DrillOrDrop’s May 2017 digest of news about fracking, shale and onshore oil and gas updated daily. For headlines from previous months, click here
Top headlines in May 2017
INEOS submits first application for a UK shale gas well
Angus Energy gets environmental permit for new well at Lidsey in West Sussex
UKOG withdraws planning application for Markwells Wood in South Downs
Latest government survey puts support for fracking up to 19% and oppositioin on 30%
10 Greenpeace campaigners blockade Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site
Labour and Lib Dem manifestos pledges to ban or oppose fracking
The Conservatives remove some fracking decisions from local authority control
Rig installed at Broadford Bridge – first arrest in protests
31 May 2017
UKOG threatens local campaign group with legal action over Broadford Bridge newsletter. DrillOrDrop report
Drilling Diary – June 2017. DrillOrDrop’s monthly diary of events about fracking and the onshore oil and gas industry.
Church of England urged to divest from ExxonMobil. On the day of ExxonMobil’s AGM, campaigners for divestment in fossil fuels gathered outside the Fawley refinery and at Salisbury Cathedral. DrillOrDrop protest update
Breaking: Dail backs Sligo-Leitrim TD’s bill to ban fracking in Ireland. The Leitrim Observer reports the Dail voted to support Tony McLoughlin’s private members bill to ban fracking in Ireland. The Petroleum and other Minerals Development (prohibition of Onshore Hydraulic Fracturing) Bill 2016 was passed after just over an hour of debate. Friends of the Earth said England was becoming increasingly isolated and out of touch on fracking. Belfast Telegraph, Irish Times, Irish Farmers Journal
Tories will ‘override the public’ on fracking. The Argus reports on a press release from Friends of the Earth which has warned that eight Sussex constituencies could be affected by Conservative proposals to remove the need for a planning application to allow non-fracking drilling.
General Election 2017: Which Seats Could be Decided by Energy and Climate Issues? DeSmog UK reports on which constituencies where candidates’ positions on energy and climate change could be decisive.
General Election: South West Surrey candidates have their say on fracking during Haslemere hustings. Get Surrey reports on a discussion on fracking at a hustings in Haslemere on Friday 19 May. Conservative Jeremy Hunt said “It is something we should not rule out”, UKIP’s Mark Webber said “It is potentially very disruptive”, Ollie Purkiss (Lib Dem) said “personally it makes me very nervous” and National Health Action party candidate, Louise Irvine said fossil fuels should be left in the ground.
Candidates’ views on fracking. The Blackpool Gazette reviews the Fylde constituency and what the candidates think about fracking.
30 May 2017
Opponents of drilling establish a protection camp near the well site. DrillOrDrop protest update
‘Shale gas industry will boost economy’. The Lancashire Post reports Francis Egan, of Cuadrilla Resources, urged business leaders to build a high energy service industry in Lancashire to drive the performance of the county’s economy.
29 May 2017
Justin Madders slams Conservative approach to fracking. The Chester Chronicle reports on criticism by Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Ellesmere Port and Neston on Conservative proposals to remove power from local councils to decide proposals for fracking. He described the Conservative election manifesto as “a charter for frackers”.
Sky-high carbon tax needed to avoid climate catastrophe, say experts. The Guardian reports on the warning from a group of leading economists that the world risks catastrophic global warming in just 13 years unless countries ramp up taxes on carbon emissions to as much as $100 (£77) per metric tonne.
Fracking in Scotland could make workers sick, say campaigners. The Ferret reports on a new analysis by anti-fracking campaigners that the operation could post what they call serious risks to the health of workers. The website quotes research from the University of Missouri which examined more than 150 studies on the health effects of fracking chemicals. They concluded there was “evidence to suggest there is cause for concern for human health.”
28 May 2017
What’s happening this week? 29 May-4 June 2017. DrillOrDrop’s events listing on fracking, onshore oil and gas and campaign activity.
Protest update 22-28 May 2017. DrillOrDrop weekly report on protest activity across the UK on fracking and onshore oil and gas
Fracking fears mean it’s time for an energy policy rethink. The Sunday Herald says “The suggestion that fracking, like the asbestos industry, could poison workers is frightening. We can’t yet know whether the claim is true. But the idea that another industry promising jobs and riches in the industrial heartlands of Scotland could turn out to be a killer should be enough to make one pause for thought.”
Leaked docs show UK lobbying to weaken EU climate targets despite Brexit. Greenpeace Energy Desk reports on documents it has obtained which it says show the UK government attempted to significantly weaken draft EU climate and energy rules, even as Brexit is underway.
27 May 2017
Will UK Oil & Gas Investments emulate the success of the Gatwick Gusher with Horse Hill lookalike? Proactive Investors reports on UKOG’s plans for Broadford Bridge and other oil exploration operations in the Weald.
“The Tories will put us at risk from fracking”. The York Press reports comments by York Outer Labour parliamentary candidate Luke Charters-Reid who says fracking and congestion are putting the city’s outer villages at risk.
