This month sees another public inquiry into Ineos shale gas exploration plans. DrillOrDrop will be reporting live from the eight-day hearing on the proposals for Woodsetts in south Yorkshire.
More details could emerge this month on the prospects for shale gas sites at Preston New Road near Blackpool and Springs Road in Nottinghamshire. We’ll also be following developments at West Newton in East Yorkshire and Brockham in Surrey.
You can keep up with the news here with our 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 this month
- Three anti-fracking campaigners found in contempt of court for protest outside Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site (28/6/2019)
- Angus Energy looks to sell Brockham oil licence after Kimmeridge sidetrack found to be uncommercial (28/6/2019)
- Local government secretary to decide appeals by Ineos at Woodsetts and IGas at Ellesmere Port (27/6/2019) and removes unlawful paragraph from National Planning Policy Framework (20/6/2019)
- West Newton is “potentially UK’s largest onshore hydrocarbon discovery since 1973” (17/6/2019) and IGas announces encouraging results from Misson (27/6/2019)
- Calls for UKOG Dunsfold application to be suspended over inconsistencies (3/6/2019). Application clarified then company confirms it will submit a second version (27/6/2019)
- Aurora Resources announces it is preparing to submit fracking application at Great Altcar, west Lancashire (27/6/2019)
- Gatwick Gusher broke safety laws over blowout preventer (21/6/2019)
- Cuadrilla submits hydraulic fracturing plan for second Preston New Road well – tremors could reach 3.1ML company says (17/6/2019)
- Suspended prison sentence for anti-fracking protester who claimed disability benefit (13/6/2019)
- Protests outside West Newton drill sites (3/6/2019, 6/6/2019) – East Riding of Yorkshire closes road, possibly for up to 18 months (10/6/2019 and 14/6/2019)
- Researchers say Surrey earthquakes unlikely to be caused by oil activity (7/6/2019)
- Nottinghamshire shale gas policing cost £900,000 (3/6/2019)
30 June 2019
Tory voters back onshore wind over fracking. The Observer reports on the results of polling for the Conservative Environment Network, which found that 74% of people who voted Conservative in the last election support onshore wind farms. The figure was twice the number of Tory voters who back fracking – just 37%.
29 June 2019
Latest Ineos flare-up sparks more complaints. The Falkirk Herald reports on complaints to the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency about the latest in a string of flaring incidents at Ineos at Grangemouth. The latest, on Thursday 27 June, was due to a “system upset” and elevated flaring stopped at 12.45am on Friday, the company said.
28 June 2019
UKOG half-year results set out drilling and testing plans for the Weald. DrillOrDrop article
Blackpool Council say ‘no’ to frackers as it declares climate emergency. The Blackpool Gazette reports Blackpool Council unanimously backed a motion to “make clear its fundamental opposition to the practice of fracking”.
Union Jack Oil placing raises £2.25m. Union Jack Oil reports that it has raised £2.25m by a placing and subscription of 1,323,529,411 ordinary shares of 0.025p each. The proceeds will be used for an extended well test at the West Newton-A 2 appraisal well and to provide additional working capital, the company said. Presentation for investors
Solo Oil publishes full year results for 2018. Link
27 June 2019
UKOG to submit new application for Surrey drilling site. DrillOrDrop article
IGas announces “highly encouraging” results from Misson but no news on fracking. DrillOrDrop article
26 June 2019
Cuadrilla injunction trial: Judge delays rulings after hearing legal arguments. DrillOrDrop report
Rig leaves West Newton well site. DrillOrDrop article
Controversial Elton energy centre plan will be decided by councillors. A research centre funded by government as part of investigations into alternative energy supplies including shale gas will come before councillors at 4pm on Tuesday 2 July, ‘Cheshire Live reports.
25 June 2019
Protesters spot “lorry defects” at drilling site. The Ecologist reports on “potentially dangerous defects” with a lorry leaving the West Newton oil and gas site.
24 June 2019
Friends of the Earth begins High Court action against fracking company’s protest injunction. DrillOrDrop report
Protesters in court for first anti-fracking injunction trial. DrillOrDrop report
Officials recommend approval of condition changes at Egdon Resources North Kelsey oil exploration site. The changes include: changes to the phases of the development; extension to working hours and delivery times from 5.30pm to 7pm; increase noise levels at nearest homes from 42db to 50db during construction; and from 41db to 42db during the day and 39/40db at night to 42db. Details
Angus Energy half year results. A statement from the company announces key figures for the six months to 31 March 2019.
