Daily headlines

May 2019 drilling headlines

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Rathlin Energy’s West Newton site in East Yorkshire, 18 February 2019. Photo: Pippa Hockey

This month sees the release of official advice to government on climate change targets and the latest public attitude data on fracking.

Rathlin Energy continues to drill its second well at West Newton and Lancashire residents wait to see what happens at Cuadrilla’s fracking site. Ineos is likely to be met with protests at the launch of its cycling team at the Tour de Yorkshire.

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. Please let us know if we’ve missed something important headline. contact@DrillOrDrop.com


Top headlines

  • 2.5ML earthquake wakes residents in Surrey (4 May 2019)
  • Anti-fracking campaigners protest at four stages of the Tour de Yorkshire (2-5 May 2019)
  • High Court rules against new public consultation on government fracking policy (14 May 2019)
  • Committee on Climate Change calls for net zero emissions by 2050 (2 May 2019)
  • Three-day protest against oil and gas exploration at West Newton, East Yorkshire (9-11 May 2019)
  • Consultation opens on fracking licence in Northern Ireland (7 May 2019)
  • Three more breaches of environmental permit at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site (21 May  2019)

25 May 2019

Extinction Rebellion: Met wants 1,130 climate protesters charged. BBC News reports that the Met Police will push for the prosecution of more than 1,100 people arrested at last month’s Extinction Rebellion protests. So far, more than 70 activists have been charged with the 10 days of protests that brought parts of central London to a standstill.

24 May 2019

Campaigners and oil company clash over protest injunction appeal. DrillOrDrop report

Local government secretary responds to High Court ruling on fracking planning policy. DrillOrDrop report

Treatment site confirmed for Cuadrilla fracking flowback fluid. DrillOrDrop report

23 May 2019

Lancashire Tories use council procedure to block debate on fracking earthquake rules. DrillOrDrop report, Clitheroe Advertiser (24/5/2019), Blackpool Gazette (24/5/2019)

Update on West Newton oil and gas exploration site in East Yorkshire: Eviction costs and noise complaint. DrillOrDrop report

Ineos commits support to Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre. Ineos announces this morning that it will give £25.3m to the DMRC at Stanford Hall Rehabilitation Estate in Nottinghamshire for a new prosthetics wing. It will be called the Ineos Prosthetics Wing and will help the recovery of wounded service personnel, the company said. Nottingham Post

Labour activists target Chester Barclays in anti-fossil fuels campaign. Cheshire Live reports Labour Party activists will protest outside Barclays in Chester on Saturday (25 May) against the bank’s fossil fuel investments.

22 May 2019

Council seeks new comments on Horse Hill oil production plans – decision postponed until at least July. DrillOrDrop report

Stop MP pension oil and gas investment, Sir Ed Davey says. Energy Voice reports comments by the former energy secretary, who said the Parliamentary Pension Fund should set an example in a programme of “decarbonising capitalism”. He said:

“What we are looking for is how do we get from where we are now to where we need to be in a smooth way, a smooth transition.

“If we don’t start talking about it now, the transition will come and it will be a bubble bursting and it will make the 2007-8 financial crash look like a picnic.”

See also Reuters report

Groningen hit by strong earthquake as gas extraction impact continues. Dutch News reports on a 3.4 magnitude earthquake in the province of Groningen early this morning. By 11am, there were 90 reports of damage, including immediate assessment. There have been 1,000 earthquakes since the first was recorded in 1986. Most werre small but in 2012, a 3.6ML quake caused considerable damage to buildings.

21 May 2019

Environment Agency warns Cuadrilla over permit breaches for venting unburned methane at Lancashire Preston New Road fracking site. DrillOrDrop report, ENDS report (22/5/2019)

Campaigners halt Surrey County Council meeting over permissions for oil extraction and “lack of action on fossil fuels”. DrillOrDrop report

Why Lancashire businesses should be worried about the fracking traffic light system. Lancashire Business Review reports on why the rules on seismicity induced by fracking should be relaxed.

Hans Arstad appointed to IGas board. IGas reported that Hans Arstad, of KKR, has exercised KKR’s right to take a seat on the board. KKR ownes 14.7% of IGas through KOG investments.

J O Hambro increases stake in IGas. IGas reports that J O Hambro Capital Management Ltd increased its share of voting rights from 4.91% to 5.03%.

20 May 2019

Energy minister, Claire Perry, announces she is to take leave of absence to care for sick family member.

Spire FM, Business Green (21/5/2019), Energy Voice (21/5/2019)

Caroline Lucas on the Green Party Euro election campaign trail. The Argus reports that Caroline Lucas and Green Party activists returned to Balcombe, where Ms Lucas was arrested for protests against fracking in 2013.

