coastline.”

Fracking is topic for meeting in Kilsyth. Cumbernauld News reports on a public meeting in Kilsyth on Monday 24 April to discuss the possibility of fracking in the town.

12 April 2017

Breaking: Anti-fracking campaigners lose legal challenge over Cuadrilla’s Lancs shale gas site. DrillOrDrop report

Dismissal of legal challenge against Lancashire fracking site – more details and reaction. DrillOrDrop report

What the judge said about Lancashire campaigners’ fracking challenges: the detailed arguments and responses. DrillOrDrop report

Other reports on this news: Fracking activists in Lancashire lose high court bid to stop drilling – The Guardian; Anti-fracking campaigners lose High Court challenge against drilling in Lancashire – The Independent; Cuadrilla’s Lancashire fracking plans cleared by High Court – Telegraph; Lancashire anti-fracking campaigners lose High Court battle – ITV News; Fracking will go ahead in Lancashire – despite protests and court battle – The Metro; Fracking in Lancashire given the go ahead as Preston New Road protesters lose legal challenge – City A.M.; Energy firm: fracking decision ‘great news’ for business – ITV News; Anti-fracking campaigners lose legal challenge – 2BR Lancashire; Judge backs Javid over Lancashire fracking planning permission – London South East; Reaction: Lancashire anti-fracking campaigners lose High Court action – Leyland Guardian; Legal challenge fails – join the fracking resistance across the UK – Frack Off. (Thanks to the APPG for Unconventional Gas and Oil for some of these links)

Blackpool man arrested as fracking site lorry protest brought to an end. The Blackpool Gazette reports that a 42-year-old man who climbed on top of a lorry delivering stone to Cuadrilla’s fracking site in Little Plumpton yesterday afternoon, has been arrested after climbing off the vehicle. Picture: DrillOrDrop’s protest update

Fracking decision may prove tipping point, law firm says. Energy Voice quotes Richard Power, of Clyde & Co on the High Court decision dismissing a challenge to ministerial approval of Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road planning application. He says:

“It’s an important ruling for the UK energy market and may prove the tipping point for fracking in the UK.

“With the phasing out of coal and nuclear reactors, the country could face an energy shortage in coming years. Given the very slow lead-in times for new nuclear, and the fact that that renewables currently produce electricity intermittently, fracking could prove a viable solution.

“Shale gas provides a relatively low carbon-producing energy source and so it may be a good interim source for power generation pending the development and deployment of more efficient renewable sources of energy. However, the Government should not put all its eggs in one basket. Fracking cannot be the only solution to the UK’s energy problems, so it’s vital that the government continues to support the renewables industry as well.”

Report highlights harmful impact of fracking on environment and health. The Irish broadcaster, RTE reports on a parliamentary committee report that concluded that fracking could not proceed in Ireland without having a harmful impact on the environment and human health.

11 April 2017

New study finds community suffered “collective trauma” over Lancs fracking decisions – plus round-up of other research. DrillOrDrop report

INEOS faces months of delays over access to council-owned land to carry out surveys for shale gas. DrillOrDrop update on INEOS activity in Notts and N Derbyshire.

Egdon Resources begins appeal against refusal of plans for 15 years of oil production at Wressle site near Scunthorpe. DrillOrDrop report, Egdon announcementProactive Investors

Anti-fracking campaigner climbs onto lorry outside Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site. Picture: DrillOrDrop’s protest update

Anti-fracking lock-on protest at Maxx Piling Stockholders, Horwich, BoltonDrillOrDrop’s protest update

Anti-fracking campaigners blockade Eddie Stobart depot in NorthamptonshireDrillOrDrop’s protest update, ITV

Bridgwater councillor Brian Smedley calls for town to be ‘frack-free zone’. The Bridgwater Mercury reports the town council wil be discussing whether Bridgwater should be a ‘frack-free zone’. A motion by Cllr Brian Smedley and Cllr Kathy Pearce recommends that unless it can be proved that fracking does not risk damaging the environment and economy, the town should resolve to be frack-free.

10 April 2017

Reclaim the Power targets Bell Pottinger PR firm on final day of Break the Chain protest against the fracking supply chain. DrillOrDrop report on Protest Update

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IPCC investigation into GMP officer was ‘potentially criminal’. BBC News reports that Greater Manchester Police Federation is alleging that the Independent Police Complaints Commission inquiry into the conduct of an officers during the Barton Moss fracking protests was “potentially criminal”. The IPCC held a gross misconduct hearing into Inspector David Kehoe’s arrest for drink driving of anti-fracking campaigner Steven Peers. The hearing found there was no case to answer. The GMP Federation has commissioned an independent barrister to review the IPPC inquiry.