Revenue: £137,000; same period in 2018 £19,000
Cost of sales: (£122,000; same period in 2018 (£72,000)
Gross profit/(loss): £15,000; same period in 2018 (£53,000)
Administrative expenses: (£1,648,000); same period in 2018 (£1,043,000)
Total assets: £13,960,000; same period in 2018 £8,890,000
Total liabilities: £1,590,000; same period in 2018 £981,000
Loss before taxation: (£1,654,000); same period in 2018 (£1,093,000)
23 June 2019
Former shale gas CEO says fracking revolution has been “a disaster” for drillers, investors. Desmog reports on comments by Steve Schlotterbeck, who led drilling company EQT, arriving at an industry conference. He tells the website:
“The shale gas revolution has frankly been an unmitigated disaster for any buy-and-hold investor in the shale gas industry with very few limited exceptions,”
“In fact, I’m not aware of another case of a disruptive technological change that has done so much harm to the industry that created the change.”
21 June 2019
“Gatwick Gusher” oil well in Surrey broke safety laws over blowout preventer in 2018. DrillOrDrop report
North Sea standoff ‘over’ between BP and Greenpeace. Energy Voice reports that a 12-day stand-off between BP and Greenpeace ended yesterday (20/6/2019) following news that the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise had turned away.
20 June 2019
Live news updates from day 6 of the inquiry into Ineos plans to explore for shale gas at Woodsetts in south Yorkshire. DrillOrDrop report
Government removes paragraph from the National Planning Policy Framework intended to support shale gas extraction following the ruling in March 2019 in the Talk Fracking case at the High Court. Mr Justice Dove ruled that the public consultation on the policy was flawed. Updated NPPF, Planning Resource (paywall)
Climate change: MPs announce citizens’ assembly. Six parliamentary committees have announced plans for a citizens’ assembly to discuss how the UK should tackle climate change. Guardian, BBC News, Reuters
Fracking friend of climate campaigner? The two sides of Jeremy Hunt. ENDS (paywall) looks at the leadership hopeful’s record on environmental issues.
New shadow climate justice minister demands fracking ban. The Press Association and the Canary report that Labour’s new climate change minister, Danielle Rowley, says as a priority she will push for an immediate ban on fracking.
SDLP opose fracking plans on Lough Neagh. Lurgan News reports that five SDLP councillors across five council areas have united to oppose any oil or gas exploration in the South Lough Neagh Basin. See also new report on Agriland
19 June 2019
Live news updates from day 5 of the inquiry into Ineos plans to explore for shale gas at Woodsetts in south Yorkshire. DrillOrDrop report
Inspector examining N Yorks minerals plan seeks views on court ruling over government support for fracking. DrillOrDrop report
Angus seals deal on Saltfleetby gas field. DrillOrDrop report
David Lenigas quits Doriemus. DrillOrDrop report
Tories on Yorkshire council accused of “wrecking” motion to declare a climate emergency. The Yorkshire Post reports that Tory councillors on East Riding of Yorkshire Council put forward an amendment to a motion on declaring a climate emergency. The amendment, which was approved, said the scrutiny committee was better placed than the full council to monitor progress and update councillors.
Compendium of scientific, medical and media findings demonstrating risks and harms of fracking – sixth edition published. The document, produced by Concerned Health Professionals of New York, is an analysis of nearly 1,500 studies of the consequences of fracking. It looks at public health and safety impacts of fracking including risks from fracking infrastructure, including compressor stations, pipelines, silica sand mining operations, natural gas storage facilities, the manufacture and transportation of liquefied natural gas (LNG), and, for the first time, gas-fired power plants. 90.3% of the studies published 2016-18 on health impacts of fracking found a positive association with harm or potential harm.
‘Strong signal from Leitrim that fracking is not welcome’. AgriLand reports on concerns in Co Leitrim about the Tamboran Resources application for a drilling licence in Fermanagh/Leitrim border region.
18 June 2019
Live news updates from day 4 of the inquiry into Ineos plans to explore for shale gas at Woodsetts in south Yorkshire. DrillOrDrop report
Decision on public inquiry into IGas testing plans at Ellesmere Port gas well delayed by climate change report. DrillOrDrop report
Surface water from Cuadrilla Preston New Road fracking site to go into nearby brook. DrillOrDrop report
Domestic extremism is no way to describe peaceful protest. 152 campaigners, including representatives of many anti-fracking groups, sign a letter to the Guardian saying one of the greatest threats to free speech in Britain is the routine labelling, by the police, of non-violent protests and campaigns as “domestic extremism”.
