Daily headlines

June 2020 headlines

200601 Horse Hill lock on Extinction Rebellion

Lock-on protest at Horse Hill oil site in Surrey, 1 June 2020. Photo: Extinction Rebellion

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

  • Government minister says “fracking is over”
  • £1m cost cutting at IGas
  • UKOG plans to explore for oil and gas at Dunsfold refused
  • Gasland fracking firm faces 15 criminal charges over water contamination
  • Campaigners breach security at UKOG’s Surrey oil site
  • Gas pollution in US oil field halves in oil crash
  • Deleted emails reveal that Cuadrilla briefed shale gas commissioner for a radio interview
  • UKOG announces reperforation plans to boost the “Gatwick Gusher”
  • Court date set for legal challenge over oil and gas clean-upcosts
  • Highway officials recommend refusal of UKOG’s Isle of Wight drilling plans on safety grounds

Tuesday 30 June 2020

Stimulation considered as solution to continuing water problem at Horse Hill well. DrillOrDrop report on plans for HH-2z. Shares Magazine 

Climate campaigners plead not guilty to trespass at Horse Hill oil site. DrillOrDrop report

Boris Johnson unveils plans for UK economic recovery. Reaction from Mail Online, Telegraph, Business Green, Independent, BBC News, Guardian

No rebound in sight for US shale. Petroleum Economist reports that US crude production will continue to be squeezed despite the modest oil price upturn and faces a long-term existential threat in the form of the Democratic manifesto.

Shell to take up to $22bln writedown after climate review. Reuters reports that Royal Dutch Shell will write down the value of assets by up to $22 billion after lowering its long-term outlook on oil and gas prices.

US shale gas giant brought down by big debts and oil slump. The Guardian reports on the collapse of Chesapeake Energy and says the coronavirus lockdown was the final straw for the fracking pioneer.

Monday 29 June 2020

Breaking: Dunsfold drilling plans refused – live news updates. DrillOrDrop live report on meeting of Surrey County Council to decide application by UK Oil & Gas to explore and test for oil and gas.

Surrey villagers applaud council refusal of permission for Dunsfold drilling plans – UKOG says it is likely to appeal. DrillOrDrop report, On the Wight, Morning Star, Get Surrey (2/7/2020)

BP sells petrochemical business to Ineos for $5bn. Ineos will pay BP a deposit of $400m, followed by $3.6bn when the deal completes and then another $1bn in three instalments by June 2021. Guardian, Bloomberg, Reuters, BP press release, Business Live (30/6/2020)

Ineos ‘under-reporting’ climate emissions, says regulator. The Ferret reports action by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency which says Ineos has underestimated climate pollution from chemical plants at Grangemouth since 2016. The agency has withdrawn previously published data on emissions from Ineos Chemicals and asked the company to review a discrepancy in its figures. Ineos has omitted in error carbon dioxide emissions from a gas boiler at Kinneil terminal on the Firth of Forth, as well as some flaring, the Ferret reports.

Chesapeake Energy, a pioneer in the U.S. shale revolution, files for bankruptcy protection. The poster child of the US shale revolution field for bankruptcy protection on Sunday. The move comes as the company and industry has been rocked by a drop in oil and gas prices amid the coronavirus pandemic. Chesapeake said a $7 billion debt would be wiped out through restructuring. The Guardian, CNN, CNBC, Energy Voice, FT, Bloomberg

Green recovery can spur innovation, create jobs, and boost economy, argue senior MPs. Business Green reports that select committee chairs have joined calls for a green recovery in a letter to the chancellor. They warn that economic stimulus channelled towards carbon-intensive infrastructure projects would be a historic mistake.

Extra £14bn needed a year for climate, report says. BBC News reports on a call by the Green Alliance for an extra £14 bn each year for clean transport, nature restoration and low-carbon buildings.

Government announces nearly £80 million to reduce carbon emissions from industry and homes. The energy minister Kwasi Kwarteng announces the money will go to programmes including heat network trials and retrofitting homes with energy efficiency technologies.

