Daily headlines

November 2020 headlines

You can keep up with November’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

West Newton B exploration site, 27 October 2020. Photo: West Newton and Sproatley Gateway to the Gasfields

Key headlines

  • Industry proposals to curb fracking earthquakes “insufficient” to lift moratorium
  • “Non-operational Cuadrilla Resources declare £38m loss
  • Opponents call on the fracking industry to “move on”
  • Fracking opposition remains ahead of support in government survey
  • Latest production data from Horse Hill shows oil slide continues
  • Horse Hill well test after work to increase oil flows
  • Egdon plans drilling and oil production at Biscathorpe
  • Regulator gives oil and gas companies more time to meet UK onshore exploration commitments

Monday 30 November 2020

Charges dropped against Horse Hill oil site protesters. DrillOrDrop report on discontinuation of cases against two people charged with obstruction and two with trespass.

Memorandum of understanding on Saltfleetby finance. Angus Energy announces an MOU with Aleph Energy and Aleph Commodities over terms to provide £12m towards a Saltfleetby finance facility to develop the Saltfleetby gas field.

In-depth Q & A: Does the world need hydrogen to solve climate change? CarbonBrief examines the big questions around the “hydrogen economy” and looks at the extent to which it could help the world avoid dangerous climate change.

Sunday 29 November 2020

Russell Group universities received £60m in funding from coal, oil and gas sector in last five years. The Independent reports that earth science departments at the majority of the 24 Russel Group universities in the UK took money from fossil fuel interests since 2015. Imperial College was by far the largest recipient, accepting more than £30m from fossil fuel interests.

Friday 27 November 2020

Breaking: Dunsfold drilling plans refused for second time – live news updates: Decision on Dunsfold. DrillOrDrop report on Surrey County Council meeting on UKOG plans to explore for gas at its Loxley wellsite near Dunsfold. Get Surrey

Villagers relieved at second refusal of Dunsfold drilling plans – UKOG “likely to appeal”. DrillOrDrop report on reaction to rejection of gas exploration application

Thursday 26 November 2020

Union Jack announces £1m loan for Wressle oil site – workover rig expected in New Year. DrillOrDrop report

Union Jack director dealings. Union Jack announces that Joseph O’Farrell has bought 19.3m shares at 0.025p each and David Bramhill, executive chairman, has bought 19.4m shares at 0.129p each.

Statement on fracking moratorium from Cuadrilla’s owner, AJ Lucas. Company chair, Andrew Purcell, says:

“Ultimately, we believe the UK will wish to develop the secure, clean and likely extensive gas resources that our work has shown exists within the shale deposits in our licence areas. The UK Government has a legislated goal to become a net zero emitter of greenhouse gases by 2050 and the UK Committee on Climate Change has recognised the important role gas must play in meeting this target. Alternative sources of supply exist, but they would seem less suited to supporting a long term strategy such as this (supply from the North Sea has been in steady decline for more than 20 years and importing gas would not only be less secure but likely more carbon intensive).”

Wednesday 25 November 2020

Gas company accused of “exaggerated” and unsubstantiated assertions about Surrey drilling plans. DrillOrDrop report

Borough council calls for refusal of UKOG drilling plans at Dunsfold. DrillOrDrop report

Newdigate earthquake. The British Geological Survey records a 0.3ML earthquake at 2km depth centred on Newdigate in Surrey at 1.19am.

Tuesday 24 November 2020

Anti-fracking clauses defeated. Clause added to the Environment Bill by Labour MPs preventing the issue of well consents for hydraulic fracturing is defeated. TheyWorkForYou

Monday 23 November 2020

Target formation at West Newton wellsite shows “insufficient reservoir development” – sidetrack drilling begins. DrillOrDrop report on update from Rathlin Energy’s East Yorkshire drilling site.

“Largely non-operational” Cuadrilla Resources declares £38m annual loss. DrillOrDrop report on Cuadrilla’s annual accounts. Blackpool Gazette (25/11/2020)

Ineos signs hydrogen fuel cell deal for its off-road vehicle. The Guardian , This is Money, reports that Ineos is to use Hyundai hydrogen cells in its new Grenadier off-roader vehicle.

‘No political will’ for a just transition away from hydrocarbons, says union boss. Energy Voice, quoting RMT regional organiser Jake Molloy, who says thousands of oil and gas workers that have lost their jobs in the last few months have been left by the wayside because there is no route for them to join the green recovery.

