Daily headlines

May 2018 drilling headlines

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Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road drilling rig, 1 May 2018. Photo: Ros Wills

May 2018 sees the continuing inquiry into INEOS shale gas plans in Harthill and the start of the company’s judicial review against the Scottish Government. Keep up with the news with DrillOrDrop’s digest of headlines about fracking, shale and onshore oil and gas updated daily.

Click here for headlines from previous months

21 May 2018

Cuadrilla applies to government for fracking consent and seeks to extend injunction against protests at Preston New Road fracking site. Campaign group,Frack Free Lancashire, says these are “desperate measures” and protests will continue. DrillOrDrop report

Angus Energy announced it has been confirmed as operator of Balcombe oil exploration licence – taking over from Cuadrilla. DrillOrDrop report

20 May 2018

What’s happening this week? DrillOrDrop events listing for 21-27 May 2018.

17 May 2018

Government announces plans to speed up fracking decisions in England + detailed reaction. DrillOrDrop report. Other reports by Reuters, Proactive Investors, City Am, Independent, Guardian, ENDS (subscription), Blackpool Gazrette, BBC News, Business Green, Times (subscription), Minster FM

16 May 2018


Planning guidance on fracking inquiry Source: Parliament TV

Third Energy’s North Yorkshire fracking planning application cost £½m+ – MPs told. DrillOrDrop report of select committee hearing on shale gas planning

Ministers urged to block extension of Ineos shale gas exploration licence. DrillOrDrop report

Green finance: mobilising investment in clean energy and sustainable development. The Environmental Audit Select Committee says there are “worrying signs” that investment in cleaner power sources has stalled in the last two years. This threatens the UK’s ability to meet the fourth and fifth carbon budgets, it says. Clean Energy, Energy Voice

Scottish Government poised to create full legal ban on fracking. The Scotsman reports that a full legal ban could be implement after a strategic environmental assessment has been carried out.

Ineos is too big and too important for Scotland’s power players to ignore. The Times reports that given the clout and assets controlled by Ineos’ Jim Ratcliffe’s and his team you would think the Scottish government would be keen to do more business with him.

Horse Hill: What’s next at the Gatwick Gusher? Proactive Investors reports investors are looking for the imminent drill programme at Horse Hill to prove that the successful flow tests weren’t a fluke.

15 May 2018

Celtique Energie pulls out of more East Midlands oil and gas licences. DrillOrDrop report. LSE, Proactive Investors

Picture post: Drilling equipment begins arriving at IGas Tinker Lane shale gas site. DrillOrDrop report

Jim Ratcliffe is now the riches man in Britain – and his lobbying has contributed to an unequal Britain. The Independent reports that billionaire business-owners like Ratcliffe can get a private audience with a chancellor in which to push their preferred policies.

Anti-fracking campaigners bailed. Blackpool Gazette reports that four campaigners have denied obstructing the highway outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road near Blackpool. They were given bail. Their trial will start on 17 August.

14 May 2018

Live updates: Lincolnshire councillors unanimously back oil drilling plans for N Kelsey and Biscathorpe. DrillOrDrop report, Lincolnshire Live, Lincolnshire Reporter

Reaction to Lincolnshire oil drilling consents – objectors say their concerns were not listened to. DrillOrDrop report

We’d ban fracking if we had the power – SNP. DrillOrDrop report on comments by SNP deputy leader at Westminster

Fracking goes on trial at international tribunal. DrillOrDrop report on the opening of the Permanent People’s tribunal on fracking, climate change and human rights.

Church of Scotland ‘deeply uncomfortable’ with oil and gas investments. The Herald reports that Church of Scotland could turn its back on harmful oil and gas exploration investments, in support of climate justice.


Frack Free Campers Bawtry. The Rotherham Advertiser reports on the Misson Springs protection camp.

Brian Monteith: Case for Nicola Sturgeon resignation is ‘cast iron‘. The Scotsman calls for the Scottish First Minister’s resignation over what it calls misleading statements on  the country’s fracking moratorium

13 May 2018

Ineos founder and majority owner, Jim Ratcliffe, tops Sunday Times British rich list after the paper assesses his wealth to have grown by £15.3bn to £21.05bn in a single year.  Ineos Upstream has the largest number of fracking licences in the UK. Manchester Evening News, FT, Telegraph, Sky News, ITV News, Times, INews, Guardian, Evening StandardBBC News (13/5/2018)

Madness in court has politicians are caught out in fantasy over fracking. The Times reflects on the exchanges in a case at the Court of Sessions between Ineos and Reach Coal Seam Gas and the Scottish Government over fracking policy.

