Daily headlines

May 2020 headlines

Singleton 2 IGas

IGas Singleton oil site in West Sussex. Photo: IGas

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

  • Record opposition to fracking in latest government survey
  • North Lincolnshire Council pays £403,000 in costs over Wressle planning dispute
  • Cuadrilla
  • Shale gas industry accused of exaggerating is powers to access private land
  • Ineos awarded drilling permits in Texas shale
  • IGas and Angus Energy suspend production at some sites
  • Minister rejects call for fracking moratorium to be extended
  • New study concludes that geological faults challenge fracking in the Fylde

Friday 29 May 2020

Data reveals where people reported damage from 2019 fracking earthquake in Lancashire. DrillOrDrop report

Fracking damage stats map

The number of damage reports made to the British Geological Survey. Map: DrillOrDrop

Thursday 28 May 2020

Campaigners oppose Ineos Covid bail-out. DrillOrDrop report, DeSmogUK, Insider, The Ferret

Guest post: Medieval oil wells found in Guildford? DrillOrDrop report

Key UN climate talks delayed until November 2021. PA, via the Belfast Telegraph, reports the UN Cop26 summit, due to take place in Glasgow in November 2020, will now run from 1-12 November 2021.

North Kelsey permit application. The Environment Agency announces Egdon Resources UK Limited has applied for a standard rules permit for the North Kelsey wellsite, near Brigg in Lincolnshire. A consultation, until 25 June 2020, is “primarily for public awareness”, the EA says. Standard rules permits have fixed conditions.

Reduction in UKOG loan balance. UK Oil & Gas announces it has repaid a further £75,000 of the £5.5m convertible loan note with Riverfort Global Opportunities PCC Limited and YA II PN Ltd. The repayment, through the allocation of 41.7m new ordinary shares, has reduced the balance to £1.85m. The share capital in UKOG now stands at 8,686,803,221 shares.

Wednesday 27 May 2020

Record drop in energy investment, warns International Energy Agency. BBC News and others report analysis by the IEA that the coronavirus is causing the biggest fall in global energy investment in history. Fossil fuels are hit hardest, with a 30% funding drop expected for oil. Renewable investment is down 10%. The IEA also warns that fossil fuel use is likely to rebound after the outbreak is over, leading to a spike in CO2.

UN COP26 climate summit expected to be postponed again. The Independent reports that the summit, originally scheduled for November 2020 in Glasgow and was moved to early 2021 is likely to be moved to November 2021. The decision is due on 28 May 2020.

Tuesday 26 May 2020

Reabold increases stake in West Newton licence. DrillOrDrop report

UKOG AGM notice. UK Oil & Gas plc announces its AGM will be on 17 June 2020 at Hays House, Millmead, Guildford, Surrey GU2 4HJ. Shareholders are asked not to attend in person.

Chemists identify toxic chemicals in fracking wastewater. PhysOrg and SciTechDaily report research by University of Toledo which found 201 chemical compounds in fracking wastewater, including many that are carcinogens, solvents and petroleum distillates that can directly contaminate drinking water sources.

Monday 25 May 2020

Minister told BP it is “key stakeholder” in climate summit. Unearthedreports that the former energy secretary, Andrea Leadsom, met BP executives in January, telling them the company was a “key stakeholder” in the upcoming COP26 climate conference. In this and other meetings, ministers stressed the importance of carbon capture and storage and proposed to ask what “more we can do” to support BP’s interational work.

Oil rises on view that demand may rebound beyond pre-virus level. Energy Voice, republishing a Bloomberg article, reports that oil rose as the head of the International Energy Agency forecast demand would grow past its level before the global pandemic.

Friday 22 May 2020

West Newton update: Rathlin Energy seeks connection to power grid. DrillOrDrop report

UK approval for biggest gas power station in Europe ruled legal. The Guardian reports that the High Court has ruled that government approval of a plan being developed by Drax in North Yorkshire was legal. The power station could account for 75% of UK power sector emissions when fully operational.

Thursday 21 May 2020

IGas AGM notice. IGas announces that its AGM will now be held at 7 Down Street, London W1J 7AJ at 10.30 am on Friday 5 June 2020. The meeting is not open to shareholders.

Wednesday 20 May 2020

Shale gas companies get more time to explore. DrillOrDrop report on data which shows that operators of a third of the UK’s newest onshore shale gas licences have been given more time for exploration.

UKOG reduction in loan balance. UK Oil & Gas plc announces it has repaid a further £75,000 of the £5.5m convertible loan note from Riverfort Global Opportunities PCC Limited and YA II PN Ltd. The loan balance has been reduced to £1.93m. The payment was by the allocation of 38,580,247 new ordinary shares. Share capital in the company now comprises 8,645,049,568 shares.

