Daily headlines

September 2020 headlines

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

Opponents of drilling at UKOG's Horse Hill oil site in Surrey, 4 August 2020. Photo: XR South East
Opponents of drilling at UKOG’s Horse Hill oil site in Surrey, 4 August 2020. Photo: XR South East

Key headlines

  • Citizens assembly on UK climate change rejects fossil fuels and CCS
  • Horse Hill oil production falls
  • Schlumberger sells fracking business
  • Bill tabled to reform UK Climate Change Act
  • New West Newton drilling plans don’t need EIAs
  • Extension for Egdon’s North Kelsey site
  • British gas company to sue Slovenia over fracking delay
  • UK onshore regulation criticised as “woefully inadequate”
  • Egdon Resources drops acidisation plans at Wressle
  • Legal challenge to Horse Hill oil production permission expands to take on planning policy.
  • Drill rig delivered to West Newton-B.
  • Losses widen at Union Jack Oil.

Wednesday 30 September 2020

Third Energy seeks geothermal heat from old Ryedale gas wells. DrillOrDrop report on Third Energy’s plans for reusing wells in North Yorkshire.

Shell to cut up to 9,000 jobs as oil demand slumps. BBC News reports that Shell has said it plans to cut 7,000-9,000 jobs as it reponds to challenges including the slump in oil demand amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tuesday 29 September 2020

“Woefully inadequate” regulation of UK onshore oil and gas risks environmental damage – new study. DrillOrDrop report on a review of UK shale regulation by emeritus professor and fracking critic David Smythe. Ends Report

Majority of North Sea workers consider leaving the industry. A survey for Friends of the Earth Scotland, Plaform and Greenpeace found that 81% of oil and gas workers in the UK Continental Shelf said they would consider leaving the industry to work in another sector. Given the option to retrain, more than half would be interested in renewables and offshore wind, the survey of 1,383 workers found. Energy Voice

Oil and Gas UK brands climate group report ‘misleading’. Energy Voice reports that the offshore industry group, Oil and Gas UK criticised the report on the attitudes of North Sea workers. It said the reported “failed to note the progress” to support workers to move between renewables, oil and gas and nuclear.

Monday 28 September 2020

Minister tells anti-fracking MPs to “accept victory”. DrillOrDrop report on adjournment debate on fracking called by Alexander Stafford, MP for Rother Valley. Yorkshire Post, Energy Voice

Egdon plans “small-scale fracking” instead of acidisation at Wressle oil site. DrillOrDrop report on plans by Egdon Resources to use proppant squeeze as its first option for oil stimulation, rather than acidisation.

OGA turns attention to flaring and venting of greenhouse gases. The Oil & Gas Authority reports that for the first time it is “expanding its benchmarking” of flaring and venting of greenhouse gases on the UK continental shelf. It would be detailing flaring and venting activity levels in the North Sea and the resulting oil and gas greenhouse gas emissions, the OGA said. Energy Voice

Saturday 26 September 2020

Fracking: Fermanagh council investigating ‘significant error’ in consultation. BBC News and the Times reports that Femanagh and Omagh District Council has halted a public consultation and is hold an inquiry after a “very significant error” was found in the wording of planning guidelines on fracking. The original wording said:

the council “will not permit exploitation of unconventional hydrocarbon extraction until it is proved that there would be no adverse effects on the environment or public health”.

But the reworked version said:

“Council will not permit exploitation of unconventional hydrocarbon extraction until there is sufficient and robust evidence on all associated impacts on the environment and human health.”

Anti-fracking protester claimed benefits due to ‘fear of leaving house’. The Shropshire Star and Blackpool Gazette report on a sentencing hearing case where prosecutors alleged that John Knox, 33, played an active part in demonstrations at Cuadrilla’s fracking site at Preston New Road. But this was incompatible with the level of capability declared on his benefits application form. He was sentenced at Preston Crown Court to a 12-month community order and must observe a 9pm-6am curfew for three months and two weeks. See also Lancashire Telegraph (28/9/2020)

Friday 25 September 2020

Surrey campaigner takes on national planning policy in legal climate challenge. DrillOrDrop report on the case against UKOG’s oil production consent.

IGas additional share placement. IGas reports that it has applied for the admission of 650,000 shares at 0.002p to the trade on the AIM stock exchange.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, UK’s richest person, moves to tax-free Monaco. The Guardian, Daily Mail and Bloomberg report that the Ineos boss, with an estimated £17.5bn fortune, officially changes his tax domicile.

