Daily headlines

October 2020 headlines

You can keep up with October’s 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

Rig at Rathlin Energy’s West Newton-B site in East Yorkshire. Photo: West Newton and Sproatley Gateway to the Gas Fields

Key headlines

  • Ineos cuts value of UK shale assets to zero because of fracking moratorium
  • UKOG relinquishes PEDL143 in Surrey
  • Rig occupied at Horse Hill
  • Drilling begins at West Newton-B
  • Methane release at Preston New Road was equivalent to 143 transatlantic flights, says study
  • Judge dismisses judicial review on decommissioning costs of Third Energy wells in Ryedale
  • Oil production figures fall at Horse Hill for second month
  • Intervention work begins at Horse Hill to increase oil flows
  • Gran increases fundraising target for legal challenge to oil production
  • Oil companies try to sponsor COP26 climate talks
  • Scotland leads industrial nations in fall in greenhouse gas emissions but future cuts will be “hard won”

Thursday 29 October 2020

Methane release at Cuadrilla’s fracking site equivalent to 142 trans-Atlantic flights – study. DrillOrDrop report on research on methane emissions during cold venting linked to nitrogen lifting at Preston New Road. See also Lancashire Live, Blackpool Gazette (3/11/2020), Independent, (4/11/2020), Ends (4/11/2020)

Short extension to Angus Energy’s Brockham oil licence. DrillOrDrop report on news that PL235 has been extended until March 2021.

Review on industry compliance and regulatory obligations. The Oil & Gas Authority publishes its report following what it calls is a trend of increasing instances of industry non-compliance with regulatory obligations. These include poor quality and timing of requests to extend licence terms or move onto the next phase. It recommends improved training and guidance.

Permit granted for the start of Ineos’s Project One at Antwerp Port in Belgium. Updated DrillOrDrop report

Wednesday 28 October 2020

Calls for tougher controls on shale gas and fracking in Nottinghamshire. DrillOrDrop report on the examination in public of the county’s draft minerals plan

Tuesday 27 October 2020

Extinction Rebellion stages protest in Chesterfield against Barclays bank investment in fossil fuel companies. The Derbyshire Times reports environmental campaigners have urged bank bosses to clean up their act in a protest against their investment in fossil fuel companies.

Monday 26 October 2020

Minister and Friends of the Earth join legal challenge on Horse Hill oil production. DrillOrDrop report, In your area

IGas plans to produce hydrogen from methane at south east well sites. DrillOrDrop report, UpstreamOnline, Energy Voice

Friday 23 October 2020

Ineos cuts £63+m from value of UK shale assets because of fracking moratorium. DrillOrDrop report on Ineos Upstream Limited annual accounts for 2019, Telegraph (26/10/2020)

Climate protests at Ineos sites. DrillOrDrop, Energy Voice and BBC News report climate activists have locked themselves onto two boats parked at the entrances of the Ineos petrochemical refinery. One of boats, the “Amal Gous”, is the purple vessel used to create a barrier at the Shell Aberdeen HQ in January.

Wednesday 21 October 2020

Doriemus to pull out of Brockham oil licence. DrillOrDrop report on transaction that would give Angus Energy 75% of the PL235 licence.

Traffic arrangements approved for Horse Hill drilling and oil production scheme. DrillOrDrop report on approval of traffic management plan for Horse Hill site in Surrey.

Monday 19 October 2020

Moody’s affirms Ineos Group CFR at Ba3: outlook remains negative. Moody’s Investors Service affirmed Ineos Group Holdings corporate family rating at Ba3 and probability of default rating at Ba3-PD. The rating outlook for the company, along with Ineos Finance plc’s secured loan facilities and secured notes remains negative.

Sunday 18 October 2020

How Yorkshire Boadicea was targeted by the eco-warriors determined to stop fracking. The Express reports on a book by fracking supporter Lorraine Allanson and her response to what it calls “the eco-warrior circus” that “rolled into her picturesque part of North Yorkshire, protesting at fracking plans in Ryedale”.

