Daily headlines

July 2018 drilling headlines

pnr 180620 Ros Wills 1

Drilling rig at Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road near Blackpool. Photo: Ros Wills

 July 2018 sees two hearings at the High Court on protests against injunctions at Cuadrilla and UKOG sites. Ineos also heads to court in the latest hearing in its case against the National Trust. And MPs investigate shale gas development in former mining areas.

You can keep up with the news here with DrillOrDrop’s digest of headlines about fracking, shale and onshore oil and gas, updated daily.

Click here for headlines from previous months

Top headlines this month

  • Cuadrilla granted injunction against protests at Preston New Road fracking site
  • Six women from Sussex and Surrey challenge UKOG protest injunction – judgement reserved until August
  • Two male campaigners challenge Cuadrilla’s injunction
  • Rig protester loses appeals against conviction
  • Angus Energy announces high-quality oil at Lidsey and the resignation of the chairman over a shares investigation
  • UKOG seeks to delay decision on Broadford Bridge well
  • Wales begins consultation on fracking ban
  • Europa submits third application for the Wressle site near Scunthorpe
  • Cuadrilla completes second horizontal shale gas well

21 July 2018

No need to revise health review on fracking impacts, says minister. DrillOrDrop report on parliamentary questions to ministers on UK fracking and onshore oil and gas

20 July 2018

Oil production plans for Wressle include new measures to protect water supplies but keep small-scale hydraulic fracturing. DrillOrDrop report

Irrepressible David Lenigas upbeat as Horse Hill oil discovery returns to the spotlight. Proactive Investors reports on an interview with David Lenigas who says the “Gatwick Gusher gushed again” in flow tests. Proactive Investors also interviewed Solo Oil’s Neil Ritson on the Horse Hill flow tests. 

More reaction to government consultation on changes to planning for shale gas and fracking developments. Friends of the Earth (Ask your councillors to oppose fast-tracking fracking), LocGov.co.uk, Lancashire Evening Post (County to defend fracking planning powers), Blackpool Gazette (Have a say on fast track bid for fracking)

Shouldn’t fracking be suspended too? Ian Hughes, writing to the Lancashire Evening Post, asks whether fracking should not be suspended along with the domestic use of hose pipes in the United Utilities region.

19 July 2018

Government seeks views on proposals to bypass local planning system for shale gas developments. DrillOrDrop report. Government consultation on permitted development. Government consultation on Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects, Planning Resource (subscription), Energy Live News, BBC News, The Ends Report (subscription), New Civil Engineer, Business Insider, Business Green

South Yorkshire villager seeks legal challenge to Ineos shale gas consent at Common Road, Harthill. DrillOrDrop report

1710 Kirby Misperton Protection Camp

Protest on the road near Third Energy’s Kirby Misperton fracking site. Photo: Kirby Misperton Protection Camp

“Bird table” protest trial dismissed. Kirby Misperton Protection Camp reports that the trial of two anti-fracking protesters who occupied wooden towers looking like bird tables was discontinued today. The Crown Prosecution Service said it was not in the public interest to pursue charges of endangering road users. A spokesperson for Kirby Misperton Protection Camp said:

“We welcome the acknowledgement that our peaceful protest at KM8 has not endangered anyone – indeed care for the safety and wellbeing of the community of Kirby Misperton is what motivates those who are protesting against fracking.”

18 July 2018

Oil company ordered to clear South Downs drilling site – again. DrillOrDrop report on issue of breach of condition notice to UK Oil and Gas for Markwells Wood exploration site.

Two more Surrey earthquakes – second oil company says it’s not to blame. DrillOrDrop report, The Sun, Mail Online, Surrey Live

UKOG releases early results from Horse Hill oil flow tests. DrillOrDrop report, Proactive Investors

Protester Alex Geoffrey Cohen acquitted for second time. The York Press reports that Mr Cohen was acquitted for a second time after protests outside Third Energy’s fracking site at Kirby Misperton. At a third trial he was found guilty of two offences.

Forest Enterprise boss empty-chaired. Simon Hodgson, chief executive of Forest Enterprise England, failed to attend a meeting with Keith Taylor MEP and local residents to discuss concerns about oil drilling on FEE land near Leith Hill in Surrey.

