DrillOrDrop’s January 2018 digest of news about fracking, shale and onshore oil and gas updated daily.
Click here for headlines from previous months
22 January 2018
Reaction to Angus-Cuadrilla Balcombe deal. DrillOrDrop
INEOS second shale gas application for Marsh Lane is an “unnecessary burden on the public” – Derbyshire official advises county councillors against dealing with duplicate plans. DrillOrDrop
What’s happening this week? 22-28 January 2018. DrillOrDrop weekly diary of events about UK fracking and onshore oil and gas.
21 January 2018
Angus Energy response on Brockham planning application. DrillOrDrop
Meeting marks new low for our council. Di Keal, writing to the Gazette and Herald, criticises Ryedale District Council for limiting public attendance at a special meeting on the waste and minerals plan to 30. She says:
“This deliberate exclusion of the public from this meeting was disgraceful and marks a new low in the history of the council.”
Shameful actions. Charlotte McNeish, also writing to the Gazette and Herald, says the continuing presence of protesters outside Third Energy’s fracking site at Kirby Misperton is “denying others their basic rights to live and work unhindered”. She says:
“We have been abandoned by those we elected to represent us, and who have allowed our local democracy to be derailed by anarchists.”
Opec and Russian to hold firm on oil production. The Telegraph reports a historic oil deal between Opec and Russia has been strengthened by a renewed commitment to restrict crude supplies throughout 2018 and a new pledge to continue collaborating into 2019.
20 January 2018
Angus Energy’s planning application for sidetrack well at Brockham oil site found to be “invalid” by Surrey County Council. DrillOrDrop
19 January 2018
Campaigners threaten an injunction to Third Energy’s fracking plans at Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire over sour gas and pipeline fears. DrillOrDrop
County council to address twin application for fracking at Marsh Lane. Peak FM reports Derbyshire County Councillors will decide whether to consider a second, identical application by INEOS for shale gas exploration at Marsh Lane. The company has appealed against non-determination of the first application. The Director of Economy, Transport and Environment has advised councillors not to deal with the second application, Peak FM says. The Business Desk. See also DrillOrDrop report (22/1/2017)
Knapton gas firm responds to accounts criticism amid Carillion investigation. The Gazette and Herald reports that Third Energy will file its accounts, due on 30 September 2017, in due course. The company was responding to criticism from the anti-fracking Kirby Misperton Protectors group that one of the Third Energy director is being investigated in the wake of Carillion’s collapse. (See 17 January 2017 Disgraced Carillion boss is director of fracking company hiding 2016 accounts)
I’m 73 and a grandmother. Fracking has turned me into an activist. Gillian Kelly, writing in The Guardian, says “Until last year I’d never been in a protest. Now I’m due in court for trying to stop this destructive industry ruining our landscape.” She describes how she took part in a lock-on protest in July 2017 outside Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site with her partner, son, granddaughter and two female friends. On Monday, she appears in court charged with obstructing the highway.
Protest camp set up at proposed fracking site near Doncaster. The Doncaster Free Press reports that anti-fracking campaigners have set up a base on Springs Road, near MIsson Springs, and are maintaining a vigil outside the site. See DrillOrDrop (Concerns that construction noise at IGas Notts shale gas site at Springs Road, Misson, will disturb breeding owls, 16/1/2018)
YP Letters: Fracking will cut emissions and secure our energy supply. Alan Linn, director of Third Energy, writing to the Yorkshire Post, defends the company’s operation at Kirby Misperton. He writes:
“Given that it looks likely that Third Energy will be the first company to hydraulically fracture in over five years, the regulators and ourselves are determined to, and will get this right.”
