Daily headlines

April 2019 drilling headlines

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Work on fracking equipment at Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road, 29 March 2019. Photo: Ros Wills

This month could see the start of horizontal drilling at the IGas site at Misson in north Nottinghamshire and the spudding of Rathlin Energy’s second well at West Newton. The Court of Appeal is due to hand down its ruling on a challenge to the Ineos injunction and politicians will discuss regulations on induced seismicity.

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 injunction ruled unlawful by Court of Appeal
  • Confidential records reveal limitations of Cuadrilla’s Lancashire fracking operation (1/4/2019)
  • “UK support for new fossil fuels is beyond absurd” – Greta Thunberg tells MPs (23/4/2019)
  • Third Energy onshore business sold to American affiliate (25/4/2019)
  • Drilling rig delivered to Rathlin Energy’s West Newton-A site (8/4/2019) and well spudded (26/4/2019
  • Arrests at “fossil fools” day protest at IGas Misson site (1/4/2019)
  • FOI reveals that Ineos “strong hinted” it would not apply for fracking consent unless seismicity regulations were relaxed (15/4/2019)
  • Regulators accused of “extraordinary hands-off” approach to South Downs oil well (12/4/2019)
  • Safety failings revealed at Rathlin Energy’s West Newton site (17/4/2019)
  • IGas sets out vision for back-back shale gas development (4/4/2019)
  • Work starts ahead of schedule to find water zone in Angus Energy’s Brockham sidetrack (10/4/2019)

26 April 2019

Drilling starts on second well at Rathlin Energy’s West Newton site in East Yorkshire. DrillOrDrop report

25 April 2019

Alpha Energy

Third Energy sells troubled onshore gas business to affiliate of a US company. DrillOrDrop report

Lancashire shale gas site looks like an “abandoned ghost town”, says campaign group. Cuadrilla says 30 people were working at the Preston New Road site today. DrillOrDrop report

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Drone picture of Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site, near Blackpool, 25 April 2019. Photo: Debs Jackson

Start date fixed for second inquiry into plans by Egdon Resources for long-term oil production at Wressle site near Scunthorpe. DrillOrDrop report

Oil and Gas Authority publishes five-year corporate plan. The OGA document, for 2019-2024 focuses mainly on the offshore regulation and promotion.

Angus issues Brockham operations update. Angus Energy issued a regulatory news statement at 6.30pm on the changes to the Brockham work programme, referred to in a tweet on 24 April.

24 April 2019

“UK support for new fossil fuels is beyond absurd” – how politicians and industry responded to Greta Thunberg. DrillOrDrop report

Extinction Rebellion declares end to London protests. The Guardian reports that the climate protests, which occupied sites across London for more than a week, will end voluntarily on Thursday 25 April with a day of disruption and a closing ceremony.

Angus Energy changes order of work at Brockham, according to tweet.

SNP’s contradictions prove Sturgeon’s green deal is a load of hot air. Alf Young, writing in the Times, criticises the SNP’s Scottish green deal.

How earthquakes could topple the fracking industry. Friends of the Earth reports on lobbying by the shale gas industry for changes to the seismicity regulations.

Reversing government fracking policy? The SNP economics spokesperson, Kirsty Blackman, asks the government at Prime Minister’s Questions:

“Climate change is the biggest crisis facing the world today. Even the Environment Secretary has admitted that this Government have failed to do enough. Yesterday, he promised that the UK Government would take action. This Government have spent millions on nuclear power, cut support for renewable energy projects and continued to pursue fracking. Does taking action include reversing those damaging policies?”

David Liddington, standing in for Theresa May, replies:

“There is a lot more to do, but I think that that is a good record on which to base that future action.”

23 April 2019

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Nottinghamshire County Councillors voting for Infinis’s scheme to extract mine methane near Rufford Abbey, 23 April 2019. Photo: DrillOrDrop

Nottinghamshire councillors back mine methane scheme near Rufford Abbey historic parkland by slim margin. DrillOrDrop report, West Bridgford Wire

Greta Thunberg: Teen activists says UK is “irresponsible” on climate. BBC News, GuardianThe Times, Scotsman, FT, Layla Moran article for the Independent. Full speech

Climate change statement. Claire Perry’s statement to the House of Commons on Extinction Rebellion protests. Energy Voice

Urgent question by Ed Miliband to Claire Perry on climate change.

CBI: Extinction Rebellion are asking “absolutely the right questions” – and businesses are committed to answering them. Business Green reports that the CBI welcomes the launch of the XR business group, as Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate campaigner, delivers a stinging address to MPs

Labour endorses Extinction Rebellion activists after week of protest. the Guardian reports on backing from Labour on the climate change protests.

