Daily headlines

August 2018 drilling headlines

prn 180801 Frances Smart 1

Sign outside Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site, 1 August 2018. Photo: Frances Smart

August 2018 sees Cuadrilla prepare to frack its site at Preston New Road. There are meetings to decide  oil site proposals in Surrey and Lincolnshire. The latest government survey results on attitudes to shale gas will be published and the outcome of a legal challenge to UKOG’s protest injunction is also expected.

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

  • Ineos Upstream granted planning permission after an appeal to explore for shale gas at Bramleymoor Lane, in the village of Marsh Lane, Derbyshire
  • Talk Fracking and the Mayor of Malton begin legal challenges to government fracking policy
  • Cuadrilla applies to frack second horizontal shale gas well near Blackpool
  • Angus Energy granted retrospective permission for disputed oil well at Brockham
  • Is Third Energy’s Vale of Pickering pipeline in the wrong place?
  • Egdon’s Wressle plans refused by North Licolnshire councillors again
  • Government publishes report on increased air pollution from shale gas three years late
  • Cuadrilla breaches another environmental permit condition at Preston New Road – the sixth since operations began
  • Survey finds most Tory councillors oppose government plans to bypass local authorities on shale gas decisions
  • Health professionals call for moratorium on fracking and investigation into health impacts
  • Plans announced for inquiry to hear IGas appeal over Ellesmere Port well test

16 August 2018

Breaking: Ineos gets go-ahead for first shale gas exploration in Derbyshire. DrillOrDrop report

Wave 26 public attitudes

Question on public attitudes to fracking dropped from quarterly government survey for the first time since 2013. DrillOrDrop report

15 August 2018

Government shale gas planning changes a “sad blow to public engagement” – Conservative council leader. DrillOrDrop report on comments by leader of Conservative Derbyshire County Council.

IGas challenge over Ellesmere Port well test heads for public inquiry. DrillOrDrop report

Scientists warn fracking could cause water shortages after usage shoots up by 800% in parts of US. The Independent reports on a study by Duke University which warned that “water could very soon become a limiting factor for the industry”. Link to study in Science Advances

14 August 2018


Cuadrilla warned over another environmental breach at Lancashire fracking site. DrillOrDrop report on breach of waste management at Preston New Road. The Times (16/8/2018), BBC News (15/8/2018)

Three councillors on community liaison group for Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road fracking site write to ministers to complain that information is not being shared by the regulator and the group is being underminedDrillOrDrop report, Energy Live News

Health experts add to calls for investigation into impacts of fracking. Letter seeks inquiry by parliamentary Health and Social Care Committee. DrillOrDrop report, The National (15/8/2018)

Aurora Energy Resources: A Ferrari-loving oilman bets on fracking. Corporate Watch reports that Aurora is owned by a multi-millionaire oil magnate through companies registered in the tax haven of Jersey. The website also reports that Managing Director, Ian Roche, stands to gain over £5m if explorations are successful and the company is sold. But Aurora is currently struggling financially and has had to ask for new investment to keep its operations going, Corporate Watch reports.

Nafferton votes to be frack free. In a ballot by Nafferton Against Fracking in East Yorkshire, 97% of participants said they’d like the village to be declared frack free. The parish council has supported the vote and will oppose fracking applications. 34% of ballot papers were returned.

Viewpoint: Why Catholics stand against fracking in Lancashire. Bob Turner, writing in Independent Catholic News, says:

“Fossil fuels must stay in the ground and we need to stop our binge on single use plastic as soon as possible … or the future is very bleak for our grandchildren and their children.”

13 August 2018

Cuadrilla: Q & A with boss of energy firm that will carry out Britain’s first frack. Compelo Energy talks to Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla, on criticism from environmentalists and why he thinks fracking can reduce the UK’s reliance on imported gas.

Government reports delayed until after fracking authorised by local councils. Owen McDonough, writing to the Mid Sussex Times refers to a publication of a report on air quality impacts of fracking delayed by ministers for three years and a call by four geologists for a moratorium on oil and gas operations in Surrey.