26 May 2017
Angry residents call for immediate halt to oil drilling plans at UKOG’s Broadford Bridge site in West Sussex after rig is installed. DrillOrDrop report
Australian activists support campaigners at Preston New Road. Two key figures in a mass community blockade of an Australian gas site met protesters outside Cuadrilla’s shale operation at Preston New Road in Lancashire. Simon Clough and Ian Gaillard are touring the UK with The Bentley Effect, a documentary film about the blockade. DrillOrDrop protest update
Anti-fracking petition handed in at A E Yates. Opponents of Cuadrilla’s shale gas plans in Lancashire handed in a petition with around 1,000 signature to the company which has been doing the site construction work. The petition asked A E Yates to end its current contact and not take work with fracking companies in the future. DrillOrDrop protest update, The Bolton News
25 May 2017
First arrest at UKOG’s Broadford Bridge site as protests oppose rig installation. DrillOrDrop report
Final go-ahead for first shale gas sites in Nottinghamshire with agreement between IGas and county council. DrillOrDrop report, The Planner (30/5/2017), Gainsborough Standard, Notts TV, Nottingham Post
INEOS applies to Environment Agency for waste permit for Derbyshire shale gas site Marsh Lane. DrillOrDrop report
UKIP manifesto promises to invest in shale gas exploration – but not in national parks. DrillOrDrop report
Demonstration outside Cuadrilla’s offices. A small group of protesters gathered outside Cuadrilla’s offices at Bamber Bridge, near Preston in a demonstration against the company’s operation to frack for shale gas at Preston New Road near Blackpool. DrillOrDrop protest update
Knitting protest outside Scottish parliament. The anti-fracking group, Scotland’s Knitting Grannies, gathered outside the Scottish Parliament to urge people to contribute to the government’s consultation on unconventional oil and gas. DrillOrDrop protest update
Why I deserve your vote – Thirsk and Malton candidates. The Northern Echo gives the candidates their say on election issues, including fracking in the constituency
24 May 2017
Angus Energy delays admission of bonds again. Angus Energy issued a statement saying the admission date for its secured bonds, due on or around 23 March 2017 and then this week, would now be expected on or around 29 June 2017.
INEOS to buy the entire Oil & Gas business from DONG Energy A/S for a headline price of $1.05 billion plus $250m contingent. INEOS announces it is acquiring the DONG Oil & Gas business for $1.05bn, plus a contingent payment of US$ 150m relating to the Fredericia stabilisation plant and a contingent payment of up to US$ subject to the development of the Rosebank field. The deal would put INEOS in the top 10 companies in the North Sea and the biggest privately-owned exploration and production business in this energy basin.
Infrastrata abandoned Woodburn over poor community reception. Don’t Drill Antrim Water reports comments by Mid and East Antrim Council’s barrister that Infrastrata abandoned Woodburn Forest because of the poor reception the company received. The comments came in a judicial review hearing in the High Court.
199 constituencies could face fast-track drilling under Conservative manifesto plans. Friends of the Earth says its analysis shows that 199 constituencies, including 24 in south east England, could face the threat of drilling for shale fossil fuels without planning permission under Conservative proposals to make drilling without fracking permitted development. Denior planner, Naomi Luhde-Thompson, said:
“This proposal could see shale oil and gas test drills puncture the countryside left, right and centre – with local democracy trampled underfoot. We are also extremely concerned that the final decision on proposals for full-scale fracking could be taken away from local councillors. This is hugely undemocratic, marginalises the views of local people, and goes against the Tories own localism agenda.”
Friends of the Earth warning reported by The Shropshire Star
Renewable energy jobs could “offset” fossil-fuel job losses by 2030, report shows. Energy Voice quotes from a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency which says jobs in renewable energy could cancel out fossil fuel job losses and become an economic driver by 2030.
Exclusive: Wood Group-Amec Foster Wheeler tie-up threatens 1,300 jobs. Energy Voice reports that about 1,300 energy service jobs are under threat from the proposed merger of Wood Group and Amec Foster Wheeler – about 2% of roles across the combined business.
Poole election hustings. The Bournemouth Echo reports that Conservative candidate for Mid Dorset and North Poole, Michael Tomlinson, told a hustings he backed fracking in a national context as a cleaner energy source than coal, as part of the transition to renewable sources, but believed that for geological reasons it was unlikely to take place in Dorset.
Fracking site road blocker fined. The Blackpool Gazette reports that 66-year-old Barbara Cookson, of Liverpool, was fined £100 after pleading guilty to obstructing a highway during a protest against fracking on 19 April.
Political parties hit back at fracking manifesto. The Gazette and Herald reports that political parties in Ryedale who oppose fracking have condemned the Conservative manifesto, claiming it gives a green light to the shale gas industry in the district.
Bill to ban fracking expected to pass in the Dail tonight. Ocean FM reports that a bill by Sligo Leitrim TD Tony McLoughlin to ban fracking is expected to be passed by the Irish Parliament this evening.
Don’t do it, Scotland: fracking warnings from Pennsylvania. The Ferret reports on health concerns in fracking areas in Pennsylvania.