Sunday 22 November 2020

Death of Fi Radford. Greenworld reports on the death of anti-fracking campaigner and Green Party member Fi Radford.

Friday 20 November 2020

Regulator gives oil and gas companies more time to meet UK onshore exploration commitments. DrillOrDrop report

UKOG drilling plans at Dunsfold in Surrey spark debate over whether onshore gas can help to tackle climate change. DrillOrDrop report a resident’s rebuttal of UKOG clarifications about its Dunsfold gas exploration plans.

BBC journalist summoned by judge after clip of Horse Hill court proceedings broadcast on TV. Get Surrey reports that BBC journalist Fiona Irving was summoned before a High Court judge after a clip from an online case was broadcast on South East Today. At the contempt of court hearing, Mr Justice Holgate asked for transcripts of the parts of the case that had been recorded. Once he reviews these, a date will be set for the next hearing.

Thursday 19 November 2020

Officials again back UKOG plans to drill at Dunsfold. DrillOrDrop report on recommendation by Surrey County Council planners

Wednesday 18 November 2020

Council defends decision to allow 20 years of oil production at Horse Hill – day 2 judicial review. DrillOrDrop report, Get Surrey, Morning Star (20/11/2020), Proactive Investors (20/11/2020)

Media reaction: Boris Johnson’s 10-point net-zero plan for climate change. Carbon Brief documents what the prime minister has proposed, how the media has responded and how the measures stack up against the UK’s legally binding net-zero emissions goal.

Tuesday 17 November 2020

Campaigner takes council to court over oil production at Horse Hill – day 1 judicial review. DrillOrDrop report of the first day of judicial review hearing. Energy Voice, BBC News, Environment Journal, Get Surrey

Oil court case challenges future big carbon developments. DrillOrDrop report on the case starting today at the High Court about Horse Hill oil production which could have big implications for future carbon-intense planning proposals.

Picture post: Vigil at Horse Hill oil site. DrillOrDrop report

Now is the time to plan our green recovery. The FT has an article by the prime minister, Boris Johnson, which sets out a 10-point plan to ” turn the UK into the world’s number one centre for green technology and finance”. The points include bringing forward to 2030 a ban on diesel and petrol cars. Reports also by Reuters, Guardian, BBC News, i News, Carbon Brief’s Dr Simon Evans on Twitter

Reaction to the plan. Mike Childs, head of policy at Friends of the earth, said:

“Despite a number of positive commitments, the Prime Minister’s 10 point plan falls far short of the ambitious policy overhaul needed to demonstrate real global leadership on the climate crisis.

“A much bolder approach is needed if the UK is to create the hundreds of thousands of new green jobs and other benefits that building a cleaner, safer future will bring.” 

Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

“This much-trailed 10-point plan is deeply disappointing.  In this CLimate Emergency, what we needed was investment in measures that would reduce emissions drastically over the next decade and create green jobs immediately. Instead, the UK Government is clearly living in fantasy land with far too much reliance on long-term false solutions to the climate crisis like carbon capture and storage, hydrogen and nuclear. While there are some crumbs from the table in terms of the welcome new target of 2030 to phase out fossil-fuelled cars, overall there is too little new money and too much funding committed to long-term, dangerous distractions. The funding on the table is a fraction of what’s needed to bring emissions down over the next decade, and the plan lacks credible detail about how it would create decent green jobs and ensure a truly just and green recovery from COVID-19.”

Lord Deben, chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, said:

“I am delighted to see the breadth of the Prime Minister’s commitment. This must now be turned into a detailed road map – so we all know what’s coming down the track in the years ahead. Our homes, the way we travel, our industries, our land, and all of us individually have a role to play as we strive to lead the world in tackling climate change. The good news is that we can also reap the rewards – improved health, a stronger economy, a boost for UK jobs and the ability to tell our children and grandchildren that the UK acted in time.”

Chris Stark, chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change, said:

“The plans announced today will transform Britain for the better, bringing new opportunities and new investment. This is our path out of the economic challenges created by the COVID crisis. And it is a set of commitments that will raise the UK’s credibility ahead of the pivotal COP26 climate summit next year. This is just the tonic as we look to 2021.”