Oil faces a stuttering, uneven return to normality. The FT reports that petrol and diesel demand is still far below pre-crisis levels and many challenges remain. Deep supply cuts have helped the market rebound from the first negative price in history and oil is back above $30 a barrel in the US.

Tuesday 19 May 2020

Decision deferred on UKOG’s Dunsfold oil and gas plans in Surrey. DrillOrDrop report

Daily global CO2 emissions ‘cut to 2006 levels’ during height of coronavirus crisis. Carbon Brief reports on a study in Nature Climate Change which estimates global emissions from burning fossil fuels and cement production werre cut by 1,048m tonnes of CO2, or 8.6%, compared with 2019 levels.

Monday 18 May 2020

Legal case launched over UK’s ‘outdated’ energy policies. The Guardian reports that climate campaigners from the Good Law Project have issued proceedings for a judicial review of energy planning policies after officials refused to overhaul rules which could be used to support major fossil fuel power plants, open cast mines or fracking.

Climate activists line London’s Trafalgar Square with kids’ shoes. Reuters reports that Extinction Rebellion placed more than 2,000 pairs of children’s shoes in neat rows across Trafalgar Square to demand the British government stop bailing out carbon intensive industries that pollute the environment.

Sunday 17 May 2020

Labour to plan green economic rescue from coronavirus crisis. The Guardian reports on calls by Ed Miliband for the creation of a ‘zero-carbon army’ for eco-friendly industries. The aim is to help young people who lose their jobs by retraining them in green industries.

BP chief says Covid has deepened commitment to net-zero emissions. The Guardian reports comments by BP’s new chief executive, Bernard Looney, that the impact of coronavirus has deepened his commitment to shrinking his company’s carbon footprint to zero.

Saturday 16 May 2020

Climate Assembly UK concludes in world transformed by coronavirus. The Guardian reports that the covid-19 crisis has pushed emissions down the public agenda but there’s growing appetite for a global reset.

Ineos owner drops to 5th in rich list. The Sunday Times reports that Sir Jim Ratcliffe is ranked 5th in its 2020 rich list with a personal wealth of £12.2bn. Two years ago, he was ranked first with a figure of  £21bn.

Billionaires make use of UK furlough scheme – rich list 2020. The Sunday Times reports that Ineos owner, Jim Ratcliffe, was among 20 billionaires who have benefitted from the government’s furlough scheme since it was launched in March. Daily Echo (17/5/2020)

Friday 15 May 2020

“Stop labelling campaigners as extremists” – 600+ sign open letter to police chiefs. DrillOrDrop report

Thursday 14 May 2020

Isle of Wight Council publishes UKOG application for oil site at Arreton. DrillOrDrop report, Island Echo (15/5/2020), BBC News (15/5/2020), On the Wight (18/5/2020)

UKOG loan balance reduction. UK Oil & Gas plcannounces that its lenders have converted £320,000 of a loan into UKOG shares. The company said it had opted to pay £75,000 in cash and allotted 119,671,829 in shares for the balance. The company’s share capital now comprises 8,606,469,321. The balance of the loan now stands at £2.005m

How Shell backed Dutch coordinator of climate science denial for decades. Desmog UK reports that Shell and other Dutch multinationals donated over a million guilders (nearly half a million Euros) to the prominent Dutch climate science denier, Frits Böttcher, during the 1990s. His explicit aim was to question human responsibility for global warming.

Wednesday 13 May 2020

Surrey planners back UKOG drilling site at Dunsfold, despite 80% public opposition. Decision to be made at county council’s first virtual planning meeting. DrillOrDrop report

pnr 200427 Maxine Gill 16

Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road fracking site near Blackpool, 27 April 2020. Photo: Maxine Gill

Cuadrilla predicts no fracking in 2020 and looks to conventional prospects. DrillOrDrop report

North Lincolnshire Council pays £403,000 costs over Wressle oil planning dispute. DrillOrDrop report

West Sussex County Council cancels June 2020 planning meeting. Details

Chester anti-fracking campaigner is now cabinet member for climate emergency. Cheshire Live reports that Cllr Matt Bryan, who was heavily involved in the anti-fracking camp at Upton, has become a cabinet member for climate emergency on Cheshire West and Chester Council.

Tuesday 12 May 2020

Coronavirus: Ineos tycoon’s venture seeks government loan. Sky News reports that Petroineos, part owned by Sir Jim Radcliffe’s Ineos Group, has been hurt by falling oil demand and has appealed to the government for an emergency loan. Daily Record, Cycling Weekly (13/5/2020)

Climate change: Study pours cold water on oil company net zero claims. BBC News reports on analysis of six large European oil and gas companies which concludes that their claims on cutting carbon emissions in line with net zero targets are overstated. The Times

BP chief sees risk of oil demand passing peak as pandemic hits. The FT reports on comments by Bernard Looney, chief executive of BP, who said the coronavirus hit to crude consumption was likely to endure beyond the pandemic and may even have ushered in peak oil demand.