Extinction Rebellion stage ‘die in’ at Barclays in Colchester. The Daily Gazette reports that 20 activists from Colchester Extinction Rebellion staged a “die-in” at the town’s High Street branch of Barclays. The action was planned to highlight the role the activists say the bank sector has played in the current climate crisis.

Natascha Engel: It’s time to stop pandering to myths about fracking. Politics Home has an article by the former shale gas commissioner, who says “We need to make the case for shale gas as a safe, reliable and secure source of energy”.

Greenpeace activists blockade BP’s London offices in climate change protest. City Am and the Telegraph report that environmental protesters blockaded BP’s central London headquarters with five steel containers. The campaigners tweeted:

Volunteers have set up camp inside 5 containers blocking the building’s entrances. This is a #ClimateEmergency and there is no place for companies like @BP_plc in our future.”

18 May 2019

 

150+ attend public meeting on earthquakes and unconventional drilling in the Weald. Brockham Oil Watch reports that residents and local councillors packed Breare Village Hall, in Surrey, for a talk by Emeritus Professor David Smythe about unconventional drilling and earthquakes in the region. Link to videos of the meeting

17 May 2019

Fire Brigades Union back anti-fracking campaign. DrillOrDrop report

BGS reports 0.6ML earth tremor at Newdigate. The BGS online earthquake database

UKOG announces update on Horse Hill production test. UKOG says in an RNS aggregate total Portland oil production at Horse Hills now exceeds 20,500 barrels, with a stable rate of more than 220 barrels of oil per day. The company also says it is now finalising contracts for drilling the HH-2 well.

16 May 2019

Criticism as Angus Energy proposes to use abandonment cash to restart gas field production. DrillOrDrop

Derbyshire County Council fails to declare climate emergency. Belper Independent News reports that the Conservative leader of the council altered a Labour motion to stop short of declaring an emergency and removing a target date of 2030 for carbon neutrality. It also changed the motion to say “climate change may become an existential threat”. The vote on the amended motion was 30 in favour, two against and 17 abstentions.

15 May 2019

UK’s biggest teaching union votes against Ineos sponsorship of the children’s running scheme, the Daily Mile. DrillOrDrop report

14 May 2019

High Court rules against new public consultation on government fracking policy. DrillOrDrop report, Talk Fracking report (23/5/2019)

Campaigners question timing of consultation on Northern Ireland fracking licence. DrillOrDrop report

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Location of licence area (in pink). Source: Northern Ireland Department for the Economy

IGas AGM statement. In a statement to investors, IGas said it expected to announce the results of analysis from Springs Road, Misson, next month. It also said it continued to seek sites for appraisal of the Kimmeridge and Portland sandstones in the Weald. Decisions on conventional projects would be announced in the coming weeks, the company said.

13 May 2019

Loss of Bury Hill Wood pushes Union Jack 2018 deficit over £1m. DrillOrDrop report

Amelia Womack returns to Preston New Road anti-fracking camp for “last” visit. The Green Party reports that deputy leader, Amelia Womack, visited campaigners outside Cuadrilla’s fracking site near Blackpool. She says:

 “In the age of climate emergency, the argument against fracking should already have been won. I am proud to be in a party stating that we shouldn’t have fracking in the UK or EU and working transnationally to stop it. I have made six visits to Preston New Road and this absolutely should be the last time I have to be here.”

12 May 2019

Rich list 2019: Sir Jim Ratcliffe is no longer the UK’s richest man. The Sunday Times annual rich list sees Jim Ratcliffe fall from number 1 to 3 in 2019. This wealth is said to have dropped by £2.9bn to £18.15bn.

11 May 2019

Liability lottery of onshore decommissioning. In this DrillOrDrop guest post, researcher and anti-fracking campaigner, Ben Dean, looks at the rules over who is liable for clean-ups if an onshore oil or gas operator goes bust and argues for tougher controls.

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Specialist protester-removal team outside Rathlin Energy’s West Newton oil and gas exploration site, 11 May 2019. Photo: Used with the owner’s consent

Lock-on protest outside Rathlin Energy’s oil and gas exploration site at West Newton, north of Hull, enters third day.  DrillOrDrop report

10 May 2019

Latest Surrey earth tremor prompts call for release of data on oil operations. DrillOrDrop report, Daily Express (9/5/2019), Dorking Advertiser (20/5/2019)

Updated: Lock-on protest at East Yorkshire drilling site continues for 31+ hours. DrillOrDrop update

Ineos breach at Grangemouth risks ‘catastrophic’ accident. The Ferret reports that the Health and Safety Executive has served a statutory improvement notice on the Petroineos oil refinery at Grangemouth for breach regulations designed to control ” major accident hazards”.  HSE told the company that it had failed to carry out an adequate assessment of the risks of human error causing an explosion, fire or other accident – and hence failed to limit the “consequences for human health and the environment.” The Scotsman (13/5/2019)

UK Labour plan to delist companies to force action on climate change. The FT reports by shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, that a future Labour government would delist companies from the London Stock Exchange unless they do enough to tackle climate change, 

Brockham operations update. Angus Energy announces that the rig, used to isolate a water zone in the Brockham sidetrack well, has been demobilised. The company says the next stage it to mobilise equipment for flow tests.