What’s happening this week? 14-20 May 2018. DrillOrDrop report

12 May 2018

Weekend Long Read: Challenging the Licence to Drill. Ben Dean writes for DrillOrDrop about his court case against the Oil and Gas Authority and the implications of the result

Anti-fracking campaigners launch survey to fend off potential fracking applications. The Weston, Worle and Somerset Mercury reports reports Frack Free North Somerset has compiled a survey to find out whether people support fracking.

11 May 2018

Government rejects national setback distances for fracking sites. DrillOrDrop report

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Four more years for shale exploration around Chester. DrillOrDrop report on extension of exploration term of PEDL189.

Protesters tell frackers ‘buzz off’. Fleetwood Weekly News (14/5/2018) reports on a protest at Preston New Road highlighting the potential risk of fracking to nature and wildlife. A giant bee and squirrel joined dozens of residents outside the shale gas site, the paper says. Manchester Friends of the Earth

Ineos’ Harthill planning decision awaited. Rotherham Business News and the Star report that the outcome of the inquiry into Ineos shale gas plans at Harthill are expected in about six weeks.

10 May 2018

Tom Pickering Operations Director INEOS Shale

Tom Pickering, Operations Director, Ineos Shale. Photo: Ineos

Ineos accuses Scottish Government of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ approach to fracking policy. DrillorDrop report, BBC News, Friends of the Earth Scotland, The Scotsman, Energy Voice, The Times, The National, City Am (11/5/2018), The Telegraph, The Herald

Oil firm launches £100k scholarship scheme from Lidsey. The Bognor Regis Observer reports that Angus Energy has launched the Bruce Watt Memorial Scholarship scheme for students from Bognor Regis studying at UK higher or further education institutions. The £100,000 will fund a 10-year scholarship programme to support post-secondary education ranging from NVQ  to DPhil. I opens on 4 June for the 2008-9 academic year, the paper says.

Angus completes acquisition of 25% interest in Balcombe licence. Angus Energy reports that it has received approval from the Oil & Gas Authority for the transfer of a 25% interest in PEDL244. Interest in the licence is now: Cuadrilla Balcombe Ltd 56.25%, Angust Energy 25% and Lucas Bolney Ltd 18.75%. Angus is still waiting for OGA approval for it assume operatorship of the licence.

Plastic protest at Preston New Road fracking site. The Blackpool Gazette reports around 40 residents and members of environment groups gathered at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site to raise awareness of plastics pollution.

Council urged to stop investing in fossil fuels that “wreck the planet“. The Romford Recorder reports Fossil Free London is calling on Havering Council to freeze new investments in fossil fuels and to get rid of existing investments.

Shadow Energy Secretary, Alan Whitehead, asks parliamentary questions on the cost of fracking damage and estimates of shale gas wells. DrillOrDrop report

9 May 2018

When is a ban not a ban? Day 2 of the Ineos legal challenge to fracking in Scotland. DrillOrDrop report, Falkirk Herald, Scottish Greens, Friends of the Earth Scotland, Aberdeen Evening Express, Telegraph, Scotsman, The Herald, Holyrood, Energy Voice

IGas pulls out of oil and gas licences in the East Midlands and the Weald. DrillOrDrop report, Alliance News, ShareCast News

UKOG loan conversion. UK Oil & Gas Investments Plc announces another £250,000 from a £10m loan from Cuart Investments PCC Ltd and YA 11 PN Ltd has been converted into shares. This brings the total share capital to  3,854,168,147 shares. The value outstanding on the loan is £4.25m.

Oil well protest group launches crowdfunding bid to cover High Court legal costs. The Horndean Post picks up on the crowdfunding campaign, reported by DrillOrDrop last month, to raise money to challenge the UKOG protest injunction.

The Green Party’s Baroness Jones asks a parliamentary question on setback distances for fracking sites and assessment of health risks of shale gas extractionDrillOrDrop report

Change of name. Europa Oil & Gas Resources Ltd changes its name to Europa Oil & Gas (New Ventures) Ltd. Link to Companies House

8 May 2018

Court urged to dismiss Ineos challenge to Scottish Government fracking moratorium. DrillOrDrop report, Energy Voice, BBC News, Scotsman, The Times, DeSmogUK, The National, Holyrood38 degrees petition on Scottish fracking ban, The Express,  The Ecologist,  The Herald (9/5/2018), The Times (9/5/2018), The Telegraph (9/5/2018)

SNP accused of misleading voters over fracking ban. The Scotsman reports comments by Labour’s Environment Spokesperson in the Scottish Parliament, Claudia Beamish, that the SNP had said it had banned fracking when the Government’s lawyer was saying the opposite.

