March 2017 drilling headlines


Protest at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site, 1 March 2017. Photo: Ros Wills

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

Top headlines in March 2017

  1. Community takes Minister to court over fracking approval at Preston New Road
  2. Continuing blockades at Cuadrilla’s shale gas site and suppliers
  3. Nottinghamshire councillors approve IGas Tinker Lane well by one vote
  4. Minister rules on fencing at Leith Hill drill site
  5. Surrey County Council “disappointed” over Angus breach of planning consent – company says it did nothing wrong
  6. Work gets underway at Broadford Bridge, West Sussex
  7. N Yorkshire resists pressure to adopt government definition of fracking
  8. Walkers complete 120 mile walk between fracking sites in Yorkshire and Lancashire
  9. Cheshire adopts new oil and gas policy document
  10. 5th delay to IGas legal agreement for Springs Road, Misson

Plus more headlines and links from March 2017

Click here for more 2017 drilling headlines

31 March 2017

Fifth delay to IGas shale site at Springs Road, Misson, in north Notts as target date for legal agreement is extended until the end of May 2017. DrillOrDrop report

A E Yates 170331 2 River Rain

Photo: River Rain

Lock-on protest outside A E Yates depot in Bolton in protest at the contract the company has with Cuadrilla at Preston New Road (pictured left). DrillOrDrop report and pictures, Bolton NewsBolton Rise, This is Lancashire

Fracking Fortnight in Parliament. DrillOrDrop’s review of what politicians said in the UK’s parliament. This post includes a statement on unconventional gas and oil to the Scottish Parliament and a UK MP puts it to the business minister that “local people know best”.

Drilling Diary – April 2017. DrillOrDrop’s listing of 60+ events about fracking, onshore oil and gas and the reactions to it.

Judge cancels jury award to Dimock families; orders new trial. StateImpact reports a federal judge on Friday (31 March 2017) struck down a jury’s award of more than $4m to two Pennsylvania families who claimed their well water had been contaminated by gas drilling. The judge said the award bore little or no relationship to the evidence presented in the 2016 trial. The Hill (31/3/2017), The Times Tribune (1/4/2017)

Nicola Sturgeon under fire after ‘sneaking out bad news’ in final hours before Easter break. The Daily Record reports the Scottish Government has been criticised for “rushing out” a string of announcements, including a statement on racking, in a few hours in the last day of term.

Fracking in the UK: opposed nationwide, overruled in Westminster. The New Economics Foundation reports fracking is gearing up to go live this summer, despite local and national opposition. The feature asks what people beyond Westminster want.

YP Letters: Fracking cash a case of too good to be true. Steven White and Christopher Pickles, writing in letters to the Yorkshire Post, challenge Lorraine Allanson on her view that wealth and prosperity will inevitably follow fracking. Mr White says fracking is like most scams, “if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is”. Mr Pickles says opponents of shale gas have not prevented the discussion of shale gas benefits, as Ms Allanson wrote. “The industry itself has been very unconvincing in its presentation of any such benefits”, he says.

30 March 2017

Broadford Bridge oil site: work underway, permit consultation and opposition mobilising. DrillOrDrop report on the West Sussex site where drilling is planned from April 2017.

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Broadford Bridge, 27 March 2017. Photo: Charlie Flint

Blockades at two Warrington premises of the haulier, Eddie Stobart, in protest at deliveries made by the firm to Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road fracking sie. Two men were arrested.  DrillOrDrop report and pictures, Warrington GuardianWire FM, Before It’s News, This is Cheshire, Warrington Worldwide

Trump tells US Interior to reconsider fracking rules. The Hydraulic Fracking blog reports President Trump has signed an executive order with broad implications for the oil and gas industry. Among its provisions, the order requires the US Department of the Interior to reanalyze its fracking regulations.

Greens call on public to push government towards fracking ban. Greens Scotland reports comments by Mark Ruskell, Green MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife. Responding to the ministerial statement on unconventional oil and gas, he says public participation in a fracking consultation could be the key to finally seeing the Scottish Government ban fracking. He says the government’s moratorium is “legally shaky” and must become a ban as soon as possible.

