Daily headlines

July 2019 headlines


Campaigners outside Lincolnshire County Council, 1 July 2019. Photo: DrillOrDrop

Will Cuadrilla resume fracking this month at Preston New Road in Lancashire? Will drilling begin at Horse Hill in Surrey? Will IGas announce plans for Springs Road in Nottinghamshire?

DrillOrDrop will be following developments across the country by industry, regulators and campaigners.

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

  • Cuadrilla announces plans to frack second well at Preston New Road and brings in early morning convoy of fracking equipment
  • Pro-fracking Boris Johnson wins Conservative leadership election
  • Andrea Leadsom becomes energy secretary and Robert Jenrick local government secretary
  • Jeremy Corbyn visits campaigners at Cuadrilla’s shale gas site and calls for a ban on fracking to meet net zero target
  • Environment Agency agrees to most rule changes at Lancashire fracking site – five days later new changes sought
  • EA also approves hydraulic fracturing plan for Preston New Road’s second well
  • Support for fracking rises from record low
  • Government spending watchdog investigates costs of fracking
  • Angus Energy director resigns
  • Advertising watchdog confirms ruling on Friends of the Earth webpage on fracking and climate change
  • Conservative Environment Network calls for ban on fracking
  • IGas reveals plans for two new Weald exploration wells in PEDL235
  • Application published for Aurora Energy Resources’ plans to drill and frack two shale gas wells

31 July 2019

IGas trading update. IGas announces production, cash balances and operations updates for the period January-June 2019.

Predicting seismic activity at fracking sites to prevent earthquakes. Phys Org reports on research at Bristol University which claims to be a more effective way to predict seismicity at hydraulic fracturing sites, ensuring that potential earthquake activity remains within agreed limits

30 July 2019

Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, joins Lancashire campaigners to demand ban on fracking. DrillOrDrop article, Blackpool Gazette, The Canary, BBC, The Guardian, Lancs Live, ITV, Energy Voice, Bolton News

48% oppose change to fracking earth tremor rules – new poll. DrillOrDrop article, Phys Org (1/8/2019)

Environment Agency approves frack plan for Cuadrilla’s second shale gas well. DrillOrDrop article, Lancashire Evening Post (31/7/2019), Ends (1/8/2019)

Hundreds of activists from Reclaim the Power shut down the London headquarters of the power station operator, Drax, in a protest over climate change. Activists also occupied cranes at the new SSE gas power plant at Keadby in Lincolnshire, Energy Voice (31/7/2019)

Fracking wipes out any chance of UK hitting net zero target, Labour warns.  Labour analysis if the UK exploits all its domestic reserves of  shale gas it will have no chance of meeting its 2050 net zero emissions. Business GreenMirror, Energy Voice, Independent, Metro, Politics Home, the Planner, Lancashire Business Review

Corbyn to visit its Preston New Road site and meet staff. Press release

Fracking would lead to higher emissions, study finds. Environment Journal online reports that research by the Institute of Advanced Sustainability Studies in Potsdam, Germany, concludes that gas production using fracking in Europe is likely to result in a significant increase of CO2 emissions.

29 July 2019

Campaigners disappointed as North Lincolnshire Council drops case in appeal by Egdon Resources over Wressle oil site near Scunthorpe. DrillOrDrop article, Proactive Investors, Morning Star

Angus Energy commits to spending £75,000 on feasibility study for gas reconnection. Angus issues a statement to investors that is has applied to reconnect the Saltfleetby gas field to the national grid.

26 July 2019

UKOG’s Surrey drilling plans: Dunsfold decision postponed and new consultation on Horse Hill. DrillOrDrop report

Amber Valley declared a frack free zones at heated meeting. The Belper News reports A raucous Amber Valley council meeting has seen the authority declare a climate emergency, the borough a ‘frack-free zone’ and ban badger culling on its land.

Lord Ian Duncan appointed as energy minister. Biography from gov.uk

25 July 2019

Cuadrilla profits fall in “relentless and exhilarating year”. DrillOrDrop report, The Times (29/7/2019)

Police force admits agreement to share information about protesters with DWP. Disability News Service reports that Greater Manchester Police has admitted it has a written agreement to share information about disabled people who take part in protests, including those about fracking, with the Department of Work and Pensions

Boris Johnson: We will lead the world in delivering net zero. Business Green reports on Boris Johnson’s inaugural parliamentary speech as Prime Minister when he reaffirmed his commitment to the UK’s new zero emissions target.