Extinction Rebellion protests to focus on parliament. LBC reports Extinction Rebellion campaigners say they will focus on the area surrounding parliament in a second week of protests as MPs return from the Easter recess.

New Team Sky boss Jim Ratcliffe faces green protest at the Tour de Yorkshire next month. Mail Online reports that face masks of Britain’s richest man, Jim Ratcliffe, will be circulated to cycling fans by environmental fans at next week’s Tour de Yorkshire in protest against Team Sky’s new owners. Cycling Weekly (24/4/2019), Guardian (24/4/2019)

Offshore oil rig consents ‘illegal’, charity claims. BBC News reports that the Seahorse Trust has applied for a judicial review of a decision to allow a temporary oil rig in Poole Bay, Dorset, earlier this year. It says government regulations did not allow applications by energy firms to be fully scrutinised.

22 April 2019

Greta Thunberg backs climate general strike to force leaders to act. The Guardian reports comments by the 16-year-old Swedish climate campaigner who says the world faces an ‘existential crisis’ and must achieve the goals of the Paris agreement. She urges older generations to support the student movement to ensure politicians keep their promises. Link to full speech on Channel 4 News, BBC News report

The time for denial is over. Conservatives have to take the climate crisis seriously. William Hague writes in the Telegraph about how the right in politics should respond to climate change.

Business leaders voice support for climate activists who shut down capital. In a letter to the Times, 21 executives have written to the Times in support for the call for action on climate change. They include Paul Polman, chief executive of Unilever until January, Dale Vince, of Ecotricity, and Chris Davis, of The Body Shop.

Greta Thunberg’s visit to Britain is a huge moment for the climate movement. MP Caroline Lucas, writing in the Guardian, says young people like Greta Thunberg represent hope in the face of political inaction. She says the UK talks the talk on climate but “simply won’t walk the walk.” She says the government is a cheerleader for “dirty fossil fuels like fracking” and has cut support for renewables like wind and solar. Looking back in a generation’s time, the real criminals will be those who “understood the science of climate change, yet consistently blocked action to prevent its worst effects”, she says.

Extinction Rebellion arrests pass 1,000 on eighth day of protests. The Guardian reports Metropolitan Police figures that at 10am on 22 April 2019 there had been 1,065 arrests and 53 charges arising from arrests at climate protests in London.

Extinction Rebellion: Climate change protesters at Natural History Museum. About 100 people lay down under the blue whale skeleton at the Natural History in a “die-in” to raise awareness of the sixth mass extinction, the BBC reports.

Time is running out for the UK’s fracking industry. The FT reports that even business-minded government ministers are lukewarm about fracking. “This may be the last government prepared even to support shale gas drilling — and its hold on power is pretty tenuous”, the paper says.

Big Oil’s $5tn investment is incompatible with Paris deal. The FT reports that the oil and gas industry is facing unprecedented pressure to prove its business model is compatible with the goals of the Paris climate agreement.

‘I am not yet convinced’: Michael Gove on votes at 16, Heathrow and fracking. Environment secretary, Michael Gove, tells Big Issue “proceeding with caution is the best way to approach” fracking. He says:

“I think that obviously we want to reduce our reliance on hydrocarbons as rapidly as possible and decarbonising our economy is something that is at the heart of our Clean Growth Strategy, but I think that one can’t afford to dismiss out of hand any particular technology if it can be an appropriate part of the mix.”

21 April 2019

Polly Higgins, lawyer who fought for recognition of ‘ecocide’, dies aged 50. The Guardian (22/4/2019) reports the death of Polly Higgins, a British barrister who led a decade-long campaign to have ecocide recognised as a crime against humanity. Stroud News, Market News

Climate campaigners moved from Waterloo Bridge. The Guardian reports that police cleared Extinction Rebellion protesters from Waterloo Bridge during the evening. Roads around Parliament Square were cleared earlier in the day. Energy Voice

We’ll win fight with maths, vow Extinction Rebellion protesters. The Times reports that although police have cleared one site in central London of campaigners, the activists believe their secret weapons – maths and smiles – will prevail.

Extinction Rebellion: Jacob Rees-Mogg interviewed a climate change activist and it went exactly how you can imagine. Indy100 reports on an LBC radio programme in which Jacob Rees-Mogg spoke to Dr Rupert Read, an academic at University of East Anglia and member of Extinction Rebellion.

Dear Extinction Rebellion: your aims are worthy but take your pink boat to China instead. Boris Johnson, writing in the Telegraph, comments on the Extinction Rebellion protests in central London.