Thursday 24 September 2020

Global climate goals ‘virtually impossible’ without carbon capture: IEA. Reuters reports comments by the International Energy Agency that a sharp rise in carbon capture, utilisation and storage technology is needed globally if countries are to meet net zero emissions targets designed to slow climate change.

Wednesday 23 September 2020

Angus Energy to borrow £12m for Saltfleetby. DrillOrDrop report on financing for the Lincolnshire gas field.

Isle of Wight council committee defends consultation for UKOG oil drilling planning application. On the Wight reports on the rejection by the council’s planning committee of a motion calling for the public consultation on the application for oil drilling in Arreton to be withdrawn and reintroduced. Planning manager, Ollie Boulter, said officers were “some way off” determining the application.

BP won’t rule out further North Sea oil exploration despite 40% production cut pledge. Energy Voice reports comments by BP boss Peter Mather at a Scottish parliament committee that the company would “continue to take opportunities” in the UK sector.

UK government urged to set cost reduction targets for renewable hydrogen. Energy Voice reports on a study from Renewable UK which calls for Westminster to help customers by supporting the rapid development of green hydrogen, which is generated using renewable electricity.

London and Bristol vow to divest from fossil fuel companies as part of Covid-19 recovery plans. Edie reports that mayors of 12 major cities, including London and Bristol, have committed to take “all possible steps” to divest city assets from fossil fuel companies.

Tuesday 22 September 2020

IGas reveals impact of Covid-19. DrillOrDrop report on falls in revenue and earnings at IGas during the coronavirus outbreak, ShareCast, Morning Star

Drill rig delivered to West Newton-B. DrillOrDrop report on mobilisation of equipment to the site in East Yorkshire.

Ineos agrees to largest ever industrial wind power purchase contract in Belgium. Ineos says it has agreed a deal with Engie to use wind power at existing Ineos production sites in Belgium and later by plants to produce ethylene and propylene planned in Antwerp. The company said the renewable energy will avoid 1,150,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

Opec keeps strategy under wraps in oil stumble. The FT reports that Saudi Arabia’s energy minister is keeping his options open while the recovery in oil prices splutters, setting up a potentially volatile period ahead.

Brits unknowingly funding climate change through their pensions. Yahoo Finance reports that 67% of Britons are unknowingly funding climate change by investing in savings or pensions that fund oil and gas companies.

Monday 21 September 2020

UK’s second biggest onshore gas field predicted in Surrey. DrillOrDrop report on resource report for UKOG on Dunsfold/Loxley well site

In SUVs and on planes, richest 1% drive climate-heating emissions. Reuters reports that the richest 1% of the world’s population produced twice as many planet-heating emissions as the poorest half over the last quarter century, according to research by Oxfam and the Stockholm Environment Institute.

Sunday 20 September 2020

How the oil industry made us doubt climate change. The BBC reports on accusations that oil companies are accused to trying to downplay their contribution to climate change.

Saturday 19 September 2020

Shell cuts back on fracking to fund renewable energy drive. The Sunday Telegraph reports Shell is making deep cuts in its fracking business as it tries to free up cash to cope with the pandemic and invest in renewable energy.

Thursday 17 September 2020

Surrey grandmother’s 100 mile walk against oil drilling. DrillOrDrop report on fundraising for a legal challenge against Surrey County Council.

Internal Market Bill risks override on fracking – MPs. DrillOrDrop report on concerns about the proposed Office of the Internal Market

Union Jack Oil raises £7m. DrillOrDrop report on share placing and subscription.

MP to call for fracking ban in Rother Valley. DrillOrDrop report on adjournment debate secured by Alexander Stafford.

We will support oil industry, but change is needed, minister says. Energy Voice reports on comments by the energy minister, Kwasi Kwarteng in advance of the energy white paper. Upstream Online

Wednesday 16 September 2020

IGas acquires geothermal firm. DrillOrDrop report on IGas deal for GT Energy UK Limited. IGas statement, Proactive Investors, Insider Media Limited

Tuesday 15 September 2020

Campaigners condemn UK gas company for legal action against Slovenia over fracking delays. DrillOrDrop report on Ascent Resources’ case against the Slovenian government

From the Weald to Turkey – UKOG’s name trail. DrillOrDrop report on UKOG Turkey Ltd

Monday 14 September 2020

Losses widen at Union Jack Oil. DrillOrDrop report, Link to half year results k, Proactive Investors

BP says oil demand may have peaked early. The FT , Guardian , Reuters, the Telegraph and Energy Voice report on BP warnings of peak oil demand by early 2020s.

