DrillOrDrop’s December 2017 digest of news about fracking, shale and onshore oil and gas updated daily.
Click here for headlines from previous months
15 December 2017
Green Party deputy leader, Amelia Womack, visits protesters outside Third Energy’s Kirby Misperton site. DrillOrDrop Protest Update
Security staff at Third Energy’s site photographed in ski masks. Steven Spy photographs security officers walking towards the Kirby Misperton fracking site dressed in masks, obscuring their faces. The company tells Minister FM:
“Today our crew coming to the site were required to walk the last few hundred metres to the wellsite. Due to the cold weather, they chose to wear warm headgear.”
Tag Barclays campaign continues at branch in Selby. DrillOrDrop Protest Update
14 December 2017
Pop-up protest outside Lancashire County Council over Cuadrilla’s shale gas operation near Blackpool. DrillOrDrop Protest Update
Europa Oil & Gas annual meeting. In its AGM statement, Europa said it expected “needle-moving” activity in its onshore operations at Wressle and Holmwood. In an update to shareholders, the company its operations to produce oil at Wressle and drill at Holmwood had taken longer than anticipated. A decision on the appeal over refusal of planning permission at Wressle was expected on or before 10 January. An appeal had been submitted on non determination of the traffic management plan for Holmwod and work was expected to start in the first half of 2018. Proactive investors
MP criticises fracking company for by-passing local decision making on Bramleymoor Lane. Peak FM says Lee Rowley, MP for NE Derbyshire, is “extremely disappointed” at INEOS’s decision to appeal to the planning inspectorate over its shale gas application at Marsh Lane. The MP, who has written a guide to the application (link here) said:
“The application for exploratory drilling is incredibly complex and could have enormous long-term implications for North Derbyshire and local residents. More time was needed for Derbyshire County Council to understand all aspects of the application and to work through all of the representations received.
“Over 5,000 consultation responses have been received in one of the largest community engagement projects our area has ever seen. This decision should have been made locally.”
“We are winning”, says Green deputy leader before visit to Yorkshire fracking site. The Green Party quotes its deputy leader, Amelia Womack, that a “vital point” has been reached in the fight to stop fracking across the UK. She says:
“We might look back at this moment in future as a time when the tide turned against the frackers.”
Forties pipeline crack ‘stabilised’, INEOS declares force majeure on North Sea oil. Energy Voice reports INEOS has said the crack which shut down the Forties crude pipeline has stopped widening. The safety cordon has been reduced to 150m. The company had suspended its contractual obligations under force majeure (in situations beyond its control). Major oil companies have shut down their production in the North Sea because of the crack.
13 December 2017
Council allows night-time deliveries at Cuadrilla’s fracking site – residents say it’s a “dilution of conditions”. DrillOrDrop report
Two appeals on INEOS shale gas applications to be heard at public inquiry. DrillOrDrop report
Anti-fracking campaigners join protest in Easingwold in support for fire crews. DrillOrDrop Protest Update
Fracking is a low risk to health. The Gazette and Herald reports comments by North Yorkshire County Council i response to a question raised as the Ryedale Area Committee on 11 December 2017. The council said it had “no significant concerns” about fracking and “the potential risk to health will below”.
12 December 2017
Three people acquitted of charges arising from anti-fracking protests. The case against another is dismissed. DrillOrDrop Protest Update
World Bank to end financial support for oil and gas exploration. The Guardian reports that the World Bank will end its financial support for oil and gas exploration within the next two years in response to the growing threat posed by climate change.
Insurance giant Axa dumps investments in tar sands pipelines. The Guardian reports Axa is divesting from 25 tar sands companies and from three major pipelines needed to deliver oil to market. It has also ended the insurance it provides. The pipelines are understood to be in North America.
Oil jumps to over $65 per barrel after Forties pipeline shut for emergency repairs. The Guardian is reporting live on implications of the shutdown. Tom Crotty, of INEOS, says the crack is 5-6″ long and has widened over the weekend. a new section of pip will be needed. The shutdown is expected to be 2-3 weeks. Tom Crotty says this “very expensive for INEOS” and also its suppliers.
