Updated: Campaigners brought down from rig platform at Third Energy’s Kirby Misperton fracking site

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Campaigners being brought down off the rig at Third Energy’s fracking site, 22 October 2017. Photo: Kirby Misperton Protection Camp

Updated at 2.30pm

Two campaigners who spent about 30 hours on the rig platform at Third Energy’s fracking site at Kirby Misperton have been brought down to the ground.

The operation to remove them was completed at 10.25am. It involved a specialist climbing team from Surrey, which had attended the eviction of a camp at the Europa Oil & Gas site near Leith Hill. (DrillOrDrop report). They were later arrested with criminal damage and hindering work under the Trades Union and Labour Relations Act.

A third campaigner came down at 3.45pm yesterday. He was arrested and charged with aggravated trespass and criminal damage. (More details in DrillOrDrop report)

The action follows notice by Third Energy that it will frack the KM8 well at Kirby Misperton from next Thursday (26 October 2017). This will be the first high volume hydraulic fracture in the UK since a series of earthquakes near Blackpool in 2011. They were linked to fracking at Cuadrilla’s Preese Hall well.

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Specialist climbing team at Third Energy’s fracking site, 22 October 2017. Photo: Kirby Misperton Protection Camp

The operation to bring the woman campaigner took about an hour, according to a statement from Third Energy. The other campaigner, a man, was brought down 30 minutes later, the company said.

When one of the campaigners was escorted to the ground, a member of the Protestor Removal Team could be heard on a video livestream saying:

“Well done by the way, very impressive, I’ve got a lot of respect for you. It was really cold up there last night as well.”

North Yorkshire Police said in a statement issued at about 2.15pm:

“A man and a woman, who climbed up a rig at the hydraulic fracturing site in Kirby Misperton in the early hours of Saturday 21 October, have been brought down safely from the rig.

“The 21 year old woman and the 28 year old man have been arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass and criminal damage. They both remain in custody at this time.”

Alan Linn, a director of Third Energy, said:

“We are relieved that the two remaining protestors have now been brought down from the rig.  Their actions put both themselves and people working on the site in jeopardy.  Setting off an emergency flare on a live gas site – essentially an open flame – was exceptionally reckless.

However, I am pleased that we were able to ensure their safety overnight by providing them with proper harnesses and also hot drinks.  I would like to commend the rescue team for their professional and sensitive approach to resolving this situation.”

The workover rig at the Kirby Misperton site will now be demobilised, Third Energy said.

“We can stop this”

In a statement this morning, one of the campaigners said:

“Staying on this rig isn’t just about highlighting fracking as a serious threat. It’s about proving that we, the public, have the means to shut down and sustain the closure of a dangerous industry. Sitting through the storm felt like nothing compared to the very real consequences if we allow fracking to continue.

“Our part in this demonstration was only possible due to everyone else’s actions. We are united. We can make a difference. We can stop this.”

The campaigner who came down yesterday said:

 “We just went for it, we just ran. I was in front, I just climbed up as fast as I could and pulled the bag up after me. I got to the top and remembered I was petrified of heights! It was spontaneous and went just how it should have, it was perfection. We knew we had to do something so we thought, yeah, let’s take the rig. Third Energy say they’re gonna frack this week. No, they’re not.”

A group of opponents of Third Energy’s operation gathered near the wellsite to watch the operation yesterday. They posted banners on the fence reading: “Whose rig?”, “Keep Ryedale Frack Free”, and “Can’t take down water protectors until every fracking rig is down”.

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Anti-fracking campaigners at the back of Third Energy’s site at Kirby Misperton, 21 October 2017. Photo: Kirby Misperton Protection Camp

This post will updated with new information as we get it

38 replies »

  1. Meanwhile I’ve spent my weekend wining and dining in a warm and pleasant environment.
    All a bit of a non event in the end and the last hurrah before fracking commences.