Scottish Government urged to develop Green New Deal policy. The National reports that Patrick Harvie, the Scottish Green party co-convener, will bring a debate at the Scottish parliament this week urging MSPs to back an agenda which addresses climate change and invests in green jobs and industries. Energy Voice (22/4/2019)

Grangemouth councillor takes Ineos pollution complaints to SEPA. Grangemouth councillor, David Balfour, has taken residents’ complaints about a black cloud over the Ineos chemical plant to the environmental regulator, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, the Falkirk Herald reports. The paper says pictures on social media showed thick black smoke coming from chimneys at the plant while Ineos “fought for hours to bring the fumes under control” yesterday.

Green Party sets out its vision for Cheshire East Council. The Knutsford Guardian reports on opposition to fracking from Green Party council election candidates.

20 April 2019

Letter reveals Cuadrilla is running out of time to frack Blackpool wells. DrillOrDrop report

Ineos black cloud sparks concern in Grangemouth. The Falkirk Herald publishes a picture by a reader of fumes coming from Grangemouth chimneys for at least an hour and a half. Ineos says sorry for “unplanned” black cloud over Grangemouth

Anti-fracking day urges Salford City Council to get a backbone. The Salford Star reports on a gathering in Salford Precinct where campaigners asked people to sign letters to their local councillors calling for restoration of Barton Moss and opposition to future gas drilling applications.

19 April 2019

Cuadrilla ready to frack second well. The FT reports that Cuadrilla says it is ready to frack its second well at Preston New Road

Extinction Rebellion stages youth protest at Heathrow Airport. The Guardian reports that activists, all born after 1990, at key roundabout to highlight dangers of climate change.

Emma Thompson joins activists as climate change protests enter fifth day. The Evening Standard reports Dame Emma Thompson has joined Extinction Rebellion protesters at Oxford Circus in central London. There have been more than 570 arrests, the paper quoted police.

Salford fracking threat to be opposed on Salford precinct. The Salford Star reports that Frack Free Greater Manchester will be raising awareness about fracking in Salford precinct on 20 April 2019.

18 April 2019

2018 onshore oil production down – under 2% of UK total. DrillOrDrop report on official UK onshore production data

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More than 400 arrested at Extinction Rebellion protests in London. The Guardian reports that police cells are filling rapidly and people are said to being taken to Luton, Brighton and Essex.

The Extinction Rebellion protest is inspired. But what comes next? Polly Toybee, writing in the Guardian, says fear of climate change consequences has to be translated into acceptable politics.

Extinction Rebellion: Climate protests ‘diverting’ London police. BBC News reports that police are being diverted from core local duties by the Extinction Rebellion protesters.

Extinction Rebellion London protest: Video of police dancing with protesters on Oxford Street called ‘unacceptable’ by Met official. INews reports that Scotland Yard is investigating police officers filmed dancing alongside environmental activists in the Extinction Rebellion climate protest.

Extinction Rebellion: Who are the climate change activists and what are their aims. The Independent investigates the climate change protest movement.

Completion of acquisition of Lidsey interest. Angus Energy announced that it had completed acquisition of Doriemus Plc’s 20% interest in the Lidsey licence, PL241 in return for 8,324,024 ordinary shares at a price of 5.6p each. Stockmarket Wire, Shares Magazine

17 April 2019

Campaigner questions “gold standard” regulation after safety failings at drill site. DrillOrDrop report on health and safety breaches by contract staff at Rathlin Energy’s West Newton-A site

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Demobilisation at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road fracking site, 17 April 2019. Photo: Jo Thomas

Picture post: Cuadrilla moves equipment off Preston New Road fracking site. DrillOrDrop report

Officials back mines gas scheme near historic gardens. DrillOrDrop report, West Bridgfordwire, Worksop Guardian (15/4/2019), Lincolnshire Live (17/4/2019)

The financial sector must be at the heart of tackling climate change. In an article for the Guardian, the Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, along with François Villeroy de Galhau, governor of Banque de France and Frank Elderson, of the Network for Greening the Financial System offer four recommendations to the financial sector to help ensure an orderly transition to a low carbon economy. They write:

“Carbon emissions have to decline by 45% from 2010 levels over the next decade in order to reach net zero by 2050. This requires a massive reallocation of capital. If some companies and industries fail to adjust to this new world, they will fail to exist.”

