Daily headlines

July 2020 headlines

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IGas site at Ellesmere Port, 21 January 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

  • Aurora drops plans to frack at Altcar Moss
  • UKOG granted two more years of planning consent at Broadford Bridge
  • Cuadrilla gets five more years at its Elswick gas site
  • IGas declares a pre-tax loss of £59.1m for 2019
  • Science and public health concerns ignored in decisions about fracking in England
  • 7% of misconduct allegations upheld against Lancashire police at anti-fracking protests
  • Centrica pulls out of Cuadrilla’s Lancashire licence
  • Rathlin Energy’s chair retires
  • Egdon seeks second extension at North Kelsey
  • Cuadrilla hints at long game for UK fracking
  • UKOG buys into Turkish licence

Thursday 30 July 2020

Work to begin oil production at Wressle in north Lincolnshire still awaits sign-off of planning. DrillOrDrop report

Angus Energy intends to return to Balcombe in autumn 2020 + updates on Brockham and Saltfleetby. DrillOrDropreport on updated information from Angus Energy

South Wales Gas has assets of £2 and liabilities of £1,872. The subsidiary of Gerwyn Williams’ South Western Energy group published its unaudited accounts for a micro company/

Ineos launches consumer healthcare business. Ineos announces it is launching a new business to make hospital grade hand gels and sanitisers. Its headquarters will be in the UK and manufacturing will be at Newton Aycliffe in County Durham, as well as Germany, France and the US.

Wednesday 29 July 2020

“Not the right time to declare a climate emergency” – East Yorkshire county councillors. DrillOrDrop report on second vote to reject declaring a climate emergency

Two more climate activists plead not guilty after Horse Hill oil protest. DrillOrDrop update

UK’s biggest pension fund begins fossil fuels divestment. The Guardianreports that the government-backed National Employment Savings Trust is to shun firms involved in coal, tar sands or arctic drilling.

Tuesday 28 July 2020

Isle of Wight drilling: 1,700+ objections but AONB says “no direct impact”. DrillOrDrop report on the public consultation on UKOG plans to drill for oil at Arreton

Investigation into complaints over UKOG planning meeting. DrillOrDrop report on an investigation into the Surrey County Council meeting which refused permission for drilling at Dunsfold.

OGA approval for Union Jack Oil acquisition. Union Jack announces regulatory approval of its acquisition of a further 3% in PEDL253 containing Biscathorpe. Energy Voice

Satellite technology employed to track huge methane plumes. The FT reports on work by the energy consultancy Kayrros which is using European Space Agency satellite data to detect and attribute large sources of methane. The project is creating the first independent global tracking system for emissions, a powerful contributor to climate change.

Monday 27 July 2020

Aurora Energy Resources drops plans to frack at Altcar Moss in Lancashire. DrillOrDrop report. The Guardian, BBC News, OilPrice.com, Lancs Live (28/7/2020)

UK electricity grid’s carbon emissions could turn negative by 2033, says National Grid. The Guardian reports on a report by National Grid which says carbon capture technology and renewable energy could allow the electricity system to reach its carbon targets.

UK’s net zero carbon targets need immediate action, says National Grid. The Times says Britain will fail to hit its net zero carbon emissions by 2050 if it relies on a steady transformation of its industrial and consumer economy.

PM cleans up reputation by defunding foreign oil projects. The Times reports that Boris Johnson is to end Britain’s support for “dirty” global oil and gas projects for fear of tarnishing the country’s reputation on climate change.

Deutsche Bank says it will no longer invest in fracking or Arctic oil as banks turn away from fossil fuels. Markets Insider reports the bank’s announcement that it would end funding for all fracking projects in countries with short water supply by 2025.

Tories block pension divestment bid at Nottinghamshire County Council meeting. The Eastwood Advertiserreports that a plan to divest the public sector pension fund in Nottinghamshire away from fossil fuel-based investments has been thwarted after Conservatives blocked a vote.

Sunday 26 July 2020

Labour is set to bring forward a bill aimed at banning fracking in Scotland. Cloud Front News reports that Scottish Labour’s environment spokesperson, Claudia Beamish, is to introduce a bill calling for a ban on fracking in Scotland.

Saturday 25 July 2020

Fracking at greater depths can lead to ten times the risk of earthquakes, study finds. The Independent reports on a study in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America which looked at mor than 1,300 single well sites across Oklahoma. It concluded that deeper fracking operations make induced earthquakes 10 times more likely.

