Daily headlines

August 2019 headlines

pnr 190726 Maxine Gill1

Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road, 26 July 2019. Photo: Maxine Gill

This month, Cuadrilla began fracking its second well at Preston New Road, near Blackpool. 12 days later it was ordered to stop after causing the UK’s largest fracking-induced earth tremor.

DrillOrDrop follows onshore oil and gas developments across the UK.

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 contact@DrillOrDrop.com

Top headlines

  • Cuadrilla resumes fracking again in Lancashire
  • But OGA suspends operations within 12 days after UK’s largest fracking earth tremor, measuring 2.9ML
  • Lancashire residents call for a ban on fracking
  • Environmental permit surrendered for Cuadrilla’s Roseacre Wood site
  • Cuadrilla seeks another 18 months to drill and frack at Preston New Road
  • Acquittal of sole protesters arrested at Egdon’s Biscathorpe oil site
  • Permit changes approved for West Newton including cold venting
  • Cuadrilla fails to fix mechanical problem at Preston New Road well
  • Consultation opens on protest policing guidelines
  • Third Energy says it will focus on conventional gas over fracking
  • Well test begins at Rathlin Energy’s West Newton well site – prompting complaints about smell
  • Test is suspended after a week following oil find

31 August 2019

pnr 190831 Refracktion 11

Businessman Mark Mills speaking outside Cuadrilla’s fracking site at Preston New Road near Blackpool. Photo: Refracktion

“If you support fracking, you’re complicit in earthquakes” – Lancs businessman; Cuadrilla says “sorry for any concern” and promises “no restart until tremor risks are properly mitigated” DrillOrDrop report, BBC News, Lancashire Post, Blackpool Gazette, City Am (1/9/2019), Times (2/9/2019), Yorkshire Post (1/9/2019), ITV (1/9/2019)

Residents demand answers on emergency planning at fracking site after recent tremors. DrillOrDrop report

Friends of the Earth demand climate change action plan. The Scotsman reports Friends of the Earth has called on Nicola Sturgeon to back up her commitment to tackling the climate emergency by implementing a radical programme to reduce carbon emissions. Holyrood (1/9/2019)

30 August 2019

Marvel’s Thor spotted alongside fracking protestors in Lancashire. DownTheTubes.net reports that Madame Tussauds Blackpool took its Thor wax figure to the fracking front line at Preston New Road to defend himself against rumours that his mountain-levelling hammer was the cause of 119 tremors in the area in the past fortnight.

Conservative MP questions future of fracking Fylde. The Blackpool Gazette reports on comments by Mark Menzies on Cuadrilla’s fracking-induced earth tremors. See also DrillOrDrop report on 26 August 2019.

29 August 2019

Rathlin Energy’s West Newton extended well test suspended after one week following oil find. DrillOrDrop report, Energy Voice, Hull Daily Mail

Does someone need to die? The families whose homes have turned into Britain’s earthquake zone – thanks to fracking. The Independent reports on people affected by earth tremors induced by fracking at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site.

Fracking firm Cuadrilla’s transparency in question over how it “carefully selected” experts. In an exclusive, the i reports that Cuadrilla officials discussed choosing a seismologist to feature in the company newsletter before fracking began last year.

Regulator to halt fracking for weeks after tremor. The Times reports fracking in Lancashire could be suspended for weeks after Monday’s 2.9ML earth tremor. The paper says the Oil & Gas Authority could not give a timescale for its “open-ended” investigation.

Dairy farmer speaks out as fracking furore flares up in Lancashire. Farmers Guardian reports comments by a a dairy farmer about the impact on food producers in the area.

Climate change: Big lifestyle changes ‘needed to cut emissions’. BBC News reports comments by Professor Sir Ian Boyd, the government’s chief environment scientists, who said people must use less transport, eat less red meat and buy fewer clothes if the UK is to virtually halt greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Former energy minister, Charles Hendry, says on Twitter: “it’s now clear shale gas has little prospect of succeeding in the UK.


Paul Maynard MP, a junior transport minister and MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys,  says on Facebook:

“Should Cuadrilla be unable to operate within the regulatory framework and should there no longer be an economic case for shale gas, I would question whether there is any sense to continuing with exploration which is causing so much distress to local people.”

28 August 2019

190828 BGS intensity 6 slider

Record-breaking fracking tremor upgraded – “many frightened” as residents report damage. DrillOrDrop report

Earth tremors continue around Surrey village as researchers discount link to oil sites. DrillOrDrop report

Ryedale Tories make “historic” break with government in call for local fracking moratorium. DrillOrDrop report, Gazette and Herald

Ineos looks to US for fracking sites as UK options wane. The Guardian reports that Ineos is looking for shale gas investments in the Permian Basin in the US. Ineos declined to comment on what it called “rumour and speculation”.