Surveillance firms spied on campaign groups for big companies, leak shows. The Guardian reports on how large companies paid corporate intelligence firms to monitor and infiltrate political groups that challenged their businesses.
The Tories’ rebranding won’t wash: being green is about more than fluffy bunnies. Molly Scott Cato, Green Party MEP, writing in The Guardian, welcomes government policies on animal protection but says they are “easy wins”. She recommends putting Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, in special measures and assess him on key issues including whether he will ban fracking..
11 December 2017
Fracking companies feature on new “climate disinformation database”. DrillOrDrop report
Ministers questioned over Kirby Misperton fracking plans. DrillOrDrop update on parliamentary questions
Campaign to stop investing fossil fuels gains steam. Energy Voice reports the UK Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and the SNP Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, have backed a campaign for the parliament’s £612m pension fund to stop investing in fossil fuels.
Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner responds to Netpol’s report on policing anti-fracking protests. Netpol prints a letter from Clive Grunshaw to the group’s report on policing of anti-fracking protests.
Greens call for refusal of frack licence change. The Blackpool Gazette reports comments by Friends of the Earth which has urged the Environment Agency to refuse changes to a permit which it said would intensify fracking operations at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site.
INEOS North Sea oil and gas pipeline to be shut for repairs. The Scotsman reportrs that the Forties Pipeline, which carries 40% of North Sea oil and gas, is to be shut to repair a crack. A 300m cordon was set up when a hairline crack was spotted south of Aberdeen and some residents were placed in temporary accommodation. BBC News
10 December 2017
What’s happening this week? 11-17 December 2017. DrillOrDrop listing
Plastics industry under pressure on pollution. The Sunday Herald reports on growing pressure on the Grangemouth plastics plant, operated by INEOS, because of waste pollution on beaches and in oceans. The Firth of Forth around Grangemouth is a hotspot for tiny plastic nurdles, the building blocks of plastic products. More than half a million were found on Bo’ness beach. The Ferret (11/12/2017)
9 December 2017
Guest Post: A view from the well pad. Lee Petts gives his impressions of Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site. DrillOrDrop guest post
Bank vandalised with anti-fracking gesture. The Lancashire Evening Post reports the Barclays branch in Lytham had the words “ban fracking” sprayed on two of its windows between Friday evening and Saturday morning.
Ask the Energy Secretary to stop fracking. Friends of the Earth Manchester urges people to write to Greg Clark, the Energy Secretary, asking him not to allow fracking in North Yorkshire or Lancashire.
8 December 2017
Campaigner, Joe Corre, seeks appeal against INEOS fracking protest injunction. DrillOrDrop report
Council agrees £160,000 restoration fund for Kirby Misperton fracking site – “deeply worrying” say campaigners. DrillOrDrop report
Cuadrilla Q & A dismisses fears about sour gas at Fylde fracking site. DrillOrDrop report
Monks blessing at Preston New Road. DrillOrDrop protest update
Christmas Party at entrance to Third Energy’s fracking site at Kirby Misperton. DrillOrDrop protest update
Rotherham Council shocked at INEOS tactics. RothBiz reports planners and councillors in Rotherham are shocked, disappointed, disgusted and upset at fracking firm INEOS sidestepping the local planning authority. Cllr Atkin, chair of the planning board, said the council was going to determine the application in November but because a rejection was recommended, INEOS asked for an extension to overcome objections. The board is now set to meet on 25 January 2018 and officers are still expected to recommend refusal.
Move by INEOS shows contempt. Bob Street, writing to The Derbyshire Times on behalf of Coal Aston & Dronfield Against Fracking criticises INEOS’s request for its Derbyshire shale gas application to be decided by a planning inspector because of “unreasonable delays”. He says:
“This is patently false. DCC has been following the correct planning procedures throughout and it continues to do so. Progress is being made and INEOS must accept the due process.