Arrests made as Extinction Rebellion start action at Holyrood. Energy Voice reports several people have been arrested after climate change campaigners blocked a main route in the centre of Edinburgh.
17 June 2019
Lancashire fracking tremors could reach 3.1 magnitude – but very unlikely, says Cuadrilla. DrillOrDrop report on Cuadrilla’s hydraulic fracture plan for the second well at Preston New Road
West Newton “potentially UK’s largest onshore hydrocarbon discovery since 1973” – investor. DrillOrDrop report
More fracking ‘will set bad example’. The Times reports that the Conservative leadership contender, Rory Steward, says Britain should not expand fracking because it needs to set an example to the world on cutting emissions.
Oil rig forced to make U-turn by Greenpeace ship. Energy Voice reports that a Greenpeace ship has blocked the path of an oil rig to the North Sea.
14 June 2019
East Yorkshire Council confirms road closure could last for 18 months. DrillOrDrop update
Protesters climb back onto oil rig. Energy Voice reports Greenpeace activists have climbed aboard a BP-contracted oil rig in the Cromarty Firth again.
13 June 2019
Live news updates from day 3 of the public inquiry into Ineos shale gas plans for Woodsetts in South Yorkshire. DrillOrDrop article
Road closure at West Newton drilling site extended up to 18 months, residents told. DrillOrDrop article
Activists appear in court over oil rig protest. Energy Voice reports two environmentalists have appeared in court in connection with a protest that brought work on an oil rig in the Cromarty Firth to a standstill. Christopher Till and Paula Radley denied causing a breach of the peace on the rig when they appeared at Tain Sheriff Court.
Anti-fracking protester claimed disability payments. The Crown Prosecution Service, BBC News, Manchester Evening News and Click Liverpool report that Catherine Jackson, of Fleetwood, who chained herself to equipment during anti-fracking protests while claiming disability payments has been sentenced to 23 weeks in jail, suspended for two years. She pleaded guilty at Blackpool Magistrates Court to dishonestly claiming £5,392 of personal independence payments.
12 June 2019
Live news updates: Day 2 of public inquiry into Ineos shale gas drilling plans at Woodsetts in south Yorkshire. Cross-examination of Woodsetts Against Fracking transport witness. DrillOrDrop report
Court ruling prompts UKOG to update energy security claim in Dunsfold oil and gas drilling. DrillOrDrop report
Committee chair welcomes legally binding target. Rachel Reeves MP, chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee says:
“Strong, early action on cutting carbon emissions is vital and will help ensure the UK reaps the health, environmental, and business benefits of achieving net zero. This puts the UK firmly at the forefront of tackling climate change. However, this commitment can only be the first step. The Government will now need to come forward with the co-ordinated policies, actions, and regulations needed to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.”
Theresa May’s net-zero emissions target is a lot less impressive than it looks. Green MP Caroline Lucas, writing in the Guardian, says government pledges on climate change are too little too late.
Scotland missed 2017 climate change target, new figures show. Energy Voice reports that official figures show that 2017 adjust emissions rose by 3.7% to 46.410m tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. That is above the 43.946 MtC02e laid down by the Scottish government.
World’s biggest sovereign wealth fund to ditch fossil fuels. The Guardian reports that the fund that manages $11tn of Norway’s assets has been given the go ahead for the largest fossil fuel divestment to date by dropping more than $13bn of investments.
11 June 2019
Live news updates: Day 1 of public inquiry into Ineos shale gas drilling plans at Woodsetts in south Yorkshire. Opening statements by barristers, publich speeches and Woodsetts Against Fracking transport evidence. DrillOrDrop report, ITV, BBC News, Rotherham Advertiser, Guardian, Star, ENDS report (13/6/2019)
Theresa May commits to net zero UK carbon emissions by 2050. The Guardian, among others, reports that Theresa May has enshrined in law a commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, making Britain the first major economy to do so. BBC News (12/6/2019)
Rachel Reeves MP, chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee announces a bill to parliament which would commit the government to reducing UK carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.
Global emissions rose the most in seven years, BP review shows. Bloomberg reports that global carbon emissions jumped the most in seven years in 2018 as energy demand surged.
