Daily headlines

February 2019 headlines

190128 misson eric walton 2

IGas site at Misson Springs, 28 January 2019. Photo: Eric Walton

Drilling is now underway at Biscathorpe, Misson and West Newton – and what will happen this month at Preston New Road and Tinker Lane? Also in February, the inquiry reconvenes into IGas testing plans at Ellesmere Port.

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

  • Government refuses Cuadrilla’s Roseacre Wood appeal
  • Government survey reveals that support for fracking drops to joint record low as concerns about earthquakes rise
  • Cuadrilla reveals it fracked only 5% of its shale gas well and calls for urgent review of tremor rules
  • Cuadrilla seeks to use extra chemicals to improve fracking at Preston New Road
  • Egdon to seal Biscathorpe well after it fails to find target oil formation
  • Ineos accuses government of shutting down shale by the backdoor with fracking tremor rules 
  • IGas executive to retire
  • Police chief welcomes government cash for anti-fracking protests
  • Tinker Lane shale gas site to be restored after failing to find the Bowland shale
  • Egdon appeals against latest refusal at Wressle oil site
  • Surrey earthquakes resume

28 February 2019

Live updates from Day 10 of IGas Ellesmere Port inquiry. DrillOrDrop report

Dunsfold Google Maps small

Location (marked in white) of UKOG’s Dunsfold site and access track, based on information in the company’s leaflet. Image source: Google Maps

UKOG unveils plans for exploration site at Dunsfold, Surrey. Surrey County Council rules the scheme does not need an environmental impact assessment DrillOrDrop report

Angus Energy share price drops to 1 year low of 3.85p.

Cheshire East councillors approve Sibelco quarry plans again. The Knutsford Guardian reports on the approval of silica sand quarry from Rudheath Lodge Farm, at Cranage, Cheshire.

What are the new rules about planning decisions at Lancashire County Council. The Lancashire Evening Press reports that the council is scrapping 30 minute speaking slots by organisations at planning meetings. It is also reducing the 4 minute public slots to 3 minute and allowing a maximum of 15 speakers in favour and 15 against.

27 February 2019

Leaders and scientists urged to drop support for fracking to support climate. DrillOrDrop report

190227 BGS chart 3

British Geological Survey record of earth tremors, 27 February 2019.

Record-breaking earthquake in Newdigate area of Surrey prompts for call to reopen inquiry into causes. DrillOrDrop report, Mirror, Sun

Live news updates from day 9 of the Ellesmere Port inquiry. DrillOrDrop

Cuadrilla releases air quality data. Blackpool Gazette

Ineos to spend £1bn in UK as billionaire owners save £4bn in tax. The Telegraph reports on Ineos plans to upgrade the Fortes North Sea pipeline and its Grangemouth refinery and build a new chemicals plan in Hull.

26 February 2019

Live updates from Day 8 of public inquiry into IGas flow test plans for Ellesmere Port. DrillOrDrop report

UN urged to ban frack to safeguard health of women. DrillOrDrop report

Disabled campaigner demands council release his car towed from drilling site. DrillOrDrop report, Hull Daily Mail

190226 Richard Wise eviction

Richard Wise in the East Riding of Yorkshire Council yard, 26 February 2019. Photo: West Newton Gateway to the Gas Fields

Angus Energy to seek permission for 2-year well test at Balcombe – resident says it is running away from problems. DrillOrDrop report

Angus sources equipment to tackle Brockham water problem and buys out Doriemus stake at Lidsey. DrillOrDrop report

Sheffield takes tough stand against fracking. The Sheffield Star reports Sheffield City Council has included a presumption against fracking in its planning policies.

25 February 2019

Police support eviction of monitoring station observing Rathlin Energy’s West Newton-A oil drilling site in East Yorkshire. DrillOrDrop report

Shale gas mining halted after quake hits Sichuan. Xinhuanet, Associated Press and CNBC report that a magnitude 4.9 earthquake linked to fracking killed two people, injured 12 and damaged 13,000 homes.