Shares offer. Angus Energy is seeking to raise £457,000 through a share offer to existing investors. The company says it is offering 1 share for every 50 held at a price of 4.25p per share, to be held up to 30 May 2019. At 12 noon, the share price was 3.875.

Response to Attenborough’s climate warnings will determine future of oil and gas. Dick Winchester, a Scottish government adviser, writing for Energy Voice, warns the oil and gas industry that without a dramatic change in culture it will be a dead duck.

MP renews call for UK-wide fracking ban amid climate change ’emergency’. The Northwich Guardian reports on the contribution of Weaver Vale MP, Mike Amesbury to a parliamentary debate on climate change (1 May 2019).

9 May 2019

Fracking opposition rises to new high while support falls to record low – government survey. DrillOrDrop report, Lancashire Evening Post, The Times (10/5/2019), Friends of the Earth, Independent (10/5/2019), Upstream Online (firewall)

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Lock-on protest outside Rathlin Energy’s oil and gas site in East Yorkshire, 9 May 2019. Photo: Used with the owner’s consent.

Lock-on protest blocks Rathlin Energy’s West Newton oil and gas drilling site in East Yorkshire. DrillOrDrop report

“We do no frack, we do not need to frack”. says UK Oil & Gas CEO. On the Wight carries a response from UKOG chief executive, Stephen Sanderson, to comments by Frack Free Isle of Wight.

UKOG application delayed again. A decision on UKOG’s production plans for Horse Hill have been delayed until at least June. Surrey County Council said the application had not progress sufficiently to be heard at the May meeting of its planning and regulatory affairs committee. Get Surrey

Wood appoints oil and gas veteran Roy Franklin as chairman. The FT reports that the energy services group, Wood, has appointed Roy Franklin, the current chair of Cuadrilla and Premier Oil.

‘Health concerns’ to be raised at Bolsover anti-fracking meeting. The Derbyshire Times reports on a public meeting with speaker, Carol Hutchinson, joint chair and co-founder of Concerned Health Professionals of the UK.

Chester campaigners hope fracking industry may now be dead. Cheshire Live reports on the latest newsletter from Frack Free Upton. A spokesperson for the group said:

“Given the current focus on the environment it is increasingly likely that this industry is dead and is in the process of being buried.”

IGas said in a statement that the need for UK produced gas was now “undeniable”.

Parents in protest in support of children’s climate strikes. The Guardian reports that parents including Gary Lineker, Paloma Faith and Juliet Stevenson have joined children in demanding governments declare a climate emergency and dramatically speed up cuts in carbon emissions. Parents’ letter

8 May 2019

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Ineos shale gas site at Common Road, Harthill, 2 May 2019. Photo: DrillOrDrop

What’s happened two years on from Ineos shale gas applications? DrillOrDrop update on applications in Derbyshire and South Yorkshire

We are hammering the last nail in the coffin of the fracking industry. The Guardian reports that direct action has spooked the government, shackled the shale gas companies and raised public awareness – so are protesters winning the fight against fracking?

Lancashire shale gas and the zero emissions economy. Lancashire Business View reports on the Committee on Climate Change report on net zero emissions by 2050.

Parliamentary question on interests of communities in fracking applications. SNP MP, Carol Monaghan, asked in a written question for a statement on protecting communities in fracking plans. The local government minister, Kit Malthouse, says “the government is full committed to ensuring that local communities are fully involved in planning decisions that affect them”. Link to question and answer 

Parliamentary question on water treatment. Lee Rowley MP asks a written question about when companies know what water treatment and disposal facilities will be needed. The energy minister, Claire Perry, says companies must submit a waste management plan to the Environment Agency. Link to question and answer

7 May 2019

Egdon seeks changes to oil drilling plans at North Kelsey. DrillOrDrop report

Fracking bid for Fermanagh renewed as consultation begins. The Department of Economy in Northern Ireland  announces Tamboran Resources has applied for a petroleum licence for the area of west of Upper Lough Erne and south of Lower Lough Erne. Impartial Reporter Belfast Telegraph

Lee Rowley MP asks parliamentary written three questions on estimated needs of shale gas industry. Replies from energy minister, Claire Perry. Questions/answers here, here and here