Sunday 28 June 2020

Decision due on Dunsfold oil and gas drilling scheme. DrillOrDrop report

Hydrogen fuel bubbles up the agenda as investments rocket. The Guardianreports on a spate of new investments even amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Saturday 27 June 2020

Opponents of Isle of Wight drilling plans launch information campaign after criticising council consultation. DrillOrDrop report, BBC News, On The Wight articles here and here, Island Echo

Friday 26 June 2020

UKOG announces environmental permit for Loxley wellsite, near Dunsfold, in Surrey. DrillOrDrop report, UKOG statement, Sharecast.com, Morning Star

Atrocious governance in oil and gas allows huge rewards for failure. Myles McCormick, in an opinion piece in the FT, says while US oil and gas companies approach bankruptcy with 100,000 job losses, executives of failing companies have awarded themselves tens of millions of dollars in bonuses.

UK agrees $1bn backing to Mozambique gas pipeline despite environmental concerns. The Telegraph and Times say the prime minister will go ahead with the loan guarantee despite warnings that it will damage Britain’s environmental credentials.

Thursday 25 June 2020

Redundancies at IGas in £1m cost cutting. DrillOrDrop report, Sharecast.com, Morning Star

Covid-19 recovery must not lock in carbon emissions or climate risks – government adviser. DrillOrDrop report on annual progress report from the Committee on Climate Change. Link to report, Carbon Brief (CCC: UK risks ‘egg on face’ unless it accelerates climate plans)

Pa grand jury report on fracking: DEP failed to protect public health. A two-year long investigation by a Pennsylvania grant jury has criticised the Department of Environmental Protection for failing to protect the public from the health effects of fracking. It proposed regulations and oversight of the fracking industry. State Impact, Natural Resource Defence Council, Philadelphia Inquirer, PennLive.com, EcoWatch, Inside Climate News, The Allegheny Front, TribLive.com,Jurist News

Wednesday 24 June 2020

Is it up to China to decide whether fracking ever happens onshore in England? Guest post for DrillOrDrop from Ben Dean on links between two UK fracking companies and China.

Fracking moratorium will be lifted – but not this year, says Cuadrilla’s owner. DrillOrDrop report on AJ Lucas statement predicting no lifting of the moratorium before 2021. Lancashire Evening Post (25/6/2020)

Union Jack Oil adds to stake in Lincolnshire oil exploration. DrillOrDrop report on the company’s continuing purchase of shares in Lincolnshire oil fields.

Tuesday 23 June 2020

Don’t bail out fossil fuels in Covid recovery – UK Climate Assembly members. DrillOrDrop report on an interim briefing on recommendations for the Covid-19 economic recovery from the Climate Assembly UK. Guardian (UK public ‘supports green recovery from coronavirus crisis’); New Scientist (UK citizens’ assembly shows big support for green covid-19 recovery); FT (UK citizens’ climate assembly urges green stimulus post lockdown); Politics Home (Ministers urged to use coronavirus economic recovery plan to slash carbon emissions); Reuters (UK citizens’ assembly backs climate-friendly coronavirus recovery); ITV(UK citizens’ climate assembly backs green pandemic recovery and lifestyle shift)

AJ Lucas suspends trading. The Australian mining group, which owns Cuadrilla, says it is temporarily suspending trading pending a detailed announcement on UK fracking by tomorrow. Links here and here

Angus Energy half-year loss flat. Accounts for the year to March 31 2020 show the company’s pretax loss was flat at £1.6m, compared with £1.7m in the year before. Revenue slipped from £137,000 in 2019 to £68,000 for the six months to March 2020. Shares closed up 6.3%.  Morning Star and Stock Market Wire

Monday 22 June 2020

Campaigners challenge lockdown rules for council meeting on fracking plans. DrillOrDrop report

After BP takes a hit, investors widen climate change campaign. Reuters reports that investors managing £1.8 trillion in assets are widening a campaign pressing oil majors to better reflect climate risks in their accounting and will soon target other businesses with heavy fossil fuel exposure.