Wall Street loses faith in shale. Oil Price reports a decade’s worth of promises have failed to materialize, and Big Finance is cutting some of its ties with smaller shale drillers who have not delivered.

24 February 2019

New technical director at Cuadrilla. DrillOrDrop report on confirmation at Mark Lappin is retiring from his full-time post at Cuadrilla.

190224 Dunsfold audience

Audience at meeting on UKOG plans for Dunsfold, 24 February 2019. Photo: Jane Mote

Surrey villagers urged to challenge oil company over Dunsfold drilling plans. DrillOrDrop report

23 February 2019

Britain’s blocked fracking pipeline. Money Week reports on whether fracking has a future in the UK

22 February 2019

190222 SSE Bristol RtP

Protest outside SSE depot in Bristol, 22 February 2019. Photo: Reclaim the Power

Picture post: nationwide protests against fracking investors and supply chain. DrillOrDrop report, Cambridge News, DeSmogUK, Lincolnshire Live reports here, here and here, Slough Observer, the Lincolnite and update, Leeds Live, and updateAscot, Windsor and Eton Express, Yorkshire Evening Post, the Lincolnite (25/2/2019)

Inquiry resumes on IGas Ellesmere Port test plans. DrillOrDrop report, Cheshire Live (21/2/2019)

Centrica’s value plunges £1bn as customers defect. Energy Voice reports shares in Centrica sank around 12% after it warned of an expected hit to 2019 performance from the price cap on default tariffs.

Protecting protest – fracking campaigners challenge Ineos’ “anti-democratic” tactics. Open Democracy UK reports Joe Corre’s challenge against the Ineos injunction at the Court of Appeal.

Fracking in Kirby Misperton could start later this year. Holiday Radio and Scarborough News pick up DrillOrDrop’s report from 13 February 2019 on Third Energy’s drilling and fracking commitments. The Press (28/2/2019)

21 February 2019

New poll findings: Government ignores public on fracking and should not relax tremor rules. DrillOrDrop report on polling by CPRE. Energy Voice

West Newton drilling site observers relocate monitoring station. Updated DrillOrDrop report

Completition of acquisition in Horse Hill. UK Oil & Gas plc announces it has completed its acquisition of the 6% shareholding from Doriemus in Horse Hill Developments Ltd. This gives UKOG a 77.9% shareholding in HHDL, which itself has a 50.64% interest in the Horse Hill licences PEDL137 and PEDL246.

Ineos Group Holdings Q4 results. The company announces earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for the fourth quarter of 2018 of E356m, compared with E562 for the same period in 2017 and E631 for quarter three in 2018. Full year EBITDA was E2,288m in 2018, compared with E2,529 in 2017. Net debt was approximately E4.3bn at the end of December 2018.

Rising British Gas bills are being invested in fracking – increasing prices more, say protesters. Inews reports on the campaign by Reclaim the Power to oppose investors in fracking

UK fracking friends and foes find common cause. The FT reports on confusion at ministers’ mixed signals on fracking.

Ban gas boilers in new homes by 2025, says Committee on Climate Change. Report by the CCC recommends that no new homes should be connected to the gas grid by 2025 but should be super-efficient and heated using low carbon energy instead. The Guardian, BBC News

“Threat to human health”: Campaigners to fight against UKOG’s plans for oil drill site near Dunsfold. Surrey Live picks up DrillOrDrop’s 15/2/2019 report on UKOG’s proposed well site near Guildford

Latest convictions from Blackpool Magistrates court. Blackpool Gazette reports that 46-year-old Fiona Smith was found guilty of obstructing the A583 outside Cuadrilla’s fracking site when she sat down in front of delivery vehicles. She received a six-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £125 costs and a £20 victims’ surcharge.