Irish parliamentary watchdog backs fracking ban: ‘Risks outweigh the benefits’. The Belfast Telegraph reports the Irish parliamentary watchdog has backed a ban on fracking, with a warning that it would be irresponsible to allow the technique. In its report to be published on Wednesday and seen by the Press Association, the Joint Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment said that uncertainty over how much greenhouse gas is produced by the industry is reason enough to ban it. And it warned that a “vigorous regulatory regime” may not be enough to prevent pollution.

Unconventional Gas Extraction consultation. Upton Parish Council, near Chester, is running a consultation on its draft policy on fracking and unconventional gas extraction. The draft policy commits the council to objecting to planning applications in the parish or immediately adjoining areas, for reasons which include local opposition and the unsuitable or inappropriate locations.

9 April 2017

Fracked! Alistair Beaton on his anti-fracking satire. Playwright Alistair Beaton, writing for TheArtsDesk.com: “If you’d asked me five years ago whether I might one day write a comedy about fracking, I’d have wondered whether you were entirely in possession of your faculties. Not because fracking sounds dull and boring (although let’s be honest, it does), but because the business of fracking had never really caught my attention.” He says this changed when he saw photos of shale gas landscapes in the UK and saw news reports about protests at Balcombe in West Sussex. His play is currently on tour. See DrillOrDrop’s April Diary

7 April 2017

UKOG stands by its oil plans for the South Downs, despite EA objection. DrillOrDrop report

Guest post by Corporate Watch: People behind Cuadrilla win state approval to keep identities secret. DrillOrDrop report, BBC North West Tonight (10/4/2017)

Reclaim the Power blockade at PR Marriott, drilling supply company in Chesterfield. DrillOrDrop report in Protest Update, Derbyshire TimesBBC News and Blackpool Gazette

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London Stock Exchange asked to investigate oil company over Surrey well. Spinwatch reports a Surrey resident has asked the financial authorities to investigate whether Angus Energy potentially misled their investors over its controversial Brockham oil well near Dorking.

Planning permission for fracking in Eckington could be granted in just 4 months. Peak FM reports INEOS Shale hopes Derbyshire County Council will stick to the 16 week statutory consultation period when they submit their application in the coming weeks despite opposition from local residents. A decision could be made on whether planning permission is granted for fracking to happen on a site in Eckington in the next 4 months, the station says.

Ecologist Special Report: A multinational fracking boom begins in Colombia. The Ecologist reports on information from Colombia’s National Hydrocarbons Agency shows that at least 43 new fracking concessions have been handed out to multinational companies including Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips and Drummond. These concessions affect over three hundred municipalities, in the departments of Cesar, Santander, Boyacá, Cundinamarca and Tolima.

David Lenigas, executive chairman of Doriemus, presentation on Horse Hill, Brockham and Lidsey oil fields in the Weald, in southern England. Youtube video

6 April 2017

Environment Agency objects for second time to UKOG oil drilling plans in the South Downs, saying they could “pose an unacceptable risk to groundwater”. DrillOrDrop report. Chichester Observer (18/4/2017)

Consultation opens on permit applications for Europa’s Leith Hill drilling site. DrillOrDrop report. Get Surrey (7 April 2017)

Kerogen Capital ends up with near 28% shareholding in IGas Energy following completion of its recent refinancing. Proactive Investors reports that Unconventional Energy Limited, a vehicle of the oil & gas industry investment specialist, Kerogen Capital, has declared it now holds 679,282,165 shares in IGas, a 27.999% stake. IGas shares rose on the news, the website says. The share holding is part of a refinancing involving a $35m injection of fresh funds from Kerogen and a debt-for-equity swap with its lenders.

Lack of road signage does not bode well. Peter Roberts, writing to the Blackpool Gazette, says advisory speed limit signs on Preston New Road near Cuadrilla’s fracking site are causing confusion and anger among drivers. He says traffic was driving at between 20mph and well over the enforceable limit of 50mph.

What happens if frack firms go bust? Also in the Blackpool Gazette, T Froud asks why the government is only just discussing bonds for abandonment of shale gas sites, even though a site is under construction at Preston New Road.

“One has to wonder why the government have chosen to be so lax about this new industry, one that they have imposed on Lancashire residents against the will of the County Council.”