12 August 2018

Paul Andrews

Paul Andrews, Mayor of Malton, who has launched a legal challenge against the government’s Written Ministerial Statement on fracking

N Yorks Mayor launches legal challenge to government plans to fast-track fracking. DrillOrDrop report, Morning Star, The Canary, Energy Live News, Yorkshire Post, BBC News (14/8/2018), Gazette and Herald (15/8/18)

What’s happening this week? 12-19 August 2018. DrillOrDrop weekly diary of events about UK fracking, onshore oil and gas and campaigning.

Earthquake alert: UK could be hit by tremors similar to America, expert warns. The Express reports comments by retired engineer, John Busby, that fracking could cause serious harm to the environment and problems from the difficulty of disposing of wastewater.  He said to make fracking viable, the UK would have to abandon EU regulations.

11 August 2018

Three new applications for Europa’s oil exploration site near Leith Hill in Surrey. DrillOrDrop report

YP Letters: Fracking air pollution data revealed. Dr Peter Williams, writing to the Yorkshire Post and Northern Echo, refers to a three-year-old report on fracking and air pollution, published recently by the government. Dr Williams says:

“The Thirsk and Malton MP, Kevin Hollinrake, has always maintained that environmental quality would be safeguarded, but the scientific evidence of this expert group shows that view to be complacent.”

10 August 2018

Campaign group, Talk Fracking, takes first step in legal challenge to government changes to planning policy on fracking. DrillOrDrop report, Energy Voice (11/8/2018)

Anti-frackers demand energy research centre won’t investigate shale gas. The Chester Chronicle reports calls by Frack Free Dee on the British Geological Survey to drop the shale gas research element of its proposed energy research centre at Ince Marshes near Chester.

Lorraine Allanson: Fracking in Yorkshire can spark a rural revival and help to combat fuel poverty. Here’s how. Pro-fracking B&B owner, Lorraine Allanson, writing in the Yorkshire Post, says community payments from shale gas could fund rural shops, bus services, energy efficiency and heating for vulnerable people. She says:

“No other industry offers the huge benefits that the shale gas industry is doing and we should grasp this extraordinary opportunity with both hands.”

9 August 2018

‘Government is using Lancashire residents as guinea pigs in a fracking impacts experiment, doctors tell energy minister. DrillOrDrop report. BBC News (10/8/2018)

Britain’s wealthiest businessman Jim Ratcliffe is ‘leaving the country and taking his £21bn fortune to Monaco’. The Daily Mail reports that Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the head of Ineos, is moving to Monaco. The reasons are unknown. The Telegraph reports that Ineos headquarters will remain in London. Two other senior executives, Andy Currie and John Reece, are also relocating to the area. The Times

Document suggests SNP ministers did not support a permanent fracking ban. Herald Scotland reports the Scottish Government has distanced itself from an official document which suggests it did not support a permanent ban on fracking just days before it announced it had “effectively” outlawed the controversial practice. Previously unseen papers state ministers did not “support the notion of a permanent ban” because technology could improve and public attitudes may change.

Petition launched against fracking in York. The York Press reports Lberal Democrat councillors have launched a petition calling on energy companies not to frack in York.

Protesters march on Preston New Road over fracking site safety concerns. The Blackpool Gazette reports on yesterday’s weekly “women in white” rally outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site. County Councillor, Gina Dowding, told the paper:

“It is very concerning given that they have now been given the definitive go ahead with fracking by the government. It has made all our worries that much more immediate. “It’s important here that the local community know that if something went wrong on-site here, that there is plan and they would be protected.”

Anti-fracker named “squirrel” bit cop’s hand at protest in Bassetlaw. The Gainsborough Standard reports on a court case involving Ross Monahagn, who locked  himself to a fellow protesters outside the IGas site at Tinker Lane on 14 May  2018. He was ordered to do 80 days unpaid work and pay £300 in costs, £50 in compensation and an £85 government surcharge.