20 February 2019

Egdon to seal Biscathorpe well after it fails to find target formation. DrillOrDrop report, Morning Star, Proactive Investors

Cuadrilla seeks to use more chemicals to improve fracking at Preston New Road. DrillOrDrop report, Blackpool Gazette, 2BR

190220 ERYC meeting DoD2

Harry Clark asking East Riding of Yorkshire Council to drop its eviction order for the West Newton monitoring station, 20 February 2019. Photo: DrillOrDrop

Council rejects community appeal to drop eviction order against monitoring station at Rathlin Energy’s E Yorkshire drill site. DrillOrDrop report


Deadline for removal of equipment and caravans from roadside verges at West Newton A well site. East Riding of Yorkshire Council requires campaigners monitoring the West Newton A wellsite at New Ellerby, north of Hull, to remove caravans, tens and wooden structures from the verges by today.

19 February 2019

People living near Newdigate in Surrey reported another earth tremor this evening – the second in a week. DrillOrDrop report, Surrey Live

Revealed: How the tobacco and fossil fuel industries fund disinformation campaigns around the world. DeSmogUK reports on 35 thinktanks in the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand. 32 have taken direct donations from the tobacco ndustry, 29 from the fossil fuel industry and 28 from both.  Two networks, based around the Koch brothers and Atlas Network, are involved in orordinating or funding many of the thinktanks.

18 February 2019

Oil production updates for Horse Hill and Lidsey sites in southern England. DrillOrDrop report, Morning Star

Residents and campaigners who have been monitoring Rathlin Energy’s oil and gas site in East Yorkshire for more than a month are making a direct appeal to the county council to drop its threat of eviction. DrillOrDrop report

17 February 2019

UK’s richest man, Jim Ratcliffe, of Ineos, moves to Monaco to save £4bn in tax. Sunday Times, Guardian, Mirror, Sun, Daily Record

16 February 2019

UK fracking industry pushes for review of earthquake limits. The Guardian reports on a crunch time ahead for the UK fracking industry.

15 February 2019

1902 Dunsfold Surrey

Local people have posted this map online with the proposed location marked by the red circle.

UKOG reveals plans for new oil site at Dunsfold, in Surrey. DrillOrDrop report

Frack’s lacking backing. Theresa May has been urged to back fracking as company says it has found ’30 years worth of gas’ in East Midlands. The Sun reports claims by Ineos that drilling results from its field in Nottinghamshire suggest “US levels” of shale gas. Ineos urged the government to speed up the planning process. Also reported in the Express (21/2/2019) and the local Johnstone Press titles (21/2/2019)

IGas operational update. IGas says its Springs Road-1 well has encountered shales at 2,200m and coring is to begin imminently. The company confirms that the Tinker Lane well has been plugged, abandoned and preparations are being made to restore the site.

The pro-fracking letter writers with links to oil and gas industry. Channel 4 News reports on the industry links of the signatories of a letter calling for a relaxation of the regulations on fracking-induced seismicity.

Angus Energy placing. Angus Energy announces a placing of 55,000,000 new shares at a price of 4p, to raise £2.2m. The money will be used to pay down the loan to YA II Pin Ltd and Riverfort Global Opportunities PCC Limited.

14 February 2019

190214 BGS Newdigate

Geologists link Surrey earthquakes to oil site as new tremor felt in the Newdigate area. DrillOrDrop report, Daily Mail, West Sussex County Times (18/2/2019)

Angus Energy due back at Balcombe, Parish Council reports. DrillOrDrop report

UK Oil & Gas plc increases stake in Horse Hill by acquiring 6% from Doriemus. UKOG says things its stake in HHDL to 77.9%, which in turns holds 65% of the Horse Hill project.

Tory conference police force admits sharing information on protesters with DWP. Disability News Service continues its investigation into police forces sharing information on protesters with benefits officials. It reveals that Greater Manchester Police has joined the Lancashire force in sharing information about people taking part in protests with the Department of Work and Pensions.

13 February 2019

Third Energy commits to frack a well a year for four years under new work programme for its Ryedale licences in North Yorkshire. DrillOrDrop report

12 February 2019

Breaking: Government refuses Cuadrilla’s drilling and fracking plans for Roseacre Wood, near Blackpool. DrillOrDrop breaking news, Reaction from campaigners and residentsCuadrilla reaction, City Am, Guardian, Lancashire Evening Post, Energy Voice, Blackpool Gazette, 2BR, BBC News, ITV News, Cuadrilla statement

Cuadrilla spending increased by £2.2m during fracking at Preston New Road. Cuadrilla releases latest data on its Lancashire Commitments tracker.



