Daily headlines

October 2019 headlines

pnr 190925 Ros Wills

Protest outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road, 25 September 2019. Photo: Ros Wills

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

Key headlines

  • Scottish government continues moratorium on fracking in final policy position
  • Prime Minister promises a statement on fracking “shortly”
  • National Audit Office says government is unclear on fracking costs, benefits and liabilities and progress is years behind schedule
  • Frack pumps leave Preston New Road
  • Campaigners mark 1,000 days of protest at Cuadrilla’s shale gas site
  • Scottish government accidentally reveals it will confirm an effective ban on fracking
  • Angus Energy submits application for extended well test at Balcombe oil site
  • Councils declare frack-free status and climate emergency
  • Group calls for law change to make fracking companies fund surveys of homes near shale gas sites
  • Hundreds arrested at Extinction Rebellion protests in London
  • Horizontal drilling begins at Horse Hill’s second oil well 

31 October 2019

Trial abandoned after Humberside Police give evidence of a “force-wide policy” against slow walking – court told. DrillOrDrop report

30 October 2019

191030 PMQ Slider

Prime Minister’s Questions 30 October 2019 Source: Parliament TV

Government to make announcement on fracking “shortly” – PM tells parliament. DrillOrDrop report, Daily Mail (Tories ‘are set to announce ban on new fracking’: Moratorium to be unveiled amid concerns anger at the drilling could hit election hopes); Daily Telegraph (Fracking industry quakes as Boris Johnson hints at ban); Times (Boris Johnson considers calling halt to fracking as hostility grows); Lancashire Evening Post (Boris Johnson pledges to address ‘anxieties’ over fracking); Guardian (31/10/2019 Boris Johnson poised to rule out new fracking, say sources)

Election scuppers MPs’ inquiry into fracking costs. DrillOrDrop report

Climate crisis affects how majority will vote in UK election – poll. The Guardian reports on an opinion poll which found almost 2/3 of people agreed that the climate emergency was the biggest issue facing humankind. 2/3 agreed that fossil fuel companies should help to pay for the damage from extreme weather events.

Fracking lobbyist hired to draw up Tory manifesto. The Guardian reports that Rachel Wolf, who works on behalf of Cuadrilla, is writing the Conservative manifesto.

Shale gas tested by Cuadrilla Resources produces ‘quality gas’. The Times reports comments by Cuadrilla that the gas from its Preston New Road site could be fed straight into the gas grid.

Derbyshire MP says there are “too many unanswered questions” about full impact of fracking. The Derbyshire Times reports on Lee Rowley MP’s welcome for the National Audit Office report (see DrillOrDrop article on the NAO report)

Is fracking in Lancashire really dead? Not quite … Desmog UK reports on activity at Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road.

29 October 2019

Public comments invited on permit changes to Horse Hill oil site in Surrey. DrillOrDrop report

Council drops case against oil firm’s drilling rights bid. The Lincolnshire Reporter previews next week’s public inquiry into Egdon Resources’ plans to produce oil at the Wressle site near Scunthorpe.

28 October 2019

Cuadrilla to pay “a few hundred pounds” for homes said to be damaged by fracking earth tremor. DrillOrDrop report, Blackpool Gazette, BBC News, Lancashire Post

Fracking’s time has passed already – Britain should be focused on clean energy. Conservative MP, Henry Smith, writing in the Telegraph says fracking is not economically beneficial, not popular and not in line with the UK’s commitment to end its contribution to climate change by reaching net zero by 2050.