Friday 16 October 2020

UKOG gives up Surrey Hills oil exploration licence. DrillOrDrop report on decision by UKOG, Egdon and Angus Energy to relinquish PEDL143, Morning Star, Proactive Investors, Shares Magazine

Campaign against oil drilling at Bury Hill Wood near Leith Hill. Photo: Jon O’Houston

Date set for re-run of Dunsfold drilling decision. DrillOrDrop report on the second hearing on UKOG’s planning application to drill for gas at Dunsfold in Surrey.

Thursday 15 October 2020

Report challenges industry arguments for UK onshore oil. Weald Action Group report which argues that the UK does not need more onshore oil to deliver energy security, net zero emissions, jobs or feedstocks. DrillOrDrop

UK anti-fracking groups join campaign against Ineos complex in Antwerp. DrillOrDrop report on letter opposing Ineos Project One scheme

Fossil fuels are rapidly losing favour with investors. Climate News Network reports that big fossil fuels companies are plunging in value as investors turn to renewables.

Dangerous radiation levels from fracking. Dr David Lowry, writing in The Guardian, refers to a study on radiation risks from fracking (see 13 October 2020). He says unless shale gas is stored for up to a month to allow the radon’s radioactivity to naturally reduce it is potentially very dangerous””

We cannot accept this as any kind of victory”. Deborah Gibson, a member of Harthill Against Fracking, writing in the Rotherham Advertiser, questions why the energy minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, should tell Alexander Stafford, MP for Rother Valley, to accept victory over fracking (see Minister tells anti-fracking MPs to “accept victory“). She says:

“Given that the ending of fracking in Rother Valley is not in Mr Stafford’s [the local MP] or Kwasi Kwarteng’s gift, how can we accept and celebrate a victory that has not been won.”

Wednesday 14 October 2020

Online exhibition reveals details of two new Rathlin Energy well sites. DrillOrDrop report

UKOG gives update on Turkey Resan licence. UK Oil & Gas plc reports it has “successfully executed the participation agreement and the join operating agreement with Aladdin Middle East Ltd for its 50% interest in the Turkish Resan Licence”.

Union Jack’s further acquisition of North Kelsey. Union Jack Oil reports that it has acquired a further 30% of PEDL241, the North Kelsey prospect, from Egdon Resources. This takes both Union Jack and Egdon’s interests to 50%.

Global emissions fell 8.8% in first half of 2020, study shows. Reuters reports on research in the journal Nature Communications, which concludes that emissions fell by 1,551 million tonnes in the first six months of the year. This represents the largest ever all in emissions over the first half year, bigger than for any economic down turn and larger than the annual decrease during World War 2.

Tuesday 13 October 2020

Third Energy challenges order to plug and abandon its Ryedale gas wells. DrillorDrop report on an official notice that could block plans to use the wells to test alternative technologies.

Northern Ireland to review onshore petroleum licensing. DrillOrDrop report on announcement in the Northern Ireland assembly. BBC News, Leitrim Observer

Tamboran drops fracking from licence plans in County Fermanagh. DrillOrDrop, BBC News (18/10/2020)

UKOG moves site access for Arreton oil drilling. DrillOrDrop report on changes to the UKOG planning application.

Europa counts on Wressle as losses widen. DrillOrDrop report on the company’s annual accounts.

Airborne radioactivity increases downwind of fracking, study finds. The Guardian reports that Harvard scientists have discovered that the radioactivity of airborne particles increases significantly downwind of fracking sites in the US and that this could damage the health of people living nearby.

Claire O’Neill joins Ikigai Capital to support net zero consultancy push. Business Green reports that the former energy minister joins the board of a green investment consultancy.

Monday 12 October 2020

Brighton management consultant pleads not guilty over Horse Hill oil rig protest. DrillOrDrop report, Brighton Argus, BBC News, Sussex Express

Consultation on banning common single-use plastic items. The Scottish government reports that it is seeking views on plans to ban items such as plastic cutlery and straws. Any legislation would be expected to be introduced in 2021.