    • GBK, I have installed a new system in my basement that is great for keeping my home warm. It’s called the Antifracker2000. It’s a pretty simple set up. There are around a dozen extremists down there who are chained to stationary bikes. They just pedal away all day long, spinning electric rotors that generate electricity which is used to fuel my electric heaters. There’s an added feature that I opted for which installs bags around their mouths to capture all of the hot air (methane and co2) that spews forth almost incessantly. That added hot air is fed into my forced air system. It’s quite ingenuous, low cost, and relatively environmentally friendly. I just throw some alfalfa sprouts down there three times a day and they take care of the rest. Best of all, these poor miscreants tell me that they feel useful for the first time in their lives! Win, win, win!

    • Interesting paradox here, in that Third Energy and the police and climbing team profess to be concerned about the safety of the protectors, however the very same industry intend to threaten everyone with their provably poisonous and dangerous processes?
      It would appear one declared industry hand is at odds with the other??

      Unless of course such professed care for protectors safety is merely a convenient face to show to the media?
      Smoke and mirrors perhaps?

    • So, the question is what will come first, the chicken or the egg?

      Chicken: Will they keep the pressure low and not get the results, so investors flee?
      Egg: Or will they push it up and shake Flamingo land?

      Very sad that the question is even under consideration in our green and pleasant land…(that’s pleasant not peasant for all those who think us the desolate North). Thoughts and support for all about to go through this hell……..

  2. It’s certainly raised the profile of fracking concerns. There have also been significant articles in the press this weekend.

    The Sunday Times: ‘‘The Sunday Times tracked down Terry Atkinson, a former operations manager for the site who is dying from myeloma, a cancer of the marrow. There is no suggestion that his illness is related to his work with the company.
    It is understood Atkinson signed a “compromise agreement” when he left in 2008 that may have involved a payment and prevents him discussing the company. When he was approached, Atkinson said: “I cannot speak about any of these issues.” Asked if he believed fracking was safe, he replied: “No, I do not.”
    Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that the Environment Agency (EA) has had concerns during the site’s 20-year history as a conventional source of gas.
    Third Energy was criticised by inspectors after an “odour” in 2015 was not reported to the EA, in breach of the company’s permit, despite 74,000 cubic metres of gas being released while a leak was repaired. The company had reported the leak to the district council.
    The operation was instructed by the EA to “review the management procedure for notification and reporting” and the company says it has made changes.
    Another EA report shows that in 2003 an inspector found the company had been pumping glycol, a toxic antifreeze chemical, down a waste disposal well for about a year in breach of the site’s licence. The company says it was later awarded a licence to dispose of the chemical and the amounts involved were minimal.
    It was criticised in 1998 and 2003 for having no “recognised environmental management system” (EMS). It should have kept proper records of its environmental safeguards. Third Energy says it has EMS systems in place that are constantly updated.
    One document revealed the leak of 100 litres of acid that was then flushed into the local watercourse. The company said the incident was “controlled” and the situation “neutralised” and the EA had taken no enforcement action.’

    Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/10/21/village-fracking-no-go-warns-lord-howell/

    Yet another breach by Cuadrilla: http://www.spinwatch.org/index.php/issues/climate/item/5982-third-environmental-permit-breach-this-year-by-cuadrilla-at-lancs-fracking-site

    Even Horse and Hound: http://www.pressreader.com/uk/horse-hound/20171019/282956745399207

    • Just business as usual for the caring members of the onshore oil and gas industry. They care for nothing but their own profits!

      • Funny, Dr Dave. Are humans who work in the o&g industry born with a certain genetic mutation that makes them heartless capitalists? Are all employees tested for this mutation before given employment contracts? LOL. You people make me laugh with your anti-capitalist rants. Keep on fighting, my man. I’m sure that the world will realize one day what a mistake it made in not embracing centrally planned socialism. OMG! ;o)

        • the issue and the concerns surrounding whether or not hydraulic fracturing risks public health and if it has impacted water air and public health is independent of any ideology: socialism vs capitalism. I know the answer firsthand………………..it risks water air and public health.