Friday 24 July 2020

Schlumberger to slash 21,000 jobs as revenues plunge. The FT reports that the world’s biggest oilfield services company is to cut roughly a fifth of its workforce as the collapse of US shale production causes demand to dry up. Houston Chronicle

Further repayment of Riverfort loan facility. Angus Energy reports that it repaid £58,333 in cash. The balance of the loan is now £175,001. The next repayment date is 24 August 2020. Shares Magazine

Thursday 23 July 2020

UKOG buys into “irresistible” Turkish licence. DrillOrDrop report on UKOG announcement of its 50% stake in the Resan licence in south east Turkey. Energy Voice

UKOG: “great surprise” at MP’s objection to Isle of Wight drilling plans. DrillOrDrop report on UKOG’s response on Arreton oil application. On the Wight, Isle of Wight County Press, Isle of Wight Radio, Island Echo

IGas to revisit spending plans as oil price rises. DrillOrDrop report

Wednesday 22 July 2020

Fracking in Summer adjournment debate. Alexander Stafford, Conservative MP for Rother Valley, repeats his opposition to fracking:

“It is a retrograde step, and not what we want for our future green economy to rebuild jobs”

Mr Stafford adds that he is coordinating local groups to ensure “that fracking never blights our beautiful Rother Valley”. TheyWorkForYou transcript

Fracking and Russia.  The Conservative peer, Viscount Ridley asks the cabinet office minister, Lord True to “look into how much the debate on shale gas in the UK was distorted by Russian interference”. TheyWorkForYou transcript

The last frontier: oil industry scales back exploration.  The FT reports on how  exploration – once the most glamorous aspect of the oil business – is now one of its most controversial.

Team Ineos to be known as the Ineos Grenadiers for Tour de France. Cycling News reports the team is to change name and colours to promote the new Ineos 4×4 SUV vehicle.

Tuesday 21 July 2020

“UKOG oil drilling plan puts Isle of Wight Biosphere status at risk” – AONB chair. DrillOrDrop report on objections to UKOG plans to drill at Arreton. On the Wight and Isle of Wight County Press (both 20/7/2020)

New emails show how energy industry moved fast to undo curbs. The New York Times reports how messages, made public in a lawsuit, suggest the EPA rescinded a requirement on collecting data on methane releases at the behest of an executive just weeks after President Trump took office.

Frackers are in crisis, endangering America’s energy renaissance. Bloomberg Businessweek reports that even before Covid 19, West Texas was reeling and Wall Street was running out of patience with the industry.

Why do churches still have £18m invested in fossil fuels. New Internationalist and DeSmog UK report that despite a 2018 divestment pledge the Church of England regional dioceses continue to profit from companies including Shell, BP and Total.

UK upstream is leaner and tougher. Rigzonereports on findings by GlobalData, which noted that pullbacks in investment and reducing operating costs have helped to provide a stronger cash flow outlook under newly weakened oil and gas prices

Monday 20 July 2020

Europa director retires. Europa Oil & Gas reports that its finance director, Phil Greenhalgh, will retire on 14 October 2020. He will not be replaced, the company says. Chairman Simon Oddie is continue as interim chief executive for another six months. Morning Star

What happens next? Isle of Wight Green Party to host anti-fracking activists. The Isle of Wight County Press reports the party is hosting a call with experienced anti-fracking and drilling campaigners from Lancashire.

Halliburton posts third straight quarterly loss on shale slump. Reuters and Bloomberg report Halliburton took a $2.1bn impairment charge amid a slump in oil prices and collapse in drilling by North American customers. Energy Voice

Fracking contractor BJ Services slides into bankruptcy wind-down. The Wall Street Journal reports that B J Services LLC filed for bankruptcy, attempting to sell parts of its fracking services business.

Friday 17 July 2020

Campaigner wins right to challenge council at appeal court over climate impact of oil plans in Surrey. DrillOrDrop report on judicial review request over approval of oil production at Horse Hill. UpstreamOnline (21/7/2020)

Parliamentary question by Olivia Blake MP on assessment of potential effect of increased shale gas exploitation on UK groundwater. The environment minister, Rebecca Pow, replied that environmental permits require groundwater monitoring before, during and after fracking operations. She also said there was a moratorium on fracking in force in England. Decisions in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland had been devolved. Link to They Work For You

Independent study examining public safety risks of Mariner East pipelines.  State Impact reports that a community group has commissioned a “qualitative risk analysis” of a gas liquids pipeline through suburban Philadelphia after county council deadlocks on the proposal.