“We feel INEOS is showing a total and utter contempt for all the communities, residents and inhabitants of the areas which they have earmarked with what we think are rapacious plans to inustrialise our homelands.”
Fracking: back frack it or sack it? Property Week reports from Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site.
Understanding future emissions from low-carbon power systems by integration of life-cycle assessment and integrated energy modelling. Nature Energy publishes online a research paper by academics in Germany, Norway and the US. It concludes that cumulative emissions attributable to upscaling low-carbon power, other than hydropower, are small compared with direct sectoral fossil fuel emissions and the total carbon budget.
7 December 2017
Cuadrilla announces plans for seismic testing near Fylde shale gas site. DrillOrDrop report
Anti-fracking protester fined. A 31-year-old woman who took part in a lock-on protest outside Third Energy’s Kirby Misperton site on 19 October 2017 has been fined £50 and ordered to pay £85 in costs and a £30 surcharge. She also received a conditional discharge. DrillOrDrop Protest Update and Northern Echo (13/12/2017)
Wall Street tells frackers to stop counting barrels, start making profits. The Wall Street Journal reports that 12 major shareholders in US shale oil and gas companies met in September in Manhattan to discuss how to get frackers to make money. The paper says that in the months since, shareholders have put the screws on to shale executives in ways that are changing the financial calculus of hydraulic fracturing.
6 December 2017
National Trust denies it has acted unreasonably in refusing to allow INEOS to carry out geological tests on historic parkland. DrillOrDrop updated report
Alan Whitehead MP asks question about criteria for decision on fracking at Third Energy’s Kirby Misperton site. DrillOrDrop report
Louise Haigh asks parliamentary question about funding for policing of anti-frackng protests. DrillOrDrop report
“Tens of thousands of pounds” spent on 40 security guards and bailiffs to evict Horse Hill protesters. Get Surrey reports dozens of security guards and bailiffs were used to evict campaigners at the Horse Hill oil site at the weekend, following a three-day protest. One of the investors in the site, UKOG, said it had cost tens of thousands of pounds to carry out the eviction.
UKOG loan conversion and completion of acquisition of 10% of PEDL143. UKOG announces in a statement to shareholders that Cuart Investments PCC Ltd and YaII PN Ltd had converted another £500,000 of the £10m loan into shares. UKOG has also received final consent on its acquisition of a further 10% interest in the Weald Basin licence PEDL143 from Warwick Energy. This takes UKOG’s interest in the PEDL to 40%. PEDL143 is immediately west of the Horse Hill licence PEDL137 in which UKOG has a 32.435% interest.
Scientist’s gas fears over Fylde fracking. The Blackpool Gazette reports on comments by geologist Robin Grayson that the hydrogen sulphide content, known as sour gas, in shale gas in the Fylde could be a problem for the industry. Cuadrilla said there only trace levels of H2S gas in the Bowland shale gas.
Decision by former MP to link up with fracking firm criticised. The Derbyshire Times follows up the INEOS announcement that it had commissioned Natascha Engel to write a leaflet on fracking.
Fracking protest tea lady gets a new canteen. Minster FM reports that the famous tea stall at Kirby Misperton fracking site has moved into a new caravan.
Chester man ‘s model bid for renewable energy. The Chester Leader reports that Bryan Lipscombe took his interactive mobile display of green energy alternatives to the recent anti-fracking rally at Ellesmere Port. He told the paper:
“We hadn’t been to a fracking rally before, but we had a really positive reception there. It just seems expanding our fossil fuel resources is a bit of a dead end.”
5 December 2017
Free to Frack? DrillOrDrop Guest Post As the Infrastructure Act unexpectedly makes news again, barrister Paul Stafford examines the consequences for landowners of the fracking provisions in the legislation.
