Daily headlines

August 2020 headlines

191121 Dunsfold EA permit 2
Hydrogeological model for UKOG 234’s Loxley wellsite near Dunsfold, Surrey. Source: UKOG 234 environmental permit application

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

  • Dunsfold drilling refusal ruled invalid
  • Tributes paid to Cheshire campaigner Colin Watson who died suddenly
  • Fracking support up but opposition remains ahead in government survey
  • Slow walk protest at Horse Hill
  • Site work begins at Wressle
  • Angus Energy’s Saltfleetby pipeline approved
  • Death of campaigner Colin Watson 
  • Conductor rig arrives at West Newton B
  • First official production figures for Horse Hill
  • £113m loss for Perenco UK
  • Plans published for shorter well test at Balcombe
  • Rathlin Energy announces plans for two new East Yorks well sites
  • AJ Lucas chairman retires

Sunday 30 August 2020

Funding in fracking firm Cuadrilla to be slashed – forecast. DrillOrDrop report on AJ Lucas company accounts, published 28 August 2020

Thursday 27 August 2020

Plans published for shorter Balcombe well test. DrillOrDrop report, Mid Sussex Times (11 September 2020)

Revised environmental permit for Brockham. Angus Energy announces it has submitted a variation application to allow water reinjection at a well at its Brockham oil site.

Extra signage agreed on route to Rathlin Energy’s West Newton-B site in East Yorkshire. East Riding of Yorkshire Council requests Rathlin install extra signs on the approach to the site. 

Letter from East Riding of Yorkshire Council on traffic issues at West Newton B

Wind and solar are 30-50% cheaper than thought, admits UK government. Carbon Brief reports that the government has publicly admitted for the first time the dramatic reductions in the cost of electricity generated by wind and solar. A review by BEIS suggests that energy from these renewables could be supplied in 2025 at half the cost of gas-fired power.

Industry PR resigns as Infrastrata director. Former oil and gas industry PR, Deborah Saw, announces she is leaving Infrastrata plc, where she was non-executive director since February 2020. Ms Saw was a former chair of Newgate Communications, which represented the industry body, UK Onshore Oil and Gas.

Wednesday 26 August 2020

Settlement on Biscathorpe payment. Egdon Resources announces it has received proceeds in a confidential settlement with Humber Oil & Gas over payments for work in PEDL253 in Lincolnshire

Monday 24 August 2020

East Sussex chicken protesters ‘set world record’. The Eastbourne Herald reports that more than 50 environmentalists wore hen masks to take part in the an online “chicken-in” on Zoom in a call to East Sussex County Council to stop investing its pension fund in fossil fuels.

Thursday 20 August 2020

Rathlin Energy announces plans for two new East Yorkshire well sites.  DrillOrDrop report, Yorkshire Post, Proactive Investors, Vox Markets

Possible location of proposed additional wellsites

Balcombe application. Angus Energy announces it has has submitted a planning application to West Sussex County Council for an extended well test at its Balcombe oil exploration site.

Tuesday 18 August 2020

West Newton B site prepares for initial drilling with delivery of the conductor rig. DrillOrDrop report, Vox Markets

Saltfleetby decommissions to be cheaper.  Angus Energy reports that the cost of decommissioning the eight Saltfleetby gas wells is now expected to be £405,000, compared with the original estimate of £1.8m.

Big oil need not apply: UK raises the bar for UN climate summit sponsorship. Climate Home News reports that fossil fuel money is not welcome to help fun next year’s Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow as UK government seeks sponsors with net zero emissions plans.

East Sussex activists are staging a chicken protest record attempt. The Eastbourne Herald reports that East Sussex campaigners will don hen masks for the online chicken-in demonstration on Zoom on Saturday while calling for East Sussex County Council to stop investing in oil and gas companies.

Monday 17 August 2020

First official production figures for UKOG’s Horse Hill site. DrillOrDrop report

Leading UK onshore oil production in March and April 2020. Source: OGA

Saturday 15 August 2020

Carbon capture systems must be developed int he UK if we are to have any hope of reaching net zero. The Telegraph reports that private industry wants to power ahead but it will need a kick-start from ministers to meet the 2050 target.

Friday 14 August 2020

Perenco UK reports £113m loss. DrillOrDrop report. Energy Voice (17/8/2020)

AJ Lucas chairman retires. The Australian owner of Cuadrilla, AJ Lucas, announces its chairman, Phillip Arnall is retiring at the end of August 2020. He has held the post since November 2013. He will be replaced by Andrew Purcell, an engineer and banker. He has been an AJ Lucas non-executive director since June 2014 and is currently chair of Melbana Energy Limited.

Greenpeace documents North Sea methane leak caused by oil industry blow out. Greenpeace reports that activists have document a large methane leak in the British exclusive economic zone in the North Sea. It was caused by a major blow-out during oil drilling 30 years ago and is still emitting methane, Greenpeace says. Energy Voice

Thursday 13 August 2020

Angus Energy gives notice of new Balcombe well test application. DrillOrDrop report, Morning Star

Opportunity to reboot – moderate Conservative MPs serve up green recovery policy menu. Business Green reports that the One National Conservatives group of more than 100 MPs is calling for a 2030 fossil fuel car ban, carbon tax and tree planing funding.

Oil slips after IEA lowers 2020 demand forecast. Reuters reports oil prices eased after the International Energy Agency lowered its 2020 oil demand forecast because of unprecedented travel restrictions to fight the coronavirus.