Thursday 16 July 2020

New research reveals stress from living near UK shale gas sites. DrillOrDrop report

IGas additional share issue. IGas announces it is issuing an extra 750,000 shares at 0.002p each to trade on the Aim market to satisfy a salary sacrifice scheme

Wednesday 15 July 2020

OGA has no powers over clean-up of onshore oil and gas sites – court told. DrillOrDrop report on the second day of a legal challenge to the OGA’s handling of the sale of Third Energy

Council extends life of Cuadrilla’s suspended gas site – subject to traffic plan. DrillOrDrop report on the decision by Lancashire County Council’s development control committee on the Elswick gas site near Blackpool. Blackpool Gazette

Cuadrilla Resources Holdings Limited extends accounting period. Companies House reports that Cuadrilla’s holding company and other companies in the group have extended their reporting period from 31 December 2019 to 30 June 2020.

Objections to UKOG’s Isle of Wight oil drilling plans top 670 in 17 days. DrillOrDrop report on submissions to a public consultation on an application to drill at Arreton. Island Echo

Tuesday 14 July 2020

OGA backed Third Energy takeover, despite concerns about decommissioning, court told. DrillOrDrop report on the challenge at the High Court to the OGA’s handling of the Third Energy sale

Campaigners commit to 24/7 monitoring of West Newton exploration site. DrillOrDrop reports on a new camp established to observe operations at Rathlin Energy’s West Newton-B site in East Yorkshire.

Monday 13 July 2020

7% of misconduct allegations upheld against Lancashire police at anti-fracking protests. DrillOrDrop reports on a freedom of information response from Lancashire Constabulary about complaints over its policing operation outside Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site.

Campaigner goes to the High Court against the Oil & Gas Authority over well clean-up costs. DrillOrDrop reports on tomorrow’s court case challenging the OGA over its approval of the sale of Third Energy.

Shale boss says US has passed peak oil. The FTreports comments by the chief executive of Parsley Energy, one of Texas’s biggest independent oil producers, who said US crude production has already peaked. He made his remarks came as “producers battered by the price crash shun new output growth and start trying to become profitable”, the FT reports.

US shale explorers park more drilling rigs as rebound stalls. The Gulf Times reports that shale explorers parked more rigs last week as oil’s rebound was insufficient to boost drilling work from the lowest level in more than a decade.

Union Jack Oil executive director purchases 11,100,000 shares in the company. Directors Talk reports that Joseph O’Farrell bought the shares, price 0.025p, on 10 July. This brings his stake in the company’s share capital at 1.86%.

Sunday 12 July 2020

Fracking firms fail, rewarding executives and raising climate fears. The New York Times reports that oil and gas companies are “hurtling towards bankruptcy, raising fears that wells will be left leaking planet-warming pollutants with cleanup cost left to taxpayers.

Fermanagh politicians divided on their positions over fracking in Northern Ireland. Impartial Reporter says DUP councillor Deborah Erskine said experts should be allowed to “come forward with the environment assessments they have made”. The Ulster Unionist assembly member Rosemary Barton said her party was compiling evidence on the benefits and disadvantages of fracking. Sinn Fein’s Jemma Dolan said the presumption against fracking should be hardened and her party was looking at a motion for an all-Ireland ban.

Friday 10 July 2020

Tributes paid to anti-fracking campaigner Deb Kay whose funeral was held today. DrillOrDrop

Campaigners complain to MP as Lancashire County Council stands firm on lockdown rules for public speaking at planning committee meetings. DrillOrDrop 

Church fossil-fuel holdings are sold to the sound of no trumpets. Church Times reports that up to 20 dioceses no longer any investments in fossil fuel companies after one of the Church of England’s three investment bodies sold its last remaining stocks in the oil and gas sector.

Rosie Cooper MP receives Minister assurances fracking is over. The Labour MP for West Lancashire writes on her website that she has received assurances from the business minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, that it is government policy is that fracking is over.

Thursday 9 July 2020

Angus enters construction agreement with National Grid. Angus Energy reports it has entered an agreement with National Grid for works on National Grid property in connection with plans for Saltfleetby in Lincolnshire. National Grid will carry out works required for the design and construction of National Grid Facilities at Theddlethorpe.

Government squashes Cuadrilla hopes to resume fracking in Lancashire anytime soon. Lancashire Lives reports that the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has said the nationwide fracking ban will remain until scientific evidence says the operation can be conducted safely.

UK offered £760m of support to overseas fossil fuel projects last year. DeSmogUK reports the UK has provided up to £760 million worth of financial support for  fossil fuel projects around the world in the past year, compared with six schemes related to renewable energy, according to analysis by the campaign group Global Witness.