Media watchdog, Ofcom, rules that Angus Energy complaint against BBC report over disputed oil well at Brockham in Surrey is not upheld. DrillOrDrop report

Gas to account for 52% of UK power mix by 2027. Gas to Power Journal reports that research by the Fitch Group predicts that gas power plants will contribute 52% of UK electricity in under 10 years, up from 45% in previous years. Lee Petts, Lancashire For Shale Chairman, said:

“Gas is already one of our most important fuels, supplying heat to over 80% of UK homes and over 40% of our electricity generation. As this report makes clear, it is also going to play a central role in meeting the nation’s power needs in the next decade and beyond.

“The trouble is that, right now, we are reliant on overseas supplies of gas, and we don’t have a lot of gas storage capacity anymore. When gas imports are interrupted, like they were twice last winter during two spells of exceptionally cold weather, we can quickly find ourselves running short whilst prices spike.

“With gas demand in electricity generation now forecast to grow significantly, it’s even more crucial that we get on with producing our shale gas resources, including here in Lancashire.”

See also Blackpool Gazette report (10/5/2018)

Environment Agency confirms it has accepted the surrender of an environmental permit for the Herrard X wellsite in Hampshire. Link to decision document and issue letter

YP letters: Be wary of health risks linked with fracking. Christine Daker, writing to the Yorkshire Post, warns that it may be many years before health and environmental issues linked to fracking come to light.

7 May 2018

Lincolnshire OGA

Source: Oil & Gas Authority

Lincolnshire Update: planning, permits and finances. DrillOrDrop reports on developments and prospects at North Kelsey, Biscathorpe, Wressle and Crosby Warren in Lincolnshire and annual accounts for Union Jack Oil which has interests in the region. Lincolnshire Reporter (8/5/2018), Louth Leader (9/5/2018)

Local residents save the day at Harthill fracking inquiry. CPRE South Yorkshire reflects on the planning inquiry into Ineos plans for shale gas exploration at Harthill. Director Andy Tickle, says:

 “Local people have made their feelings very plain and made a huge contribution to the inquiry. Their evidence was very clear and pointed out the many problems with INEOS’ plans, especially on traffic issues. They were amazing!”.

Anti-fracking campaigners march through Chesterfield for May Day parade.

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Chesterfield May Day Parade, 7 May 2018. Photo from video posted by Anna Wright

6 May 2018

What’s happening this week? DrillOrDrop events listing for the week starting 7 May 2018.

Tour de Yorkshire passes through Barnsley.

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Tour de Yorkshire in Barnsley. Photo: Stephen Bacon

5 May 2018

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Select committee hearing on planning for fracking. Photo: Parliament TV

Weekend long read: Is shale gas nationally important and should decisions be taken out of local control? DrillOrDrop report on the select committee hearing earlier this week. Chester Chronicle

Fracking ills close to home. Malcolm Hara, writing to the Yorkshire Post in response to calls for fracking on one designated site, says:

“The majority of people oppose fracking. Most political parties oppose it. Why won’t the government listen to the people?”

4 May 2018

Derbyshire County Council’s planning sub-committee votes to maintain opposition on highway grounds to the Marsh Lane shale gas scheme, against the advice of officers. DrillOrDrop report, Derbyshire Times (9/5/2018)

Views sought on oil storage plans at Cuadrilla’s Balcombe site. DrillOrDrop report. Environment Agency notice

Environment Agency issues permit variation for Europa’s Crosby Warren wellsite. Details

Parliamentary question on insolvency of fracking companies. Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas, asks the government to introduce mechanisms to protect public finances if a fracking company becomes insolvent. Energy Minister, Claire Perry, says the government will look at the financial resilience of all companies applying to carry out hydraulic fracturing. Officials are also working with the trade body, UKOOG, to ensure liabilities for shale wells are addressed if companies become insolvent. Transcript

MP bids to stop fracking decision being taken out of hands of communities. The Northwich Guardian reports that Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury “grilled fracking industry bosses on proposed changes to planning laws, which could take decisions out of the hands of local communities”.

It’s time to stop smearing anti-fracking campaigners as “extremists”. Netpol reports that the National Police Chiefs Council is due to begin consulting on how local forces should plan policing operations in response to protests against fracking. For the past three years, the organisation had requested information on the number of anti-fracking campaigners referred to the counter radicalisation programme, Channel. Netpol says:

“It remains a simple but fundamental fact that there is no evidence whatsoever of any link between anti-fracking campaigns and extremism, never mind a risk of “terrorism-related activity”.

Fracking protester convicted of obstructing police. Minster FM reports Steven Peers as convicted of obstructing police when he climbed on top of an 8ft wooden structure outside Third Energy’s Kirby Misperton site. He received a 12-month conditional discharge and was ordered to pay prosecution costs of £100 and a £20 victim surcharge.

