DrillOrDrop’s October 2017 digest of news about fracking, shale and onshore oil and gas updated daily.
Click here for headlines from previous months,
17 October 2017
Lorry protest near Third Energy’s Kirby Misperton site in North Yorkshire. DrillOrDrop Protest update
16 October 2017
Government considering fracking consent and cash for protest policing. DrillOrDrop report
North Yorkshire police specialist team at Kirby Misperton fracking site where campaigners installed a pre-fabricated observation tower. DrillOrDrop protest update, Minster FM, Yorkshire Post, Gazette and Herald, The York Press
Update on Lidsey-x2 production well. Doriemus, an investor in the Angus-operated Lidsey-X2 well in West Sussex, has issued a statement to investors. This is based on the Angus statement issued on 13 October 2017.
Excessive and bullying police tactics show how the fracking debate is being lost in the UK. Left Foot Forward carries a report by Keith Taylor MEP about a visit to the Kirby Misperton fracking protests.
Fracking industry aims for two milestones. Big Issue North reports from anti-fracking protests in Lancashire and North Yorkshire.
News: Rotherham council consider fracking ban. RothBiz reports that Rotherham Council is to debate a motion on Wednesday 18 October from the ruling Labour group to commit the council not to allow fracking activities on council land. See also DrillOrDrop diary for details
15 October 2017
Lock-on protest in new observation tower at Third Energy’s fracking site at Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire. DrillOrDrop protest update
Point made protesters – now get out of the way. David Hoggard, writing to the Gazette and Herald, says protest behaviour is not “helpful or edifying”, whatever the rights and wrongs of fracking. He says it “will not succeed, since the trial will certainly go ahead, no matter what the protesters might wish.”
SNP veteran Jim Sillars calls for ‘rethink’ on fracking ban. BBC News reports comments by former SNP deputy leader, Jim Sillars, that the party should ‘think again’ on its attitude to fracking. he told the Sunday Politics Scotland programme:
“I think the Scottish public didn’t really know that there was a major consultation going on, which allowed the green movement to ramp up to 99% against fracking. Joe Stalin used to get figures like that as well.”
Fracking ban fails to allay fears. The Carluke Gazette reports on calls to make the indefinite moratorium on fracking in Scotland into a legal ban.
Limerick council bids to block “hazardous” proposals. The Limerick Leader reports councillors are seeking to change the county-wide development plan to “ban the development of incineration, gasification, fracking and other environmentally damaging and destructive industries in Limerick”.
UK Oil & Gas Investments plc could still make you brilliantly rich. The Motley Food reports on recent news at UKOG’s Broadford Bridge site. The article says that despite the problems with cement bonds “the company could still produce enormous returns for investors. It’s all a question of risk and reward”. The author says the company’s chances of survival are 50/50.
14 October 2017
Proactive oil news highlights. Proactive Investors reports on the Angus Energy update issued on 13 October 2017.
Public opinion is not evidence, says new critic of fracking ban. The Times reports another scientist has accused SNP ministers of being selective in choosing evidence to justify their decision to ban fracking. Susan Waldron, of the University of Glasgow, said that while the Scottish government pointed to strong feelings in a public consultation over the ban, and some other studies, it was not clear how additional commissioned reports had been taken into account.
13 October 2017
N Yorks fracking company misses accounts deadline for second year. DrillOrDrop report
Villagers to be surveyed on Kirby Misperton fracking fund. DrillOrDrop report
Police show their true colours at fracking protest. Jenny Jones, a Green Party peer, writing in The Guardian, says:
“When the police forcibly remove a 79-year-old woman for serving refreshments to fracking protesters, you know they have taken sides (Report, 11 October). Having wasted their time and our money dragging pensioners around, the Lancashire constabulary has asked the Home Office for an extra £3.1m to cover the cost of drafting in police from Somerset and Wales. It is time for the policing operation at New Preston Road to be scaled back, or called off altogether. The police are helping to impose a government decision to frack, which is opposed by local residents at every level of local government. The police should go back to patrolling the streets and arresting criminals, instead of defending corporate interests by harassing the protesters.”