6 May 2019

Tour de Yorkshire: Chris Lawless reveals victory for Team Ineos came as a bolt from the blue. Yorkshire Evening Post, Guardian, Northern Echo, Independent

It’s fun to back sport, says billionaire Ineos boss Ratcliffe. Ineos announces it is backing for the sub 2 hour marathon challenge by Eliud Kipchoge. Reuters, Runners World

5 May 2019

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Team Ineos protest, Scarborough, 4 May 2019. Photo: Hazel Winter

Tour de Yorkshire news. DrillOrDrop updateTelegraph, Yorkshire Post

4 May 2019

BGS records 2.5ML earthquake centred on Newdigate. DrillOrDrop Surrey Swarm page, Independent, Surrey Live, Mirror, Mail Online

Tour de Yorkshire news. DrillOrDrop updateHull Daily Mail, Cycling Weekly, Yorkshire Post

Government has ‘double standards’ for allowing geothermal drilling. The Telegraph reports on comments by Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla, that the government has allowed the UK’s first geothermal extraction site at Redruth in Cornwall.

3 May 2019

Ineos sought to drop fracking commitment and extend deadlines for Barton Moss licence. DrillOrDrop report

Tour de Yorkshire news. DrillOrDrop update, Ecologist, Energy Voice, BBC Sport, Times

Angus re-perforates Brockham sidetrack. Angus Energy issues an RNS that it has successfully re-perforated its BRX4Z sidetrack from 988-1044m to “establish the best possible communication with the fracture system present in the Kimmeridge Clay Formation”. A bridge plug has been installed and the well is to be completed to prepare the borehole for the next operational stage, the company says. Stock Market Wire, Sharecast

Ineos may have to disclose secret details of £2.6bn Antwerp project. The Guardian reports that a Flanders transparency watchdog has ruled that key documents about Ineos plans for two chemical plants in Antwerp may have to be disclosed.

Cost of SNP ‘fracking ban’ court case revealed. Herald Scotland reports that Scottish ministers spent £175,000 on the legal battle about the existence of their fracking ban, a freedom of information request has revealed.

Land owners urged to consider implications of leasing land to oil and gas exploration companies. On the Wight carries an open letter from Frack Free Isle of Wight to landowners about leasing sites to exploration companies.

Lee Rowley asks a parliamentary question on waste water from hydraulic fracturing. Question and answer here

2 May 2019

Committee on Climate Change recommends UK achieves net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. DrillOrDrop report

No review on fracking tremor rules – Minister. DrillOrDrop report

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Team Ineos introduced before the start of the Tour de Yorkshire in Doncaster, 2 May 2019. Photo: DrillOrDrop

Picture post: Protests at Team Ineos at Tour de YorkshireDrillOrDrop report, Cycling Weekly

Team Ineos will lose financial backing if caught cheating says owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe. Velo News and Cycling News report on the transfer of Team Sky to Team Ineos. Cycling Weekly (3/5/2019), Reuters (1/5/2019)

Fracking: Earthquakes are triggered well beyond fluid injection zones. Science Daily reports on research Tufts University which concludes that subsurface fluid injection could cause significant rapidly spreading earthquake activity beyond the fluid diffusion zone.

Opposition to fracking is based on misinformation. David Montagu-Smith, chair of Rathlin Energy, writes to the FT saying new gas production would not have anything material to do with future carbon emissions.

The resignation of Britain’s shale-gas tsar is a big fracking setback. The Economist reports the frackers have been “outclassed on the public relations front” following the resignation of Natascha Engel.

Lee Rowley MP asks parliamentary written questions on what the Oil and Gas Authority will analyse in data from Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road well. Questions and answers here

1 May 2019

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Preparations underway in Doncaster for the first day of the Tour de Yorkshire, 1 May 2019. Photo: DrillOrDrop

Preparations underway for Tour de Yorkshire and four days of anti-fracking protests. DrillOrDrop report, Independent, Cycling News, BBC News (Fracking boss Jim Ratcliffe hits out at ‘pathetic’ government), Reuters, Mail Online

Events diary for May 2019 and beyond. DrillOrDrop listing of events about UK fracking, onshore oil and gas and campaigning.

Surrender of Europa oil and gas permit. The Environment Agency announces it has accepted the surrender of the permit for the Holmwood Wellsite at Bury Hill Wood, near Leith Hill in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Letters: Fracking and addressing climate change. The Times prints letters in response to the resignation of the shale gas commissioner.

We must ignore the anti-fracking nimbies. Roger Boyes, writing in The Times, says “only a shale revolution can safeguard our national security.

Questions about role of shale gas commissioner. The Lancashire Evening Post includes a letter that questions the role of Natascha Engel.

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