Drilling could get underway this month at Biscathorpe in Lincolnshire, Misson Springs in Nottinghamshire and West Newton in East Yorkshire. There’ll also be keen interest in what happens at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site after fracking ended last month and equipment continues to be moved off the site. Also in January, we’ll be reporting on the public inquiry on IGas plans for Ellesmere Port and a judicial review on Ineos’s Harthill site.
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
- IGas moves equipment off Tinker Lane site and spuds first well at Misson
- Inquiry opens and adjourns into IGas test plans at Ellesmere Port
- 68-year low for UK onshore drilling activity in 2018
- Egdon Resources spuds Biscathorpe well in Lincolnshire and first campaigners are arrested
- Conductor rig installed at Rathlin Energy’s West Newton A site
- Greater Manchester councils announced a presumption against fracking
- UKOG confirms it has abandoned Markwells Wood
- Seismic rules on fracking could be relaxed, say scientists, but minister says the 0.5ML limit is to stay
- Harthill villagers fail to overturn Ineos shale gas permission in legal challenge
- Shale gas companies challenge North Yorkshire proposal for 500m buffer between sites and villages
- Power struggle at Angus Energy ousts managing director, Paul Vonk
31 January 2019
Breaking: High Court Judge dismisses legal case by residents of the South Yorkshire village of Harthill over Ineos shale gas plans. DrillOrDrop report, Rothbiz (5/2/2019) and Rotherham Advertiser (5/2/2019)
Losses in Europa Oil & Gas rise to 2.8m with loss of Bury Hill Wood – annual accounts. DrillOrDrop report
Scientists behind Elton research centre say fracking can be safe. Cheshire Live reports that British Geological Survey has told it :
“with effective regulation and enforcement, along with the application of best available techniques, shale gas can be extracted safely. That does not mean that it should happen everywhere and it does not mean that further research is not needed to improve confidence in these safeguards and improve them further.”
Your right to peaceful protest is under attack, disabled activists are warned. Disability News Service reports comments by Green Party co-leader, Jonathan Bartley, that “the right to peace protest is under attack in Britain today”. He cited as an example the passing of video footage by police to the Department of Work and Pensions about disabled anti-fracking protesters in an attempt to remove their benefits.
30 January 2019
Who wants to drill where? DrillOrDrop winter 2019 update of key UK onshore oil and gas sites with links to more detailed information
Egdon Resources bans members of its community liaison group from taking part in protests about the Biscathorpe oil exploration site. DrillOrDrop report
29 January 2019
28 January 2019
Government’s fracking ‘tsar’ visits Lancashire businesses. The Blackpool Gazette reports Natascha Engel was introduced to 25 Lancashire businesses to talk about fracking.
26 January 2019
Shale and potash agree North Yorks deal. DrillOrDrop report on session of the Examination in Public of the North Yorkshire minerals plan
Lobby of HSBC branches in south Yorkshire. The bank is a shareholder in IGas, which is drilling for shale gas at Misson in north Nottinghamshire
Judge tells anti-fracker his luck is running out. The Blackpool Gazette reports on a court case involving anti-fracking protesters, 31-year-old John Knox.
Call on Cheshire West and Chester Council to declare a climate emergency. Petition
25 January 2019
Egdon wins appeal on extending consent at Wressle wellsite. DrillOrDrop report
Youth climate campaigners target Westminster over fracking concerns. DrillOrDrop guest post
24 January 2019
News updates from Day 7 of inquiry into IGas well test plans at Ellesmere Port. DrillOrDrop report
UKOG statement: Markwells Wood abandoned and nine new wells planned by 2020. DrillOrDrop report
DWP refuses to reveal police forces that share information on disabled protesters. Disability News Service reports that the Department of Work and Pensions has refused to say whether police forces, other than Lancashire, have provided information on disability benefit claimants taking part in protests.
23 January 2019
Live news updates from Day 6 of the inquiry into IGas plans to test its gas well at Ellesmere Port. DrillOrDrop key points
UKOG statement: Markwells Wood abandoned and nine new wells planned across southern England by 2020. DrillOrDrop report
Fire crews called to West Newton A well site – Rathlin Energy says it is a minor incident. DrillOrDrop report
Fracking campaigners warn company behind Derbyshire plans: “We are ready”. The Derbyshire Times reports opponents of Ineos plans to drill for shale gas at Marsh Lane are not giving up. David Kesteven, of Eckington Against Fracking, tells the paper:
“We will always be peaceful and respectful of the law but if we get 1,000 people in the road they cannot get a truck through.”
Stephen Glover: We’re sitting on a gold mine. Yet ignorant politicians risk the lights going out on our country. Stephen Glover, in Mail Online comments on fracking:
There’s plenty of evidence that it could be extracted safely while making far less of an environmental impact than wind turbines or electricity pylons, let alone nuclear power stations. A whole new industry could be created if only the Luddites would see sense.