5 April 2017

Preston New Road shale gas site closed to vehicles. Opponents of Cuadrilla’s operations near Blackpool report the site entrance at Little Plumpton has been blocked by protesters. DrillOrDrop report in Protest UpdateBlackpool Gazette

Wrestling clowns stage ‘Fossil Fuel Smackdown’ protest at Barclays. Reclaim the Power reports that activist clowns from Reclaim the Power staged a wrestling match outside Barclays Bank in Piccadilly Circus in protest at investments in Third Energy. DrillOrDrop report in Protest Update

Fracking activist charged after dramatic 11-hour police stand-off. The Bristol Post reports that Edward Crawley, 29, of St Judes in Bristol, has been charged with aggravated trespass after protesters blockade a quarry at Carnforth owned by a company which supplies Cuadrilla’s shale gas site. He will appear before Blackpool Magistrates on 12 June. DrillOrDrop report on the action in Protest Update

Lancashire County Council elections: How will national issues affect the vote? BBC Radio Lancashire asks whether fracking in Lancashire will give the Green Party extra seats in the council elections.

Potentially explosive methane gas mobile in groundwater, poses safety risk: study. PhysOrg reports on a study by University of Guelph which concluded potentially explosive methane gas leaking from energy wells may travel extensively through groundwater and pose a safety risk. Researchers found methane travelled in groundwater far beyond the shale wells where it is drilled, changing the water chemistry and potentially escaping as a powerful greenhouse gas.

Fracking letters. The Blackpool Gazette carries a letter from Alan Rydeheard, says an anti-fracking lock-on protest “caused extensive disruption to the free flowing traffic with only one of the four lanes of Preston New Road being open.” He says:

“Let them [protesters] then face the magistrates to receive the harshest of penalties who so often dish out fines when we know there is not a cat in hell’s chance of such fines being paid, particularly when they are booked in as “of no fixed abode”.

Peter Roberts  writes:

“Local protesters like myself have a duty of care to our children’s immediate health and happy future on the lovely Fylde where we have chosen to live. Guest Protectors are representing the rest of our ‘green and pleasant land’ whose future is in immediate danger from water, air and ground pollution if industrial scale Fracking commences, starting here on the Fylde!”

YP Letters: Fracking might well allow drivers to step on gas. Mike Potter, writing  to The Yorkshire Post asks would it be ironic if the Government found cash to upgrade the A64 trunk road “just as Third Energy started fracking at Kirby Misperton and just when the definition of fracking is 
about to be changed, in order to allow it to happen in our National Parks and other protected areas?”

Who will be responsible? Ken Jenkinson, writing to The Star, says:

“My family moved to North East Derbyshire from a city to grow in a less polluted environment. Unfortunately, an application from a company called Ineos is being submitted to Derbyshire County Council to explore and possibly frack a quarter of a mile from our home. The works will be carried out in a small field, surrounded by livestock and wildlife, and very close to a nursery and a primary school.”

He asks:

“Who will be responsible for reimbursing homeowners for a drop in market prices of properties due to these works? Who will be responsible for repairs and rebuilding properties due to the works, bearing in mind that there are hundreds of old mine works in this area and fracking requires drilling beneath these workings, which may cause subsidence and sink holes?”

Anti-growth Welsh leaders are denying their voters prosperity by opposing shale. Peter Ormerod, an economist at Volterra Partners, tells City Am fracking is a “real chance to boost the region economically, but the politicians put their own right-on images above the interests of the people of Wales.”

4 April 2017

New data on arrests and policing costs at Cuadrilla’s fracking site at Preston New Road, Lancashire. DrillOrDrop report, Blackpool GazetteBig Issue North (Local force pays to police fracking), BBC (Fracking to cost Lancashire police ‘£450,000 a month’), Lancashire Evening Post (Policing fracking adds up to £450,000 but who’s paying?)

“High impact development and exploration projects” planned for 2017 – Europa. DrillOrDrop report on Europa Oil and Gas half year results. London South East Alliance News

Extensions announced for Horse Hill PEDL licences in Surrey. DrillOrDrop report on five-year extensions to PEDL137 and PEDL246 announced today. Proactive Investors, iii.co.ukDaily Telegraph

St brides PR Reclaim the Power 170404“Bridal lock-on protest” at St Brides PR. Three women from Reclaim the Power, dressed in bridal dresses, lock themselves to the door of St Brides PR company in London (pictured below). DrillOrDrop report in Protest Update. PR WeekScunthorpe Telegraph (5 April 2017)

Egdon PEDL209 acquisition and opt-in agreement. Egdon Resources plc announces it has swapped its 12% interest in conventional resources in PEDL209 in the East Midlands for Stelinmatvic Industries’s 12% interest  in the area’s unconventional resources.  Egdon says it also issued 580,646 ordinary shares, worth £54,000 to Stelinmatvic. At the same time, Egdon entered an opt-in agreement with Total E&P UK Ltd. This gives Total an option to farm-in to unconventional exploration in PEDL209 and earn a 36% interest in the licence by paying Egdon’s remaining 36% cost of an exploration programme. Proactive Investors, Reuters 

Europa Oil & Gas had busy fiscal first-half and remainder of 2017 looks to be as exciting, with further farm-out deals expected. Proactive Investors reports on Europa’s half year accounts. More detail soon on DrillOrDrop

IGas fundraising complete. IGas announces that it has issued all the ordinary shares under the terms of its fundraising.

