Fracking is now underway at Cuadrilla’s s site near Blackpool, the government faces a legal challenge to its proposals to fast-track planning decisions and campaigners prepare for the next phase of their fight against shale gas.
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 produces first shale gas from site near Blackpool
- Lancashire residents warn of legal action if government relaxes rules on fracking earthquakes
- Local MPs call for action on tremors linked to Cuadrilla’s fracking operation near Blackpool
- High Court blocks legal challenge to government statement on definition of fracking
- Support and opposition for fracking drop in latest government survey of attitudes to shale gas
- Egdon Resources refused permission for oil production at Wressle for third time
- IGas first shale gas well at Tinker Lane spudded
- Work underway to restore UKOG’s oil site at Markwells Wood
- Environment Agency refuses water reinjection and use of acid at Angus Energy’s Brockham site
- Preparation for fracking changed air quality at Kirby Misperton from rural to urban
- Report says no link between Surrey earthquakes and oil operations
- Rathlin gets more time to drill at West Newton A well site in East Yorkshire
- 81-hour protest at Tinker Lane and police try to impose limits on actions
30 November 2018
Rathlin Energy announces start date for work at West Newton gas site. DrillOrDrop report
Big show of shale support on the Fylde. Business Lancashire and Blackpool Gazette (3/12/2018) reports that over 130 local business people and residents gathered at AFC Fylde to hear about the need for and benefits of a shale gas industry and to toast Cuadrilla’s progress in 2018. The website quotes Cuadrilla’s chief executive, Francis Egan, as saying:
“A lot has happened over the last 12 months, and I am delighted to say it has culminated in Cuadrilla starting the first hydraulic fracturing operations since 2011 into UK shale.
“We are very encouraged by how well the shale rock is fracturing, and by the fact that natural gas has already begun to flow. This is indicative of a very productive shale. We expect to have completed our initial fracturing operations by the end of this year, and we will then test the flow rates of natural gas, with initial results expected in the first quarter of 2019.
“We are very pleased that we can now start to make production of UK shale gas a reality.”
Youth activists ramp up fracking campaign. The Ecologist reports on a letter from the UK Youth Climate Coalition sent to the UK Government calling for a meeting with energy minister, Claire Perry, to voice their concerns about frackng.
29 November 2018
Environmental regulator defends decision on fracking waste at Cuadrilla’s shale gas site. DrillOrDrop report
Landowners fear being liable for damage caused by fracking. The FT reports on Kenelm Storey, a landowner in the Yorkshire Wolds and president of Thirsk and Malton Conservatives, who has been approached by Ineos which wants to carry out seismic testing for shale gas on his estate.
Failure to develop CCS would spell “disaster” for climate. Energy Voice reports from the Accelerating CCS Conference in Edinburgh where, the website says, international climate change leaders have called for rapid development of CCS technology.
28 November 2018
Egdon to appeal after third bid for oil production at Wressle refused. DrillOrDrop report
Breaking: Permission refused again for Egdon’s Wressle oil production scheme. Live news updates from DrillOrDrop, Lincolnshire Reporter, Grimsby Telegraph (29/11/2018), update from Lincolnshire Reporter (29/11/2018)
Protest policing at Lancashire fracking site has “irreparably damaged community relations, senior officer told. DrillOrDrop report
Plan to enable first UK carbon capture project from the mid 2020s announced at world-first summit. The government announces a plan which commits the UK to set out next year how to enable the UK’s Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage facility, invest £20m in supporting CCUS technology at industrial scale, investment up to £315m in decarbonising industry and begin work with the OGA to identify existing oil and gas infrastructure which could be used for CCUS projects. £175,000 will go immediately to a project to capture carbon at a gas terminal north of Aberdeen. Energy Voice, Guardian, Business Green
Cuadrilla denies fracking problems following end of quakes. ENDS (subscription) reports comments by Cuadrilla that there are no problems at the Preston New Road site, despite suggestions that fracking has halted.