Exclusive: Fight against INEOS’ ‘draconian’ injunction goes to the Court of Appeal. SpinWatch reports on Joe Corre’s decision to appeal against the INEOS Shale injuction. See also DrillOrDrop report from 21 December 2017
18 January 2018
Fylde Borough Council votes unanimously against revised transport plans for Roseacre Wood site. DrillOrDrop
17 January 2018
Harthill – first INEOS shale gas site to come before council planning meeting – is recommended for refusal. DrillOrDrop
Lancs planners stand by objection to Roseacre Wood fracking site. DrillOrDrop
Environmental deregulation – here’s the latest: you’ll like it (not a lot). David Powell, of New Economics Foundation, writing for Business Green discusses the government’s “sleight of hand” over fracking. The government doesn’t talk about it much anymore, he says, because almost everyone hates it. But he says fracking isn’t dead, despite what some say, citing INEOS plans to seek national approval to test frack at Marsh Lane in Derbyshire.
Isle of Wight offshore oil drilling plan change discovered by Lib Dem candidate. On The Wight reports that Nick Stuart, Lib Dem candidate for the council’s Central Wight seat, says he has discovered that UKOG surrendered its offshore drilling licence of the Isle of Wight.
Disgraced Carillion boss is director of fracking company hiding 2016 accounts. Kirby Misperton Protection Camp reports that Keith Cochrane, who sits on Third Energy’s board, is also the chief executive of the collapsed public service contractor, Carillion. The campaigners are calling on Third Energy to publish its 2016 accounts and say permission to fracking should not be given while the accounts are outstanding. The government has ordered an investigation into the Carillion directors. The Canary
Letter: Policy does not match rhetoric. Derek Hardman, writing in the Crawley Observer, criticises West Sussex planning committee for what he calls “rubber-stamping” the Cuadrilla application to test its well at Balcombe when the committee chair welcomed big strides in green energy production. He writes:
“How scandalous our County Council undemocratically and unwisely ignores facts presented by citizens and is cowed by the downward pressure from this hypocritical government.”
16 January 2018
Concerns that construction noise at IGas Notts shale gas site at Springs Road, Misson, will disturb breeding owls. DrillOrDrop report
Shale gas is one of least sustainable ways to produce electricity – new report. DrillOrDrop report with reaction from the industry body, UKOOG, and response from the report authors. Independent, Energy Live News, The Engineer, The Chemical Engineer (18/1/2018), Clean Technica (18/1/2018)
UK green energy investment halves after policy changes. The Guardian reports on analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance that investment by companies in clean energy has fallen for two years in a row under the Conservatives, after rising during the coalition government. Investment in wind, solar and other renewables fell by 56% to £7.5bn in the UK in 2017, while worldwide spending climbed 3% to $333.5bn, the second highest level on record.
Man charged with assaults after incident near North Yorkshire fracking site. The Yorkshire Post reports that a 65-year-old man has been charged with assaulting a police officer, common assault and obstructing the highway during a lock-on protest in Habton Road Kirby Misperton on 2 October 2017.
Anti-fracking campaigners plan Chester march to oppose well test application. The Chester Standard and the Chester Chronicle report that campaigners will march from Chester Town Hall to the council’s headquarters on Thursday 25 January in protest at an application by IGas being considered by the planning committee.
Natural gas has role in UK energy mix. Ken Cronin, head of the oil and gas industry body, UKOOG, writing to the Guardian, says the paper’s editorial Fracking’s day may have passed, (10 January 2018) was “deeply concerning”. He says:
“Natural gas has a role to play for many decades, and this is backed up by the National Grid, the government and other forecasters.”
US shale oil output poised to surge above 6.5m barrels a day in February. CNBC reports US shale oil production will grow by 111,000 barrels a day to 6.55m in February, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Output from the Permian basin in Texas and New Mexico is rising by 76,000 barrels a day. Reuters (US oil industry set to break record, upend global trade)
YP Letters: No need to frack if our energy pipeline is secure. Steven White, writing to the Yorkshire Post, says energy supplies, according to the Government, are secure for the next 20 years, whether or not the shale gas industry gets going. The fracking industry estimates there is three years’ worth of gas in North Yorkshire.