8 August 2018

Breaking: Angus Energy application on Brockham oil well approved – live updates. DrillOrDrop report, BBC News, London South East, Shares Magazine

180808 SCC planning meeting 2

Surrey campaigners shocked by approval of Angus Energy’s “unauthorised” oil well at Brockham. DrillOrDrop report

Angus Energy reports former chairman, Jonathan Tidswell, holds 6.15% of shares. A statement by Angus Energy reveals that Jonathan Tidswell has again cross the threshold for reporting shareholdings in the company. DrillOrDrop reported that he transferred to a company as security for a loan.

History of oil & gas production from shale in pictures and charts: why US shale will crash and UK will fail. Jeremy Leggett, on his website Future Today, explains the background to fracking and why he believes fracking in the UK is doomed to be a costly failure.

Protest over new gas drilling plans. The Gazette and Herald reports on comments by Ryedale anti-fracking campaigners that government plans to make non-fracking shale gas plans permitted development are “undemocratic and silencing local communities”.

7 August 2018

Jenny Jones

Dame and Baroness threaten to breach Cuadrilla’s fracking protest injunction. DrillOrDrop report

UK hit by series of earthquakes – and it is a mystery what is causing them. The Express reports on the 12 earthquakes in a small area of Surrey.

Rebecca Long Bailey: Labour will ban fracking in green energy revolution. This is how. Writing in the Yorkshire Post, the shadow business secretary confirms Labour will ban fracking. She says:

“Building a clean economy for the future is one of the most important things we can do for our children and future generations. This transition can help us tackle climate change, clean up our air and put us at the leading edge of new technologies.”

UK shale players welcome state help, but clock is ticking. Interfax Global Energy reports the UK government’s decision to allow Cuadrilla to frack for shale gas in northwestern England could galvanise industry hopefuls. But companies will need to accelerate development without further delay.

6 August 2018

Oil exploration should halt immediately in Surrey earthquake area, say geologists. DrillOrDrop report including latest OGA data on water injection at Surrey well site. Letter to the Times and article, Telegraph, Independent, Surrey Live, Express (7/8/2018)

“Risk of accidents, explosions and earthquakes” among objections to Brockham oil well application. SurreyLive reports on the application by Angus Energy for part-retrospective permission for the Brockham oil well drilled in January 2017.

Is the local oil company Angus Energy responsible for tremors near Gatwick? An advertorial in SurreyLive by Angus Energy says the epicentre of the Surrey earthquakes is 10km away from the Brockham Oil Field.

5 August 2018

Learn suffragette lessons, say sisters found guilty of obstruction at shale gas site. DrillOrDrop report

What’s happening this week? DrillOrDrop diary of this week’s events about fracking, onshore oil and gas and campaigning

4 August 2018

Shale gas villagers highlight ‘threat’ to owls. DrillOrDrop picture post on owl awareness day outside the IGas site at Springs Road, Misson, north Nottinghamshire.

3 August 2018

Cuadrilla applies to the government for consent to frack second shale gas well. Campaigners say resistance to the company’s plans is ongoing. DrillOrDrop report. Lancashire Evening Post

pnr 180727 Ros Willls2

Dismantling of Cuadrilla’s drilling rig at Preston New Road, 27 July 2018. Photo: Ros Wills

Most Tory councillors oppose government changes to shale gas planning rules – survey. DrillOrDrop report. Energy Voice, Mirror, Independent.. See also Alex Dale column in the Yorkshire Post (short version of previous article for Conservative Home)

Churches switch to clean energy in bid to ‘tackle’ climate change. Energy Voice reports that more than 5,500 churches, including some of the UK’s most famous cathedrals, have converted to renewable energy. They include 15 Anglican cathedrals, such as Salisbury, Southwark, St Albans, Liverpool, Coventry and York Minster, along with Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Quaker and Salvation Army places of worship.

