Daily headlines

March 2018 drilling headlines


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Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site near Blackpool, 4 February 2018. Photo: Frack Free Creatives – Knitting Nanas of Lancashire

Keep up with the news with DrillOrDrop’s March 2018 digest of headlines about fracking, shale and onshore oil and gas updated daily.

Click here for headlines from previous months

Top headlines in March 2018:

  1. Rotherham councillors reject INEOS shale gas plans for Woodsetts;
  2. Third Energy empties fracking site at Kirby Misperton and protection camp closes;
  3. Another company seeks injunction against anti-drilling protests;
  4. UKOG ordered to restore Markwells Wood as news emerges that it has had no access for eight months;
  5. Broadford Bridge well suspended;
  6. Angus Energy resumes oil production at Lidsey and Brockham sites;
  7. Government refuses to release “out-of-date” report on fracking predictions;
  8. Independent report criticises plans for oil drilling near Leith Hill and 102,000+ people sign petition against the scheme
  9. Growing support for National Trust in legal dispute with INEOS over land access for seismic testing;
  10. Government seeks to strengthen planning case for onshore oil and gas.

31 March 2018

Oil and gas drilling blamed for sinkholes threatening to swallow parts of Texas. The Independent reports on new research which concludes that oil and gas extraction in West Texas is causing massive sinkholes. Two giant sinkholes near the town of Wink had previously been linked to oil and gas operations but they may just be the tip of the iceberg, the study suggests.

30 March 2018

Landowners resist attempts by INEOS to start seismic testing. Farmers Weekly reports on reaction by landowners in North Yorkshire and Cheshire to INEOS attempts to get access for shale gas testing.

Oil price boom and weaker euro propel INEOS profits. The Telegraph reports that Britain’s biggest privately-owned firm has announced an 50% increase in profits on the back of the oil price boom. The company, which owns the Grangemouth refinery, reduced its debt by a billion euros.

YP Letters: Public must see report on fracking. Christine Daker, writing to the Yorkshire Post, says the government is misleading people by refusing to release a Cabinet Office report on fracking.

Fracking Farmhouse. David Kesteven, of Eckington Against Fracking, suggests fracking is an economic opportunity and a recipe for environmental disaster.

29 March 2018

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Broadford Bridge oil site in West Sussex. Photo: Weald Oil Watch

UKOG suspends Broadford Bridge well and announces two new exploration sites in the Weald. DrillOrDrop report on announcement and annual accounts Proactive Investors (UKOG says Broadford Bridge well achieved ” most goals”), Energy Voice (UKOG finds proof of “continuous oil accumulation” at Sussex site) UKOG Annual Report

Oil production resumes at Lidsey and Brockham sites, says Angus Energy. DrillOrDrop report

INEOS criticised by Country Land and Business Associatio for “bullish approach” over access to land for seismic testing. DrillOrDrop report, Farmers’ Weekly

SNP MP Drew Hendry quizzes ministers on environmental risks of shale oil drilling in south east England. DrillOrDrop report

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Lock-on protest at Tinker Lane, 29 March 2018. Photo: Julie Field

Campaigners block entrance to IGas shale gas site. Two opponents of shale gas exploration in Nottinghamshire locked their arms together through a tube at the entrance to the IGas Tinker Lane site. They were later arrested and charged with obstructing the highway. Lincolnshire Live

Home Office gives Lancashire 20% of costs of policing anti-fracking protests – plus update on spending, arrests, Police and Crime Panel and complaints. DrillOrDrop report, Wave965, Lancaster and Morecambe Citizen, BBC News, Lancashire Evening Post, Police Professional (3/4/2018)

Alba Mineral Resources raises £750,000 to advance natural resources portfolio. Proactive Investors reports that Alba has raised the money through a share issue to fund work at Horse Hill and Brockham in the Surrey Weald.

UK emissions drop on rise of renewables. The FT reports greenhouse gas emissions fell 3% last year from the previous year because of increased use of renewable power sources and lower energy consumption.

28 March 2018

Europa’s Leith Hill oil drilling plans contain “significant errors, inconsistencies and omissions”, independent review commissioned by campaign group concludes. DrillOrDrop report

Residents “delighted” at UKOG’s loss of access rights to Markwells Wood oil site in South Downs National Park. DrillOrDrop report on reaction to our article of 27 March 2018

Green Party co-leader, Caroline Lucas, quizzes ministers on the evidence of shale gas job claimsDrillOrDrop report

“Extreme” fossil fuel investments have surged under Donald Trump, report reveals. The Guardian reports on research by JP Morgan Chase which shows that bank holidays in extreme fossil fuels skyrocketed globally to $115bn during Donald Trump’s first year as US president, with holdings in tar sands oil more than doubling.

“Little evidence” of Russia’s potential to impact UK gas supply, says analyst. Energy Voice quotes Jim Watson, head of the UK Energy Research Centre, which reported recently on energy security. He tells the website:

“The issue that we have seen some of the newspapers write about is gas supply. It is one that Russia doesn’t have particular effect over the UK as we don’t use that much Russian gas.

“The idea that Putin can hold us to ransom over gas supply doesn’t have much evidence to support it as we get supplies from other sources such as Norway and Qatar.”

Britain must double down on shale gas and offshore wind to defend itself. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, writing in The Telegraph, says Britain is sitting on two energy jackpots, one of which is the Bowland shale gas basin in Lancashire and Yorkshire. This is large enough to replace the exhausted reserves of the North Sea, he says.