23 May 2017
Oil bosses have given £390,000 to Tories under Theresa May. The Guardian reports oil executives, whose industry is promised further government support if the Conservatives are returned to power, have given more than £390,000 to the party since Theresa May became prime minister.
BHP hires Barclays to divest U.S. shale gas assets: sources. Reuters reports that Barclays has been hired to divest BHP’s US Fayetteville shale gas assets in Arkansas. Reuters says the sale is expected to draw interest from smaller mining companies already operating in the region. BHP acquired the assets in 2011 for $4.75bn. At the end of 2016 it had a book value of $919m.
Two more spills for Dakota Access Pipeline. EcoWatch reports that the DAPL leaked more than 100 gallons of oil in two separate incidents in North Dakota in March. This is the $3.8bn project’s third known leak. It also spilled 84 gallons in South Dakota on 4 April.
“We need to start fracking in north Essex”. E Huber, writing to the Daily Gazette, says “If only the Government would grant a licence we have the capability to do fracking in Colchester, Braintree and Tendring.” He says it would mean “we would not [sic] longer have to buy any more gas from Russia”.
22 May 2017
UKOOG chief warns fracking ban will increase industry gas imports. Process Engineering quotes Ken Cronin of UKOOG, who says political opposition to shale fracking in the UK will contribute to a growing demand for gas imports and saddle every household with an additional bill of more than £300.
Anti-fox hunting protester shouts ‘kill May’ as PM arrives in Wrexham. Sky News reports that a 25-year-old protester arrested in Wrexham during a visit by Theresa May said he was demonstrating against hunting, fracking, austerity, “the lot”. Wrexham.com
Party loyalty ‘breaking down’ claims Chancellor as Conservatives target Labour stronghold. The Derbyshire Times reports on a visit by Philip Hammond to North East Derbyshire, which he says could elect its first Conservative MP for 80 years. Mr Hammond said he was happy to see fracking but only on a “sustainable and carefully regulated basis”.
“Fracking in North America has dramatically changed the energy market,” he said. “Companies have come back to the United States to take advantage of lower energy costs and that has benefited both businesses and workers. “We want to see the same benefits here but we have got the get the balance right. “We need to make sure we protect the environment and that local communities benefit as well as the wider economy.”
‘Keep the fracking ban’ says UNISON. Hawick News reports that UNISON Scotland is calling on the Scottish Government not to lift the current moratorium on fracking. Responding to the consultation on unconventional oil and gas, UNISON says “The key issue is do we want a Scotland that focuses on clean energy, or return to dirty fossil fuels? On those grounds alone, there remains a strong case to ban fracking.”
General election debate in Bristol West. The Bristol Post reports on a debate between candidates standing in Bristol West, which include comments on fracking and the Hinckley C nuclear power station.
YP Letters: The majority didn’t oppose fracking bid in Ryedale. Fracking supporter, Lorraine Allanson, writing to The Yorkshire Post, says: “After three years of a highly vocal and public campaign in the media the opponents are not convincing the public on three main issues which UK Shale gas could help provide the UK – energy security; economic benefits and affordable energy.”
Vote Tory and get fracked. Glyn Wild, writing in the same edition of The Yorkshire Post, says “Their manifesto makes it quite clear – vote Tory and you will get fracked. No mention of clean renewable energy, no mention of the devastating effects of climate change. A party truly living in the past.”
Big energy firms lobby Theresa May to water down price cap pledge. The Guardian reports that energy companies are lobbying the Conservative Party to water down its policy of a price cap on bills, with proposals that would protect millions few UK households from tariff rises.
21 May 2017
Green Party manifesto pledges to replace fracking with renewables. DrillOrDrop report
What’s happening this week? 22-28 May 2017. DrillOrDrop’s weekly listing of events about fracking, onshore oil and gas and campaign activity
Yorkshire fracker plots £500m float. The Sunday Times reports Third Energy is hoping to raise £250m to extract shale gas in the Vale of Pickering. Sources told the paper the owners, Global Natural Resource Investments, part of Barclays Bank, has hired Lazard to explore a public offering next year. City Am, The Business Desk, Insider Media
How do the four main parties compare on the environment. The Guardian reviews party commitments on fracking.
19 May 2017
Protest update. DrillOrDrop picture post about UK protests about fracking and onshore oil and gas.
Fancy Dress Friday protest outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road. DrillOrDrop protest update
Police boss talks of the difficulties over Fylde fracking. The Blackpool Gazette reports on comments by Supt Richard Robertshaw about policing at the Preston New Road shale gas site. He tells the paper:
“Our intention and desire is to very much facilitate peaceful protest. We want people to be able to exercise their democratic right. However, that also needs to be balanced against the right of Cuadrilla to develop the site.” (See also DrillOrDrop report 17/5/ 2017)
Wressle Development – issue of EA mining waste permit variation. Egdon Resources announces the Environment Agency has issued a variation to the mining waste permit for the Wressle site near Scunthorpe, where the company is applying for oil production with possible acidisation and proppant squeeze. Energy Voice
YP Letters: Outlaw fracking in Robin Hood’s famed forest. John Appleyard, writing to The Yorkshire Post, says I a matter of weeks, Sherwood Forest could be at risk from exploration for shale gas. In the same edition, Ann Dixon writes “If Labour are ruling out the possibility of fracking, how do they intend the UK to become self-sufficient when it comes to energy?