    • We have loads of non-disclosures and gag-orders which means silencing of workers, residents, those harmed here in Pa. and US…the silencing of people who take settlements and are harmed should be a national security risk….Information of harm being withheld with “silencing” puts us all at risk…we need full disclosure and transparency to insure our safety …..it’s the Shame of Toxic Industries that they need such…

      • Well you need to be aware that all drilling plans, chemicals, procedures, correspondence etc are all open for the public to see. Chemicals in the UK have to be non hazardous to groundwater for example.
        So its a totally different ball game here.

        • May I point out that non hazardous to ground water does not mean these chemicals are non polluting or non harmful to humans. This is a strict definition in the context of permitted use and only applies to what goes down the well. What about what comes back up the well? This is indeed hazardous and has to be covered under the Mining Regs. So however you want to cloak it, the reality is that fracking produces a huge volume of toxic/hazardous liquid waste. Plus the solid drill cuttings will also be heavily contaminated as well.

  3. If you want to read about the extent of water contamination in Pennsylvania, and the extent to which the industry and local EPA have tried to cover this up, please visit the Public Herald website and take a look around. Fifteen minutes spent reading this will convince you that the industry line that ‘there has been no water contamination in the USA’ is a blatant lie.

      • If you read Ellie’s comment properly you would see that she is specifically refuting the spurious claim that we here so often in England – that ‘there has been no water contamination in the USA’. Her point is relevant and useful in this context.

    • Why is this of any relevance Ellie? In the UK the enviro protections and disposal requirements are open to examination. The process of fracking has never polluted anywhere, provided it was done deep (required in law here) and the basics of environmental protection are in place with a properly designed well.
      See https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/545924/LIT_10495.pdf
      and https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/about-shale-gas-and-hydraulic-fracturing-fracking/developing-shale-oil-and-gas-in-the-uk
      There are dozens more papers regulating every aspect of drilling.

      The fact that there have been some odd cases of dodgy cheapskate drilling done in the US doesnt mean the process is fundamentally flawed. 1.5 million frack jobs without a single case of pollution is a good record. If you want to present convincing info it’s a good job to use an independent source, rather than a biased one.

      A badly designed early jetplane (the Comet) suffered several crashes before the problem was analysed. Nowadays, planes are incredibly reliable and safe. Does that mean flying is fundamentally risky? Of course not. Same for shale gas.

      • Forgive me if I’m wrong but I was under the impression that the UK’s BATs are all based on US standards? And wasn’t the conclusion of the joint Anglo/American NERC study on fracking that the UK regulations need further development and also that further research is required into public health impacts? And didn’t professor Richard Davies confirm this in front of the Parliamentary APPG on shale, when he stated that the UK regulations were not there yet? Given this industry has now been operating for decades and the regulations it is worrying that experts have concluded that the regulations are not as the industry and government claim and further research is required. It is easy to see therefore why people do not want his industry anywhere near them. Local communities are not guinea pigs nor some sort of “test pilot” for the oil and gas industry. Things are clearly far from right.

        • See my reply above. Read Ellie’s comment properly. it is valid and extremely relevant – Thanks Ellie. She is specifically refuting what so many people wrongly assert that “there has been no water contamination in the USA”. The USA has been fracking longer than us and so we can see more clearly the damage that is being inflicted. Fracking does lead to water contamination – it is a fact.

      • ‘Cheapskate drilling’ … it was anything but cheap. I suppose the cost of drilling was small, compared to the cost of greasing the political machines of both the Democrat and Republican parties. Wonder had ex BHP Billiton employee Francis Egan would care to comment on why he jumped ship ? and whether its from frying pan into fire. http://www.mining.com/bhp-takes-largest-ever-write-down-on-us-shale-operation/ 20Bn, of which over 13bn had to be written off, and 15bn capital spent, valued at approx 16bn with 4bn deferred liabilities .. 35bn investment only effectively worth 12bn. I don’t call that cheap..