Meet the people volunteering to defend nature in their local communities. The Guardian includes anti-fracking campaigners, Emily Mott and Sarah Houlston, in its article of volunteers. Sarah Houlston tells the paper:

“I’m very worried about groundwater contamination, I’m worried about air quality, I’m worried that yields will reduce with the crops, and I’m worried about the quality of the food.”

Emily Mott says:

“It’s not just about our backyard. It’s about the world. People want a sustainable future.”

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Campaigners outside County Hall in Nottingham, 28 March 2018. Photo: Frack Free Nottinghamshire

Council has ‘abandoned its responsibility to the public’ say anti-fracking protesters. Frack Free Nottinghamshire describes the local planning regime as a fraud after what it says are continuous violations of traffic conditions at IGas shale gas sites in the county. The group is also concerned about the company’s second request to continue site construction into the bird breeding season. Nottingham Post, West Bridgford Wire

Anti-fracking artwork to stay at drill site. The Blackpool Gazette reports artwork created by anti-fracking campaigners on fences outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site has been allowed to stay. Cuadrilla had been concerned that the murals created by tape and ribbons in heras-style fencing, would cause the panels to blow over by blocking the holes. But the county council has since decided extra sand bags would solve the problem.

Anti-fracking protester banned from Preston New Road site for two years after lorry demo. The Blackpool Gazette reports that an anti-fracking protester who climbed on top of a lorry has been made subject of an exclusion order which prevents him from going within a mile of Cuadrilla’s shale gas site. He was ordered to do 120 hours of unpaid community work after conviction for obstructing the highway. He said he would refuse to do it.

Gas ‘crisis’ prompts calls for fantasy solutions. Paul Massara, former chief executive of Npower, tells Utility Week:

“I find it extraordinary that anyone still seriously believes that the UK will have a shale gas industry mimicking that of the US.

“Our land tenure laws are different, so is our geology; ditto our population density and location in the global liquefied natural gas trade. No other European nation is making a success of fracking – most have either banned or abandoned it, and Britain is nowhere near making a go of it either. Even if it did take off, the impact on the interconnected European gas market price would be limited.”

27 March 2018

Markwells Wood 4 Ann Stewart

Markwells Wood site. Photo: Markwells Wood Watch

UKOG loses access rights to Markwells Wood oil site in South Downs. DrillOrDrop report on the cancellation of an access agreement to the Markwells Wood oil exploration site.

Loan conversion. UKOG announces that its lenders Cuart Investments PCC Ltd and YA II PN Ltd have converted part of their loan, worth £250,000, into shares (24,297,794).

National Grid backs plan for earlier petrol and diesel ban. The Guardian reports that National Grid would support the Government bringing forward its 2040 ban on new petrol and diesel car sales by a decade. The company told MPs it could cope with the demands of an earlier surge in electric car numbers if sales of fossil-fuel powered cars were banned in 2030.

Former UK PM Cameron remains optimistic for British fracking. S&P Global Platts reports on a speech given by David Cameron at the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers annual conference in San Antonio. He is quoted as saying:

“In the United States, there are 15,000, 16,000 shale wells. In Europe there are about 10 — this is pathetic. We are going to fall behind if we don’t extract the gas that we have that can make us more competitive, more energy independent, less reliant on Russian gas.

“We passed the laws, changed the planning rules, talked to the companies, changed the regulations, set out the bonuses communities would stand to get if wells went ahead, but it was painfully slow and incredibly frustrating,” Cameron said. “The green movements have become absolutely obsessed with the notion that any new form of energy that has any reliance on carbon is a bad thing, so they are just opposed to fracking, come what may.

“Yes, we will do it because there is so much in our national interest, it just may take some time. What we need are some wells up and running where the local community can see that they are not that disruptive, that there are big financial benefits, that they can see an industry can build up around it.”

See also The Canary, The Guardian and The Sun (29/3/2018) and Spinwatch (30/3/2018)

26 March 2018

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Lorry surfing protest at Forton motorway services on the M6, 26 March 2018. Photo: Ros Wills

Fracking lorry protest ends after 24 hours. Anti-fracking protesters intercepted and climbed on top of a truck at a motorway services. The truck was on its way to the Cuadrilla site at Preston New Road, near Blackpool.  DrillOrDrop report Blackpool Gazette, The Visitor (27/3/2018), Lancaster Guardian (27/3/2018)

Anti-fracking lock-on protest outside haulage company in Great Yarmouth. DrillOrDrop  report

Fracking company wants to start test drilling on edge of York. The York Press reports INEOS is looking to begin seismic surveys in August in PEDL283 which includes the Howardian Hills.

Permit application by Egdon Resources for Biscathorpe oil site. The Environment Agency reports that it has received an application for a standard rules permit for the Biscathorpe oil well site in Lincolnshire.

Further equipment to be withdrawn from Kirby Misperton proposed fracking site in North Yorkshire. The Yorkshire Post, Gazette and Herald, Northern Echo and Minster FM report that Third Energy would move the “frack spread” off its Kirby Misperton site in the next few days. The company said this followed “a request from our contractor” to deploy the equipment elsewhere in Europe.