Court clears anti-fracking campaigners of aggravated trespass after protest at Derbyshire depot. DrillOrDrop report (posted 6/12/2017)
Climate change protest at Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. DrillOrDrop protest update
2017 – Help us build a year in pictures. DrillOrDrop appeal for suggestions for our pictures of the year posts
Bury Hill Wood oil site traffic management decision. The agenda for the next scheduled meeting of Surrey County Council’s planning committee, on 13 December 2017, does not include the traffic management plan for the site. The following meeting is on 24 January 2018.
Award for Lancashire business group’s pro-fracking campaign. The Lancashire Evening Post reports that North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce won the Most Effective Campaigning award at the British Chambers of Commerce annual Chamber Business Awards for its support for fracking int he county. Babs Murphy, the chamber’s chief executive, said:
“Never in our wildest imagination did we expect the twists and turns that this campaign presented since the Chamber took a position to support the establishment of a shale gas industry in Lancashire. “Our support was based on the premise that if shale extraction is found to be commercially viable in Lancashire then we want local companies to be at the forefront of supply chains, and local residents to have first choice of employment opportunities. “
4 December 2017
Lock-on and lorry protest block entrance to Leith Hill oil site. DrillOrDrop report
East Yorkshire rally at Kirby Misperton. DrillOrDrop’s Protest update
Caroline Lucas asks parliamentary questions about Health and Safety Executive certificate for fracking at Third Energy’s KM8 well in North Yorkshire and chemical use in a neighbouring well. DrillOrDrop report
Kevin Barron asks parliamentary question about INEOS request for decisions on East Midlands shale applications to be decided by a planning inspector. DrillOrDrop report
3 December 2017
Police are “glorified security guards” of the fracking industry. WideOpenRoads reports the response by Arfon Jones, North Wales Police and Crime Commissioners to its questions about anti-fracking protests. Mr Jones tells the website:
“All forces are under pressure and we can ill afford to provide glorified security guards to police a practice that many of the public we represent oppose. I oppose providing security to a well-funded private enterprise free of charge.”
Letters: Meeting was a sad day for democracy. Janet Sanderson writes to The Gazette and Herald about the suspension of a committee of North Yorkshire County Council following a protest by anti-fracking campaigners. (DrillOrDrop report, 15 November 2017) She says:
“This is not an issue about fracking but about being equitable to everyone. The churlish behaviour of the anti-fracking lobby prevented the hearing of those who had followed the accepted protocol in submitting their questions.”
2 December 2017
Updates: Protest camp at Horse Hill oil site near Gatwick evicted DrillOrDrop report
Barclays Bank protests across England. Protests from Exeter to Pickering against the bank’s 97% ownership of Third Energy which is waiting to frack at Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire. DrillOrDrop protest update
YP Letters: Political backing for fracking is fracturing. Russell Scott, writing to The Yorkshire Post, suggests it is time for a UK-wide ban on fracking as London joins Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland turning their backs on fracking and members of the Conservative Party speaking against the practice.
1 December 2017
Police facilitate blockade at Third Energy’s Kirby Misperton fracking site. DrillOrDrop protest update
Drilling diary – December 2017. DrillOrDrop’s monthly listing of events about fracking and the onshore oil and gas industry.
Warrants issue for two on anti-fracking charges. The York Press reports two people are wanted on warrant after they failed to attend court in connection with anti-fracking protests at Kirby Misperton.
Protests will continue as fracking firm attempts to ban some tactics. The Rotherham Advertiser reports campaigners have pledged to continue protests despite a judge backing INEOS’s move to ban certain tactics. A spokesperson for Woodsetts Against Fracking said:
“The bullies appear to have won, backed by their friends and allies, namely the Government.
“Or could this be the day the rest of England wakes up to the killer that is fracking and the threat to their freedom that big business has planned for us all.
“What has happened today is a huge undemocratic erosion of our civil liberties and our right to peacefully and legally express our opinions.”
Not in my back yard. Cllr David Hancock, writing for North East Derbyshire Liberal Democracts website, responds to the news that the constituency’s former MP had been commissioned to write a leaflet for INEOS.