Fracking tremor shakes AJ Lucas investors. The Australian reports that shares in the Australian mining company, AJ Lucas, a major shareholder in Cuadrilla, slid 40% in early trading

Angus Energy Community Liaison Group update. Balcombe Parish Council reports that Angus Energy told the clg meeting it is planning to submit a planning application for an extended well test for a period of 2-3 years.

27 August 2019

Residents’ letter urges Cuadrilla to abandon fracking at Preston New Road. DrillOrDrop report, Lancashire Live

Surrey swarm quakes ‘not caused by oil extraction’. BBC News, Manchester Evening News, Mail Online, Express and Imperial College report on research that found no evidence that oil extraction caused recent earthquakes in Surrey. See also DrillOrDrop report on this research from June 2019.

Tim Bell dies at 77. The Times reports the death of Lord Bell, whose company Bell Pottinger represented Cuadrilla.

UK PM Johnson’s spokeswoman says government view is that shale gas has potential to enhance energy security and deliver jobs. Reuters 

26 August 2019


Anger as UK’s largest fracking tremor at 2.9ML shakes Lancashire. DrillOrDropreport, BBC News, Guardian, Sky News, Blackpool Gazette, City Am, Lancs Live, FT

Fracking suspended after 2.9ML tremor – Conservative MP calls for ban. DrillOrDrop report, BBC News (27/8/2019), Energy Voice (30/8/2019)

Lancashire tremors predicted before fracking began. DrillOrDrop report

“Cuadrilla should not be allowed to frack again after 2.9ML tremor”, say campaigners. DrillOrDrop report

How we discovered UK shale gas reserves are at least 80% smaller than thought. Phys Org has an article by the authors of a recent study which concludes that previous shale gas predictions were an over-estimate.

25 August 2019

Call for fracking ban after 2.1ML tremor shakes buildings around Cuadrilla shale gas site. DrillOrDrop report on strongest earth tremor caused by fracking at Preston New Road, Sky News, Independent, Energy Voice (26/8/2019)

24 August 2019

Suspicion about “secret deal” between Cuadrilla and geological agency. DrillOrDrop report. Exclusive report in the i newspaper

Tremors pause fracking again at Cuadrilla’s Lancashire shale gas site. DrillOrDrop report, i news, Metro, The London Economic, Guardian, Evening Standard, Reuters, Morning Star

MP calls for fracking to be halted. The Lancashire Evening Post and Lancashire Guardian report MP Cat Smith’s calls for fracking to be banned after two more earth tremors in the county.

23 August 2019

Cuadrilla video on well integrity. Cuadrilla posts a video on Facebook on its well integrity checks following seismic activity.

22 August 2019

“Living in fear” – residents respond to 1.6ML tremor. DrillOrDrop report

First day of well tests at Rathlin Energy’s West Newton well site in East Yorkshire prompts smell complaints. DrillOrDrop report, Share Talk

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Still from video of flare at Rathlin Energy’s West Newton-A well site, 22 August 2019. Photo: West Newton Monitoring and Information Station

PNR 2019 tremor tracker: 2 seismic events. Details

North East Derbyshire MP Lee Rowley says fracking companies should stop “flogging a dead horse”. The Derbyshire Times reports a response by Lee Rowley to Cuadrilla’s pause of fracking at Preston New Road after a 1.6ML earth tremor. He tells the paper:

“It’s clear the industry cannot frack under the seismic limits they agreed. This just proves again that fracking isn’t going to work in the UK and the companies should give up flogging a dead horse.”

Cutbacks and slow progress undermining net zero goals, MPs say. Energy Voice reports on a warning from the Commons Science and Technology committee that net zero emissions by 2050 will be not achieved without new policies to boost clean growth.

Reabold Resources Plc increased investment in Rathlin Energy Limited. Directors Talk reports that Reabold, which currently holds 36% of Rathlin and 24% of the West Newton field, has increased its investment through an advanced subscription agreement. The company says it invested £1m of a £1.793m agreement.

21 August 2019

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1.6ML earth tremor recorded at Cuadrilla’s fracking site – largest so far. Fracking pausedDrillOrDrop report and on 22/8/2019: ITV, Guardian, Energy Voice, Independent, Express, Huffington Post, Mail, BBC, i, Business Green, Metro, The Canary, The Ecologist, Reuters, Sky, Mirror, FT

PNR 2019 tremor tracker: 7 seismic events. Details

20 August 2019

UK shale reserves may be smaller than thought – study. DrillOrDrop report on research by Nottingham University and the British Geological Survey which concludes that UK shale gas reserves are lower than previously estimated. Independent, BBC News, Guardian, Times, Metro, Telegraph, London Economic, Carbon Brief (21/8/2019), PhysOrg (21/8/2019)

Licensing system criticised for breaching rules after two UKOG PEDLs were extended. DrillOrDrop report on extensions of PEDL331 in the Isle of Wight and PEDL143 in Surrey. Morning Star and Isle of Wight County Press (27/8/2019)

PNR 2019 tremor tracker: 22 seismic events. Details

Campaigners fighting Ellesmere Port fracking plan fear Boris Johnson premiership. Cheshire Live reports environmentalists are concerned about the impact on their cause of new pro-fracking ministers.

