Daily headlines

January 2020 headlines

PNR 191229 Maxine Gill

Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road, near Blackpool, 29 December 2019. Photo: Maxine Gill

You can keep up with the news here with our digest of headlines about UK 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

  • Egdon Resources wins oil production appeal at Wressle 
  • Minister clarifies what operations are covered by fracking moratorium
  • Anti-fracking campaigners fail to overturn court decision on breach of protest injunction
  • Third Energy released from £80m+ loan, accounts reveal
  • North Yorkshire councillors back more time at Third Energy’s Ryedale gas sites
  • Terrorism police list Extinction Rebellion as extremist ideology
  • UK politics too uncertain for fracking, says Third Energy
  • Europa assumes Wressle will produce in 2020 to keep company as a going concern
  • Egdon says it faces joint threat of fracking moratorium, planning delays and weak commodity prices
  • UKOG seeks third extension for permission at Broadford Bridge
  • Cuadrilla applies to retain Elswick site in Fylde – opponents suspicious of the company’s motives
  • Community groups make “strong” objection to Aurora’s fracking plans
  • Private members bill seeks to ban fracking and hydrocarbon licensing
  • Climate and wildlife objections to 25-year Dorset oil production plans by South Western Energy
  • Date set for decision on Aurora fracking plans

Friday 31 January 2020

Elswick well area produced water and pipework Cuadrilla Resources

Well area and produced water tank at Elswick. Photo: Cuadrilla Resources planning application

“Suspicion” at Cuadrilla’s gas plans for Elswick. DrillOrDrop report on reaction and details from Cuadrilla’s application to extend consent for five years at its gas site near Blackpool

Change climate policy now to avert oil market crisis, warns think tank. The Guardian reports on a study by Carbon Tracker which finds the oil industry is at risk of a global market shock that could halve the value of fossil fuel investments if governments delay setting policies to tackle the climate crisis. The study warns that a “handbrake turn” in climate policy could have a “forceful, abrupt and disorderly” impact on the global oil industry by derailing fossil fuel demand.

Claire Perry O’Neill sacked from role as president of UN climate change conference.  The former energy minister was sacked by the Prime Minister, as reported by Telegraph, the I, Guardian. No official reason was given but reports said it followed “concern about her leadership. Downing Street said the presidency was now a ministerial role. Ms O’Neill tweeted:

“Very sad that the role I was offered by @BorisJohnson last year has now been rescinded as Whitehall ‘can’t cope’ with an Indy COP unit. A shame we haven’t had one climate cabinet meeting since we formed. Wishing the COP team every blessing in the climate recovery emergency.”

Labour’s Long-Bailey calls for end to tribalism to meet climate change goals. The Press Association reports by comments by the Labour leadership contender. She calls on the party to actively support climate strikers, Extinction Rebellion and anti-fracking campaigners.

Germany taps hydrogen subsidies in race to replace fossil fuel. Bloomberg reports hydrogen production using electrolysis of water could be subsidized under a new German plan to fill the energy gaps left by the country’s exit from coal and nuclear power.

‘Virtually no new oil fields’ sanctioned after 2030, analysis claims. Energy Voice reports on analysis by Carbon Tracker which predicts oil demand will fall by around 2.5% a year and oil fields will naturally decline by an average of 4.5%.

Sir Jim Ratclife’s Ineos to sponsors Mercedes FI team. The Times reports that Sir Jim Ratcliffe, owner of the would-be fracking firm, Ineos Upstream, is moving into Formula One in partnership with the Mercedes team.

Investor questions. Angus Energy answers questions from investors submitted in January.

Thursday 30 January 2020

UK sued for approving Europe’s biggest gas power station. The Guardian reports that the UK government is being sued by Client Earth for approving the new Drax gas-fired power plant in north Yorkshire. It could produce 75% of the UK’s power sector emissions when fully operational.  A planning inspector recommended the plant be refused because it would “undermine the government’s commitment” to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Little Plumpton anti-fracking protester has case dismissed. The Blackpool Gazette reports that the case against Liz Beck for obstructing the highway outside Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site near Blackpool was dismissed because the Crown Prosecution Service delayed serving evidence on her defence team. Ms Beck had been due to plead not guilty. Lancashire Evening Post (29/1/2020)

UKOOG PR appointed to Infrastrata board. Deborah Saw, former chair of Newgate Communications, where she represented the industry body UKOOG, is appointed a non-executive director of Infrastrata plc.

Wednesday 29 January 2020

Government statement confirms fracking is still allowed under moratorium. DrillOrDrop report on the definition of fracking that applies to the moratorium.