29 March 2017

“Council gave us no formal notice of planning breach at Brockham well” – Angus Energy. DrillOrDrop report

“Lancashire comes first” – Cuadrilla says no work planned at Balcombe oil well in West Sussex before May 2017. DrillOrDrop report

Guest Post by Mat Hope: “Secretive industry conference” seeks to persuade people fracking is a good idea. Report, re-posted on DrillOrDrop about fossil fuel extraction in the UK

Reclaim the Power activists occupy the headquarters in Windsor of Centrica to “celebrate” the £1.4m bonus of chief executive, Ian Connor (pictured below)DrillOrDrop report and picture

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Photo: Reclaim the Power

28 March 2017

Angus Energy site at Brockham, Surrey, breached permit condition, Environment Agency document reveals. DrillOrDrop report

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Photo: Eddie Thornton

8-person lock-on at Preston New Road site (pictured left). Photos and details DrillOrDrop’s protest update. Blackpool Gazette, 2BR

Something in the Water: Satirical adverts appear in bus stops around Leeds to protest fracking. Reclaim the Power announces advertising campaign over waste treatment at Knostrop in Leeds. DrillOrDrop update

27 March 2017

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Protest update: 20 March-2 April 2017. DrillOrDrop review of protest activity against #fracking in the UK, including blockade of Lancashire quarry supplying aggregates to the fracking industry. Lancashire Evening Post, The VisitorBlackpool Gazette (Bez visit)

What’s  happening this week? 27 March-2 April 2017. DrillOrDrop listing of events on fracking and onshore oil and gas, including Reclaim the Power’s Break the Link protest, industry conference in Birmingham and Angus Energy agm. 2BR

Schlumberger aims to topple king of fracking, Halliburton Co. Energy Voice reports Schlumberger is forming a joint venture with Weartherford International to take on Halliburton. The new business will be known as OneStim, the companies said.

Sligo to retain ban on fracking in county development plan. The Irish Times reports Sligo county councillors have unanimously voted – for a second time – to have a ban on fracking included in the county’s new development plan.

26 March 2017

Proposed oil drilling at Leith Hill. Film by Jon O’Houston

25 March 2017

Cuadrilla’s relationship to Elswick Parish Council. A Freedom of Information request reveals that Elswick Parish Council in Lancashire received £500 in June 2011 from Cuadrilla for Britain in Bloom activities.

Second fracking public exhibition to be held in Derbyshire village. The Derbyshire Times reports that INEOS has posted cards through letterboxes in Marsh Lane tell people about an exhibition on Thursday 6 April, 2pm-7.30pm, at Marsh Lane Community Centre. Peak FM

LETTERS: Respecting our right to protest rather misses the point. Heather Stroud, writing to the Gazette and Herald, responds to comments by John Dewar, of Third Energy. She says:

“People who oppose fracking in Yorkshire and other threatened areas in the UK are not looking to protest for the sake of protest.

“To suggest protest is the goal rather misses the point. But then that’s the aim, isn’t it? To move the debate away from fracking onto “protest”.

“Protest is simply a vehicle toward protecting the future for our children and our children’s children.”

24 March 2017

Cuadrilla reveals details of flow testing at Balcombe well in application to vary permit. DrillOrDrop report

Balcombe,West Sussex, UK Anti Fracking protests..16th September

Tanker leaving Cuadrilla’s Balcombe site in 2013. Photo: David Burr

Result of IGas voluntary equity exchange of secured bonds. IGas reports it has elected to conditionally accept offers to buy-back Secured Bonds with an aggregate face value of US$28,918,390 million. This is conditional upon completion of capital restricting before 28 April 2017. Secured Bonds with a face value of US$11,081,609 million will be converted into new ordinary shares of the Company under the Conditional Secured Debt for Equity Swap (as defined in the Summons) if the Restructuring is completed.

Halve global carbon dioxide emission every decade or face penalties, suggests study. Energy Voice reports scientists are proposing a legislative and economic framework to halve the world’s carbon dioxide emissions every decade from 2020 and combat climate change, by issuing hefty penalties on carbon emitters. The proposal, published in the journal Science, outlines a “carbon law” policy, seeking to accelerate a global shift already under way toward clean energies such as solar and wind power.

23 March 2017

Third Energy investigates release from Kirby Misperton gas site after residents complain about “sickening” smell. DrillOrDrop report

Kirby Misperton

Speed limit cut outside Cuadrilla’s shale site welcomed by anti-fracking groups. DrillOrDrop report. Blackpool Gazette

YP Letters: Why shale gas could transform rural life for the better. Fracking supporter,Lorraine Allanson, writing to The Yorkshire Post, says:

“Shale gas will bring many benefits, the community payments could be used for a variety of services to help residents. Around £100,000 will be paid to the village for this test well, the village, at present is pretty broke. The village will then receive one per cent of the gross revenue from the well site for all shale gas production. That can amount to many millions of pounds over the well’s lifetime, plus the direct payments eventually too.”