Where have all the mast protesters gone? Ron Smith, writing to the Lancashire Evening Post, says warnings by protesters against phone masts have been groundless. He asks:

“I wonder if the same thing will happen with fracking?”

Horror scenario. Peter K Roberts, writing to the Lancashire Evening Post, says turning the Fylde into the largest gasfield in Europe would necessitate dozens of superpads like Preston New Road and more than five thousand wells.

Get facts right about fracking. Edward Beardsworth, also writing to the Lancashire Evening Post, says fracking can alter the sub surface in ways we do not yet understand.

Local elections 2018: Mole Valley goes to no overall control as Conservatives lose majority. Get Surrey reports that the Lib Dems gained two seats on Mole Valley District Council, which includes oil exploration sites near Leith Hill and Brockham. The Conservatives now have 20 seats, Lib Dems 14, Ashtead Independents 6 and Independents 1.

3 May 2018

Campaigners seek legal action over  environmental permit for fracking at  Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road. DrillOrDrop report, BBC News, 2BR, Blackpool Gazette (4/5/2018)

Live updates from Day 7 of Harthill inquiry into Ineos shale gas plans in south Yorkshire. DrillOrDrop report. Sheffield Star (Fracking traffic restrictions could not be enforced, pubic inquiry told), Rotherham Advertiser (MP: Harthill fracking plans a ‘dangerous step in the dark’)

Derbyshire recommends dropping highway objection at inquiry on Ineos shale gas scheme. DrillOrDrop report

Councillors oppose two oil applications in Surrey’s greenbelt. DrillOrDrop, Get Surrey and another Get Surrey article from 17/5/2018

Testing time for UK shale gas: Cuadrilla. Natural Gas World reports that Cuadrilla’s chief executive has told an event that shale gas could be supplying UK customers next year in a best-case scenario.

Frack Free Misson owl at the finish line of the Tour de Yorkshire in Doncaster.

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Finish line of the Tour de Yorkshire, 3 May 2018. Photo: Dave Shaw

2 May 2018

Live updates from Day 6 of public inquiry into Ineos shale gas plans for Harthill in South Yorkshire – Ineos makes its case. DrillOrDrop report

Environment Agency confirms another rule change at Cuadrilla fracking site – rain water to be treated on site and discharged into local brook. DrillOrDrop report

Chilly Britain absorbing more gas that would have gone to Europe. Energy Voice reports that Britain is so cold it’s keeping more of the natural gas it produces and imports for itself.

1 May 2018

Barclays suggests at AGM that it has not sold Third Energy because fracking at the company’s gas site at Kirby Misperton site in North Yorkshire had been delayed by the government. DrillOrDrop report

Event diary – May 2018 and beyond. DrillOrDrop’s diary of events about fracking and onshore oil and gas in the UK.

Day 5 of public inquiry into Ineos shale gas plans for Harthill – public statements. DrillOrDrop report

New figures show costs and benefits to Lancashire from shale exploration. DrillOrDrop report. Lancashire Business View

Home Office forced by Netpol to release ‘counter-radicalisaton’ training materials. Netpol reports that after two years, the Home Office has conceded that continued secrecy about Prevent training material is untenable after thens of thousands of people have taken part.

BP’s pre-tax earnings shoot up by £1.3 billion. Energy Voice reports on BP’s pre-tax earnings for the first quarter of 2018. Reuters (BP says still sees oil at $50-60/bbl in 2018 as shale output surges)

Parliamentary question on fracking and climate change. Geraint Davies, Labour MP for Swansea West, asks the Energy Minister, Claire Perry, not to proceed with fracking but to proceed with the Swansea bay tidal lagoon project to deliver on climate change. He quotes satellite data showing that 5% of methane produced by fracking is leaked through fugitive emissions. Link to transcript Ms Perry says:

“We are of course always concerned about fugitive methane emissions, and we will bear that in mind going forward.”

Fracking the immune system. Science Daily reports on research by the University of Rochester Medical Centre that links early life exposure to chemicals in groundwater near fracking sittes with immune system imbalances in mice.  Environmental Health News

Leith Hill oil drilling application by Europa includes ‘inadequate’ risk assessment, says report. Get Surrey picks up the study, reported by DrillOrDrop in March, on Europa Oil and Gas’s permit application for drilling near Leith Hill.

Union Jack Oil accounts published. DrillOrDrop report coming soon. Directors Talk Interviews

Three people found guilty of obstructing the highway. Minster FM reports that three people were convicted of obstructing the highway at Kirby Misperton in separate incidents on 20 September. They will be sentenced at a later date. (See final paragraph of linked story)

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