180718 Keith Taylor - empty chair

Keith Taylor MEP and local residents at a meeting to which Simon Hodgson, chief executive of Forest Enterprise England, was invited but did not attend. 18 July 2018. Photo: Office of Keith Taylor MEP

17 July 2018

Rig at Preston New Road Cuadrilla July 2018

Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road, near Blackpool, 5 June 2018. Picture: Lorne Campbell/Guzelian

Cuadrilla completes second shale gas well and prepares to frack as hosepipe ban is announced. DrillOrDrop report, Cuadrilla Resources press release, New Civil Engineer, Lancashire Business Review, Blackpool Gazette, Energy Voice, Oil and Gas Journal, BBC News

Forest Enterprise boss refuses to meet residents and MEP at Surrey oil site. DrillOrDrop report

Will locals have a say on future fracking plans. The Lancashire Evening Post reports Green Party County Councillor, Gina Dowding, has condemned government proposals to bypass councils in the planning process for shale gas development. Lancashire Telegraph (18 July 2018)

Ask yourself why we are protesting here. In a letter to the Blackpool Gazette, Jill Walton defends protesters outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site.

16 July 2018

Expert group backs Scottish Governments’s ‘ambitious’ new emissions target. Energy Voice reports that Lord Deben, head of the Committee on Climate Change, said Scotland was at the forefront of UK efforts to tackle climate change. Two months ago, the Scottish Government published legislation committing it to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 90% by 2050, up from the previous target of 80%.

15 July 2018

What’s happening this week? 16-22 July 2018. DrillOrDrop listing of events about UK fracking, onshore oil and gas and campaigns about them

Ryedale anti-fracking protesters sentenced for two crimes. The York Press reports anti-fracking campaigner, Anne Cookson, from Liverpool, was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £85 prosecution costs after previously being found guilty in her absence of two charges of obstructing Habton Road in Kirby  Misperton.

Taking issue on protest camp. Peter Winter, of Kirby Misperton, writing in the Gazette and Herald, responds to a letter from RAAP (Ryedale Against Anti-fracking Protest. Mr Winter says the protest camp at Kirby Misperton was visited by local people. He also defends the right to protest.

13 July 2018

Farmer joins National Trust as Ineos shale gas access case heads towards trial. DrillOrDrop report

Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has slammed Donald Trump’s trip to the UK. 2BR reports Clive Grunshaw has written to the Treasury calling for the same funding used to police Donald Trump’s visit to be made available for policing anti-fracking protests in Lancashire.

Study to track trends in the public’s opinion on fracking. University of Stirling announces a new study with academics at Exeter, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt universities to understand public responses to fracking. See DrillOrDrop report

Solo Oil plc “monetising investments begins to fall into place” Directors Talk reports an update from Solo  Oil on its future plans. The Executive Chairman, Neil Ritson, is to retire before the end off the year to be followed by a board restructuring. The company has interests in the Horse Hill site currently about to begin flow testing.

12 July 2018

180711Installing seismic monitors BGS

Earthquake monitor installed to track seismic activity in Surrey. Photo: Used with the owner’s permission

Earthquake monitors installed in Surrey – welcomed by campaigners. DrillOrDrop report. BBC News (11/7/2018), Independent (13/7/2018), Surrey Live (16/7/2018)

11 July 2018

Breaking: Judge grants Cuadrilla injunction over Lancs fracking site to 2020. DrillOrDrop report on ruling in High Court hearing, Natural Gas News, Blackpool Gazette, 2BR, Salford Star

Legal precedent and costs are major hurdles to challenging fracking injunctions, campaigners say. DrillOrDrop report on reaction to the injunction ruling

Minister quizzed on impact of fracking on UK climate targets. DrillOrDrop report on this week’s questions in parliament about fracking and shale gas.