22 January 2019
Live news updates from Day 5 of the inquiry into IGas plans to test its gas well at Ellesmere Port. DrillOrDrop key points and full report on evidence for Frack Free Ellesmere and Upton: Professor Kevin Anderson on climate change; and Professor David Smythe and Robin Grayson on geology
Council threatens to evict monitoring camp outside West Newton well site in East Yorkshire – campaigners say they must be there because round-the-clock monitoring of the site is needed. DrillOrDrop report
Minister reveals details of shale regulator. DrillOrDrop report
Two scientists say UK fracking tremor limit could be raises safely – anti-fracking campaigners say they will consider legal challenge if government is seen to be “caving in to industry pressure” for a higher limit. DrillOrDrop report, BBC News, Reuters, Lancashire Evening Post, Independent, Daily Mail (24/1/2019)
UKOG completes acquisition of increased stake in Arreton licence in Isle of Man. Company statement
21 January 2019
Rathlin Energy seeks to vary permit for East Yorkshire oil and gas site. DrillOrDrop report
Picture post on IGas Notts shale sites: Misson rig installed and Tinker Lane cleared. DrillOrDrop report
20 January 2019
For us, Cuadrilla is the neighbour from hell. Three councillors write to the Sunday Times in response to the paper’s interview with Francis Egan Link
18 January 2019
Five-day anti-frackers trial slated for March. Fleetwood Weekly News reports that 10 anti-fracking campaigners are to go on trial at Blackpool Magistrates Court on 25 March 2019
Supreme Court refuses leave to appeal. Gayzer Frackman reports that his application to take his challenge to fracking at Preston New Road has been refused.
17 January 2019
Live news updates: Day 3 of IGas inquiry into Ellesmere Port well test plans. DrillOrDrop report
16 January 2019
Campaigners bring double challenge to “draconian” oil and gas protest injunctions. DrillOrDrop report on calls for protesters and senior judges to protect hard-fought rights to protest under threat from powerful and wealthy oil and gas companies.
Cllr Paul Andrews in fracking funding bid. The Gazette and Herald reports that Paul Andrews is aiming to raise £6,000 for legal representation at an extra two-day meeting on the North Yorkshire Draft Minerals Plan.
15 January 2019
UK firsts for public inquiry into IGas test plans at Ellesmere Port opening today. DrillOrDrop preview of the IGas inquiry
Pro-fracking road show announces Lancashire dates. The Lancashire Evening Post reports on a series of monthly roadshow events across the county
Immediate fossil fuel phaseout could arrest climate change – study. The Guardian reports on a study by Leeds University, which says it may still be technically possible to limit warming to 1.5C if drastic action is taken now including the immediate start to a phaseout of all fossil fuels. Nicholas Stern, of the London School of Economics, who was not part of the research team, said:
“We are rapidly approaching the end of the age of fossil fuels. This study confirms that all new energy infrastructure must be sustainable from now on if we are to avoid locking in commitments to emissions that would lead to the world exceeding the goals of the Paris agreement.”
Wrong side of history: Barclays’ fossil fuels policy shift garners mixed reviews. Business Green reports that Barclays has set stricter standards for investments but will not pull out of coal, oil and gas altogether.
14 January 2019
How temporary is temporary? Campaigner Ben Dean argues in a DrillOrDrop guest post that a single word has cleared the way for oil and gas development in rural areas.
Minister rejects fracking firm’s call to weaken earthquake rules. Unearthed and the FT report on correspondence, obtained by a freedom of information request, between the energy minister, Claire Perry, and Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla. The minister describes the traffic light system regulations on fracking-induced seismicity as “fit for purpose” and said the government had “no intention of altering it.” Ms Perry said of Cuadrilla:
“at no point did you communicate that it would not be possible to proceed without a change in regulations”
UK revealed as EU champion of fossil fuel subsidies. Euractiv reports on a report by the European Commissioner which concluded that the UK spends the most in the EU on subsidising fossil fuels
13 January 2019
Interview: Francis Egan, boss of controversial shale gas explorer Cuadrilla. He tells The Times his company and the other UK shale operators could go abroad if the UK doesn’t want to frack.
Surge in oil and gas companies using injunctions to block protesters at UK sites. The Independent reports on comments by lawyers that oil companies are taking legal action to scare off local residents from protesting at sites and joining online opposition groups.
11 January 2019
10 January 2019
Cuadrilla focusses on single shale well – with under 11 months left at Preston New Road for more drilling and fracking. DrillOrDrop report
Does the UK really need fracked gas? Power Technology investigates and concludes probably not.
9 January 2019
Details published of geological research centre in Cheshire. DrillOrDrop report
Egdon board changes. Egdon Resources reports that Exploration Director Martin Durham, will be appointed to the company board to replace Technical Director, Jerry Field, who is retiring.