22 March 2017

More delay for oil site near Leith Hill as minister rules on security fencing. DrillOrDrop report on the latest planning battles at Europa’s Bury Hill Wood site in Surrey

Guest post on DrillOrDrop by Chris Hesketh: Bonds for shale gas sites are an important part of the campaign. 

21 March 2017

Second shale gas site in Nottingham approved with the slimmest of margins. DrillOrDrop report on planning decision on IGas Tinker Lane site. Proactive Investors, Nottingham Post, Notts TV

Tinker Lane impression Bassetlaw Against Fracking

Tinker Lane, north Nottinghamshire. Photo montage: Bassetlaw Against Fracking

Live updates from decision meeting for IGas shale gas plans at Tinker Lane, Nottinghamshire. DrillOrDrop live report

Met police accused of using hackers to access protesters’ emails. The Guardian reports that a police watchdog is investigating allegations that a secretive Scotland Yard unit used hackers to illegally access the private emails of hundreds of political campaigners and journalists. The allegations were made by an anonymous individual who says the unit worked with Indian police, who in turn used hackers to illegally obtain the passwords of the email accounts of the campaigners, and some reporters and press photographers.

Fracking a manifesto issue for Isle of Wight Lib Dems. The Isle of Wight County Press reports that Isle of Wight Lib Dems took their concerns about fracking to the party’s national conference. Fighting fracking will be one of the party’s manifesto pledges at the May county council elections, the paper says.

Big Oil’s plan to buy into the shale boom. Bloomberg reports Exxon, Shell and Chevron plan to spend $10bn in the US shale patch this year.

New projects, shale boom could trigger oil oversupply by 2018-19: Goldman. Reuters reports new production projects and a fresh shale boom could boost oil output by a million barrels per year and result in an oversupply in the next couple of years, according to Goldman Sachs.

Scotland – reduce reliance on wind, develop fracking and clathrates research. Oil Voice reports Scotland should be very wary about further investment in wind power, it should develop fracking for gas, invest in energy storage, and do research into arctic methane clathrates, says Professor Brian Smart, former head of petroleum engineering at Heriot-Watt University. The former head of petroleum engineering and vice principal at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, believes that Scotland may be pushing too hard with its efforts to switch to 100 per cent renewable electrical energy by 2020, because the country could become too dependent on now-proven intermittent wind-powered electricity generation.

20 March 2017

Lack of detail on restoration bond held up decision at IGas shale gas site – documents reveal. DrillOrDrop report on delays to bond agreement for Springs Road, Misson in Nottinghamshire

Are restoration bonds for shale gas sites worth the paper they’re written on? Guest Post by Russell Scott for DrillOrDrop

Angus Energy stands by its statements on planning consent for Brockham oil site. DrillOrDrop report. Oil firm drills in Surrey ‘without permission’. The Times picks up the story of Angus Energy’s operation at Brockham. Independent   Angus Energy puts its case in Press Reports FAQ

Brockham 3 Phil MacDonald

Brockham oil site, 11 March 2017. Photo: Phil Macdonald

Charges dropped against five Brockham oil protesters. DrillOrDrop report

Police and judges should get touch on anti-fracking protests that target shale suppliers, union says. DrillOrDrop report. The Times (21/3/2017), Blackpool Gazette (21/3/2017);  BBC News (Fracking: Businesses call for ‘firm line’ over Preston New Road protests – 21/3/2017); Bolton News (Bolton Against Fracking protesters putting jobs at risk, warns civil engineering firm A E Yates Ltd – 2/3/2017)

US supply concerns keep oil prices under pressure. Reuters reports oil prices slipped despite news that OPEC was supporting the extension of a six month deal to cut output. Energy Voice

YP Letters: We’re grateful for support in our fight against fracking. Michael Farman, writing in The Yorkshire Post, responding to an article in the paper by Matt Ridley, says: Viscount Ridley (The Yorkshire Post, March 11) deserves our sympathy. His defence of the fracking industry, and his attack on those who oppose it, is such a curious mixture of non sequiturs and Trump-style alternative truths that it would be hilarious if it were not so confusing for those who are still looking for real answers.” Mr Farman adds: “We fund out own opposition, fighting fracking with the knowledge we have gained from peer-reviewed scientific studies that prove leakage of fracking fluids and noxious gases occurs frequently.”