The Security of UK Energy Futures. UK Energy Research Centre publishes its research, which concludes there is an important role for energy efficiency and energy demand reduction in energy security strategies. It says reducing energy demand reduces exposure to risks such as price shocks and energy shortages. The report also concludes that security of the electricity and gas system can be improved by investing in system flexibility. Energy Voice

25 March 2018

What’s happening this week? 26 March-1 April 2018. DrillOrDrop listing of events about UK fracking, onshore oil and gas and campaign activity.

Kirby Misperton tea caravan moved. The catering caravan that served tea to opponents of Third Energy’s fracking site at Kirby Misperton has been moved. This follows Third Energy’s announcement that it is taking equipment off site and, if it receives fracking consent, will not be back until the autumn. Photos below by Shaun Marx

Fracking is not just about boreholes. Mike Gwilliam, writing to the Gazette and Herald, points to renewables in dismissing previous claims by Lorraine Allanson to the paper that there is no product capable of replacing gas. He also rejects her comments that opponents of fracking are from outside the area and from the far left. He says:

“Most of the 600-plus people who crammed into Lady Lumley’s in Pickering on March 8 were definitely local and they made their overwhelming opposition to fracking clear. Nor were they evidently far left.”

He adds:

“Fracking is not just about a few boreholes or even Third Energy. It is about INEOS and the very real threat of development on a huge scale.”

Increase gas storage and get fracking. Clark Cross, writing to Herald Scotland, calls for an increase in storage capacity “before Russia turns off the [gas] tap”. He says:

“It’s time for SNP politicians to stop thinking about retaining their huge salaries and pensions and get fracking for Scotland before our gas for cooking and heating is turned off.”

24 March 2018

Weekend long read: The blueprint for fracking needs a rethink. Mark Robinson, Campaigns and Policy Assistant at Campaign to Protect Rural England, writing a guest post for DrillOrDrop argues that radical changes are needed to national planning policy to prevent the threat of fracking to the countryside and the communities who live and enjoy it.

Five women arrested in the past week in protests outside the IGas shale gas site at Misson, north Nottinghamshire. DrillOrDrop report

Fracking protesters stage fun day in Sheffield. The Star reports on Friends of the Earth street theatre performances and parades to highlight what they say is the threat from fracking to Sherwood Forest.

23 March 2018

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Arrest outside IGas site at Springs Road, Misson, 23 March 2018. Photo: Julie Field

Two women arrested during protest outside IGas site at Springs Road, Misson. DrillOrDrop report

Planning conditions discharged for flow testing and drilling at Horse Hill. UKOG reports that Horse Hill Developments Ltd has received final decision notices from Surrey County Council on pre-commencement conditions for work at Horse Hill. HHDL says it has permissions from the Environment Agency and is waiting approval from the Oil and Gas Authority. Proactive Investors, Your Oil and Gas News

Price monitoring extensions. UKOG announced price monitoring extensions at 11am and 11.05am.

Regency Mines makes interim profit on disposal of Horse Hill stake. London South East reports that Regency Mines made a pretax profit of £421,000 for the six months to the end of December. This compares with £182,000 loss for the same period the year before. The company says it received £1.5m from the sale of a 5% stake in Horse Hill Developments Ltd.

Anti-fracking protests “a huge strain” on officers. Police Oracle reports Lancashire Constabulary has set up a separate command structure to deal with anti-fracking protests using officers’ working rest days, despite concerns about their wellbeing.

Ex-fracking contractor changed sides to join protesters. The Blackpool Gazette reports on a former Cuadrilla contractor who changed sides and appeared in court charged with obstructing the highway outside the company’s drilling area. Darren Miller told the court he had previously worked for a research company hired by Cuadrilla. But had decided to protest against the company because he was concerned about the effect of fracking on the environment.

Environmental consultancy transforms to deliver “controversial” stakeholder engagement. Business Lancashire reports on how Remsol, a former environmental consultancy from Preston, has rebranded as 52M Consulting to provide stakeholder engagement services in support of controversial infrastructure developments.

No Government estimates on shale gas wells or fracking employment. Energy Minister, Claire Perry, replies to questions by Caroline Lucas on when Government will update estimates on shale gas wells and whether it has commissioned research on the impact of fracking on employment. DrillOrDrop report

22 March 2018

Two woman arrested after first “lock-on” protest outside IGas site at Springs Road, Misson. DrillOrDrop report

Power Trip – a film by Zoe Broughton and Paul O’Connor. A film about the anti-fracking movement and developments in the fracking industry. Now available online here, website for the film-maker Undercurrents

UKOG loan conversion. UKOG announces that its lenders, Cuart Investments PCC Ltd and YA II PN Ltd have concerted part of the loan, with a value of £250,000, into equity as 20,650,917 shares.

Reader’s letters: Could this be as big as threat as fracking? David Hornsby, writing to the Telegraph and Argus, raises concerns about the use of acid in oil and gas production in southern England.

Grangemouth residents warn Ineos: Don’t you forget about us. The Falkirk Herald reports how INEOS told residents that it planned to make their town more attractive to chemical companies. The paper says many felt that the INEOS presentation was geared to how the company and chemical sector would benefit and little was said about the benefits to the town and residents.

Fracking report was suppressed. Glyn Wild, writing to the Yorkshire Post, says the refusal of the Cabinet Office to release a report on fracking is the latest example of government misleading people about fracking.

Prisoners of the gas industry if left to anti-fracking brigade. A Keeton, writing to the Belper News, says “until we crack the renewables we are prisoners of the gas industry”.