Lancashire campaigners’ fears over new fracking tremors. The Blackpool Gazette reports on local concerns about earth tremors near Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site

19 August 2019

PNR 2019 tremor tracker: 7 seismic events. Details

18 August 2019

Stop sitting on the fence over fracking. The Observer editorial says it’s decision time for ministers on fracking for shale gas. The paper says:

“If ministers are not going to release the shackles on fracking, they should take [Jim] Ratcliffe [of Ineos] at his word: shut down shale.”

EPA won’t object to fracking application in Co Fermanagh. The Times reports that Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has decided not to object to a fracking licence application in Northern Ireland. The EPA said this was because it had submitted its views on fracking in the border area to the authorities in Northern Ireland three years ago.

17 August 2019

PNR 2019 tremor tracker: 4 seismic events. Details

16 August 2019

Third Energy to “focus on conventional gas” over fracking. DrillOrDrop report

190816 2 map of Pnr earth tremors

PNR tremor tracker 2019. DrillOrDrop report tracking micro-seismic activity induced by fracking at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site. 12 very small events so far, since fracking began yesterday.

PNR 2019 tremor tracker: 11 seismic events. Details

15 August 2019

Fracking resumes at Preston New Road. DrillOrDrop report on Cuadrilla’s start to fracking the PNR2 well near Blackpool

PNR 2019 tremor tracker: 1 seismic event. Details

IGas Energy plc satisfies two charges in full. Companies House reports that IGas has satisfied charges 1 and 4. No more details

14 August 2019

“New methane study backs climate case against fracking”, say campaigners; “erroneous conclusions”, says industry. DrillOrDrop report on research by Cornell University which concludes that unconventional oil and gas is behind the recent big increase in global methane. Guardian, Climate News Network, journal link, Energy Voice (15/8/2019), DeSmog, Independent, Daily Mail

13 August 2019

Third Energy accused of seeking more time for Ryedale gas sites to prepare for fracking. DrillOrDrop report on the unanimous objection by Ryedale District Council to eight of the company’s planning applications

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Restoration work at the IGas Tinker Lane site in Nottinghamshire, 9 August 2019. Photo: Eric Walton

Picture post: restoration of IGas shale gas site at Tinker Lane, Nottinghamshire. DrillOrDrop report

CPRE Lancashire seeks refusal of Cuadrilla’s application for a sixth variation of the environmental permit for its Preston New Road operations. CPRE explains the reasons for its objection.

12 August 2019

Cold venting and acid squeeze approved for Rathlin Energy’s West Newton oil and gas site in East Yorkshire. DrillOrDrop report

Lorry surf protest delays rig delivery to West Newton wellsite. A protester climbed on top of a lorry delivering the workover rig to Rathlin Energy’s exploration site in East Yorkshire.

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Rig surf protest outside Rathlin Energy’s West Newton-A wellsite in East Yorkshire, 12 August 2019. Photo: West Newton Gateway to the Gasfields

10 August 2019

Cuadrilla fails to fix mechanical problem in shale gas well at Preston New Road fracking site. DrillOrDrop report

Weekend long read: Fractured communities – the seven-year story of what happened when fracking came to town. DrillOrDrop report

8 August 2019

190719 Dunsfold access route

Map of new proposed access route to UKOG’s oil and gas site. Source: planning application

Oil company seeks consent for road junction on common land. DrillOrDrop report

West Newton campaigner back in court. DrillOrDrop and Hull Live report that Pelle Kirkeby, known as Peanut, was remanded in custody until September on charges of obstructing a police officer and obstructing the highway. He has pleaded not guilty. A trial has been set for 13 September, with a pre-trial hearing on 5 September.

Plans for fracking at Derbyshire site on hold despite green light. The Derbyshire Times reports that Ineos has still no start date for work at its permitted shale gas site at Marsh Lane. The company was granted permission a year ago. But it told the paper:

“The council has set out a number of conditions that need to be considered before any work can commence on site.

“This takes time and we currently have no operational timescales for when work will start.”

Frack Free Ryedale marks 5th anniversary. The Gazette and Herald reports that campaigners held a party to mark five years since the group formed and no fracking in the district.