How fracking is radicalising rural voters in the Tory heartlands. The New Statesman reports on how fracking has created a new type of activist.
27 November 2018
IGas announces spud of Tinker Lane shale gas well after 80+ hour protest. DrillOrDrop report, The Guardian, City Am, Upstream Online, S&P Global, Global Warming Policy Foundation, Morning Star, Worksop Guardian (28/11/2018), Lincolnshire Live (28/11/2018)
Local resistance to extreme energy extraction. Natalie Bennett, writing in the Ecologist, reports on plans to extract oil at Biscathorpe in the Lincolnshire Wolds
26 November 2018
Angus Energy faces new controls over gas, acid and reinjection at Brockham oil site. DrillOrDrop report on restrictions in updated environmental permit. Surrey Live (27/11/2018), Morning Star (29/11/2018), ENDS (subscription) (28/11/2018)
Limiting fossil fuel production as the next big step in climate policy. Peter Erickson, Michael Lazarus and Georgia Piggot, from the Stockholm Environment Institute in Seattle, argue in an article in Nature that California could be added to a list of countries that have imposed on coal, gas and oil production.
A decade on from the Climate Change Act, the government should heed the public’s call to half environmental breakdown. Oliver Hayes, climate change campaigner for Friends of the Earth, writing for the Independent, says:
“By relentlessly pursuing fracking and granting airport expansion, the unpalatable truth is our government is failing us.”
25 November 2018
Local councillors sign open letter against plans to let firms fracking without planning permission. The Daily Echo reports than more than 800 councillors have signed a letter against government plans to make exploratory shale gas drilling permitted development. Sheffield Star (26/11/2018), Shropshire Star (26/11/2018), Weston, Worle and Somerset Mercury (29/11/2018), Bolton News (30/11/2018), Daily Echo (30/11/2018)
24 November 2018
Final weeks of consultation on Scottish government policy against fracking. DrillOrDrop report on assessments on the impact of unconventional oil and gas in Scotland.
Environmental protesters block access to Parliament Square. The Observer reports that an estimated 1,000 protesters gathered on the green in Parliament Square to highlight concerns about the environment.
23 November 2018
Angus Energy to begin flow tests at Brockham Oil Field. Surrey Live has an advertorial by Angus Energy on its plans for the Felton’s Farm site near Dorking.
Fracking: Councils opposed exploratory drilling plans. BBC News reports on reaction to government plans, announced in May, to make non-fracking shale gas schemes permitted development. See DrillOrDrop tracker from 20 September on who’s saying what about the proposal.
22 November 2018
Campaigners demand answers to why Cuadrilla has stopped fracking. The company says it is taking advise on how to “optimise” its hydraulic fracturing programme within “the very rigorous operating boundaries” of the regulations. DrillOrDrop report, Lancashire Evening Post (23/11/2018), Blackpool Gazette (23/11/2018)
Climate-hearing greenhouse gases at record levels, says UN. The Guardian reports on research by the World Meteorological Organization, which says the last time the earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5m years ago when the temperature was 2-3C warmer and the sea level as 10-20m higher than now.
Concerned Health Professions UK urges people to sign a letter to the prime minister calling for a ban on fracking.
21 November 2018
Air quality study exposes fracking risks, say campaigners. DrillOrDrop post on reaction to yesterday’s report on air quality monitoring around Kirby Misperton
“Swarming” sit down protests disrupt London traffic. The Guardian reports on protests blocking traffic entering the centre of London this morning.