Wednesday 12 August 2020

Angus Energy deal for Saltfleetby gas. DrillOrDrop report, Shares Magazine, Morning Star

Boris Johnson poised to stop UK funding overseas fossil fuel projects. The Guardian reports that the prime minister is preparing to sign off new rules that would prevent future loans and guarantees for foreign fossil fuel projects through UK Export Finance.

Fall in global gas flaring gives cause for optimism. The FT reports that investor-led demand for tighter capital discipline has led to a 70% decline amid probable consolidation of the shale sector

Tuesday 11 August 2020

Talking the talk was the easy bit for BP. The Times reports on how BP will transform itself into “an integrated energy company”.

Monday 10 August 2020

Colin Watson climate rally2 181020
Colin Watson speaking at a rally near Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road fracking site in October 2018. Photo: Barbara Richardson

Tributes to campaigner Colin Watson. DrillOrDrop report on the death of Colin Watson, an expert witness at the IGas Ellesmere Port inquiry and a campaigner on sustainability, climate change and fracking.

Officials approve Angus Energy’s Saltfleetby pipeline. DrillOrDrop report on planning permission for 750 pipeline from Saltfleetby site near Mablethorpe to the national gas transmission system.

Reabold abandons takeover bid for Deltic Energy. Reabold Resources, an investor in Rathlin Energy, announces it has withdrawn its offer for Deltic Energy, formerly Cluff Natural Resources.

Ineos North Sea bosses optimistic despite profits plunge. Energy Voice reports on a 95% profits plunge in 2019 for Ineos’ offshore company.

BP’s green energy targets will be tough to meet. Reuters reports that BP will need to invest tens of billions of dollars over the next decade and may have to accept lower returns than it can get from oil if it is to meet its target of becoming one of the world’s largest renewable power generators.

Oil drilling drops to 15-year low, shale in full retreat. The Business Times reports that data from Baker Hughes shows that drillers have cut exploration in US oil fields to a 15-year low as billions of barrels from old discoveries became worthless and explorers abandoned growth plans.

Shale job losses accelerating and the worst may be yet to come. Bloomberg reports on a report by the industry-funded Petroleum Equipment and Services Association, which said the US oilfield services sector shed 9,433 jobs last month, up 43% on June. The US industry’s total job casualties since the pandemic now stands at 99,253, the report says

Thursday 6 August 2020

Fracking support up but opposition remains ahead – government survey. DrillOrDrop report on the latest results from the Wave tracker survey of attitudes to fracking

200806 Wave 34 Support and oppose BEIS
Support and opposition to fracking based on online versions of the Wave tracker surveys. Source: BEIS

Minister quizzed on Aurora’s fracking withdrawal. DrillOrDrop report on a parliamentary question on fracking plans at Altcar Moss.

Changes to the planning system. The government announces a consultation on changes to planning policy and regulations. Reports by BBC News, Press Association, Daily Mail, Times, Independent

Wednesday 5 August 2020

BP shows oil majors how to green a polluting company. Bloomberg Green, among others, reports on plans by BP’s chief executive to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Shale drillers plan for maintenance, not growth, as oil prices stall. World Oil reports America’s most prolific shale drillers have scrapped plans to expand supplies and spending plans are likely to be dramatically lower than in 2019.

US court allows Dakota access oil pipeline to stay open but permit status unclear. Reuters reports that a US appeals court said the Dakota Access Pipeline does not have to be shut and drained following a lower court order. But a legal battle continues over the permit that allowed the pipeline to be finished.

Tuesday 4 August 2020

West Newton-B site, 3 August 2020. Photo: West Newton Observation Station

Drilling due to start at West Newton-B site in East Yorkshire “in next few weeks”. DrillOrDrop report

Second day of protest at UKOG’s Horse Hill oil site. DrillOrDrop report

BP halves divident as Covid-19 turmoil pushes oil major to loss. The FT reports that the company cuts shareholder payout for the first time since the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Europa Oil & Gas Simon Oddie takes permanent CEO role. Europa announces that Simon Oddie, who was appointed interim chief executive in November 2019, will take on the role permanently. He stands down as non-executive chairman, to be relaced by Brian O’Cathain. Proactive Investors

Monday 3 August 2020

UKOG’s drilling plans to be decided again after Surrey County Council rules refusal was “invalid”. DrillOrDrop report

Site work begins at Wressle. DrillOrDrop report on a statement by Egdon Resources that site work had begun at its Wressle site near Scunthorpe. UK Investor Magazine

200803 Horse Hill protest UWOC2
Horse Hill oil protest, 3 August 2020. Photo: Used with the owner’s consent

Activists from across southern England take part in a slow walk protest outside the Horse Hill oil production site. DrillOrDrop report, Surrey live, Surrey Comet, The Canary

OGA approves Union Jack Oil acquisition at Wressle. Union Jack Oil plc reports that its acquisition of 12.5% of the Wressle licence PEDL182 has been approved by the Oil & Gas Authority. DrillOrDrop report

Gas flaring hits highest level in a decade. The FT reports that the amount of gas burnt off in flares by oil producers jumped to its highest level in a decade in 2019, representing a setback in global efforts to eradicate an environmentally harmful practice. More than 400m tonnes of CO2 was released into the atmosphere, according to the latest data compiled from satellite imagery. This was more than the annual greenhouse gas emissions of the entire UK economy.

More climate science deniers appointed to House of Lords. DeSmog UK reports that public figures with a history of climate science denial and opposition to environmental measures are set to become members of the House of Lords. They include a trustee of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (Charles Moore), chairs of the pro-fox hunting Countryside Alliance (Nick Herbert) and the anti-renewable energy Centre for Policy Studies (Michael Spencer).

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