24 July 2019

Reshuffle: Leadsom to business; Jenrick to local government. DrillOrDrop report about what they’ve said on fracking and what’s on their to-do lists

Rathlin Energy seeks consent for oil storage at its West Newton exploration site in East Yorkshire. DrillOrDrop report

23 July 2019

190723 WBC listening panel1

Listening panel organised by Waverley Borough Council into UKOG’s plans to drill for oil and gas at Dunsfold, Surrey. Photo: Waverley Borough Council

Listening panel hears objections from councils and residents to UKOG drilling plans for Dunsfold in Surrey. DrillOrDrop report, Haslemere Herald (26/7/2019), Surrey Herald (26/7/2019), Eagle Radio (29/7/2019)

Boris Johnson on fracking and what campaign groups say he needs to do now. DrillOrDrop report

Verdict on fracking from the FT’s energy commentator. Nick Butler, writing in Business Times, says:

“Fracking may be safe but it is unnecessary; and uncompetitive, in the absence of the reserves of the US.”

UK ‘still backing billions in fossil fuels’ despite climate promises, campaigners claim. Energy Voice reports on analysis by the Overseas Development Institute for Cafod that the UK provided support for energy in the developing world in 2010-2017 with a total value of £7.8bn.

22 July 2019

Minister pushed for answer on fast tracking fracking. DrillOrDrop report Also Energy Voice and the Yorkshire Post

Fracking company hopes for seismic change. The Times (paywall), reproduced in full by the Global Warming Policy Formation reports comments by Cuadrilla’s chief executive, Francis Egan, that the shale gas industry is “highly unlikely to be commercial” unless seismic limits are raised.

Ryedale MP Kevin Hollinrake clarifies his stance on fracking to protesters – Yorkshire Post letters. In a letter to the Yorkshire Post, Kevin Hollinrake defends his support for domestically-produced shale gas, despite supporting the Conservative Environment Network manifesto which calls for a ban.

Jo Swinson elected leader of the Liberal Democrats. The SNP responds by saying she voted to allow fracking. The Canary describes her as more Tory than the Tories.

20 July 2019

New UKOG application on Dunsfold drilling site in Surrey creates “impossible challenge” for decision-makers, say villagers. DrillOrDrop article

19 July 2019

Fracking: Victory for Preston New Road protestor as conviction quashed by court. The Blackpool Gazette reports an anti fracking campaigner, Fiona Smith, 46, has succeeded in appealing to have her conviction for obstructing a highway overturned. She had previously been found guilty by magistrates of wilfully obstructing the free passage along a highway during an incident on November 6, 2018.

Questioning the local: environmental regulation, shale gas extraction, and the politics of scale. Paper by Yasminah Beebeejaun in the International Journal of Justice and Sustainability on how emphasis on “local” can restrict political debate about shale gas to narrow concerns with landuse planning.

18 July 2019

Wave 30 summary

Source: Wave tracker survey carried out for BEIS

Fracking support up and opposition down – government survey of UK attitudes to shale gas. DrillOrDrop report

Tories again block council’s call to protect rules on fracking earth tremors. DrillOrDrop report

Ellesmere Port and Neston MP calls on Secretary of State to reject shale gas test well bid for town. The Chester Standard reports that Ellesmere Port and Neston MP Justin Madders has called on the man responsible for deciding whether a controversial shale gas test well should be permitted in the town to reject the plans.

17 July 2019

Aurora Energy Resources planning application for Altcar Moss published online. DrillOrDrop report of details

West Lancs council restates opposition to fracking as shale gas plans published. DrillOrDrop report (18/7/2019)

Conservatives criticised over fracking. Opposition leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said during Theresa May’s final Prime Minister’s Questions:

“The Tories promised the greenest Government ever. They have failed on carbon emissions. They have failed on air pollution. They have failed on solar. The Prime Minister says that she wants action, but she supports fracking and has effectively banned onshore wind.”

Mrs May did not respond on fracking.

Angus Energy investors encouraged by finance director’s recent share purchase. Proactive Investors reports that Angus Energy finance director, Carlos Fernandes, has paid £20,000 for 1.08m shares – the first time he has bought any stock since joining the company six years ago. Shares rose 21% to 1.88p.