      • Just to put all of this into context, fracking hasn’t caused one single instance of water contamination anywhere in the US. There have been isolated incidents where poor well completions and spills caused very limited contamination…..nothing on the scale of most major industrial accidents. None of you anti-frackers can prove otherwise, because the proof doesn’t exist.

        And yes, of course it’s a giant conspiracy. We all understand that the EPA, the state environmental agencies, the outside scientists, consultants, and lawyers as well as the politicians, are all working for the corporations to kill Americans because we don’t really value human life, right? LOL

  4. Refricktion-it’s quite simple. The antis have to fabricate that they are in receipt of the only truth, and everyone else must be some sort of anti truth demon. Yet, if you look at the description of those same antis on other sites it is a very different picture! But then, “safe spaces” are a requirement of modern society, so it would appear DOD are fulfilling a real social need.

    “They care for nothing but their own profits”. Erm-safety harnesses and hot drinks? Many other countries, high pressure hoses would have been used to remove them, and if they had fallen as a result, that would be their problem. Yet, if we in the UK fail to exploit the resources under our feet, than that is where our oil and gas will come from. I know the eco nonsense that will produce, but will just quote “the evolution of the energy market is going to take decades.” I will not bother supplying the reference because the antis aren’t interested outside of the blinkers, but that is the reality.

    But of course, we have a financial interest in Third Energy, owned by the Barclay Brothers, and we are all shareholders in Ineos! (They can’t even get the basic facts right.)

  5. A toxic legacy in the US, Australia, Nrw Zealand, all promised gold standard regulations. The oil and gas industry repeat the same lies and tactics wherever they go. But they are now being rapidly undercut by renewables. Like a drug addict, they are in denial. Our task as local residents is to disrupt and delay their next fix, in the hope that even if they get one more hit, it will be their last. And I do hope, for our communities’ sake, that they will NEVER frack in Yorkshire.

  6. You mean that “toxic legacy” of oil below $60/barrel, Ian??? Maybe in cosy Yorkshire you can ignore that, but around the world that means life for millions. But then, what are a few million deaths over the horizon and out of sight as long as you carry out your task? Shame about their communities.
    Enjoy your Sunday roast? Cooked with USA sourced fracked gas? Some in the UK will have been.

    • The poorest countries will suffer the worst impacts from climate change caused by fossil fuels. Millions are already dying prematurely from air pollution and many more millions will be harmed by the continued use of fossil fuels use. It seem that now you have lost the argument about the UK needing fracking to keep the lights on, so you are trying to justify fracking by claiming that it will help poorer countries whilst completely ignoring the impacts of climate change. The UK government has confirmed the UK has energy security for the next 20 years without fracking and fracking plays no part in the government’s green growth strategy. Renewables are advancing and becoming ever cheaper, technology is moving ahead to replace gas heating in our homes and buildings and along with improved energy efficiency the demand for gas will continue to fall. The economics of fracking look set to only worsen as there is already a glut of hydrocarbons in the world.

  7. The foolish ape will cut the branch on which his loved ones stand,
    or wash away the very rocks that lie beneath his land.
    Which of you would soil your stream and which of you would lie
    and say it was another who caused the fish to die?

  8. KatT-sorry. I usually enjoy your posts but not one of your best, certainly not in respect of accuracy. Oil prices, for example, are starting to rise again. Guess why? Frackers in USA have decided to take a breather and look for profit rather than volume. World use of fossil fuels is rising again as economic output increases. Any serious evolution around the energy market is decades away.
    Renewables becoming ever cheaper? Of course, you added in the cost of Hinkley to that? Take a look in Africa. Many of those countries are desperate to extract fossil fuels to boost their economies.
    I know this is a site where revolution trumps evolution, but in the real world it is the other way round, and that is why fracking in the UK will be tested. If it does turn out to be the “non event” that some have predicted it will be interesting to see what happens then.

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