“So we don’t have a problem, and even if we did fracking wouldn’t be the answer”.
Tackling pollution or a ruse for developers? Richard Tandy, writing to the Blackpool Gazette, suggests that the Northern Forest is a ruse to allow rural development, particularly fracking to take place more easily. He says:
“Much more green field development could be permitted as long as the developer offsets his encroachment into the country by buying a few scrawny trees for a section of hard shoulder.”
15 January 2018
Parliamentary question: Caroline Lucas asks whether Third Energy has met requirements of well regulations. Link to transcript. Coming soon DrillOrDrop’s Fracking Week in Parliament
YP Letters: Six reasons to fear fracking in Yorkshire. Mike and Susie Holden, writing to the Yorkshire Post, describe fracking near the North York Moors as a disaster and explain why.
14 January 2018
What’s happening this week? 14-21 January 2018. DrillOrDrop diary of the week’s events about UK fracking and onshore oil and gas.
Worries about US shale output as oil hits three-year high. The FT reports that Brent crude rose to a three-year high of $70 a barrel last week but there are questions about the rally’s resilience as higher oil prices threaten to unleash a new wave of US shale output.
13 January 2018
MPs question ministers again on fracking at KM8 and Lancashire protest policing costs. DrillOrDrop’s review of what politicians have been saying about fracking and shale gas this week.
Dutch quake leaves UK gas market on shaky foundations. The Telegraph reports an earthquake triggered by a giant Dutch gas field has rocked the UK’s gas market in a further threat to energy supplies. The paper says it is the third-strongest quake in Dutch history at 3.4 magnitude and has led to fresh calls to wind down gas production in the Netherlands. Dutch News (in English)
12 January 2018
Breaking: Lancs residents lose latest legal challenges over Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road fracking site but the fight goes on. DrillOrDrop report, Cuadrilla Resources statement, BBC News, Herald Scotland, 2BR, Blackpool Gazette, Energy Voice, The Canary (14/1/2018)
Cuadrilla expects Lancs fracking to start within six months from “excellent quality” shale rocks. DrillOrDrop report, The Times, FT, Telegraph, Daily Mail, Energy Voice, City Am, Lancashire Evening Post, Finance.co.uk, Gazette
MP Caroline Lucas questions ministers on Third Energy’s fracking plans and compatibility of shale gas with climate change commitments. DrillOrDrop’s Fracking Week in Parliament
Nigel Evans MP asks the Home Office when it will decide on whether to make special funding for policing Lancashire anti-fracking protests. DrillOrDrop’s Fracking Week in Parliament
11 January 2018
Breaking: Residents claim victory in legal challenge over Europa’s fencing plans at Leith Hill oil site – before the case gets to court. DrillOrDrop report
Dates set for trials in Kirby Misperton fracking protest cases. DrillOrDrop report
North Yorkshire Police release data on charges arising from Kirby Misperton fracking protests – almost half are for obstructing the highway. DrillOrDrop report
Oil and gas industry drives rise in global methane levels – new research from Nasa scientists. DrillOrDrop report
Update on Europa’s Leith Hill oil plans: new traffic consultation, permit petition tops 90,000 and extended injunction granted. DrillOrDrop report
Scottish Green MSP, Patrick Harvie, calls for an end to support for the fossil fuel industry. Scotland’s First Minister tells parliament she is confidence about the decision to ban fracking in the light of INEOS’s request for a judicial review. DrillOrDrop’s Fracking Week in Parliament
Baroness Jones “underwhelmed” by Theresa May’s environment speech. DrillOrDrop’s Fracking Week in Parliament
Green Party MEP to lead anti-drilling campaign on the Isle of Wight. The Isle of Wight County Press reports Keith Taylor is to visit the Isle of Wight to fight against oil drilling at Arreton and the area from Compton Bay to Atherfield Point.
