Daily headlines

March 2019 drilling headlines

190306 Ineos injunction appeal DoD

This month sees a legal challenge at the Court of Appeal against Ineos’s protest injunction. The inquiry closes into IGas plans for Ellesmere Port. Work is underway at Misson and West Newton well sites and plans are due to be submitted for a new site in Surrey.

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

  • High Court rules that government support for fracking in planning policy is unlawful (6/3/2019)
  • Cuadrilla announces it will not appeal against refusal of planning permission for Roseacre wood (22/3/2019)
  • Appeal hearing against Ineos fracking protest injunction 5-6/3/3019)
  • Cuadrilla’s fracking site released climate changing methane into the atmosphere during well tests (1/3/2019)
  • Home Office to fund 85% of extra costs of policing anti-fracking protests in North Yorkshire (5/3/2019)
  • Surrey MP calls on government to carry out independent study of Surrey earthquake swarm (7/3/2019)
  • Trial collapses of nine in longest lock-on protest outside Preston New Road (26/3/2019)
  • Thousand objections to Horse Hill oil drilling and production application delays decision (25/3/2019)
  • MPs debate government plans to fast-track fracking (28/3/2019)

30 March 2019

Fracking ban under consideration in Labour plans for Climate Change Bill. Herald Scotland reports Labour is planning to amend new climate change legislation in the Scottish parliament, including writing in a fracking ban.

29 March 2019

Jim Ratcliffe: calls for fossil fuel sponsorship ban as petrochemical billionaire adopts cycling’s Team Sky. Inews reports on criticism among environmentalists of Ineos sponsorship of cycling.

28 March 2019

190118 misson eric walton2

IGas shale gas exploration site at Misson Springs, Nottinghamshire, 18 January 2019. Photo: Eric Walton

IGas Springs Road shale gas well reaches total depth – company accounts. DrillOrDrop report, Morning Star (IGas Energy annual loss widens); StockMarketWire

Live news updates as MPs update fast-track fracking. DrillOrDrop report. Energy Voice (MP raises fears of ‘random industrialisation’ of countryside linked to fracking), Blackpool Gazette and Lancashire Evening Post (29/3/2019) Business Green opinion piece by Wera Hobhouse MP. Friends of the Earth, Bath Echo (1/4/2019), On the Spot News (1/4/2019)

Labour declares national ‘environment and climate emergency‘. The Independent reports that the shadow environment secretary, Sue Hayman, urged Conservatives to join Labour in declaring a national emergency.

Scottish Parliament rejects call to treat climate change as an emergency. Holyrood reports that MSPs voted down a call for the urgency of climate change to be addressed by stopping the extraction of fossil fuels.

27 March 2019

Landowners could face fracking clean-up costs, MPs warn. DrillOrDrop report on findings of inquiry by the Public Accounts Committee on oil and gas decommissioning. Energy Voice

MPs to debate government plans to fast-track fracking. DrillOrDrop report

UKOG £3.5m placing. UKOG announced it had raised £3.5m through a placing of 333,333,330 new ordinary shares. The company said the funds would be used in “assessment and acquisition of new opportunities”.

The women in white who are fighting fracking. BBC Scotland reports on women in Lancashire who campaigning against fracking at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site.

26 March 2019

190326 Blackpool Magistrates Court uwoc

Nine anti-fracking campaigners after their acquittal, pictured with Cllr Miranda Cox and Nick Danby (centre back row), 26 March 2019. Photo: Used with the owner’s consent

Trial collapses over lack of evidence against nine anti-fracking protesters in 60-hour lock-on outside Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site. DrillOrDrop

Scottish government accused of “dilly-dallying” as it delays decision on fracking ban. DrillOrDrop report, BBC News, Energy Voice, Herald Scotland, Holyrood, Scotsman

Barclays loan to Third Energy increases to 19.4mDrillOrDrop report

Critique of Cuadrilla’s fracking operation. David Smythe on this Frackland blog alleges what he calls a “technical fiasco” when the company fracked the PNR-1z well last year.

Ineos will have to fork out over £20 million to earn the right to shut Grangemouth road. The Falkirk Herald reports that Ineos has finally won the right to close a public road that runs through its Grangemouth site. Mitigation measures could cost Ineos £20 million. The decision by the Scottish government went against recommendations by the Planning and Environmental Appeals Division and a refusal by Falkirk Council.