Floating wind farms will help country to hit net-zero carbon emissions targets. The Times reports Boris Johnson is preparing to back floating wind turbines and greener steel plants to help Britain meet its carbon reduction targets. Details are expected in a speech setting out how the UK will reduce net carbon emissions to zero by 2050.

Environmentalists criticise funding for NI drilling study. BBC News reports criticism of a Northern Ireland Executive department for making £75,000 available to fund a consultants’ report on the pros and cons of petroleum exploration, including fracking.

US output to drop 68,000 bpd to 7.64m in October – EIA. Reuters reports on a prediction from the US Energy Information Administration that US oil output from seven major shale formations is expected to decline by about 68,000 barrels per day in October to 7.64m.

Sunday 13 September 2020

Councillors alarmed over change to fracking policy. The Fermanagh Herald reports that Fermanagh Council has suspended its draft local development constitution after it emerged a section intended to strongly oppose local fracking had been changed without councillors’ knowledge or consent.

Extinction Rebellion sounded alarm on out of touch elite, we must listen – Green Party. Jonathan Barley, co-leader of the Green Party, writing in the Express, says now that Extinction Rebellion has sounded the alarm on climate change the Green Party is “ready to do the heavy lifting and how how things can be transformed.

Climate crisis: Motorway speed limits ‘to be cut to 60mph’ to reduce emissions and pollution. The Independent reports Highways England is planning to reduce speed limits in four locations by the end of September in a trial aimed at tackling motoring’s impact on climate.

Sydney awash with leaks as research shows the climate cost of gas. The Sydney Morning Herald reports warnings from Professor Bryce Kelly, at the University of New South Wales, that natural gas is a significant contributor to the global warming crisis. He fears that international carbon inventories are failing to the true extent of greenhouse gas emissions from the industry.

Saturday 12 September 2020

A secret recording reveals oil executives’ private views on climate change. The New York Times and Mail Online report that at a meeting last year industry leaders contradicted public claims that emissions of climate-warming methane are under control. The paper reveals comments in June 2019 by Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council:

“We’re just flaring a tremendous amount of gas. This pesky natural gas. The value of it is very minimal,” [particularly to companies drilling mainly for oil]

Fry and Rylance defend Extinction Rebellion against UK’s ‘organised crime group’ classification. The Observer reports that Stephen Fry, Mark Rylance and a former Archbishop of Canterbury are among 150 public figures to hit back in a letter to the paper at government moves to classify the climate protesters of Extinction Rebellion as an “organised crime group”. 

The Times view on Extinction Rebellion: Green Bullies. The Times leader says Extinction Rebellion initially helped raise awareness of the risks of climate change. But since then it has eroded goodwill and was “even managing to alienate its own staff”.

Friday 11 September 2020

Fracking in the shale fields slows for the first time since 2017. Bloomberg reports that frackers are blasting less sand into shale wells for the first time in almost three years as oil explorers adjust to lower oil demand and prices amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Thursday 10 September 2020

UK climate assembly rejects fossil fuels and CCS. DrillOrDrop report on the final report of Climate Assembly UK. i news, Bloomberg, Guardian, Reuters

Photo: Rampion Offshore Wind

MPs launch inquiry into climate assembly findings. DrillOrDrop report on plans for an inquiry to monitor progress on implementing the assembly’s recommendations.

Kerogen MP joins Cuadrilla boards. DrillOrDrop report on director appointments to Cuadrilla’s holding company and subsidiaries.

Oil industry needs ‘real, tangible action’ to win hearts and minds. Energy Voice reports comments by Fawaz Bitar, chair of the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers who said:

“We need to come to work for a greater reason than making money; we need to have purpose in everything we do.”

Union Jack Oil looking at fundraise for flagship and other projects. Proactive Investors reports a statement by Union Jack Oil responding to market speculation that it is considering raising funds.

Are we seeing the end of the UK’s fossil fuel empire? Prospect reports that Boris Johnson has pledged to end Britain’s support for global gas and oil projects but it asks whether the government will make good on its promise.

Wednesday 9 September 2020

Emissions are already heading back to pre-pandemic levels. Bloomberg reports conclusions from the World Meteorological Organisation that 2016-2020 is set to be the warmest five-year period on record.

