Daily headlines

February 2020 headlines

190911 Horse Hill DoD4

Campaigners gathering outside Surrey County Council in advance of decision meeting on oil production at Horse Hill, 11 September 2019. Photo: DrillOrDrop

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

  • A J Lucas doubles stake in Cuadrilla to 97% after Riverstone sells up
  • Judge refuses legal challenge to Horse Hill oil production approval – climate impact of burning oil was not the council’s concern
  • Challenge goes ahead to Third Energy sale as emails show ministers intervened.
  • Andrea Leadsom replaced by Alok Sharma as energy secretary
  • Cuadrilla injunction drops bar on key fracking protests
  • Boris Johnson doesn’t get climate change, says Claire O’Neill, sacked COP26 chair
  • Mrs O’Neill considers suing government over sacking
  • Government brings forward ban on petrol and diesel cars

Friday 28 February 2020

New roads face Heathrow-style court action threat. BBC News reports that plans for a £28.8bn roads programme could be challenged in the courts for breaching the UK’s climate change laws.

New cars producing more carbon dioxide than older models – Which? report. The Guardianreports on Which? research which says demand for bigger cars drives increases in greenhouse gas emissions.

Schlumberger to de-list from London Stock Exchange. World Oil reports that the Houston-based oil services group has announced it is cancelling its listing on the London stock market and cancelled admission of trading of shares on the LSE main market.

Thursday 27 February 2020

Court of Appeal blocks third runway plans for Heathrow Airport. The government’s backing for the scheme was ruled unlawful because it did not consider compliance with the Climate Change Act. Widely reported, including: The Guardian, BBC News, FT, Telegraph 

Government says it will not appeal court decision that its backing for Heathrow’s third runway was unlawful on environmental grounds. FT, Sky News

Wednesday 26 February 2020

Regulator objects to second oil plan over failure to assess risk to water. DrillOrDrop report on Environment Agency objection to South Western Energy’s application for Puddletown in Dorset.

UKOG issues 27 million+ more shares. UKOG announced it had issued 27,649,770 new ordinary shares as conversion of £150,000 of its loan with Riverfort Global Opportunities PCC Limited and YA II PN Ltd. The balance of the loan is now £2.85m and the total number of UKOG shares 7,449,045,30.

Royal College of Psychiatrists goes fossil free. Medact reports that the royal college has announced it is divesting from coal, oil and gas companies. The multi-million pound investment portfolio will go free of fossil fuels with immediate effect. Energy Voice

Sacked climate chief encouraged oil exploration in North Sea. Unearthed reports on how the former COP 26 president, Claire O’Neill, met oil firms while she was energy minister to encourage exploration in the North Sea.

Oil regulator to revise remit to address climate crisis. The Guardian reports that the Oil and Gas Authority was due to meet a government minister to discuss how it could contribute to tackling climate change while extending oil production from the North Sea.

Could fracking return to Britain? Tories and Labour seek answers. Forbes interviews MPs Alexander Stafford and Alan Whitehead.

Tuesday 25 February 2020

Airth location and designations

The proposed coal bed methane sites around Airth sites and designated areas. Source: planning application

Scottish government proposes to reopen inquiry into Ineos plans for coal bed methane extraction around Airth near Falkirk. DrillOrDrop report. The Ferret

Monday 24 February 2020

600+ sign letter calling on new ministers to extend fracking moratorium. DrillOrDrop report

Termination of appointment. Ineos announces the termination of appointment of Geir Tuft from Ineos Upstream Services Limited and Ineos Upstream Limited. Mr Tuft has been appointed CEO of Inovyn, described as the European pvc market leader.

Saturday 22 February 2020

Experts identify flaws in Aurora’s fracking application on earthquake risk, impacts on groundwater, emissions and noise. DrillOrDrop report

Friday 21 February 2020

Government lets fracking companies drill exploratory wells despite ban on extracting shale gas. The i reports the government has opened the door to future fracking by refusing to ban the drilling of exploratory wells. See DrillOrDrop report from 29 January 2020

JP Morgan economists warn climate crisis is threat to human race. The Guardian reports on a leaked report for the world’s major fossil fuel financier which says the earth is on an unsustainable trajectory.

Oil firms banking on hydrogen and CCUS due to climate pressure, Deloitte boss claims. Energy Voice reports on comments from Daniel Grosvenor on demand for information about hydrogen and carbon capture, usage and storage.

Thursday 20 February 2020

Legal challenge to Third Energy sale gets go-ahead as emails reveal ministers intervened in the deal. DrillOrDrop report

Revised well test plan submitted for West Newton A – Union Jack Oil. DrillOrDrop update on East Yorkshire testing plans

Wednesday 19 February 2020

Methane emissions from oil and gas industry “vastly underestimated” – new study. DrillOrDrop report on US research which shows emissions of methane from fossil fuels had been underestimated by up to 40%. Nature, The Guardian

 Regulator drops objection to Angus Energy test plans at Balcombe. DrillOrDrop report on the Environment Agency’s response to a risk assessment for Balcombe extended well test.