Call on East Riding of Yorkshire Council and pension fund committee to go fossil free. Medact reports that health care workers in East Yorkshire are asking the county council pension fund to divest from fossil fuels.

25 March 2019

Thousand objections to Horse Hill oil drilling and production application delays decision. DrillOrDrop report, Surrey Live

Rig contracts signed for Rathlin Energy’s West Newton site in East Yorkshire and Angus Energy’s site at Brockham in Surrey. DrillOrDrop report, Upcoming Drills, Morning Star, Energy-pedia

Legal opinion on whether the Scottish Parliament can ban fracking. Friends of the Earth reports that legal opinion from one of Scotland’s leading advocates, concludes that the Scottish Parliament can pass a law to ban fracking. Energy Voice, Shropshire Star, The Times, The National

Fractured community as fracking takes hold in Britain’s rural land. Reuters reports on the effect of fracking in Lancashire.

24 March 2019

Tory fracking dash equivalent to the lifetime emissions of 300 millions cars. The Labour Party says it has carried out new research which concludes that fracking plans would release more than 7bn tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. GuardianPolitics Home, INews, Energy News, Business Green. DrillOrDrop has asked Labour for the research report or details of the findings. We’ll consider a more detailed report when we receive them.

23 March 2019

Ineos threatens to close UK plant unless it can dodge EU pollution rules. Documents obtained by Unearthed show that Ineos has said it could close its Middlesbrough manufacturing plant unless it is allowed to “defer compliance” with EU rules designed to prevent air and water pollution.

22 March 2019

Cuadrilla announces it will not appeal against refusal of planning permission for Roseacre Wood. Campaigners say they can “breathe a sigh of relief”. DrillOrDrop breaking news, BBC News, Blackpool Gazette

‘Gold standard’ regulation for UK onshore oil and gas is a joke, says MEP. DrillOrDrop report

Second eviction at East Yorkshire exploration site. DrillOrDrop report

Top oil firms spending millions lobbying to block climate change policies, says report. The Guardian reports on findings from InfluenceMap which said advertising campaigns hide investment in a huge expansion of oil and gas extraction. It says the largest stock market listed oil and gas companies (BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron and Total) spend nearly $200m a year lobbying to delay, control or block policies to tackle climate change.

Lord who campaigned against fracking wants to start mining. The Daily Mail reports on plans by Lord Cowdray to quarry sand from his West Sussex estate.

Fracking private members’ bills blocked. Bills by MPs Lee Rowley, on seimicity regulation, and Swansea West’s Geraint Davies (methane emissions) failed to get second readings in the House of Commons.

21 March 2019

Broadford Bridge 170827 Weald Oil Watch 2

UKOG’s Broadford bridge site, 27 August 2017. Photo: Weald Oil Watch

New questions as oil company rules out acid injection in Weald wells. DrillOrDrop investigation

“Shaky ground” for fracking plans, MP says as Ineos retains Cheshire licences. The Northwich Guardian reports on Ineos licences in Cheshire and comments by the Weaver Vale MP, Mike Amesbury in parliament on 19 March 2019.

Elite British cycling team sells out to billionaire shale boss. Spinwatch reports on Ineos sponsorship of Team Sky.

20 March 2019

“Unpleasant and biased” campaign against engineer cleared twice of misconduct over fracking debates. DrillOrDrop investigation. Blackpool Gazette (22/3/2019)

MPs to investigate fracking earthquakes. DrillOrDrop report, Peak FM (19/3/2019), Derbyshire Times (19/3/2019)

Union Jack oil announces placing. Union Jack says it has conditionally raised £1.75m through placing 2,333 million shares at a price of 0.075p to fund drilling and testing the West Newton-2 gas well.

Team Ineos: Anti-fracking campaigners warn of protests at Tour de Yorkshire. BBC Sport and Telegraph

US judge halts hundreds of drilling projects in groundbreaking climate change ruling. The Guardian reports a US judge has temporarily halted hundreds of drilling projects for failing to take climate change into account. The decision has stalled drilling on more than 300,000 acres of public land in Wyoming while the Bureau of Land Management is ordered to redo its analysis of greenhouse gas emissions.