26 October 2019

191026 HH March1 DoD

Protest march. 26 October 2019. Photo: DrillOrDrop

“Oil sites put Surrey on the climate change front line” – rally outside UKOG Horse Hill site told. DrillOrDrop report

25 October 2019

Angus Energy takes out £1.5m loan to pay for clean-up costs. DrillOrDrop report, Morning Star, Proactive Investors

24 October 2019

Residents “astounded” by decision which could lead to methane and benzene venting at fracking site. DrillOrDrop report on fifth variation of environmental permit at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site. Lancashire Evening Post

UKOG Dunsfold drilling plans in Surrey: Decision delayed again and opponents consider legal challenge as operator declares £6.9m loss. DrillOrDrop report

23 October 2019

191023 Eddie Thornton Helen Chuntso

Campaigner Eddie Thornton speaking to reporters outside Third Energy’s gas site at Kirby Misperton, 23 October 2019. Photo: Helen Chuntso

Campaigner launches crowdfund for legal challenge over oil and gas clean-up costs. DrillOrDrop report

Government unclear on fracking costs, benefits and liabilities – report by spending watchdog. DrillOrDrop report, link to National Audit Office report

Other coverage of the National Audit Office report: BBC News (Fracking ‘years behind schedule despite £32m cost); Guardian (Plan for fracking years behind schedule and has cost taxpayer £32m); ITV (Fracking process making slow progress, report finds); Times (Government lied over fracking clean-up); FT (Protecting fracking sites cost police £13m); Energy Live News (Is fracking slacking); Politics Home (Government missing own fracking targets despite £32.m); Daily Mail (Fracking farce: Industry fails to live up to its promise); Energy Voice (Slow progress on creating UK fracking industry, report finds); Blackpool Gazette (Opposition continues to increase as the future of shale gas drilling in the UK is in the spotlight); Upstream Online (UK government ‘uncertain’ on shale gas decom costs); Lancashire Telegraph (Policing fracking has cost Lancashire Police almost £13m); Telegraph (Taxpayer spending on fracking protests and security hits £13m); Proactive Investors (Is fracking off the table in the UK after NAO says no?; Engineering and Technology (Fracking sector is struggling to make headway, says watchdog)

Former BP chief says energy groups need to speed up transitions. The FT interviews John Browne, former chair of Cuadrilla and chief executive of BP, who warned energy majors they would need to adapt their businesses more quickly to the energy transition because public opinion had turned aggressively against the oil and gas industry in the past 18 months.

IGas highlights conventional potential as fracking debate intensifies. Proactive Investors interviews IGas chief executive, Stephen Bowler, on the company’s plans in the light of the NAO report.

Cross-party MPs hatch plot to ban fracking, with Queen’s Speech vote facing chaotic amendments. The Telegraph reports of the amendment by Faisal Rashid to ban fracking immediately. See DrillOrDrop report of 18/10/2019

22 October 2019

Emissions from gas flares could be higher than industry estimates – new studyDrillOrDrop report on research for the Environment Agency on onshore oil and gas questions. Other projects covered predicting hydraulic fractures, induced seismicity, water contamination from abandoned wells and analysing monitoring data.

Horizontal drilling underway at Horse Hill oil exploration site as opponents prepare for demonstration. DrillOrDrop report, Shares Magazine, Proactive Investors, Crawley Observer (24/10/2019)

UK politicians push for divestment of BP and Shell shares. Energy Voice reports that a group of 300 politicians, organised by 350.org, are pushing the trustees of the parliamentary pension fund to sell shares in BP and Shell for climate change reasons. The fund holds £11.6m of BP shares and £10.9m in Shell.

‘You’re poisoning people’ – Actor Mark Ruffalo says supporting Shannon fracked gas plans is killing Americans. The Irish News reports the actor Mark Ruffalo has said Ireland will be responsible for killing American children if the controversial Shannon LNG project goes ahead. At a phone news conference, he said Ireland would be hypocritical to import fracked gas from Pennyslvania to Shannon after banning fracking in its own borders.

21 October 2019

Sadiq Khan to reject proposals to allow fracking in London. The Guardian reports that the mayor of London is expected to formally reject proposed changes to the London Plan from planning inspectors, that would allow fracking in the capital, expansion of Heathrow Airport and building in the green belt.

Climate fears ‘could prompt more investors to move money to ethical funds‘. Energy Voice reports on a study by Triodos Bank which found 45% of investors said they wold move money to an ethical fund as a result of news about the environment.

Pressure grows on state to drop support for gas terminal project. The lord mayor of Dublin has joined climate activists, environmental groups and Hollywood stars calling on Ireland to stop support for a gas terminal, Irish Green News reports.