Fracking Farmhouse – beast from the East. David Kesteven discusses the recent severe weather conditions and the contingency plans for increased gas demand.

21 March 2018

UK Oil and Gas announces well testing has stopped at Broadford Bridge and focus now moves to Horse Hill. DrillOrDrop report

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Emma Thompson outside Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site, 21 March 2018. Photo: Refracktion

Picture Post: Oscar winner joins women’s protest at Cuadrilla’s fracking site. DrillOrDrop report, Blackpool Gazette, 2BR, The London Economic, Mail Online, Lancaster Guardian, The Mirror

IGas back in profit predicts 2018 will be “a defining year” for the UK onshore oil and gas industry. DrillOrDrop report on IGas accounts, Upstream Online, Stockmarket Wire

Details confirmed for inquiry into INEOS Deryshire shale gas plans at Marsh Lane. DrillOrDrop report, Derbyshire Times

Woman arrested after first “lorry surfing” protest outside IGas site at Springs Road, Misson. DrillOrDrop report

Advice to Angus Energy on Brockham sidetrack. Private Eye reports on an eight-page report commissioned by Angus Energy on whether it needed planning permission for the sidetrack well, drilled at Brockham. Private Eye said the report said Angus could expect to “require a new planning application for any works” and should approach Surrey County Council.

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Environment Agency confirms new permit application charges and arrangements. Details

Rising energy demand fuels increase in global carbon emissions. The FT reports on comments by the International Energy Agency that CO2 levels increased by 1.4% in 2017 to reach a historic high of 32.5 gigatonnes. This follows three years of flat emissions and contrasts with the sharp reductions needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Fracking firm could apply for planning permission to drill in East Lancs. The Citizen reports that Osprey Oil and Gas Ltd is expected to apply for planning permission in the next year in a licence area covering Hyndburn, Burnley, Pendle and Whalley in the Ribble Valley.

This is just fracking by another name. Kathryn McWhirter, writing to The Guardian, says the government and oil companies are hoping the controversy of fracking will go away in parts of England  by declaring all sources of oil and gas in limestone and sandstone as “conventional”

20 March 2018

Ministers quizzed on fracking, fake news, Russia and UK energy securityDrillOrDrop report on questions in the UK parliament this week

Senior officers to consult public on anti-fracking protest policing. DrillOrDrop report

The shale revolution: is it all a lot of gas? Dominic Walsh, writing in The Times, describes to the UK’s shale industry as “a damp squib” and refers to the Government’s refusal to publish a report on shale implementation because it “could call into question the industry’s viability”.

Union Jack increases interest in Biscathorpe Prospect. Your Oil and Gas News reports that Union Jack has signed a farm-in agreement for a further 10% licence interest in PEDL253, taking its interest to 22%. Union Jack Oil RNS

The UK’s desperate fossil fuels industry is lashing out at human rights – be we won’t let them win. Keith Taylor MEP, writing in Left Foot Forward, reports on an enforcement notice at UKOG’s Markwells Wood site and a delay to an injunction against protests sought by the company.

19 March 2018

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Campaigners outside the Royal Courts of Justice before UKOG injunction hearing, 19 March 2018. Photo: DrillOrDrop

High Court adjourns decision on “wide-ranging” injunction against protests at UKOG oil drilling sites. DrillOrDrop report, Morning Star Online, Spirit FM,  St Helens Star and Belfast Telegraph and Brighton Argus (via Press Association), The Canary (22/3/2018)

“Shires of England rise up” as oil company UKOG seeks High Court injunction against protests. DrillOrDrop report

Exclusive: Secret Government report questions future of fracking. The Yorkshire Post reports that the Government has refused to publish a confidential Cabinet Office report about fracking on the grounds that doing so could “call into question the industry’s viability”. MP Sir Kevin Barron asked for the release of the Implementation Unit Report on Shale Gas (2016) in a freedom of information act request.  A five-page response from the Cabinet Office refused the request. A reference to the report in a previous FOI response reduced the number of predicted wells. Unearthed, Basildon Standard, The Canary (21/3/2018)

The Yorkshire Post says: Region deserves the truth on fracking’s future. In an opinion piece, the Yorkshire Post says: ”

“People living close to planned fracking sites deserve to see the evidence that is available about how, and indeed if, the industry can work in this country.”

Nimby MP visits Cheshire farmer concerned with fracking. Farming UK reports on a visit by Labour MP for Weaver Vale, Mike Amesbury to a farmer who reported being door-stepped by INEOS land agents about access for seismic testing. He raised the issue at Prime Minister’s Questions and was accused by Liz Truss of being a Nimby.

Baltimore City Council votes to ban crude oil infrastructure. Clean Technica reports on how citizens in South Baltimore persuaded the city council to ban oil storage facilities and export terminals. The ban was approved on 12 March 2018. and will come into effect when approved by the mayor.

18 March 2018

What’s happening this week? DrillOrDrop weekly listing for 19-25 March 2018.