Global banks, led by JP Morgan Chase, invested $1.9 trillion in fossil fuels since Paris Climate Agreement. DeSmog  and EcoWatch report on the 33 banks that have funded global climate-changing projects.

19 March 2019

New law on fracking-induced earthquakes clears first hurdle. DrillOrDrop report, Energy Voice

Swansea MP introduces bill to measure and control impacts of fracking on climate change and public health. DrillOrDrop report

Villagers to deliver plastic litter from shale gas site to Ineos executive. DrillOrDrop report

Sir Jim Ratcliffe takes control of Team Sky. Guardian, Mirror, road.cc, Independent

“Fracking is bad for the environment.” Weaver Vale MP, Mike Amesbury, urges the government to ditch support for fracking. The energy minister, Claire Perry, replies that the UK should explore a home-grown energy source that “provides thousands of jobs”.

“Misery created by fracking“. Bolsover MP, Dennis Skinner, asks the energy minister “why should should Jim Ratcliffe make millions creating misery for all the people affected by fracking. Claire Perry replies “People support fracking because of its potential to create jobs”

15 March 2019

ukog logo wideUKOG company profile. DrillOrDrop review  of UK holdings, finances, plans and personnel.

UKOG accounts

An open letter to Lancashire County Council from the school climate strikers. DeSmog UK has a letter from four pupils taking part in today’s climate strike from the only county to be fracked for shale gas.

Derbyshire MP’s attempts for information from fracking firm “go unanswered”. The Derbyshire Times reports that MP Lee Rowley has written to residents saying he has received no response to his request for an update from Ineos, made at the start of February. He said Ineos has not yet met any of the conditions required to start work at its site at Bramleymoor Lane.

Energy giant founder reveals “spectacular” blueprint for 2019. The London Economic interviews Jonathan Tidswell Pretorius about his plans for Angus Energy.

14 March 2019

Europa to hand operation of Leith Hill oil exploration licence in Surrey to UKOG. DrillOrDrop report

Rotherham council drops highways objection to Ineos shale gas plan at Woodsetts. DrillOrDrop report, Roth Biz (15/32019), Sheffield Star (15/3/2019), Worksop Guardian (15/3/2019), Rotherham Advertiser (22/3/2019)

People have been excluded from a public consultation over fracking chemicals by the use of technical language, an industrial chemist has complained. DrillOrDrop report

Sale and purchase agreement for Lidsey. Angus Energy reports that it has entered into a legally-binding sale and purchase agreement with Doriemus plc to buy Doriemus’s 20% interest in the Lidsey oil field in West Sussex.

We can’t afford to stand by and do nothing: 10 everyday heroes fighting to safe the planet. The Guardian’s report on 10 activists on environmental issues includes Julie Daniels, who has been opposing fracking in Lancashire since 2011.

Team Sky expected to become Team Ineos. Cycling News reports that Ineos is the preferred option to support Team Sky. The web domain name Teamineos.com and the Twitter account @teamineos were registered earlier this month. Cycling Weekly

13 March 2019

UN committee urges UK government to ban fracking. DrillOrDrop report

Government’s spring statement bans fossil fuel heating by 2025. The Guardian reports on Philip Hammond’s announcement that new build houses will have low carbon heating and energy efficiency, apparently marking the end for gas boilers in new homes. This follows a call for this change last month from the Committee on Climate Change

Chancellor accused of “fiddling while planet burns” after spring statement environment pledges. The Independent reports that new plans announced by the government to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss have been dismissed as greenwashing by environmental groups.

Sherwood Forest councillors makes fresh fracking plea. The Worksop Guardian reports that Cllr John Peck, Labour county councillor for Sherwood Forest, presented a 3,032-signature petition to Nottinghamshire County Council. He said fracking would be disastrous if it were allowed in Sherwood Forest.

Fracking protesters supporting five on trial who put “livelihood at risk”. The Lincolnite reports that anti-fracking campaigners were outside Lincoln Magistrates Court in support of people on trial over a a protest outside S Lyon & Sons hauliers in Skellingthorpe near Lincoln last month.

Updated permits issued. The Environment Agency has issued updated permits for the IGas sites at Gainsborough and Beckingham in Lincolnshire.

12 March 2019

BP lobbied Trump administration to roll back key US climate rules. Unearthed reports that the oil company claims to be a leader on tackling methane emissions but successfully lobbied against two major regulations on tackling the problem.