Climate change protesters bring DLR to halt by targeting train at Canary Wharf. The Metro reports that a man and a woman, holding a ‘climate emergency’ banner, glued themselves to the top of a train

Extinction Rebellion should be celebrated not sneered at. The New Statesman reports that people will look back favourably on the actions of climate campaigners, despite their disruption to traffic.

Comment: Climate Deniers are threatened by Extinction Rebellion because it challenges the ideology on which their luxurious lifestyles are built. Mike Small, writing in DeSmogUK, reviews media reaction to the climate change protests.

Team Sky to become Team Ineos at Romandie but new kit saved for Yorkshire. Cycling News reports the change to name and ownership will happen on 30 April at the Swiss Tour de Romandie. But the new kit and colours will be saved for the Tour de Yorkshire. Cycling Weekly

16 April 2019

Third eviction of monitoring camp outside East Yorkshire oil and gas site. DrillOrDrop report

Europa and Union Jack Oil pull out of Holmwood licence, PEDL143. DrillOrDrop report. Oilfield Technology, Proactive Investors and Proactive Investors on UKOG, Shares Magazine

Extinction Rebellion: What do they want and is it realistic. Environment correspondent, Matt McGrath, on the BBC website, looks at Extinction Rebellion’s objectives and the changes needed to lifestyles to meet net zero emissions by 2025.

So what if Extinction Rebellion’s roadblocks are inconvenient? Fighting climate change isn’t meant to be easy. Oliver Barnes, writing in the Independent, says the use of direct action has injected refreshing realism into the discourse around climate change.

The government must take action against fracking – putting the burden of fighting climate change on children is disgraceful. MP Geraint Davies, writing for the Independent, says children across the world will be victims of today’s inaction on climate change. He says:

“We need to promise them we’ll make changes to prevent that from happening.”

Polly Higgins – meet the lawyer taking on Big Oil’s “crimes against humanity”. DeSmog reports on calls by Polly Higgins on the International Criminal Court to recognise ‘ecocide’ as a crime against humanity, alongside genocide and war crimes.

15 April 2019

Anti-fracking protest blocks Manchester supply company. DrillOrDrop report, Worksop Guardian (17/4/2019)

Extinction Rebellion begins protests in 80 cities calling for action on climate changeDeSmogUK 

Ineos warns it is likely to abandon plans to frack in England. The FT reports that company representatives told Andy Samuel, chief executive of the Oil & Gas Authority, that the company wanted a “sensible” limit on the size of earth tremors before fracking has to pause. The FT says the comments were made at a meeting on 23 November and disclosed in an FOI request made by the paper. According to the minutes:

“They [Ineos] are strongly of the view that a sensible, realistic, scientifically backed limit is needed — otherwise it was strongly hinted they are unlikely to apply for consents to undertake fracking,”

See also Energy Live News (16/4/2019)

Britain’s richest man hits out at fracking regulation. The Telegraph reports that Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos has launched “a stinging attack” over the way fracking is regulated, claiming the industry is “being stopped from moving forward”.

Surrey earthquakes: is oil drilling causing tremors. BBC Surrey reports on the cause of earthquakes centred on the Newdigate area of Surrey in the past 12 months.

Cluff bids farewell to North Sea after nearly 50 years. Energy Voice reports that Algy Cluff has announced he intends to stop down as chair of Cluff Natural Resources. He will be replaced by Mark Lappin, former technical director of Cuadrilla.

14 April 2019

UK Youth Climate Coalition activists stage silent protest. Members of the UKYCC took part in a silent protest in Parliament Square, London, to highlight how councils, communities and youth voices have been left out of decision-making on fracking in the UK.

 

12 April 2019

Regulators accused of “extraordinary hands-off” approach to South Downs oil well. DrillOrDrop report

West Newton update. Rathlin Energy reports that operations at West Newton-A in East Yorkshire will be suspended “pending the arrival” of additional drilling equipment

11 April 2019

No guarantor for Third Energy’s fracking and drilling plans, the government says. DrillOrDrop report

10 April 2019

8-hour lock-on protest blocks deliveries to West Newton well site. DrillOrDrop report

‘Let’s Come Out Fighting’ — Frack Free Four Activist Reflects On Life After Prison. DeSmogUK interviews Simon Roscoe Blevins, one of three anti-fracking protesters jailed for stopping a convoy of lorries going to Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site.

Anniversary walk. Villagers in Kirby Misperton walk past Third Energy’s fracking site to mark one year of the company withdrawing equipment. Northern Echo (15/4/2019) Gazette and Herald (17/4/2019)

 

UK police repeatedly delayed review on anti-fracking protests. The Guardian and DeSmog report on delays to review of tactics used two years ago of excessive force against anti-fracking protesters. Four deadlines have been missed and correspondence shows that the senior officer in charge admitted he did not realise it would require so much work.