Horse Hill production tops 50,000 barrels. UKOG announces that production from the Horse Hill site has passed 50,000 barrels. Proactive Investors. (RNS currently unavailable)
Dunsfold residents urged to reject oil well plan but protesters labelled ‘ill-informed scaremongers’ by UKOG. Surrey Live reports on the latest application for oil and gas drilling at Dunsfold in the county.
10 June 2019
On eve of public inquiry, Sir Kevin Barron MP backs #IamWoodsetts campaign against Ineos shale drilling plans. DrillOrDrop article
East Riding of Yorkshire Council closes road to West Newton oil and gas drilling site. DrillOrDrop article
MPs call for end of taxpayer subsidy for fossil fuel projects in developing countries from 2021. A report by the Environmental Audit Committee reveals that most investments by UK Export Finance is undermining the UK’s climate commitments. Business Green
Almost third of Scotland’s carbon footprint down to firms owned by Ineos boss. The Daily Record and The Times report that companies belonging to St Jim Ratcliffe have been revealed as causing the majority of Scotland’s industrial greenhouse gas pollution, according to data from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency. Falkirk Herald
Over 120 damage reports after latest Groningen quake. NL Times reports there have been 127 damage reports after an earthquake on Sunday morning. Six reports were for acutely dangerous damage.
9 June 2019
Lib Dem contender Ed Davey defends his climate change record as Minister. Common Space reports comments by Ed Davey after a leadership hustings in Edinburgh.
Ineos says sorry for latest black fumes ‘unplanned outage’. The Falkirk Herald reports on black fumes drifting over parts of Grangemouth from the Ineos plant on 8 June.
Peak District protest to protect the planet. Peak District Against Fracking organised a photo-call and protest on Mam Tor in Derbyshire.
Activist occupies BP oil rig. Fran Gobke, a Greenpeace activist occupies a rig, which BP wants to ship to the North Sea
8 June 2019
Fracking doesn’t make sense, says former Cuadrilla chairman. The Observer interviews John Browne, former CEO of BP and ex-chair of Cuadrilla. He tells the paper:
“fracking in the UK doesn’t make much sense. I think it was a test to see if it worked. We probably don’t need to do it.”
7 June 2019
Surrey earthquakes unlikely to be caused by oil activity, say researchers. DrillOrDrop article
Updated: West Newton lorry protest ends after 27 hours. DrillOrDrop article
SNP attacked by opposition parties for repeating ‘fracking ban’ claim. Energy Voice reports opposition parties have again hit out at the Scottish National Party for wrongly claiming it has “banned fracking” in Scotland. A Scottish government spokesperson said ministers were “entering the final stages” of policy making on fracking.
Gearing up for drilling battle. The Rotherham Advertiser reports on the forthcoming public inquiry on Ineos plans for shale gas drilling in Woodsetts.
6 June 2019
17-hour lorry protest outside West Newton drilling site. DrillOrDrop article
Fracking chief rapped by opponents for calling for safety limits to be raised. The Lytham St Anne’s Express reports anti-fracking protesters have hit back at calls by Cuadrilla to relax safety regulations on fracking-induced earthquakes.
5 June 2019
People eat at least 50,000 plastic particles a year, study finds. The Guardian reports on the first study to estimate human ingestion of plastic pollution which found that the average persons eats at least 50,000 particles of microplastic a year, and probably more. The study, published in Environmental Science and Technology, reviewed evidence from studies in microplastic in fish, shellfish, sugar, salt, beer and water, as well as air in cities.
Environmental protest planned for Peak District this weekend. The Ripley and Heanor News reports on a event organised by Peak District Against Fracking at Mam Tor.
“No evidence that government is taking climate emergency seriously”. Rebecca Long Bailey, shadow business secretary, standing in for Jeremy Corbyn at Prime Minister’s questions, tells the Commons:
“The government promote fracking, which is backed by only 12 per cent of the public, yet they effectively block onshore wind, which is backed by 79 per cent of the public.
“New solar is down 94 per cent and home insulation is down 98 per cent. Parliament has declared a climate emergency, yet there is no evidence that this government take it seriously.” Hansard, Independent (6/6/2019)
“I am totally opposed to it and we support the Marsh Lane residents in their battle to stop any fracking.
“To me it is not a tried and tested method of actually producing energy. I know you might say it is elsewhere in America and so on but that is totally different – that is vast tracks of land.