16 July 2019

pnr 190716 Ros Wills

Fracking equipment entering Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site early on 16 July 2019. Photo: Ros Wills

Early morning return of Cuadrilla’s fracking equipment prompts local complaints. DrillOrDrop article, Lancashire Business Review, Blackpool Gazette

Cuadrilla seeks another rule change for fracking site. DrillOrDrop article, Blackpool Gazette (17/7/2019)

Jonathan Tidswell-Pretorius resigns as Angus director. DrillOrDrop article

Somerset West and Taunton Council declares a frack free zone. DrillOrDrop report (18/7/2019), Somerset Live (17/7/2019), Somerset County Gazette (18/7/2019)

15 July 2019

“Biscathorpe analysis raises hopes in PEDL253” – Egdon Resources and Union Jack Oil report. DrillOrDrop article

Chancellor to halt plans for overhaul of UK energy industry. Energy Voice reports the chancellor, Philip Hammond, is blocking government proposals to overhaul UK energy, including the long-awaited energy white paper, because of potential spending implications for a new prime minister.

14 July 2019

Community group challenges Cuadrilla’s view of geology at fracking site. DrillOrDrop article

Kevin Hollinrake’s green claims undermined by his support for fracking. Dr Peter Williams, writing in the Yorkshire Post, says MP Kevin Hollinrake’s continued support for fracking raises “deep suspicion”.

13 July 2019

Listening panel first for Surrey oil and gas development. DrillOrDrop report

Government needs to show a more ‘joined-up’ approach to climate crisis, says leading scientist. The East Anglian Daily Times reports comments by Dr Phil Williamson, of the University of East Anglia, who says policy on “allowing fracking and a new runway at Heathrow isn’t joined-up Government on the climate front,”

12 July 2019

Villagers oppose Ineos plans for road closures around Harthill shale gas site. DrillOrDrop report

Oil lobby still has the ear of government. The Times (paywall) reports that government officials met oil and gas company representatives about drilling licences on almost 50 occasions in the past two years.

Consultation on NI shale gas proposals extended. The Planner (subscription) reports Northern Ireland’s Department of the Economy has extended the consultation period for two petroleum licences in Fermanagh and around Lough Neagh until the end of this month because of public concern over the proposals. Leitrim Observer (16/7/2019)

Somerset West and Taunton Council to consider making area a ‘frack-free’ zone. The Somerset County Gazette reports that the issue of a frack-free zone is to be discussed at the council’s meeting on Tuesday evening (16 July).

Chester MP calls for minister to reject shale gas well plan in Ellesmere Port. Cheshire Live reports Chester MP Chris Matheson has written to the local government secretary, James Brokenshire, asking hi to uphold a council decision to reject IGas plans to flow test an existing shale gas well in Ellesmere Port.

Fossil fuels offer ‘increasingly poor’ returns on investment, study finds. Energy Voice reports on a study by Leeds University which concluded that investment in oil, gas and coal is providing increasingly poor returns.

Stockbridge oilfield issued with consolidated environmental permit with variations. The Environment Agency has issued IGas an updated permit in the modern permit for its Stockbridge oilfield near Winchester. The permit includes activities previously covered by operating techniques and reinjection of produced water, previously permitted as a directly associated activity.

11 July 2019

Cuadrilla to frack second well at Preston New Road shale gas near Blackpool. DrillOrDrop article, Cuadrilla press release, Greenworld, BBC News, Guardian, FT, ITV (16/7/2019)

Environment Agency agrees to most of Cuadrilla’s permit changes. DrillOrDrop article, government press release

Angus conference call: “Kimmeridge oil not mature at Brockham”. DrillorDrop report

Angus conference call: “restrictions on water reinjection limiting UK onshore oil and gas. DrillOrDrop report

Angus conference call: Planning blunder forced company to reapply for Balcombe consent. DrillOrDrop report

US energy firm must come clean over Yorkshire fracking plans – The Yorkshire Post says. The Yorkshire Post says residents of Kirby Misperton deserve to know immediately what is intended with the KM8 site and whether the village will soon be back again on the fracking frontline.