Early start of works at Brockham. Angus Energy reports work has begun three days ahead of the scheduled date. Stockmarket wire

Scottish government to face demand for fracking ban at party conference. The National reports SNP members will use a debate at the party’s conference this month to demand the Scottish Government introduces an outright legal ban on fracking.

9 April 2019

Egdon interim half year accounts. Egdon Resources reports it lost 0.72m for the six months to 31 January 2019, compared with a £0.85m loss for the first half of 2018. Net current assets for the end of the period were £2.35m (2018: £5.08m), of which £1.78m was cash. The group remains debt free, the company reported. Morning Star, Proactive Investors

UK parliament pension fund takes first step towards fossil fuel divestment. The Guardian reports that Parliament’s pension fund trustees are to reconsider the rules of their investments to take account of the risk of climate change for the first time.

8 April 2019

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Lorry protest near Rathlin Energy West Newton-A exploration site, 8 April 2019. Photo: Pippa Hockey

Lorry protest as Rathlin delivers drilling rig to East Yorkshire oil and gas exploration site. DrillOrDrop report

Union Jack Oil applies to admit more shares. Union Jack announces it has applied to admit 2,300 million new ordinary shares to the AIM stock market. Trading is expected to begin at 8am on 9 April 2019.

7 April 2019

‘We’re going to win this war’: Anti-fracking campaigners celebrate victory against Ineos and vow to keep shale gas industry out of England. The Independent reports on the implications of the ruling against part of the Ineos injunction on anti-frakcng protests.

5 April 2019

South Yorkshire village crowdfunds to fight shale gas plans by the UK’s richest man. DrillOrDrop report

International tribunal recommends worldwide ban on fracking. DrillOrDrop report

Tour de Yorkshire boycott over Ineos fracking. BBC News reports that four Doncaster councillors have said will not support the Tour de Yorkshire cycle race next month in protest at fracking firm, Ineos, taking over sponsorship of Team Sky.

OGA approval for work at Brockham. Angus Energy confirms the start date of work at Brockham as 12 April after OGA approval

A J Lucas presentation. Cuadrilla investor, A J Lucas, publishes presentation for its shareholders on UK operations

Ineos accused of ‘greenwashing’ over Daily mile sponsorship. The Guardian reports on plans by the National Education Union to debate a call for schools to oppose sponsorship of the Ineos-funded Daily Mile.

Damaging Sichuan earthquakes linked to fraking operations. PhysOrg publishes an article by Seismological Society of America on two earthquakes in December 2018 measuring 5.7 and in January 2019 measuring 5.3 in the south Sichuan basin. they caused extensive damage to farmhouses and other structures. 17 people were injured in the December earthquake resulting in a direct lost of about $7.5m.

4 April 2019

DrillOrDrop reports from shale gas seminar

Cuadrilla calls for new approach to fracking earthquake rules

IGas sets out vision for back-to-back shale gas development

“Fracking will struggle if it doesn’t solve landowner liability for clean-up”

Young people protest blocks shale gas seminar in central London. DrillOrDrop report, Left Foot Forward

3 April 2019

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Breaking: Anti-fracking campaigners win appeal against Ineos protest injunction. DrillOrDrop report, Metro, Independent, Guardian, Telegraph, Mail online, City Am

Angus Energy gives details of work to find water zone in Brockham oil well. DrillOrDrop report, Morning Star

2 April 2019

Fracking earthquake rules should be extended to other oil and gas operations, MPs told. DrillOrDrop report

1 April 2019

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Protest at IGas shale gas site at Springs Road, Misson, 1 April 2019. Photo: Alan Finney

Confidential records reveal limitations of Cuadrilla’s Lancashire fracking operation. DrillOrDrop report on daily logs released on the period of Cuadrilla’s fracking during 2018.

Picture post: Arrests over “fossil fools” day protest at IGas site at Misson, Nottinghamshire. DrillOrDrop report, BBC News, Nottinghamshire Live, Worksop Guardian, Lincolnshire Live (5/4/2019)

April 2019 events diary. DrillOrDrop listing of events during April 2019 and beyond.

Protesters spray graffiti on Barclays bank on Lincoln High Street. Lincolnshire Live reports climate change protesters sprayed graffiti on Barclays Bank in Lincoln.

Kirby Misperton fracking campaigners to mark “frack-free” year. Minster Fm reports on plans for a walk to mark the anniversary of the re-opening of a footpath next to the KM8 fracking site in North Yorkshire.

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