Guardian to ban advertising from fossil fuel firms. The Guardianreports that has become the first major global news organisation to have a ban on taking money from companies that extract fossil fuels.

Angus Energy complete 51% arm-in to Saltfleetby gas field. The Morning Star reports that Angus Energy said it has taken a 51% stake in Lincolnshire’s Saltfleetby gas field. Angus Energy RNS (28/1/2020)

Third Energy firm’s plan is ‘disappointing‘. The Gazette and Herald reports on disappointment by campaigners at the approval of extended permission for Third Energy’s Ryedale gas sites.

Let’s abandon climate targets and do something completely different. George Monbiot, writing in the Guardian, says setting targets for climate action sounds sensible but is actually impeding progress. The appropriate response, he says, is a legal duty to maximise climate action.

Tuesday 28 January 2020

Operation to find water source in Horse Hill well in Surrey delayed to next month. DrillOrDrop report, Proactive Investors (UKOG says Horse Hill’s ‘commercial production’ is slated for spring), Upstream Online

Why 12 Preston New Road protesters will wait almost two years for trial. Lancashire Live reports that 12 people who have been fighting a case for nearly two years will get a court hearing in April.

UK must create 120,000 green energy jobs by 2030 to meet targets. The Guardian reports a warning by the National Grid that the number must be recruited within a decade to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Fife activists celebrate rejection of proposed gas  plant. Commonspace Scotland reports that controversial plans to build a gas plant 200m from homes in the Fife village of Hillend have been rejected by the council’s planning body.

Monday 27 January 2020

“Unrestricted lorry access to Horse Hill oil site in Surrey is unworkable” – campaign groups. DrillOrDrop report

UK government has invested £60bn into overseas fossil fuel projects. Environment Journal reports that UK government financed fossil fuel projects will produce an estimated 69 million tonnes of greenhouse gases per year.

English council set to miss carbon emission targets.  The Guardianreports than despite their climate pledges many local authorities don’t even know how much carbon they produce. The findings make it ‘inconceivable’ that they will become carbon neutral in 30 years, the paper says.

World’s first commercial green H2 project powered by surplus renewables unveiled. Recharge News reports that Hyport Oostend in Belgium, to be powered solely by excess offshore wind, is also set to become the first project to use green hydrogen as energy storage.

Sunday 26 January 2020

Why pensioners can’t afford to stop investing in oil. The Telegraph reports that pensioners are in danger of exposing themselves to huge risks by ditching traditional dividend stocks. “They rely on incomes generated by a shrinking pool of companies dominated by firms at odds with ethical or ‘green’ investing”, the paper says.

Friday 24 January 2020

UK financing fossil fuel projects overseas ’emitting 69m tonnes of. emissions’. Energy Live News reports that a UK government agency is financing fossil fuel projects overseas that are estimated to emit around 69 million tonnes of greenhouse gases every year, according to a new investigation by BBC Newsnight and Greenpeace Unearthed.

Renewables deals dwarfed by oil and gas at UK-Africa Investment Summit. PV Magazine reports the scale of fossil fuel deals signed between African governments and U.K. oil and gas interests reportedly amounted to more than 11 times the volume of renewable energy commitments.

Extinction Rebellion protesters chain and glue themselves to the gates of Cambridge ‘tent building’. Cambridge Live reports that Extinction Rebellion protesters have chained and glued themselves to the doors of the Schlumberger Research Centre in Cambridge because drilling and fracking research takes place there.

Making big oil pay for climate change may be impossible. Erik Larson, writing for Bloomberg Green, reports on the difficulties facing communities and cities seeking to take legal action against the fossil fuel industry.

Thursday 23 January 2020

First UK anti-fracking campaigners found guilty of breaching a protest injunction fail to overturn the ruling against them but suspended prison sentence reduced for one. DrillOrDrop report, Doughty Street ChambersGuardian (24/1/2020), Lancs Live (27/1/2020), Blackpool Gazette (28/1/2020), Lexology.com (28/1/2020)

Campaigners make “strong objection” to Altcar Moss fracking plans near Formby. DrillOrDrop report on response by The Moss Alliance to Aurora’s fracking application.

Major changes to UK land needed to meet climate change targets, advisors warn. Energy Voice reports on recommendations from the Committee on Climate Change which included a levy on airlines or fossil fuel companies to pay for an increase in woodland planting.