Without shale, the UK is set to rely on imports. Ken Cronin, of UK Onshore Oil and Gas, writes to the FT to defend the case for UK shale gas
20 November 2018
Air pollution in North Yorkshire village changed from rural to urban levels as Third Energy prepared to frack. DrillOrDrop report on the latest data from BGS monitoring at Kirby Misperton and Preston New Road on air quality and fugitive emissions
19 November 2018
Fracking is affecting our health, neighbours of Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site tell UK experts. DrillOrDrop report
National Trust has £30m fossil fuel fund. The Guardian reports that the National Trust has invested millions of pounds in oil, gas ad mining companies, despite the charity pledging to cut down its use of fossil fuels and warning about the impact of climate change. I News, Civil Society
The UK shale revolution that never was. Nick Butler, of the FT, comments that shareholders in Cuadrilla have been too tolerant over the past few years.
Early oil industry knowledge of CO2 and global warming. The journal Nature (subscription) reports on how much the oil industry knew about the impact of fossil fuels on climate change.
18 November 2018
Picture post: IGas to start building Tinker Lane drilling rig. DrillOrDrop post
Government spending foreign aid money to promote fracking in China. The Independent reports taxpayers’ money earmarked to support over overseas development has been used to back China’s fracking industry.
Ineos in exclusive talks with ConocoPhillips for North Sea assets. The FT reports Ineos is negotiating to buy UK oil holdings worth $3bn
Leading oil expert, Professor Alex Kemp, says fracking is worth a try. The Sunday Times reports that Scotland’s leading authority on oil and gas economics has the Scottish government should permit experimental fracking exporation.
17 November 2018
Guest post: The changing picture of geology beneath Cuadrilla’s fracking site. Geologist Trina Froud reports for DrillOrDrop on how the locations of geological faults and rock strata have changed as we learn more about the geology below Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site and why this matters.
Strictly no fracking protest in Blackpool. Anti-fracking campaigners marked the Strictly Come Dancing filming from Blackpool with a protest outside the Tower Ballroom. 2BR
16 November 2018
Communities in Lancashire will never accept fracking, the government-appointed shale gas commissioner, Natascha Engel, was told during a visit to Lancashire yesterday. DrillOrDrop report
Lancashire fracking has stopped since small earthquakes, say locals. The Guardian reports on local suggestions that Cuadrilla has not fracked for a fortnight at Preston New Road
Preston New Road fracking site breaches. The Fylde Conservative MP, Mark Menzies, asked the government in a parliamentary question for an estimate of the number of planning breaches at Cuadrilla’s shale gas site. The Housing Minister, Kit Malthouse said his department did not record breaches.
Angus Energy submits updated statement on proposed workover of Brockham oil well to Surrey County Council. The statement is a condition of the retrospective planning permission granted in August 2018. Link to documents
15 November 2018
Council urged to refuse extra time for Rathlin Energy drilling plans. DrillOrDrop report
Don’t relax my safety rules on fracking earth tremors – former energy secretary. DrillOrDrop report on early day motion by Sir Edward Davey
UKOG publishes numbers from Horse Hill oil tests. DrillOrDrop report
14 November 2018
Cuadrilla won’t publish daily reports about Preston New Road fracking site – but regulator releases details of methane emissions. DrillOrDrop report
Two arrested over lorry surfing protest at Tinker Lane. Frack Free Tinker Lane reports two people were arrested and taken to Mansfield police station after a three-hour protest outside the IGas shale gas site in north Nottinghamshire. The group said there were about 40 police officers on duty at the protest. Lincolnshire Live
Government shale gas commissioner slams “emotional” narrative around fracking. City Am reports Natascha Engel has called for a “more rational” debate on the shale gas industry in a letter to editors.
13 November 2018
New shale gas “Tsar” attempts to lobby the media on behalf of fracking industry”. Talk Fracking reports on the role of Natascha Engel as shale gas commissioner.
Anti-frackers walk free as prosecutors slammed by judge. The Blackpool Gazette reports how District Judge Jane Godwin accused prosecutors of a “reverse legal ambush” when they tried to change evidence on the day of a trial. The prosecutors then offered no evidence against three protesters, Lauren Begley, Nicholas Grant and Ruby Lee, who were alleged to have staged a lock-on protest outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road.