US shale companies face $300bn in writedowns in Q2. The FTreports that US shale companies could be forced to write down at least $300bn of their assets in the second quarter, as operators begin to account for the oil-price collapse on their balance sheets, according to a new study. The huge impairments — about half the net value of the companies’ property, plant and equipment — would increase the sector’s leverage from 40 per cent to 54 per cent, triggering insolvencies and restructuring, says the study by Deloitte, an accountancy.

Sunday 21 June 2020

Britain still failing on climate crisis, warn advisers. The Observer reports ministers are bracing themselves for a powerful new rebuke from the government’s own advisers over the nation’s inadequate response to the climate crisis. In its annual progress report, to be published on Thursday, the Committee on Climate Change will lambast continuing failures by the government to tackle the issues of overheating homes, flash floods, loss of biodiversity and the other threats posed as our planet continues to overheat dangerously.

Saturday 20 June 2020

200620 Ventnor seafront protest

Ventnor protest at UKOG drilling plans for Isle of Wight. Environmental campaigners sent a message of opposition from the paddling pool on Ventnor seafront to UKOG’s plans to drill for oil on the Isle of Wight. Comments on the plans must be submitted by 24 July 2020. The campaigners said:

“If people don’t take action and comment, then it could be passed. There is a time for taking action on this, and it is now.”

Friday 19 June 2020

Summer 2020 events diary. DrillOrDrop report

Bank of England bond portfolio ‘at odds with climate goals. The Times reports that the Bank of England has admitted that its corporate bond holdings have carbon emission footprints that are not aligned with the Paris climate goals.

Thursday 18 June 2020

200618 kwasi kwarteng slider

“Fracking is over” – UK energy minister. DrillOrDrop report on comments by Kwasi Kwarteng to BBC North West Tonight that the government had “moved on” from fracking, Independent(19/6/2020), Dorset Eye (19/6/2020), ENDS report (19/6/2020); Australian Financial Review (23/6/2020)

“Caravan of love” fracking trial dropped “in public interest”. DrillOrDrop report on the decision by the Crown Prosecution Service to discontinue charges against anti-fracking protesters who parked a caravan outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road.

IEA: “Green” coronavirus recovery would keep global emissions below 2019 peak. Carbon Brief reports on comments by the International Energy Agency that the world has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to “pour investment into clean energy and create millions of new jobs”.

Coronavirus will hasten ‘peak oil’ by three years says research firm. The FT reports that Oslo-based Rystad Energy has cut its estimate of potential oil production by an amount that exceeds the reserves of Saudi Arabia, as the coronavirus accelerates longer-term structural changes to the market.

Wednesday 17 June 2020

Global Energy Demand Growth Was Slowing Before Covid-19, Says BP. Bloomberg Green reports on comments in BP’s annual statistical review which said growth in energy demand was declining even before the coronavirus pandemic spread globally, keeping consumers under lockdown and sending prices to record lows.

Tuesday 16 June 2020

Gasland fracking firm faces 15 criminal charges over water contamination. DrillOrDrop report. Also reported on 15/6/2020 by New York Times, Washington Post, The State, the Post Gazette and others

Union Jack promotes “green credentials” of future oil production from West Newton. DrillOrDrop report

Implications of BP write-downs ‘are very real’ as some upstream assets become worthless. Energy Voice reports comments by analysis from Wood Macenzie that BP was “getting to grips” with a slump in the value of its assets, with some now worth nothing at all.

Special Report: Millions of abandoned oil wells are leaking methane, a climate menace. Reuters reports from on what it calls a growing global problem of abandoned oil and gas wells, many of which are leaching pollutants into the air and water. The problem could get worse, the news wire says, as drilling companies go bankrupt because of low oil prices.