Energy Minister says review of fracking-induced seismicity is up to OGA. Claire Perry, in reply to a question by Sir Patrick McLoughlin, says:

“We have set out very clearly our need to soberly and scientifically explore this potentially important resource. We rejected the companies’ request during the process of extraction from the first well to change the regime, on the basis that it was fit for purpose. I have been very well aware of all the scientific suggestions that somehow this regime should be reviewed. Of course, we now have an independent regulator, the Oil and Gas Authority, and it is within its remit, should it wish, to look at the science. For me, it is a scientist-led decision—it is nothing to do with politicians.”

Opposition to fracking targets large investors in shale gas exploration. DrillOrDrop report on Reclaim the Power protest against Centrica and HSBC. Leeds Live (19/2/2019)

11 February 2019

190211 PAC6

Lee Rowley MP at the Public Accounts Committee, 11 February 2019. Photo: Parliament TV

Senior officials failed to give clear answers on decommissioning of onshore fracking wells – says North East Derbyshire MP. DrillOrDrop report

Shaking with fear. Government accused of killing fracking by forcing drilling forms to suspend work over tiny tremors. The Sun picks up the letter to Times on the traffic light system for fracking induced seismicity.

The Sun says: UK ought to stop running scared of eco-warriors and give fracking green light. The Sun says in an editorial: “Of course fracking has to be safe. It’s why we have rigorous safety standards. But we are in danger of going overboard”

“THE Government’s refusal to give the shale gas industry the green light is a woeful failure of leadership.”

Angus Energy share price drops below 5.0p.

190211 Angus share price

10 February 2019

Surrey residents protest about impacts of 20-year oil production plans at Horse Hill. DrillOrDrop report

190209 HorseHill James Knapp Weald Action Group

Protest near the Horse Hill oil site in Surrey, 9 February 2019. Photo: James Knapp, Weald Action Group

Geoscientists join call for review of fracking tremor rules – opponents say industry must prove it can frack safely. DrillOrDrop report, The Times (9/1/2019)

Picture post: Hundreds attend “living with fracking” event near Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site. DrillOrDrop report

9 February 2019

14th round licences Source OGA

14th round licences offered in central and northern England. Source: Oil & Gas Authority

Weekend long read: Promises, promises. Can the operators meet their drilling commitments and does it matter? DrillOrDrop report

8 February 2019

Driller, Gerwyn Williams, seeks land access for Somerset surveys and prepares for stock market listing. DrillOrDrop report

Angus Energy seeks consent for extended well test at Balcombe. DrillOrDrop report, Morning Post

Local communities’ legitimate concerns about fracking need to be heard. Tom Fyans, writing in the Times, says the public needs reassurance that the government is listening to voices beyond those of the shale gas industry.

Fracking opponents pleased that regulator has no plans to raise tremor safety level. The Blackpool Gazette reports on reaction to the comment by the Oil & Gas Authority that it does not plan to review the traffic light system.

Anti-fracking campaigner to speak in Doncaster. Doncaster Free Press reports that Sharon Wilson, a former oil and gas industry employee, is to speak at a meeting on 12 February at C-View in Doncaster.

7 February 2019

Public attitudes

Government survey: Earthquake fears push up opposition to fracking – support drops again. DrillOrDrop report, Energy VoiceIndependent (8/1/2019)

Protest outside court in Lincoln after environmental campaigners charged. Lincolnshire Live reports on an initial hearing in the case of Geoff Jones and Karen Williams, who were arrested on 4 January at the Biscathorpe oil exploration site. They pleaded not guilty and a trial will be held in May.