18 May 2017
Conservatives back fracking and take some shale decisions away from local councils. DrillOrDrop report on the party’s manifesto launch. Conservative Party manifesto, The Independent (Tory manifesto an ‘absolute car crash for environment’, says Green Party’s Caroline Lucas); Energy Voice (May vows Conservative corporate crackdown, softens energy price cap pledge, wealth funds from fracking); Reuters (Conservatives to support shale energy, cap household energy tariffs); FT (Conservatives commit to shale gas and electric cars); Greenpeace Energy Desk (Fracking: Drilling to require the same planning permission as wall, says Tory manifesto); Southport Visitor (Conservatives promise to increase fracking across the UK); DeSmogUK (General Election 2017: Conservatives Isolated as Only Major Party to Back Fracking); Planning Resource (19/5/2017), The Times (19/5/2017), Rig Zone, North West Evening Mail, Northern Echo (21/5/2017), York Press (Campaigners fear about fracking ‘free for all’- 22/5/2017), On the Wight (Fracking campaigners express ‘outrage’ at Conservative Party manifesto – 22/5/2017)
Campaigners behind award-winning Australian anti-fracking film. The Bentley Effect tour Scotland. The National reports on Scottish screenings of The Bentley Effect, a documentary about a community campaign to stop coal seam gas developments in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales. East Kilbride Connect
Meet the Green Party candidates standing in the general election in Hull and East Yorkshire. The Hull Daily Mail reports the Green Party is fielding a full list of candidates across the region.
US shale just won’t die: Bankrupt drillers rise again. OilPrice.com reports that many firms that filed for court-approved debt reorganisation are now emerging from bankruptcy and looking to grow.
17 May 2017
Judge dismisses bid to challenge government minister over reopening Lancashire fracking inquiry. DrillOrDrop report
Anti-fracking campaigners accuse police of “disproportionate and aggressive” tactics at Cuadrilla shale gas site. DrillOrDrop report. Blackpool Gazette (Fylde police station at centre of fracking protest)
Completely unacceptable – anger over fracking protests. The Blackpool Gazette reports comments by Lancashire Police about fracking protests outside Kirkham Police station (see above)
Swap work for work protest outside Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site. DrillOrDrop protest update
Geraint Davies vows to put jobs and services first as he battles for Swansea West seat. Wales Online reports that Labour’s candidate for Swansea West will oppose what he calls Tory plans for fracking in the Swansea Bay region.
North Yorkshire County Council announces 30mph speed limit on Habton Road, Kirby Misperton from 1 June 2017 until 31 March 2018 for work at KM8 shale gas well.
County council move to allay fracking concerns in Skelmersdale. The Champion reports that officials at Lancashire County Council have moved to allay fears that permission for exploratory drilling in Skelmersdale is about to be sought ahead of possible fracking activity in the town. A group of concerned residents have organised a meeting tonight. But a spokesman for the county council said that the authority had not received any new applications for drilling or fracking.
Review: Fracked! at the Theatre Royal Bath. The Bath Chronicle
INEOS gamble takes UK fracking threat to unprcedented levels. Frack Off reports on plans by INEOS to put together what it calls “equipment and logistics for a full-scale invasion of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Rotherham in an attempt to source gas for its chemicals business”.
16 May 2017
Labour comes out against fracking – but will its candidates in shale gas constituencies back the ban? DrillOrDrop report. Labour manifesto, Energy Voice (Labour pledges to ban fracking), Energy Voice (UKOOG rejects Labour manifesto), The Blackpool Gazette (Fracking on Fylde coast election agenda 17/5/2017), Wirral Globe
Councillors in Ryedale want specialist ‘minerals expert’ to help fight fracking. The York Press reports councillors on Ryedale District Council are calling for the council to employ its own minerals experts so that they can challenge a draft policy document on fracking in North Yorkshire.
BHP studying shale sale as activist fund Elliot demands review. Bloomberg reports BHP Billiton is considering further sales of its US shale gas assets as it fends off the second round of attack from activist hedge fund Elliott Management Corp over the future of the energy business within the world’s biggest mining company.
East Texas shale play ‘left for dead’ gets new life with rising prices. The Dallas Morning News reports that the Haynesville gasfield, which helped to kick start the shale boom a decade ago, is getting a new lease of life as the market recovers. Production will rise in June for the seventh consecutive month, reaching the highest levels since October 2014.
15 May 2017
Campaigners welcome Barclays’ decision to stop funding fracking – but bank says there’s no urgency about sale of Third Energy. DrillOrDrop report
Photo-journalist who spent five minutes at anti-fracking protest to appeal against conviction for obstruction. DrillOrDrop report
14 May 2017
What’s happening this week? 15-21 May 2017. DrillOrDrop’s weekly round-up of events about UK fracking and the onshore oil and gas industry.