Fracking and coal seam gas is no solution to an energy crisis of our own making. Greg Jericho, writing in The Guardian, responds to a statement by the Australian Energy Operator about a potential gas shortage. Mr Jericho says: The current gas crisis is a prime example of how energy policy has been mishandled in this country. But it should not be an excuse for continuing the bad policy. Using talk of a gas shortage to increase fracking and coal seam gas exploration would be a bad solution to a problem of our own making.

19 March 2017

What’s happening this week? 20-26 March 2017. DrillOrDrop events listing for the next week.

Protest weekly update. DrillOrDrop photo post of UK protests about fracking and onshore oil and gas from the previous seven days.

Residents frustrated by fracking protesters. 2BR radio news reports on a campaign by Backing Fracking to call on the Police and Crime Commissioner to get with anti-fracking protesters at the Preston New Road shale gas site near Blackpool.

Frack Free United advises election candidates. Frack Free United, a new network, reports it was given access to the Lib Dem spring conference in York about fracking

lds against fracking

18 March 2017

Brockham oil update. Roger Abbott, writing on Dorking Rural LibDems focus team explains his concerns about Angus Energy’s operations at Brockham in Surrey.

17 March 2017

Fracking Week in Parliament. DrillOrDrop’s compilation of what politicians said about fracking and restoration bonds and climate change.

BP in talks with Ineos for sale of Forties pipeline. Energy Voice reports BP is in talks with Ineos AG to sell the Forties pipeline, one of the most important pieces of oil infrastructure in the UK North Sea. The two companies confirmed the discussions, but declined to comment on the potential value of the deal or provide. Daily Record (Fury at billionaire Jim Ratcliffe ‘bringing North Sea oil and gas pipelines under his control’)

Would you let fracking firm test in your garden for cash? The Derbyshire Times reports that residents across the county are being offered £200-£300 to allow INEOS to carry out seismic surveys in their gardens.

IGas Energy confirms it will cut out US$112mln of debt though its financial restructuring. Proactive Investors reports IGas is bringing in up to US$60m of new capital and exchanging around US$112m of debt in new shares under the final terms of a restructuring plan. Energy Voice, IGas statement

YP Letters: No hidden agenda in battle to stop fracking. Sue Cuthbert, writing to The Yorkshire Post, responds to an article in the paper by fracking supporter, Matt Ridley (11/3/2017). She says:

“There is no hidden agenda from the opponents of fracking. There are now thousands, and rising, of ordinary people who are very well informed about this toxic, dirty and ugly industry. We are not “a tiny group of middle-class Southerners” – I am a Yorkshirewoman who once lived in the highly polluted area now known as Teesside.”

Mr Frackhead to be chased out of Ireland in Leitrim parade. The Leitrim Observer reports farmers and fishermen will summon the warrior Queen Medh to banish fracking, represented by a model of Mr Frackhead, from Ireland in the St Patrick’s Day parades in Manorhamilton.

16 March 2017

Manchester civil justice centre 2

Government lawyers defend decision by Communities’ Secretary to grant planning permission for Cuadrilla fracking site. DrillOrDrop report on Day 2 of statutory challenges to Preston New Road consent. Blackpool Gazette (Rivals must wait for fracking legal ruling 18/3/2017) , Wigan Today (17/3/2017)

Surrey County Council twice told Angus Energy it didn’t have planning consent for side-track oil well, documents reveal. DrillOrDrop report

15 March 2017

Cuadrilla’s Lancashire shale gas exploration plans were production in disguise, High Court told. DrillOrDrop report on the morning session of Day 1 of statutory challenges to Communities Secretary granting of planning permission for Preston New Road.

Shale gas regulation is not “up to scratch” – High Court challenge to Lancs fracking consent. DrillOrDrop report on afternoon session of Day 1

Cheshire councillors adopt new oil and gas policy document. DrillOrDrop report on decision by Cheshire and Chester Council to agree supplementary policy document. Chester Chronicle (21/3/2017), Chester Standard (21/3/2017), Winsford Guardian (23/3/2017)

Drone images show scale of fracking operation. The Blackpool Gazette publishes drone photos of the Preston New Road shale gas site. Opponents say the site is big enough for 40-60 wells.