Julian Sturdy raises local concerns about proposed changes to planning rules for fracking. His website says the MP for York Outer shares concerns about the proposals announced in a written ministerial statement in May 2018. This would take decisions out of local control. Link to transcript

10 July 2018

Cuadrilla injunction evidence based on “allegations, conjecture, exaggeration and hearsay”, court told. DrillOrDrop report from hearing at the High Court in Manchester on Cuadrilla’s protest injunction application

UKOG seeks to delay decision on future of Broadford Bridge oil site in West Sussex for 18 months while it reviews results from Horse Hill/Gatwick Gusher 20 miles away. DrillOrDrop report

US is set to become world’s top oil producer, Government says. Estimates by the US Energy Information Administration, reported by Bloomberg, see US crude output averaging 11.8m barrels a day in 2019, up from its 11.76m barrels a day in the June outlook.

Air pollution linked to spikes in hospital and GP visits. The Guardian reports on a study by the School of Medicine in Dundee which found an “absolutely clear” link between poor air quality and health problems.

Low carbon energy would cost no more. The first National Infrastructure Assessment for the UK says making a switch to low-carbon and renewable sources for power and hearing, combined with electric vehicles, would mean customers in 2050 would pay the same in real terms as their energy today. The report says the UK cannot achieve its emissions targets without moving away from using fossil fuel gas for heating. Carbon Brief

9 July 2018

Anti-fracking campaigners “disappointed” at extension of Ineos licence in Scotland. DrillOrDrop report, Friends of the Earth, The Ferret, ITV News, Energy Voice, Falkirk Herald (12/7/2018), Energy Voice (10/7/2018)

South Downs oil exploration licence lapses. DrillOrDrop report

UKOG, the largest investor in Horse Hill oil exploration site, seeks change of company status. DrillOrDrop report, Proactive Investors, Stock Market Wire

What’s happening this week? DrillOrDrop events listings for 9-15 July 2018.

Investigation: Facebook surveillance of fracking protesters – background and key documents. DeSmogUK and Vice report on how fracking companies Ineos, UKOG, Cuadrilla and Europa have used specialist security teams to conduct mass social media surveillance.

How fracking companies use Facebook surveillance to ban protest. Motherboard reports no how fracking companies employed security companies to trawl Facebook posts to discredit activists to justify banning protest.

Church to stop investing in firms not tackling climate change. Energy Voice reports the Church of England General Synod passed a motion on 8 July 2018 to pull investment from firms that are not on track to meet provisions of the Paris Agreement on climate change by 2023.

7 July 2018

Hunt on for source of Surrey tremors. The Times reports on earthquakes in Surrey on 5/7/2018 and says the British Geological Survey is to install temporary seismic monitors in the county. The BGS also tweeted on the subject:

180708 BGS tweet

6 July 2018

UK oil and gas companies retain 12 exporation licences despite failing to meet drilling commitments. DrillOrDrop report

Angus Energy chairman, Jonathan Tidswell-Pretorius, steps down over investigation into share transfers. DrillOrDrop, Proactive Investors

Egdon submits third planning application for oil production at Wressle site near Scunthorpe. DrillOrDrop report, Proactive Investors 95/7/2018)

No new exploration licences and no support for fracking, Welsh Government proposes. DrillOrDrop report, The Planner 

Ecotricity to discuss fracking fight at WOMAD. Ecotricity reports that its stage at the WOMAD festival later this month will include a discussion on fracking. It will feature the company’s principal ecologist, Simon Pickering, Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley, campaigner Joe Corre, Steve Mason of Frack Free United and Lancashire nana Tina Rothery. The event is chaired by broadcaster, Jon Snow.

Awards for Yorkshire Post journalists. The Yorkshire Post reports that is photographer, Simon Hulme, won Best Photographer at the O2 Media Awards for Yorkshire in Leeds. His portfolio include a picture of police attempts to move Jackie Brookes and her tea table outside the Third Energy site at Kirby Misperton.

5 July 2018

Local authorities are best placed to decide on fracking plans – MP report. DrillOrDrop report, Energy Voice, Business Insider, New Civil Engineer, Independent, Reuters, Northern Echo, CPRE, Blackpool Gazette

180705 BGS seismicity

Residents demand investigation as 7th Surrey earthquake shakes area between oil sites. DrillOrDrop report, BBC News, Express, Keith Taylor MEP, BBC News South (6/7/2018), Surrey Live ( UK earthquakes in Surrey ‘unlikely’ to be linked to oil and gas exploration – 6/7/2018.)