13 May 2017
Could fierce opposition to fracking make life difficult for certain Tories. The New Statemen looks at local election results and asks whether local opposition to fracking could cause Conservative support for the industry to fissure and split.
Green Party decision not to field Warrington South candidate labelled as ‘evidence of Corbyn’s coalition of chaos’. The Warrington Guardian reports comments by Conservative candidate, David Mowatt, on the decision by Warrington and Halton Green Party not to field a candidate to avoid splitting the anti-Tory vote. Mr Mowat said “This is yet more evidence of Jeremy Corbyn’s coalition of chaos”.
YP Letters: End subsidies to fossil fuels and invest in green technology. Simon Bowens and Kierra Box, campaigners for Friends of the Earth, writing to The Yorkshire Post, calls on the next government to end all fossil fuel subsidies and guarantee that the coal industry will not receive government funds in future.
Poor environment record for Grangemouth. Russell Scott, writing in the same edition of the Yorkshire Post, says documents from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency reveal details of a gas leak at INEOS’s Grangemouth refinery. He says: “This catalogue of errors by INEOS demonstrate a complete disregard for the safety of their staff and nearby residents. This is not a company we can trust to roll out the fracking process safely across a large area of Yorkshire.”
People have spoken on fracking. Andrew Mercer, also writing to The Yorkshire Post says: “Now all voters in North Yorkshire have elected pro-fracking councillors, isn’t it time for the objectors to accept that the people have spoken?
US shale’s favorite financial trick getting less attractive. Energy Voice reports comments by Society Generale SA of a big drop in producing hedging, which locked in payments for future production. US drillers signed these agreements late last year, giving the companies security to boost output. But the website says the industry’s favourite financial safeguard no longer makes economic sense.
12 May 2017
Strong presence essential insist fracking site police chief. The Blackpool Gazette reports comments by Supt Richard Robertshaw, the officer in charge of policing anti-fracking protests at Preston New Road. He tells the paper:
“On a daily basis there are approximately 100 officers directly involved in the policing of the fracking protest.
“I will be the first to admit that this is a significant drain on scarce police resources and, in an ideal world, we would clearly have significantly fewer officers on site.
“However, as recent protest at the site, during which several campaigners ‘locked on’ across both carriageways of the A583, blocking the road for several hours, show there are times when it is absolutely essential to have the number of officers at the site that are currently allocated to the operation.
“Public safety is always our main priority and having this number of officers available is essential for ensuring all parties remain safe.”
Fylde coast engineer to stage fracking meeting. The Blackpool Gazette reports that oil and gas engineer, Mike Hill, is holding a public meeting on fracking at 7pm on 27 June at the Lowther Pavilion.
Natascha Engel’s views on fracking. Labour’s candidate in north east Derbyshire, where INEOS wants to drill a well at MarshLane, writes on her website:
“I am not against fracking as long as the industry stays highly regulated and controlled. If taking shale out of the ground in the UK means that we have fewer greenhouse gas emissions, that we can control our own energy and get prices down because we are not importing it, if it creates a whole new industry with good jobs, if it is good for Derbyshire, then I support it.”
Anti-fracking protesters ambush Conservative candidate on campaign trail in Upton. The Chester Standard reports that anti-fracking campaigners accused Chris Grayling of being an outspoken supporter of fracking during a visit to the constituency in support of candidate Will Gallagher, who has said he opposes the technique.
Candidates sad to see Green Party voters ‘denied the choice’ in Southport. The Southport Visiter reports on the announcement by the Green Party not to put up a candidate in the general election in the town. It has urged backers to vote Liberal Democrat.
Photographer documenting anti-fracking protest believes arrest was politically-targeted. The Salford Star reports comments by Peter Yankowski-Walker, who was charged with obstructing a public highway while reporting for nine minutes on an anti-fracking protest in Bolton. His trial is due to take place at Manchester and Salford Magistrates Court on 15 May.
INEOS billionaire targets ex-soldiers to carry out minimum wage fracking tests. Frack Off reports on an advert by Arturius International for labourers to work 12-hour shifts, six-days a week, on seismic surveys for INEOS.
No fracking way – Lib Dems support a complete ban on fracking. The Liberal Democrats website supports a ban on fracking in England and Wales. The site also draws attention to a tweet by Natasha Engels, a Labour candidate in Eckington, who has said is not against the industry as long as it stays highly regulated and controlled.
11 May 2017
First prosecution of fracking protesters. The Blackpool Gazette reports on the trial at Blackpool Magistrates Court of 54-Louise Hammond and 32-year-old Natalie Middleton, following protests outside Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site. They were the first people to be arrested in the protests which began in January. The case continues.
Four charged following anti-fracking protest. The Blackpool Gazette reports that four people were arrested and charged following a five-hour lock-on protest on the access road to Hillhouse Business Park in Thornton. Three were charged with aggravated trespass and one with obstructing a police officer.
Green Party stand down City of Chester candidate for General Election. The Chester Chronicle reports on a deal between the Green Party and Labour which means the Greens won’t run against Labour’s Chris Matheson, the sitting MP. Local Green Party chairman, Colin Watson praised Mr Matheson’s record on fracking as a key factor in the deal.