10 July 2019

190710 restoration Tinker Lane UWOC

Demolition equipment at the Tinker Lane site, 10 July 2019. Photo: Used with the owner’s consent

Restoration underway at Tinker Lane, IGas’s first shale gas site in the East Midlands. DrillOrDrop article

Government spending watchdog investigates costs of fracking. DrillOrDrop article, Derbyshire Times (12/7/2019)

Health professionals urge PM to “secure her green legacy by banning fracking”. DrillOrDrop article, Gazette and Herald (19/7/2019)

Picture post: 100th women in white gathering at Cuadrilla’s fracking site at Preston New Road near Blackpool. DrillOrDrop article

Alan Linn appointed ceo of Third Energy’s onshore business. DrillOrDrop update

Advertising watchdog confirms ruling on Friends of the Earth webpage on fracking and climate change. The Advertising Standards Authority has again not upheld a complaint about statements in a FOE webpage about fracking. The ASA dismissed the complaint in October 2018 and has now rejected an appeal against the ruling.

9 July 2019

Water monitoring at Cuadrilla’s fracking site missed key chemicals – regulator reports. DrillOrDrop article, ENDS report (subscription)

190719 SCC die in 18 dod

“Climate die-in” outside Surrey County Council where members were due to debate a climate emergency, 9 July 2019. Photo: DrillOrDrop.com

Conservative Surrey declares climate emergency as campaigners stage “die-in”. DrillOrDrop report.

Third Energy closes deal on sale of onshore gas business to York Energy UK (Holdings) Ltd. DrillOrDrop report, Yorkshire Post (10/7/2019)

David Attenborough on climate change: ‘We cannot be radical enough’. New Scientist reports evidence by David Attenborough to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy parliamentary committee.

Pension fund has £8million invested in oil firms. The Argus reports that East Sussex Pension Fund has more than £8m invested in oil and gas companies. They include ExxonMobil and Phillips 66. In 2017, the council voted to end the fund’s investments in fossil fuels but since then the amount invested has risen.

Over 20 agencies abstain from fossil fuel briefs in support of Extinction Rebellion. The Drum reports Upwards of 20 environmentally-conscious advertising agencies have pledged to avoid working on fossil fuel briefs in an industry-wide drive inspired by the Extinction Rebellion movement.

8 July 2019

Deadlines set for report on IGas Ellesmere Port and Ineos Woodsetts appeals. DrillOrDrop article, Rotherham Advertiser (26/7/2019)

‘Protesters as terrorists’: growing number of states turn anti-pipeline activism into a crime. The Guardian reports US Conservative lawmakers have put forward laws criminalizing protests in at least 18 states since 2017 that civil liberties advocates say are unconstitutional

7 July 2019

Weekend Long Read: Campaigner Helen Chuntso reports on why lawyers are seeking answers on the sale of would-be fracking company Third Energy. DrillOrDrop report

6 July 2019

Campaigner arrested at Tour de France for “wearing an anti-Ineos T-shirt”. DrillOrDrop report

Second drilling company seeks to explore for oil and gas near Surrey village. DrillOrDrop report, Get Surrey

Danielle Rowley: SNP aren’t serious about opposing fracking. The Scotsman reports comments by Labour’s new shadow climate change minister who has accused the SNP Scottish Government of failing to put its climate change rhetoric into action after a licence to frack for gas in Scotland was renewed this week.

5 July 2019

New study shows public wants renewables – but the government is not listening. Pip Roddis, PhD researcher at Leeds University, writing for The Conversation, says analysis of government data shows that public support for renewables is high and growing, while support for fracking and nuclear is low and decreasing.

4 July 2019

IGas reveals plans for two new Weald exploration wells in PEDL235. DrillOrDrop report

Cuadrilla’s fracking data released. DrillOrDrop report

National Trust to ditch fossil fuel investments from its £1bn portfolio. The Telegraph and the Guardian reports that the National Trust is sell off the 4% of its portfolio, worht £45m, over the next three years. About £25m would be immediately invested in private companies operating in green areas, such as wind energy, battery storage and water efficiency, the paper says.

3 July 2019

Onshore licence moves to production without drilling a successful well. DrillOrDrop article

New work plans, more time for onshore oil and gas operators. DrillOrDrop article

Gas and oil firms reclassified under non-renewables on LSE. The Guardian reports that the London Stock Exchange is to list oil and gas companies as non-renewable energy in a move designed to distinguish between heavily polluting companies and greener producers.