20 October 2019

Seahorse Trust founder wins judicial review into Poole Bay oil drilling consent. The Daily Echo reports that the Neil Garrick-Maidment, founder of the Seahorse Trust, has won a judicial review into the consent given for oil drilling in Poole Bay. He argued that the application by Corallian Energy had not been subject to a transparent environmental impact assessment process. The energy secretary, Andrea Leadsom, has agreed to carry out a detailed review of the offshore regulations and amend them following a public consultation. Drilling took place in February and March 2019. Divernet

18 October 2019

Fracking Week in Westminster: ban added to Queen’s Speech amendments and ministers go shy on shale. DrillOrDrop report, Warrington Worldwide

17 October 2019

Vehicles driven at protesters top complaints to support group. DrillOrDrop report

Final report: Human health risk assessment for oil and gas operations in Colorado. A study by scientists from Colorado State University conducted on-site air monitoring of 47 volatile organic compounds at oil and gas extraction facilities in the state and then used modelling to assess the impact on people living within 2,000 feet. At 500ft, benzene, toluene and ethyltolunenes levels exceeded guidelines, in some cases by a factor of 10 during most oil and gas activities. EcoWatch

16 October 2019

Does the government have faith in fracking? Guest post by Ben Dean for DrillOrDrop on the differences in regulation of the offshore and onshore industries.

New study blames some Permian Basin earthquakes on fracking. Energy Voice reports a new study from University of Texas is blaming hydraulic fracturing activity on some earthquakes in the permian basin of west Texas. So far, researchers have recorded 209 earthquakes across Texas in 2019, the strongest measuring 3.8ML on 1 October. There were 192 recorded in 2018.

Lancaster and Morecambe protesters join Extinction Rebellion action in London. The Lancaster Guardian reports more than 30 people from Lancaster and Morecambe were joined at climate protests in London by north west England MEP Gina Dowding. She said she had been “taken aback” by the policing of peaceful protest at both the actions in London, and at the Preston New Road fracking site recently.

Gloucester MP Richard Graham admits to a change of heart on allowing fracking. Gloucester Business News reports that the city’s  Conservative MP will now oppose fracking for shale gas. He said legislation should now be put in place to stop the process across the country.

15 October 2019

Under half arrests at Cuadrilla’s fracking site have led to convictions – new data. DrillOrDrop report

Completion of Horse Hill coring operations. UK Oil & Gas reports it has successfully completed the programme to take a 241.45ft of core from the Horse Hill-2 well. The company says the core “clearly identified” the Portland reservoir’s most productive zone, which will now be the target of the planned 1,000 horizontal trajectory of HH-2z. Share magazine, Morning Star

No choice but to invest in oil, Shell CEO says. Reuters reports comments by Ben van Beurden, chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell that there are abundant opportunities to make money from oil and gas in coming decades.  He said:

“Despite what a lot of activists say, it is entirely legitimate to invest in oil and gas because the world demands it.”

Central heating boilers ‘put climate change goals at risk’. BBC News reports on a study by the Policy Connect think tank which concludes that the UK will not meet climate change targets without a revolution in home heating. Business Green

Police ban Extinction Rebellion protests from whole of London. The Guardian reports police banned Extinction Rebellion protests from continuing anywhere in London as they moved to clear protesters from Trafalgar Square.

Extinction Rebellion protests should be embraced, not banned. New Scientist‘s chief reporter, Adam Vaughan, says the move to haul climate change protesters off London’s streets reflects a scientifically and economically illiterate political and media elite in denial about the issue.

Has the peak of the shale revolution come and gone? The Houston Chronicle says the shale industry is facing the prospect that the boom has peaked and the best days are over. New York investment research firm, Evercore ISI, declared this month that the oil shale revolution is over, the paper reports.

14 October 2019

Council calls for ban on fracking in Fylde on safety grounds following Cuadrilla tremors. DrillOrDrop report, BBC News

Welton project update. IGas announces plans to convert a suspended production well to a water injector to increase reservoir sweep and increase field recovery by 340 thousand barrels.