Newly elected County Council yet to set out policy on Fracking. Peak FM reports the new leader of Derbyshire County Council says his cabinet will meet soon to discuss fracking.
Anti-fracking protesters take to streets. The Totnes Times reports more than 100 campaigners against fracking marched through Totnes
Welcome for third stage of fracking ban. The Leitrim Observer reports that a bill to ban fracking has passed its committee or third stage of its passage through the Irish parliament. Campaigner Larch Maxey said: “If we don’t stop fracking in Preston and Yorkshire there is no reason why it would not carry on in Devon,” he warned: “People do not realise that it could be coming to Devon.”
Statoil: Safety incidents surge as new Arctic drilling drive begins. Greenpeace Energy Desk reports that Norway’s oil regulator has voiced ‘concerns’ over a surge in serious safety incidents as the industry prepares for its latest Arctic drilling drive. Analysis of media reports highlights 14 major incidents that the state-owned Statoil has suffered over the past 18 months. The rate of both potential and actual serious incidents also increased last year, whilst the amount of oil spilled nearly doubled from the year before – according to an analysis of company documents, Energy Desk writes.
Alba Minerals Resources completes acquisition of 5% interest in Brockham licence. Angus Energy announces the completion of 5% interest from Angus to Alba in the production licence L235 comprising the Brockham oil field.
10 May 2017
Lift Scottish fracking moratorium – industry call. DrillOrDrop report coming soon. Energy Voice, Scotsman comment, Energy Live, Utility Week, UKOOG statement, Gas4Scotland website, The Scotsman, North Edinburgh News
Tories and Lib Dems reveal final election candidates for Bolton South East and Bolton West parliamentary seats. The Bolton News reports Rebecca Forrest, the Lib Dem candidate for the marginal seat of Bolton West, has promised to campaign against fracking.
Greens accused of ‘capitulating’ to SNP by standing in just three seats. Herald Scotland reports the Scottish Greens are to fight only Glasgow North, Falkirk and Edinburgh North & Leith. In 2015, it fought 31 or 59 seats. Holyrood
Fracking firm looking to use ex-military personnel at Derbyshire site. The Derbyshire Times reports that INEOS is using the logistics company, Arturius, to recruit ex-military personnel to carry out seismic surveying in the county.
YP Letters: Fracking activists risk more harm by smoking. Sam Grant, writing to The Yorkshire Post, says anti-fracking activists “claim to care about tourism, health and the economy yet continue to behave in ways that seem designed to cause as much trouble as possible.” The writer adds: “Fracking studies from the US measured the increased risk of cancer near fracking sites as minimal, yet many activists are seen smoking which gives an increased risk of 30 per cent. They also continue to use gas to heat and cook at their makeshift camp.”
UN examines fossil fuel influence in climate talks process. BBC News reports on calls by environmental groups for greater scrutiny of industry bodies involved in UK climate talks. They allege that fossil fuel industries are funding business and industry participants to slow down or derail progress at the talks.
In Win for Environmentalists, Senate Keeps an Obama-Era Climate Change Rule. The New York Times reports the US Senate voted 51 to 49 on Wednesday to uphold an Obama-era climate change regulation to control the release of methane from oil and gas wells on public land. Senators John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Susan Collins of Maine, all Republicans who have expressed concern about climate change and backed legislation to tackle the issue, broke with their party to join Democrats and defeat the resolution.
Challenge Conservatives on energy priorities and cuts to renewables. Keith Barnham, emeritus professor of physics at Imperial College London, writing in The Guardian, asks why the Tories are expanding unpopular energy industries with higher carbon footprints when onshore wind has higher public approval than nuclear and fracking.
Primorus strengthens balance sheet. Primorus, which has a 10% stake in Horse Hill Developments Ltd, operator of the Horse Hill oil site near Gatwick, announced assets of £1,295,000 and no debt.
Election candidates in Chester square up over fracking. The Chester Standard reports Will Gallagher, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Chester has declared his opposition to fracking, against party policy. Mr Gallagher, a former adviser to Transport Secretary and fracking supporter Chris Grayling, said he had seen no evidence that fracking was and environmentally sound. He added that people in Chester do not want it near the city. Labour’s candidate in Chester, Chis Matheson, has described Mr Gallagher’s position as “absurd and desperate” and residents would see through what he said was a “dishonest attempt to hoodwink them”.
Beware the green cosh being wielded against industry. Calum Miller, writing in The Times accuses Andrew Watterson of “turning selective quotation into an Olympic sport” in trying to make “fracking less popular than the rape clause”.
9 May 2017
Small anti-fracking demonstration outside Westinghouse nuclear fuel facility at Springfields near Preston. DrillOrDrop’s Protest Update
The rolling resistance in July 2017. Reclaim the Power, the pressure group campaign against fossil fuels, announces it is “providing training, resources and support to take creative action against Cuadrilla and the fracking supply chain” for the whole of July.