8 January 2019
Cheshire sand quarry approved despite dust and fracking concerns. BBC News reports that Cheshire West and Chester Council approved plans by Sibelco for a silica sand quarry on farmland in Cranage. The proposal is to be referred to the local government secretary. They have been opposed by anti-fracking groups who fear the sand could be used as a proppant in the shale gas industry.
Nantwich Mayor joins campaign over fracking planning loophole. Nantwich News reports that David Marren has joined 800 other councillors across the UK to oppose Government proposals to make easier planning regulations for fracking companies.
Communities mobilising to resist new fracking threat in Nottinghamshire. Frack Off reports on IGas deliveries of drilling equipment to its shale gas site at Springs Road, Misson. The Canary (9/1/2019), Morning Star
Fracking investments by Lincolnshire County Council. The Sleaford Standard reports on figures by 350.org, Platform and Friends of the Earth that the county has invested more than £50m in fracking companies. The council’s pension has £33.9m in Shell and £20.7m in BP.
7 January 2019
Greater Manchester major shale gas region announces presumption against fracking. DrillOrDrop report on the region’s spatial framework and reaction from the industry and government. Advance reports in other media outlets: Sky News, Guardian, Independent, Energy Voice, ITV, Mail online, pbc today See also Business Green for a report after publication
Egdon’s Biscathorpe oil well spudded. DrillOrDrop report with new pictures of the site.
“Realistic” new model points the way to more efficient and profitable fracking. PhysOrg reports on research at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering which could boost efficiency and profits in natural gas production by better predicting previously hidden fracture mechanics and accounting for known amounts of gas.
6 January 2019
Named: the ‘dirty dozen’ companies that pollute Scotland. The Ferret reports on the Scottish Pollution Release Inventory which sees Ineos, Shell, ExxonMobil, Raytheon, GSK and Texas Instruments as among the most polluting companies in Scotland.
“I have to see it through to the end”: One Lancashire family’s two-year fight against fracking. DeSmogUK reports on a mother and daughter’s campaign against Cuadrilla’s shale gas operation at Preston New Road in Lancashire.
4 January 2019
A 74-year-old man and 60-year-old woman become first people to be arrested outside Egdon Resource’s Biscathorpe oil exploration site near Louth in Lincolnshire. DrillOrDrop report, Lincolnshire Live (10/1/2018)
Equipment delivered to IGas shale gas site at Misson, Nottinghamshire. DrillOrDrop report
Geologist warns of toxic risks from fracking the Bowland shale. DrillOrDrop report
Greater Manchester to announce effective ban on fracking. The Guardian reports that the combined authority will put in place planning measures on Monday to create a presumption against fracking for shale gas.
Application to strike IGas Exploration UK Limited from the companies register. Details
3 January 2019
Deadline approaches for comments on Angus Energy 24-hour oil production at Lidsey in West Sussex. DrillOrDrop report
Diminished case for UK fracking after shaky start, says Fitch. Fitch Solutions, writing in Energy Voice reports that early stoppages to fracking and persisting opposition are “indicative of the wider barriers to the viability of UK shale over the longer term”. The article adds:
“Even with fracking now taking place in the country, the completion of the small drilling schedule will provide an extremely small proportion of the required activity to properly delineate and quantify the existing resource base in the UK.”
It also said: “the urgency for a new domestic source of gas, especially one that is so socially contentious is diminished”.
Man arrested in Exeter after anti-fracking slogan scrawled on Barclays Bank. Devon Live reports that a 39-year-old man from north Devon was charged with criminal damage and will appear at Exeter Magistrates Court on 29 January 2019.
As the government packed up for Christmas, it hoped we’d miss this huge blow to its plans. The Canary reports on December’s judicial review by Talk Fracking on the revised National Planning Policy Framework. See also DrillOrDrop reports from the case here and here
Backlash over ‘disgraceful’ police force that passed video footage to DWP. Disability News Service reports on complaints to the Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner after the county’s force confirmed it passed information and footage of disabled protesters to the Department of Work and Pensions in an apparent attempt to have their disability benefits removed.
2 January 2019
Picture post: Rig dismantled and equipment moved off IGas site at Tinker Lane after well fails to find the Bowland Shale. DrillOrDrop report
IGas Ellesmere Port well test is “wrong place at the wrong time”, campaign group will argue at inquiry this month. DrillOrDrop report
Fracking’s secret problem – oil wells aren’t producing as much as forecast. The Wall Street Journal reports that thousands of shale wells drilled in the last five years are pumping less oil and gas than their owners forecast to investors, raising questions about the strength and profitability of the fracking boom that turned the US into an oil superpower.
1 January 2019
Who drilled where in 2018? DrillOrDrop report on 68-year low for UK onshore oil and gas industry.
Events diary – January 2019 and beyond. DrillOrDrop’s monthly events listing
Categories: Daily headlines