14 March 2017

What Nottinghamshire planners had to say about IGas plans for shale gas exploration at Tinker Lane. DrillOrDrop report on recommendation to county council planning committee.

Fylde coast tanker top protest follows slow walk end. The Blackpool Gazette reports that anti-fracking protesters stopped two supply tankers at Preston New Road by climbing onto their roofs. The first was stopped before 9am on Monday (13 March 2017), the second in the afternoon. Bob Dennett, of Frack Free Lancashire, said the police had stopped allowing people to have the agreed 15-minute slow walk protest in front of supply trucks.

Fracking protests ‘stretching’ Lancashire Police. BBC News reports that anti-fracking protests have left the Lancashire police force using a “lot of overtime” to “maintain normal services” according to the county’s police federation.

13 March 2017

Campaigners in court on Wednesday to challenge ministerial consent for Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road fracking  plans. DrillOrDrop report

Breaking: Nottinghamshire planners recommend approval of IGas’s Tinker Lane shale gas site. DrillOrDrop report. West Bridgford Wire 


Tinker Lane, north Nottinghamshire

Opposition mobilises as INEOS unveils second shale gas site. DrillOrDrop report. Sheffield Star (17/3/2017)

Anti-fracking protesters take government to court in Lancashire. The Guardian previews this week’s high court case in Manchester which challenges the approval of planning permission at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site.

Shale oil surge puts the skids under Nicola Sturgeon’s independence plans. The Telegraph reports the oil price has fallen below $50 a barrel following a rise in US shale production. For traditional producers, including BP and Shell, the paper this could hardly have been worse news.

The second shale revolution. The FT reports on the falling oil price and the impacts of shale gas production in the US

Fracking meeting cancelled after residents who organised it receive threats. The Derbyshire Times reports that a Q and A with INEOS and district councillors about the Marsh Lane shale gas plans was cancelled after complaints by people living nearby who were not invited.

12 March 2017

Photo post: Walkers complete 120 miles between Yorks and Lancs fracking sites. DrillOrDrop report on No Frack Way march from Kirby Misperton to Preston New Road. 2BR, Yorkshire Post, Ilkley Gazette, Lancashire Telegraph and second article in the Ilkley Gazette

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Walkers arrive at Kirkham, near Preston New Road, 12 March 2017. Photo: Nick Caunt

What’s happening this week? DrillOrDrop round-up of events about UK fracking and shale gas.

Protest Weekly Update 6-10 March 2017. DrillOrDrop compilation of images from protests about fracking and shale gas in the UK.

Electricity, gas shortages loom in Australia because of green scares. The Australian Herald Sun reports on comments by the country’s Energy Market Operator that it could see shortfalls in gas and electricity.

11 March 2017

Monday deadline to comment on future policy for South Downs oil drilling. DrillOrDrop report

Fracking Week in Parliament: 6-10 March 2017. DrillOrDrop report, including transcript of House of Lords debate on shale gas.

Fracking farmer refuses to be intimidated. The Times reports on Allan Wensley, the farm who leased land to Cuadrilla for its fracking site at Preston New Road. The paper says: “His home has been besieged by angry neighbours, his daughter abused on social media and a relative has called him a money-grabber in obscene terms but Allan Wensley has no regrets about leasing a field on his Lancashire farm to the company hoping to start a fracking revolution.”

Court date for anti-fracking lock-on protest. The Blackpool Gazette reports that eight people who locked themselves together outside the Preston New Road shale gas site are due in court on 24 March, 3 April and 10 April.

£450m fracking plan under attack. Herald Scotland reports that a £450m plan by INEOS to develop the Grangemouth petrochemical complex for fracking is facing fierce opposition from hundreds of residents and campaigners. The Swiss-based company is applying for permission for new security facilities and pipelines that require the permanent closure of a main road. The developments are part of a “masterplan” for the Grangemouth site founded on importing fracked shale gas from the US and opening up fracking in the UK. But more than 400 people have lodged objections, and more than 700 signed a local petition against the plan, which is due to be discussed at a special hearing in Grangemouth arranged by Falkirk Council on Monday.

Court date for anti-fracking lock-on protest. The Blackpool Gazette reports that eight people who locked themselves together outside the Preston New Road shale gas site are due in court on 24 March, 3 April and 10 April.