Resource extraction responsible for half world’s carbon emissions. The Guardian reports on a study by UN Environment which concluded that mining and farming was responsible for half the world’s carbon emissions and more than 80% of biodiversity loss.

Peer presses minister on planning guidance. The Lib Dem Lord Greaves asks the government what steps it intends to take in response to the High Court ruling that planning guidance on fracking was unlawful. Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth replis that the government noted the judgement and was considering the next steps.  Burnley Express (199/3/2019)

11 March 2019

UK shale industry says peak gas production estimated to peak at 1,400 billion cubic feet per year – but this is based on assumptions of 100 pads, each with 40 lateral wells, unhindred flow tests and drilling/fracking 4-6 laterals per year per pad for seven years. DrillOrDrop report, Energy Voice report article and reaction, Reuters

190311 Misson Mad Hatters Tea Party Tina English 1

Mad Hatter’s tea party outside IGas shale gas site at Misson, north Nottinghamshire, 11 March 2019. Photo: Tina English

IGas announces it encounters shale sequence at Misson, Notts as protesters organise a Mad Hatter’s tea party at the site gate. DrillOrDrop report. Upstream Online (paywall), Morning Star, Proactive Investors, The Times

Cuadrilla brings in pre-dawn convoy to prepare Preston New Road wells for fracking. DrillOrDrop report, Cuadrilla press release, Blackpool Gazette, 2BR, North West Place

Disposal of shares in UK Oil and Gas plc. Gunsynd plc announces it has dispossed of 31,171,898 shares in UKOG at an average price of 1.405p per share for a total fee of £437,966.

Gas strategy in the UK is wrongheaded. Robin Russell-Jones and Geraint Davies write in the Guardian that is not surprise that the government’s strategy has been deemed unlawful. Carl Arntzen says carbon emissions would be even lower if gas boilers ran on hydrogen gas.

Egdon Resources shares jump on “highly encouraging” UK shale well results. Proactive Investors reports on Egdon’s response to news from the IGas Misson site, in which Egdon has a 14.5% interest.

Angus Energy shares close below 4p for the first time.

190311 Angus Shares close below 4p

Chart: LSE

9 March 2019

Earthquakes top fracking questions to minister. DrillOrDrop review of parliamentary questions in the past week.

Fracking information coffee morning. Roseacre Awareness Group reports that around 100 people, including local council representatives,  attended a coffee morning at Elswick Village Hall, Lancashire, to raise awareness of the potential impacts of fracking the Fylde and Wyre regions.

Former leader urges council to deliver clear fracking policy. The Warrington Guardian reports comments by Lib Dem councillor, Ian Marks, that Warrington Borough Council needs a clear policy on fracking to ensure it is prepared for future planning applications. The paper says there is planning permission for oil and gas operations at Doe Green in Penketh, Waterworks Lane in Winwick and Woolston next to the M6 junction 21.

8 March 2019

Rotherham planners seek to drop traffic objection to Ineos Woodsetts well – “betrayal” say campaigners. DrillOrDrop report, Rotherham Advertiser (12/3/2019)

190308 PNR lorry surf Ros Wills

Lorry protest outside Cuadrilla’s fracking site at Preston New Road, 8 March 2019. Photo: Ros Wills

Lorry protest prompts haulage company to pull out of fracking deliveries. Cuadrilla says protest it is in breach of High Court injunction. DrillOrDrop report

7 March 2019

Surrey MP calls for government investigation into earthquake link to oil exploration as new paper fails to settle debate over the cause of the Surrey swarm. DrillOrDrop report

Angus Energy: New appointments and no return board return for Jonathan Tidswell. DrillOrDrop report

Conservative MP seeks to ban fracking earthquakes with a new law. DrillOrDrop report, Derbyshire Times

Fracking: big bill for county even though it defended position at public inquiry. The Lancashire Evening Post reports that Lancashire County Council has been left with significant costs from the second Roseacre Wood inquiry, even though it won the case.

Five anti-frackers acquitted on obstruction charges at Preston New Road camp. The Blackpool Gazette reports five anti fracking protesters have been cleared of wilfully obstructing the main road outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas sit. The court heard they took part in a lock-on protest along the site entrance on 7 July 2018 but it did not have a significant effect on traffic flow. The prosecution offered no evidence on allegations that they broke trades union law.