Monday 11 May 2020

Union Jack plans to pull out of licences where falling value pushes up annual loss. DrillOrDrop report

Campaigners celebrate changes to UKOG protest injunction. DrillOrDrop report

Research highlights ‘huge concern’ over oil firms’ ability to pay decommissioning bills. Energy Voice reports on a study by Boston Consulting Group which outlined “huge concerns” for UK taxpayers around whether oil and gas firms will be able to meet what are described as “hefty decommissioning costs. Some of the costs are above the company’s market values, the study finds.

UK plan for green heating will take 1500 years to hit 2050 target. New Scientist reports that the UK won’t be able to meet its 2050 climate change targets unless more is done to cut emissions from heating buildings. The government’s latest proposals are described as inadequate by the Regulatory Assistant Project, an organisation dedicated to speeding up the energy transition.

Thursday 7 May 2020

Record high for opposition to fracking and record low for support – latest government survey. DrillOrDrop report, Independent (12/5/2020), Blackpool Gazette (25/5/2020)

Summary results Wave 33 Mar 2020

Results of the Wave 33 survey for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

Government public attitudes survey reveals limited awareness of ‘net zero’ concept. Business Green reports on findings in the government’s Wave survey (see above) that UK concern over climate change remains high but few understand or have heard of net zero.

Barclays bosses defend climate ambitions as HQ sprayed with oil. Reuters reports that the chairman of Barclays has said the bank “can and should play a leading role” in tackling climate change, hours after activists sprayed imitation oil on its headquarters to call on the lender to divest from fossil fuels.

Analysis: What impact will the coronavirus pandemic have on atmospheric CO2? Carbon Brief reports on analysis which finds that annual average CO2 concentrations will still increase in 2020, even though emissions are reducing because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Wednesday 6 May 2020

Covid-19 recovery must not increase climate risk – government adviser. DrillOrDrop report on the Committee on Climate Change advice that carbon-intensive sectors should take “real and lasting actions on climate change” in return for public support. Link to the letter. Coverage by Reuters, Business Green, BBC News

Government refuses requests to release recommendations on delayed shale gas appeals. DrillOrDrop report

OGA launches consultation on revised strategy to support the government’s net zero policy. The consultation document has a single reference to onshore but this is about terminals for North Sea oil and gas, not onshore fields. The 2020 OGA Strategic Review has no mention of onshore operations. Friends of the Earth Scotland described the consultation as a “cynical PR exercise” and an “attempt to reconcile reckless extraction with growing public demand for meaningful climate action”.

Tuesday 5 May 2020

Guest post: Shale gas industry exaggerated its legal powers to access land for exploration, say Yorkshire landowners. DrillOrDrop report

Ineos awarded drilling permits in Texas shale. DrillOrDrop report

Guest post: What Covid-19 teaches us about fracking in the UK. DrillOrDrop report

IGas notice of annual general meeting. IGas announces its AGM will be on 5 June 2020.

Holdings in UKOG. UK Oil & Gas plc published a notification that Canaccord Genuity Group inc, of Vancouver, Canada, now held 5.4151% of voting rights attached to shares.

Monday 4 May 2020

Minister dismisses call to extend fracking moratorium to other forms of well stimulation. DrillOrDrop report

Access work begins at Rathlin Energy’s West Newton B site in East Yorkshire. DrillOrDrop report, Vox, Shares Magazine

Drilling down: British petrochemical giant Ineos plans to begin fracking in Texas. The Houston Chronicle reports that Ineos has bought tens of thousands of acres of Austin Chalk leases from Houston oil company, Crawford Hughes, records from the Railroad Commission of Texas show. The paper says Ineos has filed for a pair of drilling permits to develop two horizontal wells near La Grange, about 65 miles south east of Austin.

National Portrait Gallery drops BP judge after prolonged protest. DeSmog UK reports that for the first time in over 20 years, the National Portrait Gallery has not included a representative of BP on the judging panel for its annual portrait award.

Barclays most exposed bank in Europe to US shale oil crisis. The Telegraphreports on figures from Greenpeace which show Barclays became involved in active loans to big Texan oil producers worth $63.1bn (£50.8bn).

Sunday 3 May 2020

Geological faults challenge fracking in the Fylde – new study. DrillOrDrop report, Phys Org (4/5/2020)

Friday 1 May 2020

Angus Energy withdraws Balcombe planning application. DrillOrDrop report

Two companies suspend production at some sites in response to low oil price. DrillOrDrop report, Reuters

Angus Energy update on Saltfleetby and Brockham. DrillOrDrop report

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