Horse Hill shut-off intervention begins. UK Oil and Gas plc announces that work has begun to shut off the ingress of formation water into its Horse Hill-2z horizontal well in Surrey. Production logging tools will be run along the 2,500ft horizontal section to identify the source of the water, thought to be near the base of the wellbore. The water will be isolated using a rigid setting fluid plug or conventional cementing.

Fracking giant Cuadrilla wanted to “keep a low profile” ahead of Lancashire data release. Thei newspaper reports that emails between Cuadrilla and University of Bristol show the company wanted to keep a low profile over fracking data which was due to be released weeks before fracking began in Lancashire last year.

Tuesday 18 February 2020

Ineos still bidding to drill for underground gas in Scotland. The Ferret reports that Ineos is attempting to resurrect plans to drill for coal bed methane in central Scotland. Correspondence on the Scottish government planning website discloses that the company is urging officials to recommend in favour of a long-delayed application to extract gas at Airth near Falkirk.

Angus Energy loan balance reduction.  Angus Energy announces that Riverfort Global Opportunities PCC Limited and YA II Pn Ltd have converted £100,000 of the loan into Angus shares. This reduces the outstanding loan balance to £0.8m and increases the number of shares in Angus to 571,913,544.

Israel says will not issue new permits for oil shale production.  Reuters reports that the Israeli government will not issue licences for oil shale exploration and production for environmental and ecological reasons.

Monday 17 February 2020

Loan balance reduction. UKOG announces that its lenders, Riverfort Global Opportunities PCC limited and Ya II PN Ltd have converted £150,000 of its loan into UKOG shares. The transaction reduces the loan balance to £3m and takes the number of UKOG shares to 7,421,395,360.

West Lancashire residents urged to object to fracking plans. In Your Area reports on calls by Labour councillors in West Lancashire for local people to object by 6 March to Aurora Resources’ plans to frack at Altcar Moss.

Saturday 15 February 2020

Boris Johnson’s new chair for crucial climate conference took donations from energy interests. The London Economic reports that Alok Sharma declared a £15,000 donation from the Offshore Group Newcastle (OGN) , which makes platforms for oil, gas and wind energy companies. He also registered a £10,000 donation from Aquind Limited, a company owned by a Ukranian tycoon who previously owned OGN.

Friday 14 February 2020

Fracking giant Cuadrilla has agreement with university academics to vet earthquake data requests.  The i newspaper reports that under access agreement to Cuadrilla’s seismic fracking data, Bristol University promised to take consult the company over any FOI request. The university must take account of Cuadrilla’s representations on whether legal exemptions may apply for refusing to release the data or to even deny holding it.

RBS will stop lending to energy firms without climate crisis plan. The Guardian reports that the bank will stop lending to energy companies that fail to align with the Paris climate agreement goals by 2021. It will also fully phase out coal financing by 2030.

Thursday 13 February 2020

200213 SCC jr request DoD

Campaigners outside the Royal Courts of Justice, 13 February 2020. Photo: DrillOrDrop

Climate impact of burning Horse Hill oil was not council’s concern, says judge. DrillOrDrop report on refusal by a High Court for a judicial review of Surrey County Council approval of Horse Hill oil production application.

200213 reshuffle

Reshuffle ministers, from left, Alok Sharma, George Eustice, Andrea Leadsom, Theresa Villiers. Photos: UK Parliament

Fracking moratorium minister fired in reshuffle. DrillOrDrop report on who is in and who’s out in the reshuffle.

Plans to fast-track Shannon fracked gas terminal hit legal bump. The Irish Times reports that Friends of the Irish Environment has won the right to challenge the inclusion of the project in north Kerry on the rapid EU development list.

Centrica boss blames UK price cap for big losses in 2019.Energy Voice  reports on operating losses of £849m for 2019 at British Gas.

Councils ‘shocked’ by Wakefield’s decision to work with Extinction Rebellion, but leader says it’s ‘the right thing to do’. The Wakefield Express reports that Wakefield’s new council leader, Denise Jeffrey, has admitted that other local authorities are ‘a bit shocked’ by her decision to meet XR’s Pontefract co-ordinator.

Wednesday 12 February 2020

BP pledges net zero emissions by 2050. BP website, FT, City Am, Bloomberg, Telegraph, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Energy Voice

Pension plans come under more pressure on climate risks. The FT reports that upgraded rules will demand further disclosure from trustees on how retirement funds will be affected by climate change.

Surge in plastics production defies environmental backlash. The FT reports that cheap shale gas has fed an investment boom in productions that often end up as waste.

Permian’s gas burning black eye is 30% worse than thought. Bloomberg reports on research by Rystad Energy which has find that the burning and releasing of vast amounts of gas into the atmosphere in America’s top shale basin is much bigger than previously thought when processing plants are included.

Shale gas drillers are facing a perfect storm. Oil Price reports increasing financial stress in the shale industry as with a continuing gas glut and falling prices.