Data analysis could trigger new shale gas revolution. Phys.Org reports on a study by Los Alamos National Laboratory that extensive data mining and analysis of 20,000 shale gas wells has revealed how “refracturing” existing wells with new technology could transform them from diminished producers into high-performers long after initial peak production had ended. Link to study in Applied Energy
YP Letters: Neighbours don’t want to be fracking guinea pigs. Michael Farman, writing in The Yorkshire Post, says high volume hydraulic fracturing has higher risks than older technologies. He asks: “Is it any wonder then that many of those who live close to the proposed Kirby Misperton fracking site are refusing to be “guinea pigs” and are determined to use every peaceful and legal means at their disposal to prevent this potentially dangerous experiment from happening?”
YP Letters: Fracking industry will be drain on Yorkshire water supply. David Craggs, writing in The Yorkshire Post, asks Yorkshire Water how the company proposes to supply fracking companies with the five million gallons of water required to frack a single well, when people in the county are being asked to be careful in their use of water.
InfraStrata jumps as investors requisition meeting to remove its entire board. Proactive Investors report that shares in Infrastrata jumped 17% higher to 0.77p after the company revealed that a group of investors from Hornbuckle Mitchell Pension Trustees ltd and Tower Pension Trustees Ltd had requisitioned a general meeting to vote on the removal of its entire board.
Shale drillers are outspending the world with $84 bn spree. Bloomberg reports U.S. shale explorers are boosting drilling budgets 10 times faster than the rest of the world to harvest fields that register fat profits even with the recent drop in oil prices. The website quotes analysts at Barclays who say north American drillers plan to lift their 2017 outlays by 32% to $84bn, compared with 3% for international projects.
8 May 2017
INEOS submits first application for a UK shale gas well. Plans for Bramleymoor Lane, Marsh Lane, nr Eckington, sent to Derbyshire County Council. DrillOrDrop report
12-person lock-on protest outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road. DrillOrDrop’s protest update
7 May 2017
What’s happening this week? 8-14 May 2017. DrillOrDrop’s listing of events about #fracking, shale gas, campaigns and drilling.
Lancashire Nanas visit Leith Hill Protection Camp. DrillOrDrop’s Protest Update,
Exclusive interview with Jim Ratcliffe, owner of INEOS. An interview by the Sunday Times includes discussion of fracking plans.
6 May 2017
Anti-fracking campaigners spray painted graffiti at Barclays Bank in Stroud in opposition to the company’s support for fracking by Third Energy. DrillOrDrop’s Protest Update, Stroud News and Journal, Gloucestershire Live
Ineos Grangemouth plant rated poor again over pollution. The Herald reports that the Grangemouth refinery, operated by INEOS, has received a poor rating for environmental performance for the second year running because of nine pollution incidents in 2016. Documents released under a freedom of information request revealed there was a gas leak under a road to the site in March. This month, the plant was evacuated and a public road closed when another leak was detected at the Kinneil Gas plant.
Quakers gather on Pendle Hill in silent protest against fracking. Ekklesia.co.uk reports that more than 100 Quakers climbed Pendle Hill for a meeting of workshop to protest against fracking. The hill, in Lancashire, inspired George Fox to build the Quaker movement (report published 10 May 2017).
5 May 2017
Blue look to frontline fracking councils. DrillOrDrop’s review of 2017 county council election results. Yorkshire Post (UKIP falls away as Conservatives extend county council majority in N Yorks); Northern Echo (Easy majority for the Conservatives in North Yorkshire County Council elections)
4 May 2017
Fracking support continues to lag behind opposition but gap is closing – latest government survey. DrillOrDrop report
Angus Energy exercises option to acquire further 10% interest in Lidsey Oil Field in West Sussex to bring total interest to 60%. Angus says it will carry Terrain’s remaining 10% interest in the planned Lidsey X2 horizontal well and provide a one-time cash payment of £20,000. Company statement
Parties put forward anti-fracking candidates in North Yorkshire election. The Northern Echo reports that fracking in North Yorkshire could be a significant issue at the ballot box today as Greens, Lib Dems, Labour and a UKIP candidate oppose the industry. The paper says The parties hoping to challenge the Conservative’s long-standing majority grip on North Yorkshire County Council are all fielding candidates who are opposed to the industry. They are among the 262 candidates registered to stand for one of 72 seats on the local authority.
Labour Groups calls on council to do more to protect the environment. Cllr Alan Quinn, writing in the Prestwich and Whitefield Guide, says it is odd that Conservative on Bury Council want improved air quality but voted for fracking.
3 May 2017
Anti-fracking campaigners join Greenpeace UK to block entrance to Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton. DrillOrDrop’s Protest Update, ITV, 2BR, Blackpool Gazette, Lancashire Telegraph
UK Oil and Gas (Investments) plc issues a statement to investors saying it has temporarily withdrawn its application for drilling and oil production at Markwells Wood and will resubmit later in the year. DrillOrDrop report, Proactive Investors, Your Oil and Gas News, The Argus and another report by The Argus (6/5/2017)
Markwells Wood campaigners call for UKOG’s licence to be revoked and the site restored to woodland. DrillOrDrop report
Egdon Resources announces it has submitted a new planning application for oil production at its Wressle site near Scunthorpe. Company statement North Lincolnshire Council told DrillOrDrop it had not yet received a planning application.