6 March 2019

Breaking: Campaign group wins legal challenge over government support for shale gas. DrillOrDrop reports on High Court ruling that the government acted unlawfully in its failure to take account of new scientific evidence on the impact of fracking for shale gas on climate change. Financial Times (paywall), Guardian, Business Green, Leigh Day, Blackpool Gazette, DeSmog UK

Law lords reserve judgement in appeal against Ineos fracking protest injunction. DrillOrDrop 

News updates from final day of IGas Ellesmere Port inquiry – IGas summing up. DrillOrDrop report, Cheshire Live

Ministers to pay most of the extra costs of policing North Yorkshire anti-fracking protests at Third Energy’s Kirby Misperton site. DrillOrDrop report, York Press, Gazette and Herald, Northern Echo, Yorkshire Post, Scarborough News

Government appoints former energy minister, Tim Eggar, as the new chair of the OGA. He replaces Frances Morris-Jones, the interim chair. Government web links don’t work but reported by Energy Voice.

Cuadrilla’s air monitoring equipment malfunctioned during fracking methane surge. Unearthed reports Cuadrilla’s air monitoring equipment stopped working on 14 January when it released a significant amount of methane into the atmosphere. Ends Report (7/3/2019)

Angus Energy hires new chair, Tidswell Pretorius will not return. Morning Star reports on boardroom changes at Angus Energy

Angus Energy accounts

How we knew we’d beaten fracking at Roseacre. Barbara Richardson, writing on the Friends of the Earth website, says:

“This is not the time to start a whole new fossil fuel industry which would lock us in for decades to come. It is too late for fracking to act as a transition source of energy.”

Angus Energy loss widens in 2018 despite maiden oil production. Morning Star, Proactive Investors (Balcombe plans)

University of Stirling goes fossil fuel free. The university announces it has committed not to invest in fossil fuel companies.

5 March 2019

News update from Day 11: IGas Ellesmere Port inquiry. DrillOrDrop report

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Dennis Skinner MP at Westminster rally, 5 March 2019. Photo: DrillOrDrop

Picture post: Westminster anti-fracking rally. DrillOrDrop report

Ineos protest injunction unlawfully breaches human rights, appeal court told. DrillOrDrop report

Give red light to any change. James Sylvester, writing in the Blackpool Gazette, describes industry proposals to water down the seismic traffic light system as as “dereliction of duty”

4 March 2019

Campaigners bring test against “chilling” protest injunctions. DrillOrDrop preview of appeal hearing against Ineos injunctions. Energy Voice (5/3/2019), Express and Star (5/3/2019)

Analysis: UK’s CO2 emissions fell for record sixth consecutive year in 2018. Carbon Brief shows that the 2018 carbon reduction, of 1.5%, compared with a 16% fall was down to falling coal use. Oil and gas emissions remained largely unchanged. The 2018 reduction was the smallest fall in the past six years. Transport is now the single largest sector in the UK’s CO2 emissions total. The sector’s emissions have barely changed since 1990. Housing CO2 emissions increased by 1% in 2017, the most recent figure available.

Egdon Resources operations update. Egdon Resources says production from the Ceres gas field and Keddington and Fiskerton Airfield oilfields reached expectation in the period 31 July 2018-31 January 2019.  Stock Market Wire

3 March 2019

Lancashire Tory group “stifling debate” on planning and fracking. The Lancashire Telegraph reports allegations that the Conservative-led county council is stifling debate by imposing new limits on how long members of the public can speak at meetings of its development control committee.

Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos pays £1.2bn dividend. The Sunday Times reports that accounts show Ineos Group Holids SA paid a E1.45bn dividend last month, raising eybrows among lenders that bankrolled Ratcliffe’s recent expansion spree.

Shale companies adding ever more wells threaten future of US oil boom. The Wall Street Journal reports shale companies’ strategy to supercharge oil and gas production by drilling thousands of new wells more closely together is turning out to be a bust. What’s more, the approach is hurting the performance of older existing wells, threatening the US oil boom and forcing the maturing industry to rethink it s future.

1 March 2019

Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site released climate changing methane into the atmosphere during well tests, according to data from the British Geological Survey. DrillOrDrop, Independent (2/3/2019), ENDS Report (4/3/2019)

Events diary for March 2019 and beyond. DrillOrDrop report

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