Net zero sacrifices need to have public support to succeed, poll suggests. Energy Voice reports that a survey by Citizens Advice found that people are not aware of the changes that will be needed to cut the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

Wednesday 22 January 2020

Angus Energy to seek licence extension and consent for water reinjection at Brockham in Surrey. Field development plan submitted for Saltfleetby. DrillOrDrop report, Morning Star

Lancs anti-fracking protesters ‘too afraid to leave home’ convicted of benefit fraud. The Lancashire Telegraph reports that John Knox was found guilty of benefit fraud after being filmed jumping on a lorry at an anti-fracking protest. He had said even the most basic of journeys would leave him with ‘severe psychological distress”. He will be sentenced on 9 March 2020. Blackpool Gazette (23/1/2020), Daily Mail (24/1/2020), Sun (24/1/2020)

Green MP challenges police over identifying fracking as an “extremist risk”. Caroline Lucas asks the Home Office minister, Brandon Lewis, whether policing at the COP 26 climate conference in Glasgow will be within the law and appropriate. She was speaking after news that climate groups had been described by counter-terrorism police as extremist ideologues. She says:

“Footage of my arrest for peaceful protest against fracking was used in Prevent training sessions back in 2015. In 2016, the Home Office said that support for anti-fracking was not an indicator of vulnerability to extremism, but years later, evidence shows that four police forces were still identifying anti-fracking as a perceived extremist risk.”

Mr Lewis replies:

“I have absolute confidence that our police will do as they always do at these events, which is to do our country very proud.”

Tuesday 21 January 2020

200121 Ryedale gas fields meeting 3 dod

Committee vote on Third Energy application to extend the life of Ryedale gas sites, 21 January 2020. Photo: DrillOrDrop

Councillors support Third Energy’s bid to extend life of Ryedale gas sites but final decision delayed because Friends of the Earth has requested a screening direction. DrillOrDrop live updates.

“Fracking, for the time being, is over” – business minister Kwasi Kwarteng tells parliament. DrillOrDrop report, Energy Voice, Lancashire Evening Post

Energy firm exchanges North Yorkshire fracking for green aim. The Darlington and Stockton Times, Gazette and Herald and the Scarborough News report comments by Third Energy that it is considering  combined heat and power project with local businesses, geothermal schemes, cleaner electricity generation and carbon capture projects.

Lancashire anti-fracking campaigner ‘too scared to leave house’ is filmed jumping on lorry, court told. The Lancashire Telegraph reports on the case at Preston Crown Court of John Knox  who received personal independent payments for a range of physical and mental impairments but reportedly took part in an anti-fracking protest at Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road. Mr Knox has denied dishonestly failing to notify a change in circumstances for benefits.

Campaigners say Scotland’s new public bank must not invest in  ‘damaging’ fossil fuels. Energy Voice reports on a Friends of the Earth call for Scotland’s new public bank to be an ethical lender.

Nearly half of fossil fuel bosses believe gas and renewables are competing – DNV GL report. Energy Voice reports a study of more than 1,000 industry leaders from 78 countries.

America’s radioactive secret. Justin Nobel, writing in Rolling Stone, investigates how disposal of a trillion gallons of toxic waste from US oil and gas wells is making workers ill and contaminating communities.

Monday 20 January 2020

Council sets decision date for England’s first fracking plan since government moratorium. DrillOrDrop report on latest from Aurora’s fracking plans near Formby

Fracking firm plans to extend gas well operations. Yorkshire Coast Radio, Darliington and Stockton Times

Scotland considers a future without oil and gas. The FT reports on how climate concerns are adding to the debate over sustainability of production in the North Sea.

Friday 17 January 2020

Baroness Sheehan

Baroness Sheehan. Photo: House of Lords

Breaking: Egdon Resources wins appeal on Wressle oil production – costs awarded against North Lincolnshire Council. DrillOrDrop report, BBC News, Lincolnshire Reporter, Morning Star, Oilfield Technology (20/1/2020), Proactive Investors (20/1/2020)

IGas seeks consent to continue reinjecting produced water containing naturally-occurring radioactive material at Singleton oil site in South Downs. DrillOrDrop report

Baroness introduces private members’ bill to ban fracking and hydrocarbon licensing. DrillOrDrop report

Activists warn of ‘fracking by stealth’ and call for acid fracking ban. The Guardian reports on the warning by campaigners that the fracking moratorium does not apply to acid fracking. (See DrillOrDrop report from 3/11/2019)

Greenpeace included with neo-Nazis on UK counter-terror list. The Guardian reports on a new counter-terrorism police document distributed to medical staff and teachers included Greenpeace, Peta and other non-violent groups, as well as neo-Nazis.