Bristol City Council declares a climate emergency. Green Party Bristol reports that its motion to declare a climate emergency and to make Bristol carbon neutral by 2030 was supported unanimously.
Carbon Brief interview with Sir John Armitt, chair of the National Infrastructure Commission. In the interview, Sir John says on fracking:
“Shale gas is still going to produce carbon emissions so it’s not a long term solution”
12 November 2018
Police impose limits on protests at IGas shale gas site at Tinker Lane. DrillOrDrop report
Final chance to comment on Lancashire fracking strategy. DrillOrDrop report on Lancashire’s draft revised minerals plan
Guest post: Save the Fylde – keep the earthquake safety limit at 0.5. DrillOrDrop report by Lancashire engineer, Michael Hill.
Shale gas commissioner to meet Lancashire residents. DrillOrDrop report
Channel 4 News reports on earth tremors in northern Netherlands with reference to UK fracking.
Climate change protesters blockade government energy department. DrillOrDrop report, BBC News reports on demonstrators blocking the entrance to the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy. Extinction Rebellion press release, Guardian, Evening Standard, Talk Radio, Common Space, Daily Mail (12/11/2018)
11 November 2018
Fracking firm boss says it didn’t expect to cause such serious quakes. The Guardian reports that Cuadrilla’s Matthew Lambert, told the Green Party that the company did not expect to cause seismicity above the level of the 0.5-magnitude which marks the threshold of the traffic light system.
Oil groups budget just 1% of spending to green projects. The FT reports the world’s biggest oil and gas companies are spending a fraction of their investment budgets on low carbon projects despite criticism of their contributions to global greenhouse gas emissions.
New UK gas power station would “breach climate commitments”. The Guardian reports that the environmental law group, ClientEarth, has objected to Drax Group’s proposed 3.6GW plan in North Yorkshire. It says the scheme marked a tipping point in the amount of new gas planned by energy firms in the UK.
Living next door to a fracking site. BBC News reports on people who live near Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site.
Meet the only Sefton councillor who thinks fracking is a good idea. The Liverpool Echo reports on Sir Ron Watson, who represents Dukes Ward in Southport, who thinks fracking would be “very beneficial” in the area.
Labour and the planning system: lessons from fracking. New Socialist reports on what a democratic socialist planning system would look like.
10 November 2018
Weekend Long Read: Campaigners call for tougher rules on acid use at Weald oil sites. DrillOrDrop report
Anti-fracking seniors armed with tea and fruit cake risk jail with 24-hour protest. The Mirror reports protests by women outside Cuadrilla’s fracking site at Preston New Road.
9 November 2018
Fracking causes earthquakes by design: can regulation keep up? Miles Willson, Gillian Foulger, Jon Gluyas and Richard Davies report on the implications of earthquakes at Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road. Durham University Thought Leadership, The Conversation
China’s fracking push leaves trail of dirty water woes. The FT reports allegations that fracking for gas in Shaanxi province in central China has polluted groundwater.
Oxbridge’s dirty money: how colleges invest millions in fossil fuel, arms and tobacco. Cherwell reports on how Oxbridge colleges hold at least £21m in oil and gas exploration, production and refining companies.
Northern Ireland pension fund invests in fracking. BBC News
East Yorkshire MP against council powers taken away over fracking applications. KCFM reports on opposition by Sir Greg Knight over government proposals to shale gas planning decisions.
8 November 2018
Rathlin Energy’s £33.9m debt “casts doubt” over company viability – accounts. DrillOrDrop report
Bolton MP Yasmin Qureshi writes to Energy Minister. This is Lancashire reports that the MP has called for a halt to fracking in the region following a series of minor earthquakes.
Significant UK petroleum reserves could sustain production for next 20 years. The Oil and Gas Authority says its UK Oil and Gas Reserves and Resources report shows overall remaining recoverable reserves and resources range from 10-20 billion barrels of oil equivalent.