“We are here in a place where we are not far from communities and where people live. We have already heard about some problems as a result of fracking whether it is mini earthquakes and so on and I think until everything really is beyond all doubt we can’t put people’s lives at risk, we can’t put people’s ways of living and the health of their communities and damaging communities at risk, I am just totally opposed to it.”
UK net zero target will cost ‘more than £1tn. The FT (firewall) reports that Chancellor Philip Hammond warned Theresa May that her plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero would cost £1tn. Also reported on 6/6/2019 by Guardian, Independent and others. Friends of the Earth responded that we could not afford not to cut emissions.
Love Leitrim call on Leitrim councillors to reassert opposition to fracking. The Leitrim Observer reports on renewed calls by the pressure group to oppose fracking in Ireland
4 June 2019
IGas waterflood project at Scampton. IGas announces that it has received final planning approvals and is moving to the execution phase to convert an existing well to a water injection well at Scampton, Lincolnshire. The company says the work will cost £2m and will increase oil sweep and field estimated ultimate recovery.
Fossil fuel ban “would save 30,000 lives a year in UK”. The Times reports on a report by the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council which said 28,000 premature deaths in the UK and 3.6m globally would be prevented by switching to a zero-carbon economy.
Natural gas flaring hits record high in first quarter in US Permian Basin. Reuters reports producers burned or vented 661 million cubic feet of gas per day in the first quarter of the year in the Permian Basin oil field in West Texas and eastern New Mexico. The figures, based on a report from Rystad Energy, are higher than the Gulf of Mexico’s most productive gas facility, the Mars-Ursa complex.
$3m settlement revealed in high-profile fracking case. National Public Radio reports that a computer error made public a legal settlement in a legal dispute between the gas company, Range Resources, and three families from Washington County, Pennsylvania, who alleged fracking had contaminated their properties and made them sick.
People protesting against fracking in Woodsetts are set to take on Ineos at a public inquiry. The Gainsborough Standard and Worksop Guardian report on the appeal against refusal of planning permission for shale gas exploration at Woodsetts. See DrillOrDrop report from 30 May 2019 on Ineos new plans for a noise barrier at the site
3 June 2019
20 hour lock-on protest at West Newton drill site. DrillOrDrop article
MSPs urge Scottish Parliament to end fossil fuel investments. DrillOrDrop article
More preparatory work at Brockham. Angus Energy announces that preparatory operations for the second stage of work at its Brockham oil site in Surrey will begin in the week of 17 June 2019. The company says the work will ensure the borehole BRX4Z will be in “optimum condition for testing” and “give the best possible communication between the well and fracture system.” Proactive Investors
UKOG completes acquisition of extra interest in PEDL143. UK Oil & Gas plc announces it has completed the acquisition of interests of Europa Oil & Gas Ltd and Union Jack Oil in the Holmwood licence, in Surrey, PEDL143. The deal means UKOG increases its stake by 20% and now holds 67.5% of the licence. ShareCast
Ineos to invest $2bn in Saudi Arabia. Ineos announces it has signed agreements with Saudi Aramco and Total to invest $2bn in its first ever manufacturing plants in Saudi Arabia. The company says this is believed to be one of the largest UK investments ever in Saudi Arabia. Three new plants will produce chemicals for carbon fibre, engineering polymers and synthetic lubricants. BBC News, Guardian
Fracking presentation well-received by Blackpool business leaders. Lancashire Business Review reports on a presentation by Lee Petts, chair of Lancashire for Shale, at the latest gathering of the Blackpool Business Leader’s Group.
Heather Stroud to tell inspirational story at Hovingham talk. The Gazette and Herald reports on a talk by a Ryedale woman, who protested about local fracking plans, on her experience of taking on governments and changing the lives of ordinary people.
The fracking endgame. Food and Water Watch publish a report which argues the fracking industry is trying to lock the world into oil and gas as people aim to break free from fossil fuels.
2 June 2019
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall fights Sir Jim Ratcliffe on the beaches over plastic pellet blight. The Times reports the TV chef is targeting the Ineos owner and billionaire, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, over billions of plastic pellets washed up on Britain’s beaches. More than 300bn pellets, or nurdles, are manufactured every week at the Ineos plant at Grangemouth as raw material for plastic products. City Am (3/6/2019)
Protesters use pedal power in Grangemouth to defy Ineos. Campaigners opposing Ineos plans to close a section of the Bo’ness Road in Grangemouth cycled the route in a protest. Falkirk Herald (4/6/2019)
1 June 2019
Ineos Upstream Ltd director Andrew Pizzey resigns.