Treating oil companies as pariahs will kill off any green revolution. The Spectator , referring to BlackRock’s promise to fight on climate issues, says the UK’s net zero target by 2050 can be reached only if technology and the free market work together.

Thursday 16 January 2020

“Serious threat to oil and gas industry’s social licence”, says regulator. DrillOrDrop report on speech by Tim Eggar, chair of the Oil & Gas Authority on how the industry should face the challenge of tackling climate change.

Huge fire rips through Grangemouth Docks petrochemical plan sparking major response at Ineos oil refinery. Scottish Sun, Edinburgh Live, Scotsman, Edinburgh News, Energy Voice

Oil giant targeted in climate protest. Energy Voice reports that climate change protesters blockaded the headquarters of Shell in the first in a series of protests in Aberdeen.

Calls to rule  out fracking in West Berkshire. The Reading Chronicle reports on the council’s new minerals and waste plan.

Lobbying government against fracking. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, says he will continue to make the case against fracking to the government “where the opportunity arises including in relation to future changes to the planning process and planning policy. He was responding to a question about the draft London Plan from Labour’s Nicky Gavron.

Wednesday 15 January 2020

Puddletown production impression

Impression of production phase of South Western Energy’s Puddletown site in Dorset. Source: South Western Energy Limited planning application

Climate and wildlife objections to 25-year Dorset oil production plans by South Western Energy. DrillOrDrop report

Listing Extinction Rebellion as extremist ideology was error of judgement – home office minister. DrillOrDrop report

East Riding of Yorkshire Council closes roads for 18 months for new Rathlin Energy drilling site. DrillOrDrop report

Non-violent protesters are not terrorists and it’s time the police accepted that. Kevin Blowe, coordinator of the Network for Police Monitoring, writes in the Guardian that decisions about who is labelled as “extremist” are made in secret by police units concerned more their ideas of security and defending public order than about human rights. He says the officers are “often deeply antagonistic towards protesters challenging the corporate and political orthodoxies of the day.”

The trespass trap: this new law could make us strangers in our own land. George Monbiot, in the Guardian, says a government consultation on unauthorised encampments, framed as a crackdown on travelling people, is an assault on all citizens’ freedoms. He says people living on land to protest, such as anti-fracking campaigners, are likely to be criminalised by the law.

Tuesday 14 January 2020

Lancashire Police confirm the policing operation outside Cuadrilla’s fracking site has ended. DrillOrDrop report

BlackRock puts climate at centre of $7 trillion strategy. Bloomberg, the Guardian, Business Insider and others report on the annual letter by BlackRock ceo, Larry Fink, to corporate executives. He promised to  fight on climate issues and quit some thermal coal producers. He threatened to vote out bosses who neglected sustainability. The letter said:

“Climate change has become a defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects.

“Awareness is rapidly changing, and I believe we are on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance.”

Monday 13 January 2020

Cuadrilla seeks consent to retain Elswick gas site. DrillOrDrop report on Cuadrilla’s application for five more years at the site near Blackpool. Blackpool Gazette (12/1/2019)

UKOG issues 34.9m new shares.UK Oil & Gas plc announces it has converted £250,000 of a loan into shares. This brings the total number of shares in the company to 7.357 billion. The loan now stands at £3.35m.

Half UK universities commit to divesting from fossil fuels. The FT reports student and academic protests has forced the hands of endowment investment committees.

Priti Patel defends inclusion of Extinction Rebellion on terror list. The Guardian reports that the Home Secretary has accepted that XR is not a terror group but says the assessment in a Prevent document (see 10/1/2020) was based on security threats.

Sunday 12 January 2020

Ex-Prevent chief pans terror list’s inclusion of Extinction Rebellion. The Guardian reports on comments by Sir Peter Fahy who says efforts to stop terrorism could be undermined by these mistakes.

Extinction Rebellion guidance raises fresh concerns over Prevent. The Guardian reviews problems for the UK’s counter-terrorism Prevent strategy

Saturday 11 January 2020

Extinction Rebellion could sue police over extremist ideology listing. The Guardian reports that Extinction Rebellion is threatening legal action against counter-terrorist police over what it says is an illegal listing of the group in a guide designed to stop terrorism violence.

Friday 10 January 2020

Terrorism police list Extinction Rebellion as extremist ideology. The Guardian reports that police recalled a guide issued to teachers which put climate activists alongside far right groups.

Greta Thunberg tells world leaders to end fossil fuel ‘madness’. The Guardian reports that climate activists have said they will tell tycoons gathering in Davos that they must dismantle the fossil fuel economy.