17 March 2018


Bianca Jagger. Photo: DrillOrDrop

Human rights campaigner, Bianca Jagger, urges UK Oil and Gas to withdraw its bid for an injunction against protests about oil drilling in south east England. DrillOrDrop report

New parliamentary group on shale gas led by Tory MP Lee Rowley who opposed INEOS exploration plans at Marsh Lane in his Derbyshire constituency. DrillOrDrop report, Peak FM (16/3/2018)

16 March 2018

South Downs National Park Authority orders UK Oil and Gas to restore drill site at Markwells Wood after 18 months with no planning consent. DrillOrDrop report, Portsmouth News (22/3/2018)

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Jig at the Rig event, Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road, near Blackpool, 16 March 2018. Photo: Reclaim the Power

Picture Post: “No to fracking, yes to dancing” – Jig at the Rig protest outside Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site near Blackpool. DrillOrDrop report. Blackpool Gazette, Lancashire Evening Post

Government energy department tweets that less than 1% of UK gas comes from Russia in response to pro-fracking claims of over-reliance on Russian gas.

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Frack Free United criticises the claims about dependence on Russian gas as “disgraceful scaremongering”.

Petition launched by Greenpeace UK against oil drilling in national parks. Link here

The Sun says: We listened to the eco-fantasists over fracking and now we have hostile Russia heating our homes. The Sun says the current Russian crisis should be the moment “Britain finally wakes up to the need for new power stations and for shale gas – as much as we can possibly extract”.

Nottinghamshire residents call for a ban on fracking in county. Mansfield 103 reports that members of Frack Free Nottingham campaigned in Nottingham’s market square against fracking.

15 March 2018

Picture post: Actors present 102,000+ signature petition against oil drilling near Leith Hill in Surrey to the Environment Agency. DrillOrDrop report, Eagle Radio, Get Surrey (20/3/2018)

Campaigners to challenge UK Oil and Gas at High Court over protest injunction. DrillOrDrop report

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Protest at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site, 15 March 2018. Photo: Reclaim the Power

Climate campaigners blockade Cuadrilla’s Lancashire fracking site. DrillOrDrop report, Blackpool Gazette, Lancashire Evening Post

Home Counties beauty spots are facing a new shale oil rush. Unearthed, the Greenpeace UK investigative news unit, reports that nearly 177,000 acres of protected landscapes and habitats across the South East could be at risk from a new oil rush. It says vast swathes of the South Downs National Park and the Surrey Hills and High Weald areas of outstanding natural beauty could be affected by new plans to drill for oil. The Guardian, Left Foot Forward (19/3/2018)

Costs of policing protests in Kirby Misperton published – February 2018. North Yorkshire Police says the cost of policing protests outside Third Energy’s Kirby Misperton site fell to £30,772 in February 2018, down 36% on the previous month. The Police and Crime Commissioner, Julia Mulligan, says she will make an application to government to recover “as much of our costs as possible”. Darlington and Stockton Times, York Press, Minster FM, Yorkshire Post

Council chiefs launches petition opposing fracking in Hyndburn. The Accrington Observer reports that a petition has been launched opposing fracking Hyndburn by the council’s cabinet member for parks and open spaces.

Thanks to the anti-fracking lobby, Britain can’t avoid Russian gas. Ross Clark, in The Spectator blog,  opposition to UK fracked shale gas means we will import increasing quantities of gas from Russia.

UK looks to ditch Russian gas after spy scandal. OilPrice.com reports the Russian spy poisoning row threatens to spill over into energy issues after the UK Prime Minister said Britain was looking to other countries for its gas supplies.

Fossil Free NI: Call for withdrawal of local government pensions from fossil fuel investments. The Impartial Reporter says Sinn Fein councillor John Fely has pledged his party’s support for an initiative by Friends of the Earth for a Fossil Free Northern Ireland and divestment of local government pensions.

14 March 2018

Disputed Brockham sidetrack well highlights “discrepancies” over onshore oil and gas rules – Surrey planner. DrillOrDrop report

Appointment of oil & gas consultant. Alba Minerals reports it has appointed geologist and geoscientist Sue Corrigan as technical consultant. The company says she has worked across the world with posts with Tullow Oil, Shell and Amoco. Alba has an 18.1% interest in Horse Hill Developments Ltd and 5% in the Brockham licence, both in Surrey.

Take Back the Tap: The Bug Business Hustle of Bottled Water. A study by Food and Water Watch examines what it calls the bottled water industry’s predatory marketing, extraction of communities’ water resources, powerhouse lobbying and the dependence of plastics production on fracking. EcoWatch

US shale to propel oil production growth beyond rising demand, admits Opec. The Telegraph reports that Opec has confirmed fears that the US shale resurgence will inflate world oil supplies beyond the rising demand this year.

Residents can hear just what INEOS has in store for Grangemouth. The Falkirk Herald reports on plans for a public meeting on Tuesday 20 March 2018 from 7pml-9pm about future plans by Falkirk Council and INEOS. The meeting is at Grangemouth High School.

Green-Russian anti-fracking campaign paying off: Britain becomes more dependent on Putin’s gas. The Global Warming Policy Forum reports that half of Britain’s imports of liquefied natural gas (three of six LNG shipments) have come from Russia.

MP supports call for pension fund to divest from fossil fuel investment. The Telegraph and Argus reports that Bradford East MP, Imran Hussain, has signed a petition calling on West Yorkshire Pension Fund to divest its fossil fuel investments.

Church Warsop dog-walker used fracking firm’s devices as bait boxes. The Eastwood Advertiser reports that a dog-walker who picked up seismic testing equipment belonging to INEOS was given a conditional discharge for six months and ordered to pay £100 compensation to the company. He sold two of the boxes on Ebay and used the other to store bait, the court heard. He admitted theft by finding.