Wednesday 8 July 2020

North Yorkshire’s planning committee votes unanimously to extend the life of Ryedale gas fields to 2035. DrillOrDrop 

Tuesday 7 July 2020

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Breaking: West Sussex councillors approve two more years at UKOG’s Broadford Bridge oil site. DrillOrDrop report on West Sussex County Council meeting to decide whether UKOG’s Broadford Bridge site should remain for another two years. Midhurst and Petworth Observer/West Sussex County Times (9/7/2020), Proactive Investors (9/7/2020), Spirit FM

Arreton Parish Council adds voice to oil drilling objections. The Isle of Wight County Press and On The Wight report that the parish council covering the area UKOG wishes to explore for oil has objected to the plans. Councillors said there were too many potential unknowns with the application, the paper reports.

Government approves Third Energy North Yorkshire gas operations until 2035. Report by The Northern Echo. DrillOrDrop reported this news on 9 June 2020

Public speaking suspended at council meeting after deluge of questions from environmental campaigners. The Sussex Express reports that East Sussex County Council has suspended its usual public speaking rules after receiving more than 135 questions, almost all of which were on investments by East Sussex Pension Fund in oil and gas companies.

Dakota Access Pipeline: Judge suspends use of key oil link.  BBC News reports that the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline has been ordered to suspend production by a US judge, amid concerns about its environmental impact. The order is a major win for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which has led the fight against the pipeline, the BBC says. The pipeline must be emptied within 30 days to allow another environmental review.

The world can’t take much more shale gas. The Wall Street Journal reports that the international trade in liquified natural gas has collapsed, squeezing an important outlet for US shale gas.

Monday 6 July 2020

Cuadrilla hints at a long game for UK fracking. DrillOrDrop report based on interview by the Australian Financial Review. Also reprinted in Updatenewz.com

Officials urged to rethink backing for Broadford Bridge planning extension. DrillOrDrop report on tomorrow’s West Sussex County Council meeting on UKOG’s application to extend consent at Broadford Bridge.

Fossil fuel protest at Horse Hill oil site. DrillOrDrop report on slow walk protest against oil production at Horse Hill

Energy companies cancel construction of Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Dominion Energy and Duke Energy have cancelled their pipeline project which would cross West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina, citing legal uncertainty. CNN, New York Times, USA Today

Investigation: The problem with big oil’s ‘forest fever’. DeSmog UK reports that over the past year BP, Total, Eni, Equinor and ConocoPhillips have invested millions of dollars in forest projects to offset their greenhouse gas emissions.

Rock Rose Energy sale. Rock Rose Energy, run by former IGas chief executive Andrew Austin, has agreed a sale with Viaro Energy. Energy Voice

Lancashire’s chief constable is to step down. Blackpool Gazette reports that Andy Rhodes is to leave the force next year after 30 years, which included an operation to police protests outside Cuadrilla’s fracking site at Preston New Road.

Friday 3 July 2020

Centrica pulls out of Cuadrilla’s Lancashire shale gas licence. DrillOrDrop report, AJ Lucas statement, Refracktion

Egdon Resources seeks second time extension for oil drilling at North Kelsey, Lincolnshire. DrillOrDrop report

Rathlin Energy chair, David Montagu-Smith, retires. DrillOrDrop report

Give moral leadership by getting out of fossil fuels, urge campaigners. The Church Times reports the Christian climate change charity, Operation Noah, has encouraged churches to show moral leadership by completely divesting from fossil fuels. A report by the charity, released last month, said oil and gas companies are not taking seriously the need to move to a low carbon economy.

Thursday 2 July 2020

Losses mount at IGas. DrillOrDrop report on the company’s 2019 results. IGas Annual Report

Public health concerns about fracking and shale gas were marginalised or ignored in England – new research. DrillOrDrop report on a study from the University of Stirling, Phys Org

UK should prioritise green projects to kickstart economy, says IMF. The Guardian reports on comments by the IMF’s chief economist to the commons’ treasury committee. Gita Gopinath said the UK had an opportunity to “do public investment that also addresses the need for a greener planet, and at the same time as a jobs-rich recovery”.

UK government development bank to end fossil fuel financing. The Guardian reports the UK government’s overseas development bank has bowed to calls to end fossil fuel financing abroad by promising to invest only in companies that align with the Paris climate agreement.

Wednesday 1 July 2020

Investor prepares to buy UK onshore oil and gas company. DrillOrDrop report on preparations by Metal NRG.

Airlines’ climate obligations postponed as UN body endorses industry proposal. Climate Home News reports airlines have wriggled out of their climate obligations over the next few years, after a handful of countries bowed to industry pressure to weaken the sector’s climate deal.

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