Tuesday 11 February 2020

IGas oil and gas reserves. IGas publishes a competent person’s report on its proved, probably and possible oil, condensate and sales gas reserves.

Oil’s higher returns leave investors in carbon footprint quandary. Energy Voice reports that oil and gas still offer investors better returns than renewables.

Monday 10 February 2020

Balcombe villagers accuse Angus Energy of “cutting corners” on environmental protection. DrillOrDrop report on objections to Angus Energy’s flow test application.

Ineos becomes principal partner to Meredes-AMG Petronas Formula One team. Ineos announces it has a five-year principal partnership deal with Mercedes ahead of the 2020 Formula One season. A new car unveiled today had Ineos branding on the rear wing and airbox above the driver’s head.

EA insiders slam agency’s ‘completely useless’ water monitoring regime. ENDS reports on comments by existing and former Environment Agency officers that the water quality monitoring programme is “meaningless”, a “ludicrous waste of money” and a “gross misuse of data”.

Sunday 9 February 2020

Cuadrilla injunction drops bar on key fracking protests. DrillOrDrop report on how the company has abandoned orders against slow walking and other protests on the highway and actions against the supply chain. Lancashire Evening Telegraph(15/2/2020)

Friday 7 February 2020

IGas Energy reserves rise as it focuses on conventional business. Sharecast.com reports on an IGas update

Sadiq Khan urges government not to abandon environmental protections in London Plan. ENDSreports that the mayor of London has urged the government not to “strip away” environmental policies from his draft London Plan after the Planning Inspectorate suggested changes, including dropping a ban on fracking.

Thursday 6 February 2020

Conservative MP for Rother Valley seeks to extend #fracking moratorium to shale gas drilling. DrillOrDrop report

200206 Wave 32 summary

Source: BEIS

10% support UK fracking – new record low in government survey. DrillOrDrop report on the first attitudes to shale gas since the moratorium on fracking.

Decision on Angus Energy’s well test application delayed. DrillOrDrop report

Reserves and trading update. IGas publishes unaudited results for the year to 31 December 2019 .

Wednesday 5 February 2020

‘Radioactive water disposal plan would turn national park site into toxic dump’ – campaign group. DrillOrDrop report on objection to IGas plan for waste reinjection at Singleton, West Sussex

Woodburn Forest drilling licence relinquished. DrillOrDrop report

David Cameron and William Hague turn down offers of COP26 climate summit job. The Guardian reports that the former prime minister and the former Conservative leader, William Hague, have been offered the job of president of the UN climate talks in Glasgow but both decline.

Tuesday 4 February 2020

PNR 200202 Maxine Gill 2

Suspended Preston New Road fracking site, 2 February 2020. Photo: Maxine Gill

Australian mining group takes control of fracking firm Cuadrilla. DrillOrDrop report, ITV News (6/2/20), City Am (6/2/2020), BBC News (6/2/2020), the Canary (6/2/2020), Telegraph (6/2/2020), Blackpool Gazette (7/2/2020)

Boris Johnson doesn’t get climate change says sacked COP26 chair. DrillOrDrop report, Guardian (Claire O’Neill’s letter to Boris Johnson – what it really means)

Rathlin Energy gives update on West Newton A-2 extended well test. The company says on its website:

“Preparations for the retesting of the well are progressing both from an operational and a regulatory standpoint.

“Coordinating the availability and timing of services, equipment, personnel and other aspects of operations with the requirements of our regulators is imperative.

“These activities and approvals are often dependent upon one another.”

Anti-fracking campaign group puts out call for artists and creatives. On the Wight reports that Frack Free Isle of Wight is appealing for original artwork from people concerned about the impact of oil drilling on the the island’s landscape, wildlife, water, farming, tourism, climate change and wider environment.

Fears fracking just a mile away from Merseyside will go ahead despite government halt. The Liverpool Echo reports on plans by Aurora Energy Resources to frack near Formby.

Monday 3 February 2020

Court date in challenge to approval of Horse Hill oil production. DrillOrDrop report

2035 ban on petrol/diesel vehicles will leave UK in “slow lane” of electric car revolution – campaigner. DrillOrDrop report

Sunday 2 February 2020

Sacked climate summit chief may sue No 10. The Sunday Times reports that Claire Perry O’Neill, the former energy minister, is consulting lawyers after she was removed from her role running the UN climate change conference. She has told friends that Boris Johnson and his senior aides gave three difference reasons for her dismissal, the paper says.

Boris Johnson speeds up plans to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars. The Sun reports electric vehicles may be the only option for drivers five years earlier than the current target of 2040.

China oil demand plunges 20% because of virus lockdown. Bloomberg Green reports the fall in demand is probably the largest demand shock for the oil market since the global financial crisis of 2008-9 and the most sudden since the September 11 attacks.

Saturday 1 February 2020

Decision on Dunsfold drilling plans delayed again. DrillOrDrop report


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