2 July 2019

Conservative group pledges to ban fracking as Cuadrilla explores hydrogen for heating. DrillOrDrop article, ENDS (subscription), Guardian

Ince Marshes: Plans to drill 50 boreholes as part of geoenergy research site given the go ahead. The Chester Standard reports Cheshire West and Chester Council have approved the British Geological Survey’s planning application for a UK Geoenergy Observatory at Ince Marshes.

Public First hires former House of Commons deputy speaker and shale gas commissioner. PR Week reports the former Labour MP and deputy speaker of the House of Commons has joined campaigns and policy consultancy Public First as a partner to head up the agency’s growing specialism in infrastructure and regulation.

1 July 2019

190701 Lincs Co Co planning meet N Kelsey 4 dod

Revised site layout. Source: Egdon Resources

Lincolnshire councillors block plans by Egdon to increase working hours and noise limits at oil exploration site but back bid for security cabins and extended delivery times. DrillOrDrop report from the decision meeting.

Scottish government move to renew Ineos fracking licence ‘disappointing‘. The Ferret reports Scottish ministers have come under fire after extending PEDL 162, the exploration licence for the Grangemouth petrochemical giant, Ineos, to frack for shale gas in the central belt.

This is the tip of the iceberg: MP warning over fracking in West Lancashire. Lancashire Live reports comments by West Lancashire MP, Rosie Cooper, in response to notice by Aurora Energy Resources that it would submit a planning application to Lancashire County Council to frack at Great Altcar.

Nearly half of Londoners ‘think city should stop investing in fossil fuel companies’. The Evening Standard reports on a survey which also found that 54% of Londoners think personal pension funds should give customers the option of investing their money in fossil free investments.

We have too many fossil-fuel power plans to meet climate goals. National Geographic reports on a new study which concludes that fossil-fuel power plans, factories, vehicles and buildings we’ve already built will, if operated normally over their full lifetimes, warm the earth more than the Paris Agreement climate target of 1.5 degrees.

2 replies »

  1. This is a story that must have been missed…

    SNP ministers extend fracking licence – again…

    The licence had been due to expire on 30 June 2018, but the SNP government extended it using powers devolved to Holyrood months earlier.

    The second year-long extension was revealed in a letter to the Scottish Tories at 4.30pm last Friday, the day after MSPs left Holyrood for summer recess.

    “The SNP’s ‘ban’ on fracking in Scotland has already been exposed in court as a sham.

    “This simply confirms that Nicola Sturgeon’s government is still saying one thing in public, and quite another in private.

    Nicola Sturgeon told delegates “Fracking is now banned in Scotland” and Deputy First Minister John Swinney said there was “a ban on fracking here in Scotland”.

    However the following May, after Ineos challenged the ban in court, the government admitted it wasn’t banned after all and its lawyer explained the term was only a “PR gloss”.

    The government spent £175,000 of taxpayers money on external legal advice for the case.

    So there we have it Sir Jim Ratcliffe is the true sword of Damocles with that horse hair getting very thin at the populist virtue signalling of Scotlands First minister.

    A SNP who if it had succeeded on the 18th of September 2014 with a barrel of oil at close to $100 must have breathed with a huge sigh of relief, their vision was not carried out by the voting Scots, a huge turnout of 84.6% probably buoyed by 16 and 17 year olds being given the vote. Why? What would Holyroods response to the people of Scotland be as Oil hits $26 in 2016… The reason for the price crash? American shale causing OPEC to try and control the market, which failed…

    The First Minister of Scotland has played a waiting game presuming wrongly that by now Westminster would decalre Shale Gas of National Importance and with it Holyrood could state that Westminster has yet again run roughshod over Scotlands Rule. Time is across the Ford…

    Like a red red Lancastrian Rose Sir Jim Ratcliffe is the very man to turn from sword to Crown and give the SNP the very modern day Claymore it needs to confidently lay down an independent Scotland on its own financial terms not influenced from other Nations be it Belgium or England…

    In this modern era a Scottish man or woman for all that, not striving to become equal anymore… Much more than that…


  2. Simon, a less excitable interpretation is simply that the Scottish Government is simply sidestepping any attempts by Ineos to throw their weight about pending a ratification of the presumption against fracking.

    Jim Ratcliffe , the “red red Lancastrian rose”?? Golly! It sounds as though you have a bit of a man crush going on here!

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