Air pollution: Even ‘safe’ levels may cause serious changes linked to heart failure, study warns. The Independent reports on a study which found even low levels of air pollution may cause heart abnormalities similar to those seen during the early stages of heart failure. The study, by Queen Mary’s University, London, found that people who lived near busy roads had larger hearts on average than those living in less polluted areas, even though pollution levels were below UK guidelines. BBC News, Guardian, British Heart Foundation, ITV News, Sky News

UKOG announces more results from Portland tests at Horse Hill. In a statement to sharholders, UKOG says flow tests on the Horse Hill well in Surrey recorded implied maximum rates of 441-470 barrels of oil per day. This was based on the maximum half-hour flow in tests lasting six and two hours.

York Lib Dems call on government to half fracking. The York Press reports Cllr Andrew Waller, executive member for the environment on York City Council, has written to the energy minister to express concerns about proposals to change planning rules for shale gas. He says it would “erode York’s democratic influence and accelerate fracking”.

Summer fete to raise money for Harthill anti-fracking campaign. The Rotherham Advertiser reports on plans by Woodsetts Against Fracking to host a summer fete to raise campaign funds.

Briefing on government consultation on fracking (permitted development and nationally significant infrastructure. Marc Willers QC and David Neale, of Garden Court Chambers, have published online briefing notes here on the consultation and proposed rule change.

2 August 2018

Government report revealing shale gas extraction increases air pollution was unpublished for three years. DrillOrDrop report, Guardian

IGas reports drilling delay in Notts, postponed fracking plan in Cheshire and setback at Stockbridge.  DrillOrDrop report, Natural Gas World

Absolute discharge for sisters accused of obstructing the highway at Misson Springs. Val Mager and Patsy Harper were given absolute discharges at Mansfield Magistrates Court after being found guilty of obstructing the highway at the IGas site at Springs Road, Misson in Nottinghamshire. They had denied the offences.

180802 Patsy Harper and Val Mager court case

Photo: Ian Crane

Hose pipe ban cancelled. United Utilities, the water company for north west England, including Lancashire, reports it has cancelled its hose pipe ban for households.

Wressle knock-back makes Union Jack Oil’s David Bramhill ‘more resolved’. Executive chairman, David Btramhill, tells Proactive Investors the refusal of permission for another year at the Wressle site near Scunthorpe (see 1 August 2018) is “a battle lost…. but not a war lost.”

Newly elected president of Mexico to ban fracking. EcoWatch, quoting Associated Press, reports that Mexico’s president-elect, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has said he will end the use of fracking when he enters office on 1 December 2018.

1 August 2018

Breaking: Egdon’s bid for more time at Wressle oil site refused unanimously – livve updates from the meeting. DrillOrDrop report

Councillors hailed as heroes as they refuse fourth bid by Egdon for Wressle site – Egdon says it will appeal. DrillOrDrop report on reaction to the vote. Lincolnshire Reporter, Oil and Gas Journal (2/8/2018)





A pipeline linking Third Energy’s gas production sites in the Vale of Pickering appears to be in the wrong place, North Yorkshire planners have told the company. DrillOrDrop reports

Events about UK fracking, onshore oil and gas and campaigns in August 2018 and beyond. DrillOrDrop report

Future UK gas security. A position paper by Professor Michael Bradshaw of Warwick Business School reviews gas security in the UK taking account of climate change and Brexit. He concludes:

“Gas will continue to flow postBrexit, but consumers may have to pay more for it to guarantee security. Longer term, it is not the outcome of Brexit that poses a threat to UK gas security, but the failure of the Government to provide a clear roadmap for the role of gas in the low carbon transition.”

Reported in Oil & Gas Journal

“Bird table” anti-fracking case dropped. The Gazette and Herald reports that the Crown Prosecution Service has dropped charges against Dr Julia Collings and Christopher Stuart Wilson who were charged with endangering road users after they climbed onto wooden structures like large bird tables on the road to Third Energy’s fracking site. They denied the charges.

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