Fracking company sues Slovenia over ‘unreasonable’ environmental projections. Climate Home News reports that London-based Ascent Resources is taking legal action against the Slovenian government for making it do an environmental impact study before fracking near a water source. The company is using an investment treaty and the Energy Charter Treaty.

Climate change: Former minister O’Neill blasts government ‘inaction’ . BBC News reports that the former energy minister, Claire Perry O’Neill has criticised the Prime Minister over failings in the run-up up to next year’s climate summit, COP26. She criticises what she described as broken promises and mismanagement.

Scotland could take legal action over a ‘threat to devolution’ posed by UK ministers. The Herald reports that the Scottish government may take legal action over the UK Internal Market Bill. Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said the bill threatened Scotland’s policy against fracking.

Natural gas is the rich world’s new coal. Bloomberg Green reports that gas is going the same way as coal – it is poised to lose out to solar, wind and energy efficiency measures. Investors are now shying away from it.

Monday 7 September 2020

Second extension for Egdon Resources’ North Kelsey site in Lincolnshire – to December 2021. DrillOrDrop report of planning committee decision

Extinction Rebellion ‘could be reclassified as organised crime group’ . Sky reports that ministers are considering reclassifying Extinction Rebellion as an organised crime group after protests outside newspaper printing works prevented distribution of many national UK newspapers. the Press Association (PA) news agency says Home Secretary Priti Patel wants to take a “fresh look” at how Extinction Rebellion (XR) is classified under law following the protest.

Thursday 3 September 2020

New details on Rathlin Energy’s new drilling plans as East Yorkshire planners clear way for applications. DrillOrDrop report on council decision that West Newton wellsite proposals do not need an environmental impact assessment.

Lincolnshire planners again back time extension at Egdon’s North Kelsey oil site. DrillOrDrop report

Offer of awards for UK 32nd offshore licensing round. The Oil & Gas Authority offers 113 licence areas over 259 blocks to 65 companies in the 32nd offshore round.

Government review of future UK onshore oil and gas licensing. The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy announces a review of policy on the offshore oil and gas licensing regime. Initial findings will be published in the upcoming Energy White Paper.

New drilling permits speed climate breakdown. Friends of the Earth Scotland says:

“The continued licensing of vast swathes of the North Sea for oil and gas drilling has completely exposed the outrageous hypocrisy inherent in the UK’s Government’s approach to the climate emergency. While patting themselves on the back for their ‘net zero’ targets, Ministers are handing out yet more licenses for fossil fuel extraction that will take us speeding towards climate catastrophe.”

Aviation’s contribution to global warming has doubled since 2000. New Scientist reports on a study by Manchester Metropolitan University which found that flying’s impact on global warming nearly doubled between 2000 and 2018, outpacing efforts to reduce its contribution.

Wednesday 2 September 2020

Little Greta lightship near the Horse Hill oil site in Surrey. Photo: James Knapp

Climate change lightship passes Horse Hill oil site. DrillOrDrop report on the journey of the Little Greta model lightship being pushed from Brighton to London and the introduction of the Climate and Environmental Emergency Bill.

MPs table fresh legislation to ‘close gaps’ in UK Climate Change Act. Business Green reports on the proposed Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill that would bring international aviation, shipping and consumption within the UK’s 2050 net zero target and put climate assemblies on a formal standing.

Unilever to cut fossil fuels from cleaning brands. BBC News reports that Unilever, producer of products including Domestos, Omo and Cif, is to spend E1bn on efforts to replace petrochemicals with ingredients from plants and marine sources such as a algae.

Tuesday 1 September 2020

Oil production at Horse Hill, March-May 2020. Source: OGA

Horse Hill oil production falls – latest data. DrillOrDrop report on 25% fall in oil production at Horse Hill in May 2020 and increase in water production.

Police to finally stop calling us Domestic Extremists. Netpol reports that after years of its campaigning, policing in Britain has decided to abandon the label “domestic extremism” for protest.

Arrests as Extinction Rebellion protests begin across England. BBC News, and others, report that at least 90 people were arrested in climate change protests across England. City Am report on protests outside Lloyd’s of London

Schlumberger sells US fracking business after oil price cripples demand. Energy Voice reports that Schlumberger’s OneStim unit will be combined with Liberty Oilfield Services Inc. Schlumberger will take a 37% stake in Liberty, valued at about $448m. Reports also by World Oil and the Houston Chronicle

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