Slow walk protest on road in Kirby Misperton. North Yorkshire Police reported that protesters walked in front of three vehicles leaving Third Energy’s site between 12.50pm and 1.10pm. Yorkshire Post

MP’s warning ahead of fracking site hearing. The Blackpool Gazette reports on comments by the Blackpool South MP, Gordon Marsden (Lab) that people will not forgive the government if it overrides the council again and allows fracking at Roseacre Wood.

Europa Oiland Gas to focus on Inishkea prospects close to Corrib gas field. Proactive Investors reports that Europa Oil and Gas says it intends to fast-track ongoing technical work on the Licensing Option 16/20, an exploration area in the vicinity of the Corrib gas field, offshore Ireland.

13 March 2018

Live updates: Fracking policy for N Yorkshire comes under scrutiny. DrillOrDrop report from the Examination in Public of the Minerals and Waste Joint Plan for North Yorkshire. Northern Echo

Coalition backs National Trust against INEOS court action in letter to Prime Minister. DrillOrDrop report. The Times, Energy Live News, Insider.co.uk, link to letter, Lincolnshire Live (21/3/2018)

Regulator “won’t be seen” receiving 100,000+ petition on Surrey oil drilling. DrillOrDrop report

Anti-fracking protest went too far. The York Press reports on a court case (12/3/2018) in which two women were convicted of obstructing the highway at Kirby Misperton. An environmental expert and a fellow campaigner stayed on a wooden tower outside Third Energy’s fracking site for nine hours, preventing eight lorries from entering. They were conditionally discharged for six months, and ordered to pay £220 each in costs and surcharges. BBC News, Minster FM, Gazette and Herald (14/3/2018)

Man who had lock knife in York court sentenced. Minster FM reports  on an anti-fracking campaigner who was ordered to do 160 hours of unpaid work and pay costs of £170 after he brought a knife to York Magistrates Court on an earlier appearance. York Mix

Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking. Concerned Health Professionals of New York and Physicians for Social Responsibility publish the fifth edition of their compendium of evidence about the impacts of fracking. The compendium concludes that there is growing evidence that regulations are incapable of preventing harm, that natural gas is a threat to the climate and fracking and disposal of fracking waste threatens drinking water. Other conclusions include: drilling and fracking contribute to air pollution, associated health problems include poor birth outcomes, reproductive and respiratory impacts and cancer risks. EcoWatch

The most authoritative study of its kind reveals how fracking is contaminating the air and water – and imperiling the health of millions of Americans. Rolling Stone reports the latest report by Concerned Health Professionals of New York and Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Ash from dinosaur-era volcanoes linked with shale oil, gas. PhysOrg reports on the conclusions of a study by Rice University, published in Scientific Reports, that nutrient-rich ash from an enormous flare-up of volcanic eruptions towards the end of the dinosaurs’ era kicked off a chain of events that led to the formation of shale oil and gas fields from Texas to Montana.

Barry GardinerFracking ban is priority, Labour says to activists. Socialist Worker reports comments by Labour shadow international development minister, Barry Gardiner (left):

“If I’m in government my top priority is banning fracking”

Visitors can still show care. York resident, Christine Daker, writing to the Yorkshire Post, says she wants to see North Yorkshire “safeguarded for future and no handed over to some greedy energy corporation that ultimately will do nothing for the people of this wonderful county”.

12 March 2018

No surprise that Third Energy is seeking funding from fracking industry, say campaigners. DrillOrDrop report, Sky News, Gazette and Herald (14/3/2018)

Will US shale give the refining industry indigestion. The FT predicts the US oil industry will be pumping 11m barrels a day of crude oil by the end of the year, the highest volume in its history and more than either Russia and Saudi Arabia. The paper says a debate is growing about how well suited US shale oil is for meeting the rising demand for diesel, jet fuel and petrochemicals.

Shale boom lifts US dominance in liquids for plastics, cooking  Bloomberg reports on Merrill Lynch analysis which describes America’s rise in the global market for natural gas liquids as “extraordinary.”

Oil prices fall on relentless rise in US crude output. Reuters reports April’s US shale output is estimated to be 6.95 million barrels per day.

YP letters: Fracking will have minimal visual impact. David Bate, writing to the Yorkshire Post, says he is at a loss to understand why fracking is industrialisation while “forests of wind turbines” are acceptable.

11 March 2018

What’s happening this week? 12-18 March 2018. DrillOrDrop weekly diary of events about UK fracking, onshore oil and gas and campaigns.

10 March 2018

KM montage Eddie Thornton

Picture post: Six months at KM8. DrillOrDrop report on drone photos taken by opponents of the Third Energy operation from October 2017 and March 2018 showing the arrival and departure of fracking equipment.

9 March 2018

Altcar Moss The MOss Alliance

Statements by Aurora Resources about impacts on wildlife of fracking at Altcar Moss in Lancashire are “not backed up by evidence”, say experts and residents. DrillOrDrop report

What’s been approved and what’s been opposed? Updated information from DrillOrDrop on the latest planning decisions on UK fracking and onshore oil and gas schemes plus the proposals currently in the planning system.