Thursday 9 January 2020

Government gives some details on what it would take to end the fracking moratorium in England. DrillOrDrop report

Government’s next move on shale gas significant for companies like PR Marriott Drilling. The Parliamentary Review reports on the impact of the moratorium on PR Marriott Drilling.

New US oil and gas emissions could nearly erase environmental gains from decline in coal. Eco Watchreports on a study by the Environmental Integrity Project which found that 157 oil and gas plants planned for the next five years could release greenhouse gases of 50 new coal fired plants by 2025.

Providence Resources names Alan Linn as new chief executive. Proactive Investorsreports that the former director at Third Energy has joined Providence Resources Plc as chief executive.

Wednesday 8 January 2020

Barclays investors tell bank to stop backing fossil fuel. The Times, Guardian and the FT report climate activist investors in Barclays are bringing a formal shareholder challenge to try to force it to phase out financing fossil fuel companies – the first move of its kind at a European bank.

Tuesday 7 January 2020

1901 Horse Hill tanker turning.jpg

Vehicle crossing onto opposite carriageway to enter Horse Hill site. Photo: Used with the owner’s consent

Lorries delivering to Horse Hill oil site will be ordered to “stay in lane” – opponents question whether it is possible to enter the site without swinging out onto the opposite carriageway. DrillOrDropreport on the site’s traffic management plan.

Date set for decision by local government secretary on Ellesmere Port and Woodsetts shale gas appeals – on or before 8 April 2020. DrillOrDrop report

Balcombe flow test decision due next month. West Sussex County Council announced it would consider Angus Energy’s application for an extended flow test at Balcombe on 25 February 2020.

OGA appoints head of decommissioning and director of operations. The Oil & Gas Authority announces it has promoted Scott Robertson to be director of operations with responsibility for exploration, production, decommissioning and technology. Pauline Innes has been appointed head of decommissioning.

Activists bid to make citizens arrest on East Riding council leader. The Bridlington Free Press reports that environmental activists will attempt to stage a ‘citizens arrest’ on Richard Burton, the leader of East Riding Council. The group says the authority has failed to declare a climate emergency and has taken decisions which create additional and unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions.

Analysis: UK low-carbon electricity generation stalls in 2019. Carbon Brief reports low-carbon electricity output from wind, solar, nuclear, hydro and biomass rose by just 1 terawatt hour (TWh) or less than 1% in 2019. This is the smallest annual increase in a decade, where annual growth averaged 9TWh. Low carbon generation would need to increase by 15TWh each year until 2030 to meet emissions targets.

Repayment of former director’s loan. Angus Energy reports that Jonathan Tidswell has now fully repaid a loan of £200,000. Morning Star

Mayors and physicians latest to join fossil fuel divestment drive. Business Greenreports that the Royal College of Physicians is joining a growing number of UK health organisations that are divesting from fossil fuel companies. The move was followed by a fresh call from mayors of London and New York for other mayors to join them in divesting their city pension funds from fossil fuel assets.

Monday 6 January 2020

Third time extension sought for Broadford Bridge oil site. DrillOrDrop reports that Kimmeridge Oil & Gas Ltd is seeking wo more years at Broadford Bridge in West Sussex, to allow more time to analyse results from other wells, two of which has not got planning permission or been drilled.

First Catholic dioceses in England divest from fossil fuels. Independent Catholic News reports that the Diocese of Middlesbrough and Lancaster have announced their commitment to divest from fossil fuels – the first Catholic dioceses in England and Wales. The Tablet(7/1/2020)

Saturday 4 January 2020

Third Energy “forgiven” £80m+ loan before sale, accounts reveal. DrillOrDrop report

UK politics too uncertain for fracking, says Third Energy. DrillOrDrop report of the company’s accounts

Egdon faces joint threat of fracking moratorium, planning delays and weak commodity prices. DrillOrDrop report on company accounts.

Thursday 2 January  2020

ukog slider

UKOG issues 1/3 billion new shares in past week. DrillOrDrop reports that total shares in UKOG is now nearly enough to give one to every person on the planet.

IGas permit application for Singleton. The Environment Agency reports it has received an application for a radioactive substances permit for the IGas oil site at Singleton, West Sussex. The deadline for comments is 30 January 2020.

Wednesday 1 January 2020

Europa counts on Wressle oil production in 2020. DrillOrDrop report

January 2020 diary. DrillOrDrop listings of events about UK fracking, onshore oil and gas and campaigning.

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