Horse Hill follow ups Lidsey and Broadford Bridge have shown promise but there’s still a lot more to do. Proactive Investors reports that there are signs of success at the West Sussex wells at Broadford Bridge and Lidsey but the markets want to see material production statistics.
Battle of Ince Marshes looms as frackers and anti-frackers square up. The Chester Chronicle reports on the first application for fracking in Cheshire – IGas’s plans for Ince Marshes at Elton
Government adviser accuses SNP of ignoring science over fracking ban. The Times reports that Chris Masters, a former Scottish government advisers, has accused the SNP of ignoring scientists and seeking to stifle expert views. The paper quotes Dr Masters, Dr Masters, who chaired an expert group on unconventional oil and gas extraction, or fracking, set up by SNP ministers, said that he would be reluctant to take part in future research commissioned by the government because of a policy approach he described as “sad for Scotland”.
12 October 2017
Police promise to review tactics after dragging 85-year-old woman across road from fracking site. DrillOrDrop report
Bridge replacement plan could help oil and gas developments in West Sussex, group fears. DrillOrDrop report
Broadford Bridge protests trial: Three convictions and one acquittal. DrillOrDrop report
Shale gas event highlights Fylde coast supply chain opportunities. The Blackpool Gazette reports on a Lancashire for Shale event at Burnley Football Club at which Cuadrilla boss, Francis Egan, told how the shale gas industry boss could boost manufacturing and engineering.
Fracking protestors lying in middle of road cut free and arrested. The York Press reports that two women were cut free at about 9.15am in Habton Road, Kirby Misperton and arrested for obstructing the highway. A 49-year-old man was also arrested on suspicion of assaulting and obstructing a police officer.
Man ‘released under investigation’ as police probe reports of bullet at North Yorkshire fracking site. The Yorkshire Post reports that investigations are continuing into the arrest of a 53-year-old man who had a suspected bullet at the Kirby Misperton site made on 11 October.
UK Oil & Gas (LON:UKOG) bounces back after Broadford Bridge disappointment. The Investment Observer reports the UKOG share price rebounded on Thursday following sharp declines after the announcement of operational problems in the Broadford Bridge well.
11 October 2017
Decision on INEOS access to Notts council land for seismic testing delayed again. DrillOrDrop report
Six arrests outside Third Energy’s fracking site at Kirby Misperton. DrillOrDrop protest update
100 people attend Labour Party rally at Third Energy’s fracking site. DrillOrDrop protest update
BNP Paribas rules out future work with shale and tar sands firms. Business Green and Bloomberg are among media outlets to report that France’s biggest listed bank will no longer help shale gas or oil firms from funding or business transactions as part of climate change pledges.
10 October 2017
Proactive Investors (11/10/2017)
“This is what it looks like when fracking comes to a Yorkshire village” – workover rig delivered to Kirby Mipserton. DrillOrDrop report
Environment Agency approves fracking plan for Third Energy’s N Yorkshire site at Kirby Misperton. DrillOrDrop
Scottish Transport Minister tells Tories to frack off. The Evening Express reports comments by Humza Yousaf, Scottish Transport Minister, that the failure to outlaw fracking south of the border would put the countryside and communities at risk.
Church of Scotland welcomes fracking ban. Energy Voice reports on reaction to the continuing moratorium on fracking.
“Terrible abuse” hurled at cops at Derbyshire fracking protest that has cost taxpayers £138K. The Derby Telegraph reports comments by Mark Pickard, chairman of Derbyshire Police Federation, that officers were regularly abused by protesters at PR Marriott in Old Pit Lane, Danesmoor, Clay Cross. Derbyshire Police said policing the protest had cost £138,109.38 in officers’ time.
Have your say on Ince Marshes research centre plans. The Chester Standard reports on drop-in meetings on Wednesday 11 October about the Cheshire Energy Research Field Site.
Time for Government to support clean and green energy. Members of Penrith and Eden Green Party, in a letter to the Cumberland and Westmorland Herald, congratulate the Scottish Government on the continuing moratorium on fracking.