Matt Ridley: From Russia to North Yorkshire, hidden agenda of fracking’s opponents. Matt Ridley, in The Yorkshire Post, adapts his speech in the House of Lords on shale gas and its benefits (see DrillOrDrop report)

10 March 2017

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Police and Crime Commissioner, Clive Grunshaw (right). Photo: Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner

“Government approved fracking so it should pay for protest policing” – Lancashire Police & Crime Commissioner. DrillOrDrop report, 2BRPolice Oracle (19/3/2017)

Update on terms of proposed restructuring. IGas announces it is in “well-progressed discussions” on a potential investment of US$35m of equity from Kerogen Capital and a proposed capital restricting of the company. Proactive Investors

9 March 2017

Surrey County Council “extremely disappointed that Brockham well drilled without planning permission”. DrillOrDrop report. Updated on 10 March with statements from Angus Energy denying the drilling was unauthorised and fromKeith Taylor MEP (“outrageous breach of an already strained trust”) . Proactive Investors, BBC London report

UKOG’s Broadford Bridge well needs new planning application because target has changed, says campaign group. DrillOrDrop report

INEOS adds to shale gas licence holdings.  DrillOrDrop report. FT, Natural Gas World, Proactive Investors, Digitallook.com, Yahoo.com

UKOG submits new information on South Downs oil drilling – consultation now open. DrillOrDrop report

Row over fracking protest policing bill. Big Issue North reports that Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner said he would be writing to ministers to tell them the escalating costs of the operation should fall on national government, rather than Lancashire taxpapers.

US shale surge overwhelms oil market as Opec splits deepen. The Telegraph reports oil prices have fallen to the lowest level this year as US shale producers boost output and crude inventories continue to rise. This has triggered a wave of selling by hedge funds with record speculative positions, the paper says.

U.S. shale plots production growth despite OPEC’s warning. Reuters reports on ambitions plans for growth in shale oil production in the Permian Basin in Texas.

Industry spending binge may ‘kill’ oil market, shale billionaire Hamm warns. World of Oil reports comments by Harold Hamm, who said the US industry could kill the oil market if it embarks on another spending binge. The statement, at an energy conference in Houston on Wednesday, comes as top shale companies announce large increases in spending for this year.

Majority of People in Britain Accept Climate Change is ‘Happening Right Now’, Survey Shows. DeSmogUk reports results of a survey by the European Perceptions of Climate Change Project. They show 86% of people in Britain agree climate change is happening and almost 45% believe it will affect people like them. But only 20% of people in Britain said they were very or extremely worried about climate change and 38% said they were not very worried or not worried at all.

Swap work for work Wednesday shuts cuadrilla fracking site down. Frack Off reports hundreds of people gathered at Preston New Road on Wednesday 8 March to oppose Cuadrilla and resist new attempts to frack in Lancashire.

Help us find out the facts on fracking. T Froud, writing to the Blackpool Gazette, challenges Francis Egan to a debate in Lancashire with local resident and chartered engineer, Mike Hill.

YP Letters: So where does fracking’s waste water end up? Michael Farman, writing in the Yorkshire Post, says the Environment Agency and Health and Safety Executive has admitted they will have to rely heavily on self-reporting from the fracking industry, which doesn’t have an impressive record for confessing to problems or failures.

8 March 2017

Date set for decision on IGas second shale gas application in Nottinghamshire. DrillOrDrop report on Tinker Lane date

Anti-fracking protests sees Preston New Road closed by police. The Blackpool Gazette reports Lancashire Police closed Preston New Road because of a protest outside the Cuadrilla site.

7 March 2017

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North Yorkshire County Council, 7 March 2017.

North Yorkshire resists industry pressure to adopt government fracking definition. DrillOrDrop report on county council adoption of minerals plan. Northern Echo

Would you choose shale gas or coal? P Webberley, writing to The Lancashire Evening Post, says stopping one form of energy could land you with something worse. He advises anti-fracking campaigners to be careful what they wish for.

This disaster can be averted. 72-year-old Gillian Kelly, also writing to The Lancashire Evening Post, says she is so concerned about Cuadrilla’s plans to frack for shale gas at Preston New Road that she is making the 1.5 hour journey from Ambleside to support the protest.

A tidal wave of force. Big Issue North reports on the seven week of protests at the Preston New Road fracking site.