Solo Oil completes Horse Hill stake acquisitionSolo Oil PLC confirms it has completed the deal to acquire an extra 5% stake in the Horse Hill site from Primorus Investments for £650,000. Proactive Investors

YP Letters: Why were fracking firm’s finances not scrutinised sooner? Christine Daker, writing to the Yorkshire Post, asks:

“Wouldn’t it have been more prudent to establish whether this company, backed by Barclays Bank, was in a financial position to proceed with its plans before allowing it to move its raft of equipment onto the well site, and then off again, to the distress of locals and protectors alike?”

8 March 2018

180308 Woodsetts decision 6

Rotherham Councillors reject INEOS shale gas plans for Woodsetts, 8 March 2018. Photo: DrillOrDrop

“We are fighting for our community – villagers celebrate as councillors vote against INEOS and shale gas. DrillOrDrop report, Insider Media, Yorkshire Post

Live updates: Rotherham councillors vote against INEOS shale gas plans for Woodsetts. DrillOrDrop live reporting from the planning board meeting

Pickering debate between Kevin Hollinrake MP and engineer Mike Hill overwhelmingly rejects motion that regulation can keep fracking safe. Live updates from the debate DrillOrDrop report, Gazette and Herald, Rotherham Advertiser

180308 Pickering 17 Eddie Thornton

Opponents of the motion that regulation can keep fracking safe, 8 March 2018. Photo: Eddie Thornton

Government explains why data on shale gas sites are out-of-date. In response to a parliamentary question by Caroline Lucas, the Energy Minister Claire Perry, says:

“We consider the estimate to be out of date based on progress of the industry to date and the number of sites currently going through planning.”

DrillOrDrop update to Fracking Week in Parliament

Fossil fuel groups risk wasting $1.6tn on projects. The FT reports on a study by Carbon Tracker, a climate think-tank, which found this was the value of projects that will become uneconomic if the Paris Agreement on reducing carbon emissions was fully implemented.

Fracking farmhouse – fracking by stealth. David Kesteven discusses how he believes the planning system is used in a way that enables the fracking industry to become established,

7 March 2018

Fracking at Third Energy’s Kirby Misperton site in North Yorkshire could be delayed until autumn. DrillOrDrop report, Gazette and Herald, Energy Live News, Minster FM, Yorkshire Post, BBC News, Energy Voice

Angus Energy made no money from oil production in 2016-2017 – but will 2018 be different? DrillOrDrop looks at the annual report and Brockham planning application both published this week Intreractive Investor

Decision due on INEOS shale gas plans for Woodsetts. DrillOrDrop post

New meeting date and deadline for permit consultation on oil drilling near Leith Hill, Surrey. DrillOrDrop post

Fylde Borough Council votes unanimously against an officer’s recommendation to support plans to take fracking decisions out of local control.  The council voted instead to recommend to a parliamentary inquiry to keep the current system of decision-making. See DrillOrDrop report

6 March 2018

Government seeks to strengthen planning case for onshore oil and gas. DrillOrDrop report, Mail Online (7/3/2018), Upstream Online (7/3/2018), Energy Voice

UKOG seeks injunction to ban protests that aim to damage its business. DrillOrDrop report, The Guardian (7/3/2018), Get Surrey (13/3/2018), Midhurst and Petworth Observer (14/3/2018)

Police “no further action” notice on case of dog that became ill at Kirby Misperton

No further action on ill dog. North Yorkshire Police reports that two men who were arrested following an incident in which a guard dog became ill at Kirby Misperton will face no further action because of insufficient evidence. The force said the dog made a full recovery.  BBC News , Yorkshire Post

Flow testing consent extended at Broadford Bridge. UKOG announces that the Oil and Gas Authority has extended permission for flow testing at the West Sussex well until the end of March 2018.

BP CEO Bob Dudley says oil prices will range from $50-$65 ‘fairway’. The chief executive of BP, Bob Dudley, tells CNBC the oil price is likely to be $50-$65 a barrel for a couple of years.

5 March 2018

Third Energy removes sound screen from Kirby Misperton fracking site. DrillOrDrop picture post

180305 KM small Eddie Thornton

Scaffolding and sound screen removed at Third Energy’s fracking site at Kirby Misperton, 5 March 2018. Photo: Eddie Thornton

“Planning errors will delay KM8 fracking decision further”. DrillOrDrop report on comments by Frack Free Ryedale that Greg Clark cannot give fracking consent for Third Energy’s well at Kirby Misperton because planning consent on the gas pipeline expires in May 2018. (see second half of post)

What’s happening this week? 5-11 March 2018. DrillOrDrop weekly diary of events about fracking and onshore oil and gas.

Why bailiffs who demolished ‘Great Escape’-style protest camp may soon be involved in Yorkshire’s fracking fight. The Yorkshire Post reports on Able Investigations and Enforcement, the company contracted to evict the Leith Hill Protection Camp last year. The managing director, Steve Wood, a former police officer, said an oil and gas company, a local council and “a number of private landowners” in contact with his firm.

Farmout of interests in PEDL253 Biscathorpe. Egdon Resources announced it had reached agreement over the farm-out of interests in PEDL253 to Union Jack Oil and Humber Oil and Gas Ltd. PEDL253, in Lincolnshire, includes the Biscathorpe Prospect, scheduled for drilling in mid 2018, Egdon said. The company added that mean gross prospective resources at Biscathorpe are estimated at 14 million barrels of oil

4 March 2018


Fracking research update – March 2018. DrillOrDrop compilation of research studies and reports on fracking and the onshore oil and gas industry from the past six months.