9 October 2017
Police drag 85-year-old woman across road from Cuadrilla’s shale gas site. DrillOrDrop protest update
Police at Kirby Misperton say they are not stopping people filming. Minster FM reports on the allegation that policing are trying to stop filming of their operation outside Third Energy’s fracking site.
What’s happening this week? DrillOrDrop weekly diary of events about fracking and the onshore oil and gas industry
Lidsey BDF-28 drilling the Lidsey-x2 well through the Great Oolite reservoir. Angus Energy plc tweets an 11 second video of the drill rig operating at the Lidsey well site in West Sussex.
Greens ‘are changing the debate’, co-leader tells members. BBC News reports comments from Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the Green Party:
“We have changed the minds of other parties on fracking and we are changing the debate about a universal basic income.”
Opinion: Fracking ban – it is just politics. Tom Baxter, senior lecturer at University of Aberdeen, tells Energy Voice no amount of evidence-based material would have countered entrenched public opinion over fracking in Scotland. Opinions were formed, he said, by exposure to very poor media reporting and scaremongering.
8 October 2017
Kirby Misperton fracking firm: ‘We have a moral responsibility to show this can work’. The Yorkshire Post reports from Third Energy’s fracking site at Kirby Misperton.
Anti-fracking campaigners build another observation tower. Minster FM reports on another wooden tower at the entrance to Third Energy’s fracking site in Kirby Misperton.
Filey MP talks fracking. Yorkshire Coast Radio talks to MP Kevin Hollinrake about fracking.
Anti-fracking campaigners build another observation tower. Minster FM reports that campaigners have built another wooden tower next to the KM8 fracking site at Kirby Misperton.
Time for a fracking meeting so views can be aired. Charles Boss, acting chair of Barlborough Against Fracking Group, urges the Derbyshire Times to facilitate a meeting on fracking. He says:
“We can all sit in our ivory towers, play verbal ping-pong on the letters pages, but the time has come to meet face to face on the battleground of informed public opinion.”
MP welcomes total ban on fracking in Scotland. The Kirkintilloch Herald reports comments from Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East MP, Stuart McDonald, that there was no case for approving fracking.
Let’s put the fracking ban into law. Mary Church of Friends of the Earth Scotland, writes:
“The Scottish Government’s fracking ban is fantastic news for communities and the environment. Now let’s secure it by making the ban legal. We urge the substantial anti-fracking majority in the Scottish Parliament to now work together to ensure the strongest and longest protection for the people of Scotland.”
Letters: Action is needed to protect democracy. Barry Gillespie, of Malton, writes to the Gazette and Herald, questions whether the presence of 50 police officers and imposition of what he calls “stringent constraints” on the protesters’ activities are impartial behaviour by the police.
“If it appears that our police are being used to facilitate a controversial fracking agenda, while hampering or discrediting legitimate protest, then there will need to be urgent action to protect democracy and the traditions of policing by consent.”
Speak up council. Lorraine Allanson, also writing to the Gazette and Herald, says villagers around Kirby Misperton have suffered “untold disruption” from road closures, noisy protesters, police presence and media frenzy. She asks what do protesters offer?
“When will the council and councillors support the people who do not support the protest camps”
The paper also has letters from Christopher Pickles and June Smith.
7 October 2017
YP Letters: Follow Maryland and Scots example and ban fracking here in Yorkshire. Russell Scott, writing to The Yorkshire Post, says Third Energy’s plans to frack at Kirby Misperton “ignore the risks now proven in the peer-reviewed scientific studies and continue to ignore the vast majority of our community who oppose fracking.” David Cragg-James, also writing to the paper, refers to MP Kevin Hollinrake’s use of the expression “mob rule” for anti-fracking protesters at Kirby Misperton. He says:
“The “mob” at Kirby Misperton, sadly seldom more than 20-30 strong for most of the day, is composed largely of retired people mixing with younger committed and inspiring souls and a welcome mixture of family groups, including mums with toddlers.”