This is why ‘blue people’ were protesting outside Broadmead Barclays on Saturday. The Bristol Post reports around 20 protesters, dressed as water, staged a “freeze flashmob” at Barclays in the centre of Bristol to highlight the bank’s fracking connections.

3 April 2017

Preston New Road 170403 Cheryl Atkinson

Photo: Cheryl Atkinson

Tanker-top protest at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site. DrillOrDrop report in Protest Update

IGas resolutions passed. IGas announced resolutions put to meetings of the company’s secured and unsecured bondholders and to the general meeting of shareholders on the company’s fundraising were passed. A statement from the company said the overall net debt is reduced from about $122m at 31 December 2016 (about £100m) to $7m (£6m). The restructuring is expected to become effective at 8am tomorrow (4 April 2017).

Fracking firm Ineos leads industry lobbying to avoid green tax. The Guardian reports Anglo-Swiss chemicals firm Ineos is privately leading an industry lobbying attempt to avoid paying for the cost of decarbonising Britain’s economy. Documents released under freedom of information rules reveal that Ineos is pushing the government to use Brexit as a chance to exempt the chemicals sector entirely from climate policy costs.

INEOS to acquire the North Sea Forties pipeline system and Kinneil Terminal from BP. INEOS reports it has agreed to acquire the Forties Pipeline System (FPS) and associated pipelines and facilities from BP.  The 235 mile Forties pipeline system links 85 North Sea oil and gas assets to the UK mainland and the INEOS site in Grangemouth in Scotland. Under the terms of the agreement INEOS will pay BP a consideration of up to $250 million for the business, comprising a cash payment of $125 million on completion and an earn-out arrangement over seven years that could total $125 million. Proacttive InvestorsYorkshire Post

Frackers ‘might only be able to access a quarter’ of Britain’s largest shale gas reserve. The I reports on a study by the Refine consortium which found three-quarters of the shale gas in one of Britain’s biggest underground reserves might be unrecoverable due to limited space to develop fracking wells. The study says the location of buildings, roads and rivers could constrain fracking firms’ ability to access the Bowland Shale – the rock thought to hold the biggest reserves of shale gas. Utility Week and ITV

Kick off for £400,000 education centre at Fylde coast football club. The Blackpool Gazette reports that Cuadrilla Resources has given £22,500 towards the cost of a £400,000 education centre for education and work skills at AFC Fylde. The foundations of the building, at the Mill Farm Sports Village, were laid by Tom Hutton, director of community development at the club, and Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla.

Video debate: Should we allow fracking in Derbyshire. The Derbyshire Times brings together Tom Pickering of INEOS and campaigner Cassie Steel to debate fracking in the county.

Where is the science about climate change? Stuart Chapman, of Tralee, Ireland, writes to the Bolton News, there “is a lot of misinformation out there in regards to climate change and its causes, none of it based on science. Most of this propaganda is promulgated by those with vested interests. Government organisations scientific organisations such as the Climate Research Unit, University of East Anglia (remember Climate Gate) who rely on politicians and governments for their funding and ultimate survival and are thus not independent and are open to coercion.”

2 April 2017

What’s happening this week? DrillOrDrop’s round-up of events about fracking, shale gas and the wider onshore oil and gas industry in the UK.

1 April 2017

Billingshurst 170401 2 Jon O'Houston

Photo: Jon O’Houston

More than 50 local people joined campaigners from across the Weald to protest against plans to explore for oil at Broadford Bridge, near Billingshurst, West Sussex. DrillOrDrop report and picturesFrack Off

Reclaim the Power activists stripped off in a “naked truth” protest at the UK Investor Show in London at Union Jack Oil’s stand. DrillOrDrop report and picture

Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden meets residents opposing fracking on the Fylde at Preston New Road. He tells the Blackpool Gazette:

“I wanted to go down to the site on Preston New Road to see for myself what was happening – there were lots of drivers beeping their support in opposition to what Cuadrilla are doing.

“It is completely wrong of the Government to ignore local democracy and the wishes of people in Lancashire by allowing Cuadrilla to frack despite the strong opposition to it.”

See also DrillOrDrop Protest Update

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