North York Moors reasserts anti-fracking stance. Yorkshire Coast Radio reports a statement from the North York Moors National Park Authority chief executive, Andy Wilson, follow reports that INEOS plans to frack around the park.
The environment of the North York Moors, which includes everything from the dark skies at night to the unique geology and landforms, clean air and fresh water, matters greatly to both the National Park Authority and to the public as a whole. We are therefore seeking an urgent meeting with INEOS, a company which has informed us of plans to explore shale gas reserves in the area in 2018. We will make clear that we do not wish them to proceed in the Park and that the Authority will take appropriate steps to preserve the integrity of the national asset it is charged to conserve.
May’s plastic plan is big on gimmicks but it won’t cut waste. George Monbiot, writing in The Guardian, describes as “extraordinary” the omission of fracking from Theresa May’s environment speech. He says:
“Given that the only sustained solution to climate breakdown is leaving fossil fuels in the ground, the government’s support for finding and extracting yet more of them cannot be justified. So let’s ignore it and hope no one notices.”
Nuclear and shale are wrecking Britain, says top UK solar boss. Impact4all.org reports comments by Jeremy Leggett, the founder of Solar Century, that the government seems “compelled to promote nuclear and shale, two manifestly uneconomic technologies”. He says:
“In doing so, they actively suppress most renewables in the UK, destroying many thousands of actual jobs and suppressing the protential for many new jobs.”
Fracking firm boss issues peace plea to protestors at Kirby Misperton. The Northern Echo quotes Alan Linn, director of Third Energy, who appealed to protesters to cease what he described as “unlawful actions”. He tells the paper:
“Over recent weeks, our employees and contractors have been subjected to a marked increase in intimidating and harassing behaviour from a minority of protestors near our Kirby Misperton production facility.
“We have always respected people’s right to engage in lawful and peaceful protest and we also believe that our employees and contractors should not be subjected to extremely abusive language; threats of violence and constant harassment, leading them to fear for their safety.”
It’s very difficult to fight emotions with facts – the hostile comms challenge for fracking. PR Week speaks to Matt Lambert, of Cuadrilla, and David Petrie, of IGas, about PR approaches on fracking.
10 January 2018
Lancashire fracking protest arrests: analysis of 2017 data shows most were in the summer and for highway obstruction. DrillOrDrop report
Cost of policing protests at Kirby Misperton fracking site falls. The Northern Echo reports that the protest policing costs fell to £58,488 in December, down from £147,800 in November and £233,700 in October.
Energy expert says fracking risks outweigh the potential benefits. Writing in Herald Scotland, Dr Keith Baker, a researcher in energy policy at Glasgow Caledonian University, says Scottish Government research showed that the costs and risks of fracking “far outweigh the benefits, which are largely economic and, given the urgent need to manage the decline of the fossil fuel industry, also short term.”
UKOG delists from NEX Exchange. In a statement, UKOG says it has requested to cease trading on the NEX Exchange from 31 January 2018. This is due to the low levels of trading in UKOG’s shares observed on NEX over the past year.
December 2017 Kirby Misperton protest policing costs published. North Yorkshire Police reported that policing anti-fracking protests at Third Energy’s fracking site at Kirby Misperton were £58,488 for the month of December. Down from £147,881 in November. Northern Echo, Minster FM
Fracking is not welcome here – Sheffield MPs give their verdict on controversial shale gas drilling. The Sheffield Star comments by the Shefffield Heeley MP, Louise Haigh, that residents will be dismayed by oil and gas licenses issued by the government. Angela Smith, Penistone and Stocksbridge, says applications are for local authorities to decide. Clive Betts, Sheffield South East, opposed fracking because of its impact and questioned whether it was needed. He also criticised INEOS’s decision to bypass local authorities in Derbyshire and Rotherham.