6 February 2019

Cuadrilla fully fracked only 5% of shale gas well and calls for urgent review of tremor rules. DrillOrDrop report, The Guardian, Reuters, Independent, Lancashire Evening Post, Sky News, Cuadrilla press statement

No plans to review fracking tremor rules, says Oil & Gas Authority in response to Cuadrilla call. DrillOrDrop report, Climate Home News (7/2/2019), Reuters (7/2/2019), Energy Voice (7/2/2019)

1711 Wressle UWOC2

Wressle wellsite, near Scunthorpe, during site visit during inquiry, November 2017. Used with the owner’s consent

Egdon appeals again against refusal of oil production plans for Wressle site near Scunthorpe. DrillOrDrop report, Proactive Investors, Lincolnshire Reporter (14/2/2019)

Claire Perry defends shale gas fracking. Utility Week reports that on a Sustainability Leaders Forum at which the energy minister defended fracking for gas. She added:

“We’ve obviously been very clear about our environmental limits, which I think are the best in the world, and if [fracking] companies can operate within them then they’ll be welcome to do so.”

Nottinghamshire MEP speaks out against fracking at Clumber Park. The Gainsborough Standard reports that Nottinghamshire’s Labour MEP has opposed plans by Ineos to carry out seismic surveys in Clumber Park.

5 February 2019

Time for comprehensive review of health impacts of fracking, say doctors. DrillOrDrop report

Government accused of breaking its own guidelines on shale gas consultation. DrillOrDrop report

UK Oil and Gas visit Arreton ahead of planned 2020 drilling campaign. The County Press reports UKOG visited its proposed Arreton sites where the company wants to start drilling in 2020. On the Wight (6/2/2019)

Police challenge Prevent critics to “stand up and be counted”. The Guardian reports on comments by Simon Cole, the national policing lead for the Prevent anti-terrorism programme, who challenged opponents to influence policy and suggest improvements by participating in a review.

4 February 2019

UK fracking tremor rules “absurd and unworkable”, says Ineos owner, Jim Ratcliffe – campaigners accuse him of “aggressive and misinformed attack” and threaten legal action if regulations are relaxed. DrillOrDrop report, Guardian, Oil Price, City Am, Telegraph, OGJ, Reuters, The Times, BBC NW, Derbyshire Times, Energy Voice

Angus Energy finds water at its oil well at Brockham – more work planned. DrillOrDrop report, Morning Star, Proactive Investors


John Blaymires. Photo: DrillOrDrop

IGas: Plans to restore Tinker Lane and John Blaymires to retire. DrillOrDrop report

The Guardian view on fracking: the end can’t come soon enough. The Guardian editorial says launching a new fossil fuel industry was a bad idea and a coalition of localists and environmentalists appears close to defeating it.

Good results from Horse Hill needed to reignite interest in Weald Basin oil play. Proactive investors reports that hopes of establishing a substantial oilfield in southern England rest on upcoming wells at Horse Hill.

‘She doesn’t have to live in the north of England without a job’: Britain’s richest man Sir Jim Ratcliffe blasts punk fashion icon Vivienne Westwood over her opposition to fracking. MailOnline reports Jim Ratcliffe has criticised Dame Vivienne Westwood for her opposition to fracking. she described him as a “liar bent on destroying the environment”, the website says.

3 February 2019

Owl breeding fears at Misson Springs shale gas site. BBC Nottingham reports comments by Janice Bradley, head of conservation at Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust about the site of special scientific interest next to IGas’s shale site. See also Nottingham Post. She says:

“Misson Carr and its wildlife simply shouldn’t be put at risk due to this sort of extractive operation,” said Janice Bradley, head of conservation.

“SSSIs are supposed to carry a high degree of protection in the planning system, but sadly permission was granted despite us putting forward an extremely strong case.”

1 February 2019

10th Mar 2017 (20 police line up)

Police outside Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site near Blackpool, 10 March 2017.

Lancashire police and crime commissioner welcomes government cash for anti-fracking  protests outside Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site. DrillOrDrop report, BBC News, 2BR, Blackpool Gazette, Radio Wave

Events diary for February 2019 and beyond. DrillOrDrop

Add a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s