Tackling single use plastic is good news for the climate. Friends of the Earth Scotland welcomes the Scottish government consultation.

Saturday 10 October 2020

Protest at Horse Hill oil site in Surrey, 10 Octobeer 2020. Photo: Extinction Rebellion

Breaking: Two fathers in their 50s have occupied the Horse Hill rig in protest to fossil fuels. DrillOrDrop report, Brighton Argus, Surrey Comet

Friday 9 October 2020

Preston judge dismisses appeal over conviction for threatening behaviour by Fylde DJ. The Lancashire Evening Post reports that an appeal by the anti-fracking campaigner, Gayzer Frackman, has been dismissed by a judge at Preston Crown Court. Mr Frackman, also known as Geza Tarjanyi, had been convicted of a public order offence after disrupting a performance by other anti-fracking campaigners during the Lancashire fringe festival in May 2019.

Thursday 8 October 2020

Work starting on Saltfleetby pipeline. Angus Energy releases a statement that planning conditions were agreed today with Lincolnshire County Council on the extension of the Saltfleetby gas pipeline. Angus says it has instructed contractors to start drilling and trenching works on the pipeline extension to the National Grid Theddlethorpe Entry Point. The main heavy work is expected to be finished by 6 November, Angus says.

Project awarded carbon storage licence. The OGA reports that a carbon dioxide appraisal and storage licence has been awarded to Eni UK Limited. It will cover an area in the Liverpool Bay area. Eni plans to reuse depleted hydrocarbon reservoirs to permanently store CO2 captured in NW England and N Wales.

Wednesday 7 October 2020

Renewables help Scotland head industrial nations in fall in greenhouse gas emissions – but future cuts will be “hard won”. DrillOrDrop report on Committee on Climate Change annual progress report for Scotland.

Decision on UKOG’s Dunsfold drilling application delayed to November. DrillOrDrop report

Big fossil fuel groups all failing climate goals, study shows. The FT and Technocodex report on a study by London School of Economics academics and investors that manage $21tn in funds, which assessed 125 oil and gas producers, coal miners and electricity groups on their preparedness for a lower-carbon economy.  Of the 59 major oil, gas and coal players assessed, only seven are on track to align with the emissions pledges governments made as part of the 2015 Paris Agreement. But even compliance would leave the world on track for 3.2oC.

Unusually shallow earthquake ruptures in Chinese fracking field. Phys.Org reports on a study in the journal Seismological Research Letters, on a 4.9 magnitude earthquake in Rongxian County, Sichuan, China, on 25 February 2019 that took place about 1km deep. Along with four foreschocks, measuring more than 4ML, it appeared to be related to fracking. Two people died and 12 were injured. The economic loss was about $2m.

Tuesday 6 October 2020

Substantial losses” at Horse Hill. DrillOrDrop report on latest accounts.

Angus to quit Brockham if water reinjection is not permitted. DrillOrDrop report on Angus Energy’s application for consent to reinject formation water at the Surrey site.

Online art sale to raise money for legal challenge to oil drilling. DrillOrDrop report on sale to raise funds for court challenge to planning permission at Horse Hill.

Boris Johnson pledges wind power will run every home in Britain by 2030. The Times reports Boris Johnson is says he will make Britain the Saudi Arabia of wind with a promise to upgrade facilities on the east coast, as well as Scotland and Wales, to ensure the next generation of wind turbines are made in the UK. Philip Dunne MP, chair of the parliamentary environmental audit committee, said the prime minister’s ambition was a “vote of confidence” in the offshore wind sector and “could be instrumental in our path to net zero”.

Trump report touts oil and gas as ‘energy security’ amid US climate disasters. The Guardian reports on a $200,000 document from the US energy department which fails to mention the realities of the climate crisis or the downsides of the energy industry.

Monday 5 October 2020

Judge dismisses legal challenge on decommissioning costs of Third Energy wells in Ryedale North Yorkshire. DrillOrDrop report

Climate campaigners slow walk tankers at Horse Hill oil site in Surrey. DrillOrDrop report.