9 January 2018
Breaking: Councillors vote unanimously for Cuadrilla’s oil testing plans at Balcombe, West Sussex. DrillOrDrop live updates and reaction . Other coverage: Daily Telegraph, Lancashire Evening Telegraph, City Am, Business Green, London South East, The Guardian, Energy Voice, Business Green, The Argus,Mid Sussex Times, Worthing Times, Chichester Observer
INEOS Shale seeks to challenge Scottish fracking ban in the courts – “predictable and desperate” say opponents. DrillOrDrop report, Energy Voice, Natural Gas World, BBC News, The Scotsman, The Courier, DeSmog UK, Energy Voice (10/1/2018)
Police report two men arrested on suspicion of “poisoning” dog at Kirby Misperton. DrillOrDrop protest update. Gazette and Herald, York Press, Gazette Live, Yorkshire Post, BBC News, ITV News, Daily Mail
The Guardian view on the future of fracking: keep it in the ground. In an editorial, The Guardian says:
“With each passing month, the advantage of leaving gas in the ground along with coal and oil gains traction.”
Church of England tells landowners it owns their mineral rights. The Times reports the Church of England has laid claim to minerals beneath privately owned land covering an area the size of the Lake District, including in regions earmarked for fracking.
Loan conversion news from UKOG. UK Oil & Gas Investments PLC announces that Cuart Investments PCC and YA II PN Ltd, investors in a £10m financing announced in November, have converted another £500,000 into equity. UKOG has allotted more than 18,500,000 new ordinary share. After today’s conversion, the par value outstanding on the loan is £7m. London South East, Proactive Investors
8 January 2018
First lock-on of 2018 at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road, near Blackpool. Four people have locked themselves together outside the entrance to Cuadrilla’s Lancashire shale gas site. DrillOrDrop protest update, Blackpool Gazette
High Court extends Europa’s injunction. A hearing at the High Court has granted Europa an injunction against protesters for another nine months, until September 2018. The order prevents people going onto the company’s exploratory drilling site at Bury Hill Wood, near Dorking in Surrey. It does not cover land occupied by a protest site on the other side of Coldharbour Lane.
No change at energy, environment or local government in the reshuffle. Prime Minister Theresa May kept Greg Clark as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with the decision on fracking at Kirby Misperton still on his desk. Michael Gove stays at Environment and Sajid Javid at Communities and Local Government with a slightly enlarged role. Updates from The Guardian.
Green Party co-leader, Jonathan Bartley, said of Greg Clark’s reappointment:
“Greg Clark has the opportunity to use his reappointment to the Cabinet as a fresh start – with his first and biggest test being whether to give the go-ahead to fracking in North Yorkshire. All the Government’s talk of protecting the natural world stands or falls on the decision by the new Secretary of a State in Ryedale.
“Fracking is dirty, dangerous and unnecessary. It will wreck local environments and our climate commitments. If the Government really believes in a green future it will walk the talk, ban Fracking and invest in renewable energy for the future. Greg Clark holds the Conservatives’ application for green credentials in his hands.”
Analysis: UK government slashes outlook for new gas power plants. Carbon Brief reports on new energy and emissions projections from the UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. They suggest the UK will need to build only a small number of new gas power plants over the next two decades. Renewables are set to overtake gas by 2020 as the number one source of electricity. Despite this, the UK is still set to miss legally-binding carbon targets as emissions from transport and homes falling slowly or not at all.
7 January 2018
National Trust letter urges INEOS to abandon seismic surveys at Clumber Park. DrillOrDrop report. Sunday Telegraph, BBC News, Mansfield Chad, ITV News, Lincolnshire Live (9/1/2018), Energy Voice (8/1/2018)
What’s happening this week? 8-14 January 2018. DrillOrDrop report
Shell looks to shale production for rapid growth. The FT reports comments by Ben Van Beurden, chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell, who said the company’s oil and gas operations in the next decade will depend on shale production.