6 March 2017

Judge grants injunction for Cuadrilla’s fracking site – but rejects protest area proposal. DrillOrDrop report on court hearing over Cuadrilla’s injunction application. Blackpool Gazette, 2BR, BBC NewsDeSmogUK

“Police trying to provoke protesters at Cuadrilla’s Lancashire fracking site”, say injured councillors. DrillOrDrop report

York MP backs direct action on fracking. The Yorkshire Post reports on the visit by Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central, to the Kirby Misperton Protection Camp. She tells the paper: “If politicians do not listen to the voices of local residents, then they are left with no choice but to take direct action and protect their environment, and then have their say at the ballot box come the election.”

UK Oil & Gas Investments shares tipped to double as confidence builds over Weald basin discoveries. Proactive Investors reports W H Ireland has tipped UKOG to double in values. Analyst Brendan Long tells the website: “We believe that UKOG’s assets are at the early stage of appraisal and that further appraisal and testing have the potential to unlock what we believe to be the most exciting potential new resource the onshore UK oil & gas sector has seen in decades,” the analyst said

YP Letters: Fracking industry’s duty to take potential spills seriously. Ken Cronin, of UK OnshoreOil & Gas, writing to The Yorkshire Post, says “no spill is acceptable wherever you work, be it farming, petrol stations, petrochemicals or indeed onshore oil and gas sites. All of these industries and many more have to ensure safe handling of chemicals.” He adds:

“In the UK we have to ensure if spills were to occur that they are properly contained – we have an impermeable membrane on our sites and a system that allows all fluid on site, even rainwater, to be collected. The chemicals we store have to be placed on appropriate bunds and the waste we collect must be put into sealed tanks that sit on bunds which sit on the impermeable layer.”

4 March 2017

Anti-frackers deny disobeying police orders. The Blackpool Gazette reports four anti-fracking campaigners have denied disobeying police orders to move away from a gas exploration site. Eddie Thornton, 33, of Pickering, Jared Dunne, 22, of Warrington, Louise Hammond, 54, of Kirby Misperton and Joseph Boyd, 43, to Bootle were given unconditional bail until their trial, expected to law two days, starting on 24 May.

Controversial gas from Peruvian Amazon arrives in UK. BBC News reports on a tanker docking in the at the Isle of Grain in Kent bringing liquefied natural gas from Peruvian Amazon.

“Frack Master” facing criminal theft charges for failing to pay Rockwall County printer The Dallas Morning News reports federal regulators are suing Christopher Faulkner, president and CEO of Breitling Energy, to repay tens of millions of dollars to investors. But it’s a $3,000 bill from a Royce City printer that could put him behind bars. Mr Faulkner was arrested on 19 February at Los Angeles International Airport before he tried to board a plane. Law enforcement officials there said he was wanted on a Texas warrant issued in September 2016.

3 March 2017

Cuadrilla goes to court to renew injunction on access at Preston New Road fracking site. DrillOrDrop report

Brockham ready to produce oil by summer and could be better than Horse Hill, says Angus Energy. DrillOrDrop report on statement about new sidetrack well at the Angus site at Brockham, near Dorking in Surrey.

Brockham well Brockham Protection Site

Brockham oil site, January 2017. Photo: Brockham Protection Camp

Protest weekly update 27 February-5 March. DrillorDrop report on anti-fracking protests around the UK.

Fracking can benefit local economics, OGA chief says. Energy Voice reports Andy Samuel, chief executive of the Oil and Gas Authority, told the Southern North Sea Conference:

“I think the UK has taken the learnings from the US and has put in place a substantially more robust regulatory framework, which the Oil and Gas Authority is part of.

“It still relies on operators doing the right thing but there is substantially more monitoring.

“Again, from my learnings from the US, some parts of the plays worked and others didn’t. The geology is unconventional and is quite hard to predict until you actually get into the operational phase.

“But what I did see in the US was the benefit it had for local economies and that the low cost gas rejuvenated parts of the country that really needed those jobs and those industries.”

“Environment problems created by US fracking were small and isolated” – Ken Cronin. Energy Voice reports comments by the chief executive of UK Onshore Oil and Gas, also at the Southern North Sea Conference. He said environmental problems created by fracking in the US were small and isolated, but that the media blows them out of all proportion. Mr Cronin said he was “utterly convinced” that the UK’s regulatory system was robust enough to prevent contamination and pollution from fracking. He said it would be better for the UK to produce and monitor its own shale gas production than to import it from other countries, a practice which he said was tantamount to giving away our “environmental credentials”.