Weir Group exits oil and gas in £314m deal. Weir Group announces that it negotiating to sell its entire oil and gas division to Caterpillar for £314m. The announcement saw shares rise almost 16%. The division employs more than 2,000 people, most in North America, BBC News said. Weir said it was concentrating on mining. The company processes most of the world’s mined copper, a key component in smart phones, solar panels, wind turbines and electric vehicles.

Fracking: NI minister Nichola Mallon plans to tighten rules. BBC News reports that infrastructure minister, Nichola Mallon, is to change planning rules to tighten up regulations on fracking. She intends to require planning permission for oil and gas exploration, including fracking, currently allowed under permitted development rights.

Sunday 4 October 2020

Drilling begins at West Newton-B, Rathlin Energy’s exploration site in East Yorkshire. DrillOrDrop report, Shares Magazine (5/10/2020)

Anti-fracking campaigner challenges research contract. The Impartial Reporter carries an article about anti-fracking campaigner Diane Little who has lodged a complaint against a Department for the Economy contract which would research the potential effects of oil and gas production. She claims the study does not look at the concerns about public health.

Saturday 3 October 2020

Breaking: Climate activists occupy land earmarked for major Ineos chemical plant in Belgium. DrillOrDrop report on occupation of land for the Ineos Project One site in Antwerp.

Friday 2 October 2020

UKOG raises £2.2m for Turkish exploration project. DrillOrDrop report on UKOG announcement of a placing of 1,374m shares

Ineos, SSE and Exxon top climate polluter ‘league of destruction’. The Ferret reports that Ineos is by far the largest climate polluter in Scotland, according to the latest official data. Figures from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency show that five oil, chemical and power plants owned by the company at Grangemouth spewed 3.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the air during 2019. That was twice as much as the amount emitted by the second biggest polluter, power company SSE.

Government concedes on energy policy. The Good Law Project reports that the government has accepted it must review outdated energy policy that has allowed fossil fuel projects. The policy dates back to 2011 and has a presumption in favour of fossil fuels, GLP says, It fails to take into account the Paris Agreement and Net Zero commitment. Government email and i news

More than half of people unwilling to pay more for energy to meet UK climate goals, poll shows. The Telegraph reports that new figures show the uphill struggle the government may face to become carbon neutral by 2050.

Thursday 1 October 2020

Oil flow work begins at Horse Hill as production figures fall again. DrillOrDrop report on well intervention and monthly oil production data at Horse Hill.

Picture post: Gran’s 100-mile fundraiser aims for £5,000. DrillOrDrop report on sponsored walk to raise money for legal challenge to Horse Hill oil production plans.

Anti-fracking network is runner-up in national awards. DrillOrDrop report on Frack Free United’s placing in Sheila McKechnie Foundation awards.

Big oil’s push to co-opt COP26. Culture Unstained reports that emails and meeting notes released following freedom of information requests reveal that major oil companies such as Equinor, Shell and BP have been pushing to sponsor the crucial climate negotiations and to ‘partner’ closely with the UK government around the summit. Since October 2019, these companies have discussed their involvement in COP26 at more than 13 separate meetings. Also reported by the Guardian and DesmogUK. 350.org has begun a petition to “kick polluters out ofCOP26“.

University of Cambridge makes ‘landmark decision’ on fossil fuel investments. Cambridgeshire Live and BBC News reports that Cambridge University will divest from all fossil fuel investments by 2030 after years of criticism by staff and students for profiting from climate change.

NHS becomes world’s first health system to commit to net zero. Business Green reports a plan by the NHS to reduce emissions under its direct control to net zero by 2040, before bringing its supply chain footprint in line by 2045.

Is oil giant’s talk of zero-crude refinery a case of greenwash? The Herald reports on news that Total planned to convert a refinery near Paris from oil and gas to useful products made in an environmentally-friendly way.

BP and Shell shares sink to 25-year low. The Telegraph and Bloomberg report that shares in the UK’s two biggest oil companies fell to 25-year lows after oil prices dropped back below $40 a barrel for the first time in nearly a month.

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