7 August 2019

UKOG to increase share of Horse Hill oil licences in Surrey. DrillOrDrop report, Proactive Investors

North’s Department of Economy official told of ‘total opposition’ to fracking. Ocean FM reports a Sinn Fein delegation told the permanent secretary of its “total opposition to fracking anywhere on the island of Ireland. It follows a public consultation over the application by Tamboran for an exploration licence near Lough Earne.

Norfolk County Council chiefs told to ‘resign and go home’ over incineration and fracking fear. The Lynn News reports a West Norfolk councillor has told county chiefs they “might as well all resign and go home” in a row over future mineral and waste provision. The county’s preferred options rejected a plea from South Lynn councillor Alexandra Kemp to explicitly rule out incineration and fracking.

Clevedon Town Council resolves to make the town a frack free zone. North Somerset Times reports (16/8/2019) on the motion that the council will oppose fracking applications near the town, not invest in fracking companies and call on North Somerset Council to do the same.

6 August 2019

Comments sought on new protest policing guidance. DrillOrDrop report on consultation by the College of Policing

“UK fracking debate likely to stay deadlocked as neither side makes a compelling case” – new research. DrillOrDrop report on a study by Sussex University on the key arguments about UK shale gas. Energy Live News

Roads closed for up to two months as Rathlin Energy begins testing at West Newton well site. DrillOrDrop report

A region divided – readers put cases for and against fracking. The Yorkshire Post letters section features letters for and against fracking.

5 August 2019

PNR 190807 Ros Wills

Fracking equipment installed at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site near Blackpool, 7 August 2019. Photo: Ros Wills

All consents in place to frack again in Lancashire, says Cuadrilla. DrillOrDrop report

EA allows Cuadrilla to surrender permission for Roseacre Wood site. DrillOrDrop report Decision document

“No doubt about opposition” to Aurora Energy Resources West Lancs fracking plans, say campaigners. DrillOrDrop report

Campaigner against oil and gas drilling in East Yorkshire remanded in custody by court in Hull. DrillOrDrop report

Fracking is the opposite of what we need, says MP in fight against plans to frack near Formby. The Formby Bubble reports that MP Bill Esterson has reiterated his opposition to fracking and says he will fight plans to use the technique to search for gas under Formby.

Cumbrian environmentalist joins Lancashire fracking protest. The News & Star reports that Cumbrian environmentalist Fiona Prior, from Carlisle, joined Lancashire campaigners outside the Preston New Road fracking site last week. She was there for the visit of the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

3 August 2019

Cuadrilla to seek another 18 months to drill and frack at Preston New Road shale gas site. DrillOrDrop article, BBC News (5/8/2019), This is Money (5/8/2019), North West Place (6/8/2019), Business Telegraph (5/8/2019), Guardian (5/8/2019), Cuadrilla press release (5/8/2019)

2 August 2019

Corbyn’s councils have over £1bn invested in fracking. The political website, Guido Fawkes, reports that Labour councils in constituents represented by four leading Labour figures have invested £700m in Shell and another £558m in BP.

Shell boss welcomes ‘mobilisation of society’ as oil protests intensify. Energy Voice reports comments by Shell’s chief executive, Ben van Beurden on 1 August 2019 that he “understood” climate change protesters’ motivations and warned “as a society we are not doing enough” to meet the Paris Agreement goals. He said “We need an intensified and effective debate to make things happen”.

1 August 2019

Acquittal for sole campaigners arrested at Biscathorpe oil drilling protests. DrillOrDrop report

August 2019 diary. DrillOrDrop listing of events about UK fracking, onshore oil and gas and campaigning.

Consultation opens on National Police Chiefs’ council protest advice and proposed amendments to authorised professional practice. Details

Phase 2 Kimmeridge test at Horse Hill. A statement from UKOG confirms that the Kimmeridge flow test at Horse Hill in Surrey has produced a further 5,524 barrels of dry Brent quality oil. Total production from the site is now 60,186 barrels. The rig to drill two new wells at the site is “now scheduled to arrive on site following routine servicing after the completion of its current job”, the statement said.

Shale natural gas development hampers consumer outdoor activities, study finds. The US consumer organisation, Consumer Affairs, reports on a new study by University of New Hampshire, which found that shale natural gas development is taking away areas consumers commonly enjoy for outdoor recreation. According to the study, hiking and camping have become severely impacted by shale gas development.

5 replies »

    • Such a shame the left and right hands do not talk. HORSE HILL LATEST: Successful production switch from Portland to Kimmeridge now paves the way for the expected late summer arrival of the rig, says CEO Stephen Sanderson

  1. The Comrades appear to be only really interested in the total destruction of the capitalist system ; listening to Kim Howells on R4 this evening – one could hear the total despair in his voice for the current state of the Labour Party – this from a long standing – now retired MP and minister .

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