Leitrim campaign group welcomes programme for government anti fracking policy proposals. Shannonsidereports that Love Leitrim has welcomed the draft programme of government which opposed efforts to import fracked gas into Ireland (see Monday 15 June 2020)

Monday 15 June 2020

Cuadrilla briefed shale gas commissioner for radio interview – deleted emails reveal. DrillOrDrop report

Government released shale gas commissioner’s deleted emails. Unearthed reports that the British government has retrieved and released dozens of emails wrongly deleted by the former shale gas commissioner following a nine month investigation by the Information Commissioner.

Irish government opposes imports of fracked gas and withdraws support for Shannon LNG terminal. DrillOrDrop report

BP expects to take $17.5bn hit due to coronavirus writedown. The Guardianand others report that BP will slash up to $17.5bn (£14bn) from the value of its oil and gas assets, and may be forced to leave new fossil fuel discoveries in the ground, after its own forecasts found the Covid-19 pandemic may affect the world’s oil demand for the next 30 years.

US shale oil output to drop to near 2-year low – EIA. Reuters reports that the US Energy Information Adminstration has estimated that US oil output from seven major shale formations is expected to fall to near a two-year low of 7.63 million barrels per day by July.

US-UK trade agreement: What could be the major stumbling blocks to ‘massive’ deal? Sky News suggests that the UK moratorium on fracking could be under threat from US companies that want to operate here.

Friday 12 June 2020

Oil heading for first weekly drop since April due to virus recovery fears. Energy Voice reports oil is heading for the first weekly loss since late April in New York on fears a second wave of U.S. infections could derail a fragile recovery, while swelling stockpiles raised fresh concerns about excess supply.

Thursday 11 June 2020

Prior approval for Saltfleetby processing facilities. Lincolnshire County Council approves application by Angus Energy for processing facilities at the Saltfleetby B site. Delegated report by planning officers

Surprisingly rapid rebound in carbon emissions post-lockdown. The Guardian reports that carbon dioxide emissions have rebounded around the world as lockdown conditions have eased, raising fears that annual emissions of greenhouse gases could surge higher than ever after the coronavirus pandemic unless governments take swift action.

British Gas owner Centrica to cut 5,000 jobs. BBC News reports that most of the cuts would fall in the UK as Centrica seeks to slim down its business.

Wednesday 10 June 2020

Highway officials oppose UKOG’s Isle of Wight drilling plans over safety concerns. DrillOrDrop report

Comments invited on UKOG’s Isle of Wight drilling plans at Arreton. DrillOrDrop report, Isle of Wight Radio, On the Wight

Global gas demand on course for biggest annual fall on record – IEA. Reutersreports on the International Energy Agency’s annual outlook which predicts the biggest annual fall on record because of a very mild winter and the coronavirus crisis.

Tuesday 9 June 2020

Government clears way to extend life of Ryedale’s suspended gas fields. DrillOrDrop report

Policing cost of the Lancashire fracking site almost reached £13m. The Blackpool Gazette reports on the costs of the policing operation outside Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site. DrillOrDrop reported this figure on 27 March 2020.

Lancashire’s police commissioner vows to lobby for more central Government cash to cover the near £13m bill for fracking. The Blackpool Gazette reports comments by Clive Grunshaw, the PCC for Lancashire, that it was unfair for the county to pay the nearly £13m cost (see above) as communities and councils had rejected planning permission for shale extraction.

Monday 8 June 2020

Union Jack acquisition of further interest in Wressle project. Union Jack Oil reports it has acquired a further 12.5% in PEDL180 and PEDL182 containing the Wressle oil project for £500,000. DrillOrDrop report, Proactive Investors, Directors Talk

Oil major BP to cut 15% of workforce. Reuters reports that BP is cutting 15% of its workforce in response to the coronavirus crisis. The news service says this is part of chief executive Bernard Looney’s plan to shift the oil and gas major to renewable energy.

Sunday 7 June 2020

Boris Johnson considers giving drivers up to £6,000 in diesel and petrol car scrappage scheme. The Telegraph, in an exclusive, reports that the prime minister is expected to make the announcement on 6 July 2020, in a bid to help the struggling UK electric car industry.