Rise of renewables may see off oil firms decades earlier than they think. The Guardian quotes Michael Liebreich, of the research group Bloomberg New Energy Finance, predicts a far quicker than expected rollout of clean energy technologies, whether politicians increase their ambitions or not. The group expects renewable energy will soon become cheaper than using existing gas or coal electricity plans.

13 October 2019

Don’t fracking with us: meet the victorious activist ‘Nanas’ of Lancashire. The Observer reports on the Lancashire Nanas campaigning against fracking near Blackpool.

Scientists endorse mass civil disobedience to force climate action. Reuters reports that almost 400 scientists have endorsed civil disobedience aimed at forcing governments to tackle climate change. warning that failure could inflict ‘incalculable human suffering’.

12 October 2019

PM warned about electoral risk of growing opposition to fracking – campaigners urge Boris Johnson to announce a ban. DrillOrDrop report

Campaigners accuse regulator of failing to assess fracking risk to Hinkley Point nuclear station. DrillOrDrop report

Cuadrilla packs up in Preston and UK fracking bites the dust. The Sunday Times reports comments by campaigners that fracking in the UK is dead and that Cuadrilla has begun removing equipment from its shale gas site after earthquakes in August. Country Life (14/10/2019)

Cuadrilla restates position on Lancashire. Cuadrilla Resources repeats on its Facebook page a quote from a recent update: “We’re committed to exploring for shale gas to establish a domestic energy supply the UK really needs.” Guardian (14/10/2019), Countrylife (16/10/2019)

11 October 2019

George Lucan Angus Energy

George Lucan, managing director of Angus Energy. Photo: Angus Energy

Interview: Angus Energy oil man backs gas for the future. DrillOrDrop article

Fracking companies should be fund surveys of homes near shale gas sites – call for law change. DrillOrDrop article

IGas board change. IGas announces that Mike McTighe has stepped down as non-executive chairman with immediate effect for personal reasons. He will be replaced as interim chairman by Cuth McDowell.

Court case. Anti-fracking campaigner, Geza Frackman, was found guilty of a public order offence after a trial at Preston Magistrates Court. He was ordered to pay a total of £460 in fines and costs. He was acquitted of a second public order offence.

10 October 2019

Europa accounts for year to 31 July 2019. Europa’s chief executive, Hugh Mackay, says in the annual accounts that development of the Wressle oil field in Lincolnshire (in which Europa has a 30% stake) would double the company’s UK onshore production to around 240bopd and at current prices increase revenue to £3-4m a year.

Ryedale District Council declares a climate emergency. Lib Dem councillors got backing from the authority for their motion to declare a climate emergency and look at employing a climate change and environment officer.

Fossil fuel industry sees the future of their product in hard-to-recycle plastic. PhysOrg reports that cheap polyethylene from fracking has created a glut of plastic packaging with few global facilities can recycle efficiently.

Campaigners demand council stops investing £36m in fossil fuels. The Manchester Evening News reports on Green Party research that Trafford Council has put at least £36m of public money into oil and gas companies through the Greater Manchester Pension Fund.

Fossil fuel firms’ social media fightback against climate action. The Guardian reports that oil and gas companies are spending millions of dollars on campaigns to fight climate regulations while talking about their dedication to a low-carbon future.

Fires, explosions and toxic releases: Front Range residents fight fracking boom. The Guardian reports on how oil and gas companies are devastating Colorado communities and endangering the climate.

9 October 2019

Campaigners reject Surrey’s description of anti-fracking protests as “extremism”. DrillOrDrop report, Netpol

191009 Balcombe application section

Proposed equipment required for extended well test at Balcombe oil exploration site. Image: Angus Energy planning application

Angus Energy’s plans for extended well test at Balcombe, West Sussex, published and consultation opens. DrillOrDrop report

Second public inquiry into Egdon Resources’ plans for oil production at Wressle scheduled for six days. DrillOrDrop report

Extinction Rebellion London protests: Demonstration enters third day after 600 arrested in capital. The Evening Standard reports a police warning that demonstrators must go to Trafalgar Square or risk arrest. Nearly 600 people were arrested on the first two days of a two-week protest.