UK regulator, the OGA, fails to conduct financial health checks on Third Energy for over two years despite concerns over the fracking firm’s financial stability. Frack Free North Yorkshire reports on an FOI response from the OGA that it last completed a financial competence check on Third Energy in November 2014. The company recorded a loss of more than £3m in its latest set of accounts.
Pro-fracking group claims protesters are “spoiling the countryside”. The Northern Echo reports claims by Friends of Ryedale Gas Exploration that anti-fracking activists at the Kirby Misperton Protection Camp should be stopped “before they spoil local village life in Ryedale and harm tourism”. The group has made a video which they say contrasts “the behaviour of anti-fracking protestors in Lancashire with the tranquillity of picturesque Ryedale”.
Fracked! Or, Please Don’t Use the F-Word, Theatre Royal Brighton, until Saturday. The Argus reviews Alistair Beaton’s satire on the fracking industry and campaign.
2 May 2017
Breaking: UK Oil and Gas Investments PLC withdraws planning application for Markwells Wood in the South Downs National Park. DrillOrDrop report
Preston New Road closed for several hours by lock-on protests outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Little Plumpton involving a total of eight people. All have been arrested for allegedly obstructing the highway. A Cuadrilla statement said the company “unreservedly condemns the unlawful and irresponsible actions”. More details at DrillOrDrop protest update, Lancashire Evening Post, BBC, 2BR, ITV
Environment Agency permission received for drilling of the Lidsey-X2 well. Angus Energy announces it has received an Environment Agency mining waste Standard Rules permit to drill the Lidsey-X2 horizontal production well at the Lidsey oil field, licence PL241, near Bognor Regis, West Sussex. The company said it would now seek required approvals from the Health and Safety Executive and Oil and Gas Authority.
How 25 Metres of Country Road Became England’s Fracking Frontline. Mat Hope, of DeSmog reports on anti-fracking protests at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site.
Fracking becomes election issue as North Yorkshire goes to polls. The Yorkshire Post reports the Green Party is hoping anger over fracking will deliver the party its first every councillor in North Yorkshire this week. The party is fielding more than 40 candidates and has high hopes for the Falsgrave and Stepney division on the edge of Scarborough.
UKIP candidates go against national fracking policy. The Yorkshire Post also reports that UKIP councillors will oppose fracking in North Yorkshire, despite their party backing it nationally.
YP Comment: Council election offers litmus test on North Yorkshire fracking fears. The Yorkshire Post editorial says “The normally-tranquil environs of North Yorkshire have become a national battleground over fracking in the past year but this week’s local elections will provide something of a litmus test on the true strength of local feeling in regard to the issue.” The paper adds: “With tensions continuing to rise in Kirby Misperton and interest from a number of firms in exploring rock formations under different areas of North Yorkshire for gas, the local and national policy headache caused by fracking will not be disappearing whatever happens in this week’s council elections.”
Ryan Zinke on fracking. Energy Voice reports comments by the US Interior Secretary that the US in a position to be energy dominant, not just independent, thanks to fracking and plans to loosen drilling regulations. He tells the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston: “I always say God’s got a sense of humor — he gave us fracking. And fracking is a game-changer — certainly a global game-changer.”
Letters: Price of creating a fracking central. Peter Roberts, writing to the Blackpool Gazette, quotes numbers from Cuadrilla’s shale gas site plans for Lancashire and asks “How does this make any sense?” His figures include 80 ‘super sized’ drilling pads each with 40 more wells, more than 7,000 miles of tunnels, sacrifice of more than 10,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools of domestic water, over 50,000 Wembley Stadiums full of toxic gases released into fresh air and more than 1 million HGV movements.
Oklahoma’s largest earthquake linked to oil and gas industry actions three years earlier, study says. InsideClimateNews reports on a study in the journal Seismological Research Letters which found there had been a sudden and dramatic increase in wastewater injection in wells in the first half of 2013 in the area where a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit in September 2016.
1 May 2017
May Drilling Diary. DrillOrDrop’s UK listing of events about fracking and onshore oil and gas.
Anti-fracking campaigners join Chesterfield May Day parade. DrillOrDrop’s protest update
Fracking site police chief in online forum. The Blackpool Gazette reports that Superintendent Richard Robertshaw will be available on the Fylde Police Facebook page on Tuesday 2 May from 7pm-8pm to discuss the ongoing operation.
Dronfield and Eckington anti-fracking protesters gather outside Sheffield’s Crucible. The Derbyshire Times reports that protesters from the groups Dronfield and Eckington Against Fracking gathered in Sheffield’s Tudor Square on Saturday 29 April to spread awareness of fracking in north east Derbyshire. Peak FM (2/5/2017)
Maypole protest at Dorking’s Cockerill Roundabout against Egdon Resources’ plans to drill at Leith Hill DrillOrDrop’s protest update
Categories: Daily headlines