6 October 2017
Fracking is dead, insists Sturgeon. The Times reports Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon has insisted that fracking is being banned in Scotland. She had been challenged by Mark Ruskell, a Green MSP, to “get this ban properly over the line” by legislating to outlaw fracking.
Fracking ban a bid to appease Green Party. Allan Sutherland, writing to The Courier, says the “big driver” for First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s decision to ban fracking is:
“Her desperation to retain the votes of six Green MSPs who between them at the last Holyrood elections won 13,172 first preference votes.”
Consultation on ban is a sham. Otto Inglis, also writing to The Courier, says the SNP “can’t sell the ban on either economic or even environmental grounds”.
Third Energy hoping to test UK’s fracking procedure in the coming weeks. Engineering and Technology states (incorrectly) that the first test fracking procedure in the UK is set to taking place at Third Energy’s Kirby Misperton site.
Fracking parliamentary groups hang up their hard hats. Spinwatch reports that two all party parliamentary groups on shale gas are not on the latest list.
5 October 2017
Third Energy to frack before the end of the year. John Dewar, chief operating officer of Third Energy, says the company plans to frack its Kirby Misperton well by the end of 2017. Times & Star, The Independent
Scots fracking ban puts opinion before fact, say academics. The Times reports comments by academics that the SNP ban on fracking is not justified by scientific evidence.
Everything you need to know: Scotland’s fracking moratorium. Energy Voice reports on the different views of the continuing moratorium on fracking in Scotland.
Fracking appeals: A pillar of the legal system or complete waste of our taxes? The Blackpool Gazette reports that a judge has called for the end of state aid to anti-fracking protesters fighting their cases in court in a bid to save tax-payers’ money. London-based District Judge Michael Snow was speaking after a two-day trial of eight campaigners arrested after a lock-on protest at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas drill site. Inews
Eight anti-fracking protesters found guilty over lock-on at Preston New Road. The Blackpool Gazette reports that eight protesters were given a 12-month conditional discharge for obstructing the highway on 2 May 2017. All but one was ordered to pay £250 court costs.
Chester University invites Green Party leader to see renewable energy research in action. The Chester Chronicle reports that University of Chester vice chancellor Tim Wheeler has invited the Green Party to visit the Thornton Science Park. The University is in discussions with the British Geological Survey and Natural Environment Research Council about the UKGEOS underground observatory that could be based at Thornton.
4 October 2017
Broadford Bridge lock-on protesters found guilty of besetting. DrillOrDrop report
Police “misused” fire service to end N Yorks fracking protest – Fire Brigades Union. DrillOrDrop report
Leader comment: Fracking lacks public and political support. The Scotsman says “The Scottish Government now has to answer the question of how it will develop its energy strategy without fracking. It may fail this test, but a bigger failure would have been to ignore public opinion.
Theresa May: ‘Fracking has a role to play’. ITV News reports that Theresa May says fracking “has a role to play” in the British energy. She said work to extract shale gas needed to be properly regulated and communities should “benefit” from the process, but she did not agree with the Scottish government’s decision to ban it.
Scottish firm set to cash in on English fracking riches. Energy Voice reports that Aurora Energy Resources, based in Aberdeen, has licences covering 400km2 in northwest England.
How fracking is upending the chemical industry. Nature reports on how chemists are working out the best ways to convert shale gas compounds into products for modern living.
European Parliament: Say no to fossil fuel lobbying at international climate talks. DeSmog UK reports that the European Parliament voted for a motion that gives its delegation to the UN Framework Conventional of Climate Change meetings license to encourage countries to limit the access of organisations that could dampen the ambition of the process.