Sim-ops flow test update. UKOG announces it has successfully implemented its simultaneous drilling and test production operations. Continuous Kimmeridge oil production from HH-1 has been maintained since the start of the Horse Hill 2/2z horizontal drilling campaign on 29 September 2019, the company said.

Results of placing. Reabold Resources announces it has successfully completed the placing of 2,666,666,666 new shares at a price of 0.9p. The company has said it will invest £16m in its partnership with Rathlin Energy at West Newton in East Yorkshire.

Frack Free zone vote. Sedgemoor District Council votes unanimously to become a frack free zone.

8 October 2019

Extinction Rebellion second day of London protests. BBC News and The Guardian (PM calls protesters ‘uncooperative crusties’), Telegraph (Protests shut down London’s Smithfield Market), Evening Standard (30,000 climate change activists set to descend on capital)

Greenpeace activists crash the stage a a major oil industry gala. Greenpeace tweet, Energy Voice (9/10/2019)

Does fracking post a risk to your commercial property interests? LegalFutures, an associated of Thames Water Property Searches, recommends businesses should “thorough research any planned or current fracking-related activity which may have an impact on your commercial property venture”.

Horse Hill drilling update. UKOG announces that is completed the 12 1/4″ diameter hole in the Horse Hill-2 well and has set and cemented the 9″ casing from surface to 2,019ft below the rig floor. Proactive Investors

7 October 2019

Reabold outlines drilling plans at second West Newton site in early 2020. DrillOrDrop report

Reabold Resources confirms share placing to fund West Newton wells. Sharecast, Guerilla investing

Extinction Rebellion: 280 arrested in central London protests. The Guardian reports that Westminster and Trafalgar Square are among sites targeted as climate protesters take to the streets. BBC News

6 October 2019

Falkirk West MSP applauds formal ban on fracking. The Falkirk Herald reports a welcome by Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson of the Scottish government’s decision not to allow fracking to take place in Scotland.

3 October 2019

Scottish government confirms ‘no support for fracking’ but steps back from ban. DrillOrDrop report on continuing moratorium on unconventional oil and gas in Scotland, Guardian, BBC News, Herald Scotland, Energy Live News, Business Green, The National, Times

Campaigner launches crowdfund for legal challenge over oil and gas clean-up costs. DrillOrDrop report

IGas signs new debt facility. IGas announces it has singed a US$40 million senior secured reserve based lending facility with BMO Capital Markets. A further US$20 accordion facility is available on an uncommitted basis, the company said. The facility matures in September 2024 with an interest rate of LIBOR plus 4%. Business Desk

An end to fracking in Lancashire? The Ecologist reports on Cuadrilla’s 30 September statement that fracking will not resume until after the end of November.

2 October 2019

pnr 191002 demob Ros Wills

Banner outside Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site near Blackpool, 2 October 2019. Photo: Ros Wills

Frack pumps leave Preston New Road as campaigners mark 1,000 days of protest. DrillOrDrop report

Fracking ban ‘accidentally’ revealed by Scottish government officials. The Scotsman, The National, and BBC News, among others, reported that the Scottish government has revealed it won’t support future fracking in Scotland after accidentally leaking the move a day early.

BP dismayed as Royal Shakespeare Company ends sponsorship deal. the FT, Energy Voice and others report comments by the RSC that it cannot ignore the message from young people that “BP sponsorship is putting a barrier between them and their wish to engage with the RSC”. BP had sponsored the RSC for eight years, supporting a £5 ticket scheme for 16-25 year olds.

Angus Energy announces submission of Balcombe planning application for extended flow test.

1 October 2019

Ministerial statement due on fracking in Scotland – time to ban once and for all, say campaigners. DrillOrDrop report, Scotsman, Herald Scotland, Energy Voice

October 2019 diary. DrillOrDrop listing of events about fracking, onshore oil and gas and campaigns.

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