7 November 2018
Officials back another three years for Rathlin Energy at West Newton-A gas site in East Yorkshire. DrillOrDrop report
Do the UK’s fracking miniquakes matter? Unearthed report on seismic activity linked to fracking at Preston New Road
6 November 2018
Minister quizzed over fracking-induced tremors in Lancashire. DrillOrDrop report
Aerial survey of Tinker Lane. The website of the Tinker Lane community liaison group publishes photos by Eric Walton of the IGas site at Tinker Lane, north Nottinghamshire .
House of Commons library publishes briefing paper Shale gas and fracking
5 November 2018
High court blocks challenge to government statement on fracking definition. But campaigners say they have won important concessions. DrillorDrop report, Energy Voice, BBC News, Garden Court Chambers (6/11/2018)
Permitted development rights for fracking exploration should not be granted. The Royal Town Planning Institute says, in its response to a government consultation, that blanket permissions for shale gas exploration in England are completely unsuitable and fly in the face of good planning. The RTPR warns that the scale and sheer complexity of exploratory drilling “entirely dwarfs” development normally covered by permitted development rights. It risks ignoring highly sensitive local issues, the organisation says. Ends report (subscription), The Planner (subscription)
Angus Energy announces a placing of 22.2 million shares at 9p. A statement from the company says the placing, expected on 22 November 2018, subject to approval of shareholders on 22 November 2018.
4 November 2018
Guest post: Why won’t Claire Perry talk to us about fracking? Barbara Richardson explains to DrillOrDrop her frustration that the energy minister’s won’t meet Lancashire residents to hear their concerns about shale gas exploration.
Government faces new legal challenge over plans to speed up fracking. The Guardian reports on the case at the Royal Courts of Justice on 5 November on whether to allow a judicial review of written ministerial statements on plans to fast-track fracking.
Prison is s***, but it’s worth it: Freed fracking protester jailed for 16 months vows to keep fighting injustice. The Independent reports on the experience of Simon Roscoe Blevins in Preston Prison after being jailed for protesting outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site.
3 November 2018
Picture post: Campaigners protest outside Egdon’s Biscathorpe oil exploration site as construction work gets underway. DrillOrDrop report
Just frack off! Sue Reid’s reports for Mail Online from Blackpool reveals how ‘earthquakes’ no one can feel drove deprived residents’ bitter opposition to shale gas bonanza that could lift resort from terminal decline and turn it into a boom town.
2 November 2018
Cuadrilla announces first flow of shale gas from Preston New Road fracking site – despite complaints about strict rules on earth tremors. DrillOrDrop report, Energy Voice, Sky News, Financial Times, BBC News, Reuters, 2BR, Lancashire Evening Post, FT, PhysOrg, Times
1 November 2018
Residents warn of legal action if government relaxes fracking quake rules. DrillOrDrop report
Fracking company fails to win higher limit on tremors. The Times reports that the government has rejected Cuadrilla’s request to relax the rules on earthquakes caused by fracking despite claims that the limits could prevent it testing shale gas potential in the UK.
Minor earthquakes emerge as major threat to UK fracking. The Guardian reports that government regulations on earthquakes are fast emerging as the biggest threat to the nascent shale gas industry.
More and more Tories turning against fracking, says MP. The Guardian talks to Lee Rowley following a parliamentary debate on shale gas planning. See also DrillOrDrop report from 31/10/2018. Independent (2/11/2018), Yorkshire Post, BBC News (22/11/2018), Richmond and Wandsworth Guardian (7/11/2018), Peak FM (6/11/2018)
Government consults on giving communities early say on fracking applications. ENDS report on new public consultation on shale gas schemes. See also DrillOrDrop report from 31/10/2018, Energy Live News
Events diary – November 2018 and beyond. DrillOrDrop events listings
Cat Smith MP Column – Cuadrilla’s fracking operation on the Fylde must stop after these earth tremors. The World News has a column from the Fleetwood MP calling for a stop on fracking at Preston New Road after a series of small earth tremors
Categories: Daily headlines