3 October 2017
Scotland’s energy minister, Paul Wheelhouse, announces the Scottish Government will not support fracking and the moratorium will be extended indefinitely. DrillOrDrop reports: Breaking news of the announcement, Scottish Parliament reaction, Reaction from industry, Reaction from campaign groups, Reaction from English campaigners
Other coverage: Energy Voice (Fracking ban ignores Scottish oil expertise, if SNP was in power in 60s would be ‘no oil industry’ claim experts); Energy Voice (INEOS Shale boss: Fracking decision by Scottish Government beggars belief – 4/10.2017) The Scotsman (INEOS on Scottish fracking ban: ‘England will reap benefits‘); The Scottish Sun (Scotland to ban fracking as government replaces current freeze on shale-gas drilling by completely outlawing the practice); The Herald (Ineos Shale: Fracking ban means Scotland will miss out on 3,100 jobs); The Canary (As Scotland bans fracking, protesters in England continue to face police violence); BBC News (Fracking ban: What is the situation in Wales?); The Guardian (Scottish government bans fracking after public opposition); Blackpool Gazette (Shale gas industry’s surprise at “poor” Scottish decision to ban fracking – 4/10/2017); Farmers Weekly (Fracking to be banned in Scotland ‘indefinitely’); DeSmog UK (Scotland promises to ban fracking ‘indefinitely’)
Kirby Misperton marks harvest festival at Third Energy’s fracking site. DrillOrDrop protest update
Gove: Climate policy must not come ‘at the expense of economic growth”. DeSmog UK reports that Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, told the Conservative Party Conference that, while is convinced climate change is a danger, efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions must not come at the expense of economic growth.
Catholic church to make record divestment from fossil fuels. The Guardian reports that More than 40 Catholic institutions are to announce the largest ever faith-based divestment from fossil fuels, on the anniversary of the death of St Francis of Assisi. The sum involved has not been disclosed but the volume of divesting groups is four times higher than a previous church record, and adds to a global divestment movement, led by investors worth $5.5tn.
Campaigners plan anti-fracking vigil on Feast of St Francis. Independent Catholic News reports that campaigners plan anti-fracking vigil on Feast of St Francis on 4 October 2017.
2 October 2017
Police use fire engine hydraulic lift to remove campaigner from tower at Kirby Misperton fracking site plus details from lock-on protest. DrillOrDrop report
Lock-on anti-fracking protest at Third Energy’s Kirby Misperton site. DrillOrDrop report, , BBC News (2/10/2017); BBC News (3/10/2017), The York Press (3/10.2017); ITV News; Northern Echo; Gazette and Herald
Researchers debate ideas for £8m study on fracking impacts. DrillOrDrop report
Green Party co-leader calls for parliamentary vote on fracking. DrillOrDrop protest update
Green Party leader urges University of Chester to back renewables not fracking. The Chester Chronicle reports co-leader, Jonathan Bartley, has written to the University of Chester saying it should have nothing to do with a geological research centre planned for Thornton Science Park. The facility, being consulted on by the British Geological Survey, will focus on investigating shale gas and carbon capture.
‘For Scotland’s sake don’t ban fracking’, says Grangemouth energy giant. The Scottish Herald reports comments by Tom Pickering, operations director of INEOS Shale in response to suggestions that the SNP was preparing to outlaw fracking (see 1/10/2017). The Times
Slinging mud: inside (and outside) the UK’s biggest fracking site. Adam Vaughan, of The Guardian, talks to protesters and staff at Cuadrilla’s shale gas site in Lancashire.
Nottinghamshire Labour councillors call for oil and gas refusals. The Labour group leader on Nottinghamshire County Council, Cllr Alan Rhodes, calls on the council to refuse any exploratory drilling, seismic testing or fracking on its land.
Voters back fracking bans despite pressure on states to drop them. The Guardian reports on polling by the Australian Institute which finds 49% of people support a moratorium on fracking in their state while 24% oppose.
1 October 2017
Revealed: SNP will ban fracking in Scotland. In an exclusive, Rob Edwards reports for the Sunday Herald that the Scottish Government is set to announce a ban on fracking. The report says ministers are putting the finishing touching to a permanent ban, replacing the moratorium which began in January 2015. The paper says it understands the announcement has long been pencilled in for this week, before the parliamentary recess and the SNP annual conference. There is a small risk the announcement may be postponed by last-minute legal complications, the paper says.
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