UK energy grid warns that political risks threaten investment. The FT reports on comments by the chief executive of National Grid, John Pettigrew, that foreign investment needed to modernise Britain’s ageing energy infrastructure is threatened by rising political and regulatory risks.

We can’t wait for hell to freeze over before we change energy policy. Michael Glackin, in the Sunday Times, says the Scottish Government’s dash to renewables and ban on fracking have put households and businesses at risk of price in creases and shortages.

Cambridge to defy students and academics on shunning fossil fuels. The FT reports on a leaked document which shows that Cambridge University is planning to reject divesting its £6.3bn endowment fund from oil companies, despite pressure from students and staff.

3 March 2018

No government information of impact of projected shale gas wells on employment, flow back waste or treatment methods – Ministerial answer to parliamentary question. DrillOrDrop update on Fracking Week in Parliament

Fears for shale industry even as the UK faces gas shortage. The Telegraph picks up the parliamentary written answer by Claire Perry to Caroline Lucas that there had been no new estimates of shale gas wells up to 2025. See DrillOrDrop report of 1/3/2018.

2 March 2018


Kirby Misperton Protection Camp on 6 January 2017. Photo: Ian R Crane

Kirby Misperton anti-fracking camp to close after Third Energy withdraws equipment. DrillOrDrop report.  ITV News, Yorkshire Post, BBC News, The Times

Question Time in Blackpool: Who decides on fracking? DrillOrDrop report on the debate over whether decisions should be local or national. Daily Express, Blackpool Gazette

Parliamentary answers to questions by Totnes MP, Sarah Wollaston, on impact of shale gas developments on employment, fracking waste and treatment methods. See DrillOrDrop update on Fracking Week in Parliament

Government guidance on fracking decisions and who should make the decisions. Detailed article and discussion by the Fylde-based website Counterbalance

Termination of joint broker. Solo Oil reports its joint  broker, Beaufort Securities, has been placed into insolvency.

Petition to National Police Chiefs Council. A 38 Degrees petition is launched by Kevin Blowe, of the policing monitoring group, Netpol. it calls on senior police officers to “properly consult with and listen to campaigners about the conduct of policing operations in response to protests against fracking and other onshore oil and gas exploration in the UK”.

National Grid withdraws gas deficit warning issued for extreme weather conditions. The Independent reports the National Grid has withdrawn its gas deficit warning one day after issuing it over fears that supplies could run out as the temperature across the UK continues to linger below freezing. In a short statement early on Friday morning, the operator of the UK’s power network said that it had withdrawn the warning with immediate effect and that more information, both on the initial warning and the withdrawal would be issued in due course.

Progress theme of Fylde women’s day event. The Blackpool Gazette reports on a gathering of business women. They included Melanie Doyle, of MelVic Make  Up Academy, who designed the make up and hair for Dame Vivienne Westwood’s recent anti-fracking protest catwalk opposite the INEOS offices in London.

1 March 2018

Estimates of UK shale gas wells “out of date”, says minister. This and other reports from Westminster in DrillOrDrop’s Fracking Week in Parliament

Campaign grows against INEOS Yorkshire fracking surveys. DrillOrDrop report on resistance by Yorkshire landowners to access to their estates for seismic testing. Farmers Weekly

Drilling diary – March 2018. 70+ events about fracking, onshore oil and gas and campaigns in DrillOrDrop’s monthly diary

100+ organisations from across the world urge Pennsylvania Governor to block pipeline. Food and Water Watch reports on the letter from organisations including UK frack free groups, Friends of the Earth Scotland and Talk Fracking, urging Tom Wolf to stop construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline. They also called for a full ban on fracking. The letter concludes:

“It is time to put a stop to this dangerous pipeline, and to move to a full ban on fracking. Your decision to do this will benefit our communities and our health, and it would protect residents of the state of Pennsylvania.”

UKOOG responds to the current deficit in UK gas supplies. Ken Cronin, Chief Executive of UK Onshore Oil and Gas, says:

“The onshore oil and gas industry this morning notes the current deficit in the UK’s gas supplies, a result of cold seasonal weather conditions and infrastructure issues in and outside the UK.

The UK is worryingly dependent on gas imports and this is forecast to increase to 80% by 2035. Given that nearly 50% of our electricity is produced by gas and 84% of our homes are heated with it, the need to ensure we have our own homegrown source of gas rather than pursuing this continued over-reliance on imports has today become very evident.

We believe that the right way forward is to produce British natural gas from shale onshore and we are working hard to achieve this goal.”

See also Business Live, Bloomberg and The Independent (on the lifting of the gas deficit warning)

2 replies »

  1. Did anyone see Putin’s speech today about his expansion of nuclear wapons? The U.K. gets 38% of it’s gas from European pipelines, some of which originates in Russia. After listening to Putin’s words does anyone think he wouldn’t use his command of Eastern European gas supplies as a weapon to further his “Greater Russia” political ambitions putting the energy security of the U.K. at risk.

  2. Yeah, well, lets plough on full steam ahead with powering these islands 100% with renewable energy and not be reliant upon anybody then.

    You may have also noticed something else from the east called the beast?

    Yet another warning that if we don’t emergency transition to clean energy within a handful of years our Grandchildren are all going to die.

    I’m really not sure why folk aren’t getting that.

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