2 March 2017

‘We’re not going anywhere’, anti-fracking campaigners respond to John Dewar’s ‘Go away’ message. DrillOrDrop report on reaction to an interview by Third Energy’s operations director about fracking at Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire

February 2017  Drilling Headlines. DrillOrDrop’s digest of the past month’s news about fracking, onshore oil and gas and campaign activity.

Why I sleep in a fortress in the woods. BBC report on the camp near Leith Hill where people have united against plans to drill for oil

Lancashire anti-frackers face uncertainty over increasingly aggressive police tactics. Netpol reports that video evidence of an assault on Tuesday on Fylde borough councillor, Roger Lloyd, points to an escalation of more ‘robust’ and aggressive tactics by police against anti-fracking protest at Cuadrilla’s shale gas exploration site near Blackpool.

Shale gas firm Cuadrilla brands anti-fracking activists ‘irresponsible’. The Guardian reports on complaints by Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla, about protesters “harassing” contractors supplying the Preston New Road site in Lancashire.

Welbeck Abbey joins list of Notts landowners in fracking firing line. The Chad reports the 15,000-acre estate owned by William Parente, the former Sherriff of Nottingham, has confirmed it will allow pre-fracking seismic surveys on its land. The landowner follows the Chatsworth estate and the Thorsby Estate, which owns the Sherwood Forest nature reserve, in opening up to the company for tests. A spokesperson for the Welbeck Estate said “INEOS can compel us to provide access for their survey and the law is currently weighted in their favour because the Government supports fracking”.

MPs investing in cigarette companies, oil giants and ‘tax avoiders’ through their pension scheme. The Independent reports the MPs’ pension fund, the Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund (PCPF), whose investments have never been made public before, invested more money in British American Tobacco (BAT) and oil giant BP and than any other two companies over the past year. Millions of pounds were also put into oil company Shell and controversial mining firm Rio Tinto, the list of investments shows. After pressure from Green MP, Caroline Lucas, the fund has published its top 20 investments.

Anti-frack pair face court over road block. The Blackpool Gazette reports that Louise Hammond and Natalie Middleton appeared in court for allegedly obstructing Preston New Road at the Cuadrilla shale gas fracking site. Louise Hammond was bailed to 11 May for trial. The case of Natalie Middleton was adjourned.

1 March 2017

Senior Lancashire councillors criticise Cuadrilla’s record on planning conditions. DrillOrDrop report


Lancashire councillors relax some conditions on Cuadrilla’s Becconsall site (left) but refuse other changes. DrillOrDrop report on the council’s development control committee meeting

Legal agreement giving go-ahead for first Nottinghamshire shale gas site is delayed for third time. DrillOrDrop report. Nottingham Post

IGas announces $35m investment deal with Kerogen in return for bond restructuring. DrillOrDrop report. Also Proactive Investors, LSE.co.uk, Natural Gas WorldInvestment Observer (IGas Energy shares slide amid restructuring announcement)

Lancashire Police correct statement on “breach of fence” at Cuadrilla’s shale gas site. DrillOrDrop report. Blackpool Gazette and Lytham St Annes Express

UKOG seeks further oil and gas sites across southern England. DrillOrDrop report on UK Oil & Gas Investment’s annual accounts. LSE.co.uk

Drilling Diary – March 2017. DrillOrDrop listing of events in March and beyond about fracking, onshore oil and gas and campaign activity.

Third Energy fracking company has ‘open door policy’ for Kirby Misperton protestors. BBC News reports on an interview by Third Energy’s director of operation, John Dewar. He said “If [protestors] are genuinely concerned, then come and see us, talk to us. We have an open door policy to anyone who has genuine concerns. If they’re coming just to cause disruption, my message to them is that we will still go ahead. Please go away.” Yorkshire Post, Energy Post

Trump’s New Interior Chief Gets Confirmed, and Focuses on Energy Exploration. Bloomberg reports that with Ryan Zinke at the helm, the Interior Department is set to prioritize coal, oil and natural gas development over renewable projects on federal lands and waters.

Trump poised to lift federal coal ban, other green rules: White House. Reuters reports comments by a White House official who said U.S. President Donald Trump will target a handful of Obama-era green regulations, including a federal coal mining ban and an initiative forcing states to cut carbon emissions, in an executive order as soon as next week.

Headline archive

2017 headlines

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