UKOG High Court hearing over protest injunction ends – judgement reserved. DrillOrDrop report

Campaigner loses appeal over “act of conscience” protest to oil drilling in the Weald.DrillOrDrop report, Bognor Regis Observer 

4 July 2018

Oil company, UKOG, seeks “unprecedented protest injunction based on flawed case”, women tell the High Court. DrillOrDrop report from third day of the injunction hearing.

UKOG announces success share placing to raise £2m. A statement from the company says the placing is:

“intended for opportunistic investment to help deliver the Company’s stated goal of consolidating and expanding its asset base in the Weald Basin. The placing represents an additional £2 million to the previously announced £10.5 million investment secured to deliver sufficient working capital for its core projects over the next 18 months.”

See also Energy VoiceProactive Investors, Evening Standard

Angus Energy confirms its chairman transferred 39 million shares to a company with one officer, a 20-year-old Hungarian whose home is listed in Poland. DrillOrDrop report, Shares Magazine

Rig protest was “act of conscience”, says campaigner appealing conviction. DrillOrDrop report

Anti-fracker threatened Cuadrilla guard with ‘snitches get stiches’ jibe, court told. The Blackpool Gazette reports on a court case of Stephen Allen for three charges of assault and intimidating a witness.

3 July 2018

Leading Greens back women challenging UKOG protest injunction and warn against “sinister attempts” to “clamp down” on right to protest. DrillOrDrop report

Angus investigation in transfer of shares to America 2030. Angus Energy reports in a statement to shareholders that its chairman, Jonathan Tidswell-Pretorius transferred 39,000,000 shares in the company to America 2030 Capital Ltd in “contemplation of a possible equity-linked loan against his shareholding. DrillOrDrop report

Kimmeridge assessment indicates high quality crude at Lidsey. Angus Energy reports samples of oil from the Oxfordian and Kimmeridge layers at the Lidsey site indicate light 38.5 API oil in the natural fracture system. DrillOrDrop report, LSE.co.uk, Proactive Investors, Your Oil and Gas News

Ineos announces E2.7m investment in ethane cracker. Ineos says it plans to build a new ethane cracker and PDH unit in north west Europe. The location has yet to be decided. It will be the first new cracker built in Europe for two decades and will initially use ethane from shale gas shipped from the US. Telegraph,

Fracking plans face cold shoulder under new Wales policy. BBC News reports on an updated policy from the Welsh Government which says future applications from developers wanting to drill for oil and gas in Wales will not be supported.  A consultation runs until the end of September. Energy Live News

Dame Emma Thompson lambasts the “handful of desperadoes” in fracking. The Ecologist reports on Dame Emma Thompson’s support for a mass protest at Preston New Road. See DrillOrDrop report of 28 June 2018

2 July 2018

Campaign group seeks to join women’s challenge to protest injunction. DrillOrDrop report on Friends of the Earth application to intervene in the challenge to the UKOG injunction against protests at Broadford Bridge, Horse Hill and company offices in Guildford. The Guardian

MPs to investigate shale gas impacts in former mining areas. DrillOrDrop report on the next evidence session by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Shale Gas impacts

£5m institutional placing. UK Oil and Gas announces it has raised £5m with a placing including two institutional investors. An extra 250,000 share were issued at a price of 2p. UKOG statement

Lenigas tweets update on Horse Hill. David Lenigas, an investor in the Horse Hill oil site, tweeted that oil in the Kimmeridge limestones at Horse Hill was 40API, making it a light crude and likely to fetch a higher price than heavy crude on commodity markets. He also said there was no water flowing from the Kimmeridge or Portland in tests. Proactive Investors

180702 David Lenigas tweet

Environment Agency issues permit variation and consolidation. The permit covers the IGas Glentworth K Wellsite at Gainsborough. Link 

1 July 2018

Secret firm handed £500k of public money after Scottish Enterprise gagging order. The Daily Record reports on public funding for industries in Scotland, including £14.1m for Ineos in  2014-2017.

Record needs setting straight about RAAP. In a letter to the Gazette and HeraldGazette and Herald, Rob Batty, writes that Ryedale Against Anti-fracking protests is not against peaceful protest or lobbying. It opposes anti-fracking protest camps and protesters who travel the country protesting about multiple causes.

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