6 January 2018
National Park will seek talks over plans for site. The Yorkshire Post reports that urgent talks are being sought by North York Moors National Park chiefs this month with INEOS Shale amid escalating fears that it is seeking to conduct major fracking operations in North Yorkshire.
Symbolic “die-in” outside Barclays Bank in Huddersfield. DrillOrDrop protest update
5 January 2018
2017 in pictures – December. DrillOrDrop report
IGas environmental permit applications. IGas Energy Production Limited applies for a radioactive substances permits for Palmers Wood Oilfield, Rooks Nest Farm, Godstone, Surrey RH9 8BY (EPR/NB3292DH/A001) and Stockbridge Oilfield, Larkwhistle Farm Site, Crawley Down, Hampshire SO21 2RG (EPR/NB3692DA/A001). The closing date for comments on both appliccations is 2 February 2018.
Natalie Bennett: Why fracking is Yorkshire’s number one environmental challenge. Former Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett, writing in the Yorkshire Post, says a ban on fracking in England is the top of her list of hopes for 2018.
4 January 2018
Breaking: Planning inspector dismisses Egdon appeals on oil production at Wressle, near Scunthorpe. DrillOrDrop report, Energy Voice (5/1/2018), Proactive Investors (5/1/2018), BBC News (5/1/2018), Scunthorpe Telegraph (5/1/2018), London South East (5/1/2018), Egdon Resources RNS
North Yorkshire prepares for crucial battle that could shape fracking policy across England. DrillOrDrop report on the forthcoming examination in public of North Yorkshire’s draft minerals plan. Northern Echo (5/1/2018), York Press (5/1/2018)
2017 in pictures – November. DrillOrDrop report
Three people charged following incident in centre of Kirby Misperton. North Yorkshire Police reports that following yesterday’s lorry surfing incident a 28-year-old man was charged with hindering lawful work by climbing onto a tanker. A 56-year-old man was charged with tampering with a motor vehicle by getting on to a tanker. A 27-year-old woman was charged with wilfully obstructing Main Street in Kirby Misperton. DrillOrDrop protest update, Gazette and Herald
New image of IGas’s Tinker Lane shale gas site.
3 January 2018
Rathlin Energy prepares to start work within weeks at new oil and gas site in East Yorkshire. DrillOrDrop report
Residents criticise oil regulator over management of South Downs drilling licence. DrillOrDrop
First lorry surfing protest of 2018 – three arrested at Kirby Misperton. DrillOrDrop protest update. Minster FM (Four arrests and angry locals at latest fracking protest), The Northern Echo, North Yorkshire Police, ITV
2017 in pictures – October. DrillOrDrop report
New onshore oil and gas wells drop to 50-year low. The Times picks up (and quotes from) DrillOrDrop’s Who drilled where in 2017? post from 1 January 2018.
YP Letters: Why must we pay to police fracking site? Edward Pearson, writing to The Yorkshire Post, says:
“While local businesses such as York City FC and York Racecourse are required to stump up for the costs of policing their activities, it is disgraceful that multi-million pound Third Energy has not contributed a single penny.”
2 January 2018
2017 in pictures – September. DrillOrDrop report
Protests outside IGas sites in Nottinghamshire. DrillOrDrop protest update
Are we ready for the first of the fracking in 2018? The Blackpool Gazette carries thoughts of fracking supporter, Lee Petts, and local opponent, Tina Rothery.
Legal arguments over Kirby Misperton fracking demo charges. The Darlington and Stockton Times reports that lawyers are preparing legal arguments about anti-fracking protests at Kirby Misperton in Ryedale. Since October, 36 people have appeared before York Magistrates on a total of 43 charges. The court has set aside 11 January for legal arguments about many of the cases. DrillOrDrop will be reporting from the hearing.
1 January 2018
Who drilled where in 2017? Data shows another low for UK onshore oil and gas. DrillOrDrop report
2017 in pictures – August. DrillOrDrop report
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