U.S. Shale Companies Are Turning the Oil Taps Back On. The Wall Street Journal reports American oil producers are reopening the spigots, complicating the crude market’s recovery.

Saturday 6 June 2020

Court date set for legal challenge over oil and gas clean-up costs. DrillOrDrop report

Friday 5 June 2020

IGas AGM statement. IGas chairman, Cuth McDowell, reports that the company’s cash balances were £2.2m and net debt £10.8m at 31 May 2020. IGas statement, Reuters

Air pollution from fracking killed an estimated 20 people in Pennsylvania from 2010-17 – study. Environmental Health News reports a soon-to-be published study estimates that spikes in particulate matter near wells is cutting lives short.

Companies benefit from UK Covid relief scheme. The Guardian reports that oilfield services companies, Baker Hughes and Schlumberger, have taken £600m and £150m respectively from the UK Covid Corporate Financing Facility. Frack Off (8/6/2020)

Thursday 4 June 2020

UKOG announces plan to boost production from Horse Hill’s Gatwick Gusher. It also announces loan repayment and equipment purchase. DrillOrDrop report

Application to extend Saltfleetby pipeline. Angus Energy reports it has applied to Lincolnshire County Council for a 750m extension of the pipeline from Saltfleetby to the National Grid Terminal.

Fossil fuel profits could collapse by two thirds in coming years, threatening pension value for millions. The i reports on Carbon Tracker research which concludes that the fossil fuel industry is in “terminal decline” because of climate policies and the growth of renewables. Also reported by Business Green and the Guardian

Green Recovery: Greenpeace sets out manifesto for clean stimulus plan. Business Green reports on proposals from Greenpeace on how government could ensure the Covid-19 recover delivers “a fairer, greener and more resilient global economy. See also reports in the Guardian and BBC News

Wednesday 3 June 2020

UKOG reduces loan. UK Oil & Gas plc announces that it has reduced its £5.5m loan by a further £100,000. The balance outstanding is now £1.75m. The payment was by the conversion of 52,192,067 new ordinary shares. This brings the total share capital to 8,738,995,288 ordinary shares.

Living near oil and gas wells linked to low birth weight in babies. The Guardian reports on research by University of California, Berkeley which concludes that living near active oil and gas wells during pregnancy increases the risk of low birth weight babies, especially in rural areas. The research, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, looked at the records of nearly three million births in California to women living with 10km of at least one oil or gas well between 2006 and 2015.

UK doubled its support for fossil fuels since signing Paris Agreement. DeSmog UK reports on research by Oil Change International and Friends of the Earth US which concludes that the UK spent an average of 1.3 billion annual on fossil fuel projects, doubling its public finance support in the three years after signing the Paris climate agreement.

Tuesday 2 June 2020

Conservative MP opposes UKOG plans to drill for oil on the Isle of Wight. DrillOrDrop report

US shale producers begin restoring output as oil prices turn higher. Reuters and Bloomberg report that US shale oil producers are beginning to reverse production cuts as prices recover from historic lows.

Monday 1 June 2020

Dawn protest at UKOG’s Horse Hill oil site in SurreyFour campaigners arrested. DrillOrDrop report, Reuters, Surrey Comet (1/6/2020) and Surrey Comet (2/6/2020)

Permian gas pollution halves in upside of oil crash. Investment Money reports gas pollution in the US Permian Basin, the world’s most prolific oilfield will halve in the coming months, providing an environmental upside to the worst crash in the price of crude in decades.

Make Covid-19 recovery green, say business leaders. BBC News, and others, report that more than 200 top UK firms and investors are calling on the government to deliver a Covid-19 recovery plan that prioritises the environment.

Methodist Church misses out on millions by dumping oil stakes during crisis. The Telegraph reports that Methodists put ethics before profits after its two-year divestment analysis concluded just as the oil price hit unprecedented lows. The church offload stakes in BP and Total on climate grounds.


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