Matt Rooney, policy advisor to the Institution of Mechanical engineers, said:

“The Prime Minister’s 10-point plan for a Green Industrial Revolution is a collection of the various policies on decarbonisation that the Government has been working on for some time. The challenge now is to bring this all together into a practical and deliverable plan with joined-up thinking across the whole energy system.”

Big oil and gas have a lot invested in Trump’s attack on the election system. The Guardian reports fossil-fuel firms are among the biggest donors to the defeated US president and the Republican party leaders who have endorsed his legal challenge to overturn the election result.

Monday 16 November 2020

“Hydrogen no justification for expanding onshore oil and gas” – new paper. DrillOrDrop report on briefing by Weald Action Group on hydrogen production and net zero emissions.

Oil site campaigners in court. DrillOrDrop report on two activists charged with aggravated trespass at the Horse Hill oil site in Surrey. Alistair Sandell pleaded guilty and was fined £360 at Staines Magistrates Court. Lindsay Parkin pleaded not guilty and attended a pre-trial hearing at the same court. Sussex Express (19/11/2020)

UK prepares to make ‘big bet’ on hydrogen power. The FT reports that Boris Johnson set to lay out plans for a ‘green industrial revolution’ to tackle climate change.

“COP26 sponsorship looks like greenwash”. Friends of the Earth Scotland criticises the first sponsors announced for COP26 climate talks next year. They include SSE, Scotland’s single biggest polluter in 2019 and National Grid, supporters of fossil hydrogen and carbon capture and storage.

Petrochemicals firm Ineos submits plans for £150m manufacturing plant in Hull. The Yorkshire Post reports that the vinyl acetate monomer plant, at the Saltend chemicals site, east of the city, will produce 300,000 tonnes a year.

Friday 13 November 2020

Court suspends Ineos’s permit for work on Antwerp chemical complex. DrillOrDrop report on an emergency injunction by ClientEarth and 13 other environmental organisations.

Thursday 12 November 2020

Fracking opposition remains ahead of support – government survey. DrillOrDrop report on the latest Wave Tracker survey

Wednesday 11 November 2020

Update on planning applications and permissions by the UK onshore oil and gas industry. DrillOrDrop report

RockRose founder Andrew Austin makes North Sea return with new company. The former chief executive of IGas is returning to the North Sea with a new investment company aimed at buying up UK assets after selling RockRose Energy, Energy Voice reports.

AJ Lucas board change. AJ Lucas announced the resignation of non-executive director John O’Neill.

Revealed: Boris Johnson’s Climate Change Champion Called Fracking ‘Good For UK’. Huffington Post and the Independent report that Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the newly-appointed international champion on adaptation and resilience for COP26, backed fracking in 2015 and lobbied against windfarms in her Berwick constituency.

Tuesday 10 November 2020

Egdon plans drilling and long-term oil production at Biscathorpe. DrillOrDrop report and Proactive Investors

Scotland has taken a contradictory position over fracking as the US boom turns to bust – Dr Richard Dixon. Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, writing in the Scotsman, reports on the implications of last week’s decision by the French energy giant Engie to abandon a proposed $7 billion, 20-year deal to import fracked gas from the US.

Scots refinery part-owned by Ineos to axe up to 200 jobs and mothballs plants. The Herald reports 200 job are at risks at Grangemouth, Scotland’s only oil refinery, part-owned by the Ineos Group. The owners, a partnership between Ineos and Petrochina, have said they will restructure operations following falling demand for fuel. Two production plans are being mothballed, it said.

Barclays under fire over fossil fuel financing. The FT reports that Barclays is facing pressure from climate campaigners after increasing its support for fossil fuel companies this year, despite announcing it would target net zero emissions bty 2050.

Ministers met with fossil fuel producers 149 times while planning green recovery. Desmog UK reports on  data from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy which shows that between April and June 2020 ministerial meetings with oil and gas companies dramatically outnumbered those with renewable producers as the government prepared to “build back greener”. There was just one meeting with the onshore oil and gas industry.

No more natural gas in new San Francisco buildings starting next year. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the city’s board of supervisors voted unanimously to ban natural gas in new buildings, legislation that will apply to more than 54,000 homes and 32 million square feet of commercial space in the city’s development pipeline.

Monday 9 November 2020

Irish High Court quashes permission for natural gas terminal in Shannon. The decision follows a case taken by Friends of the Irish Environment. Reports by the Irish Independent, Friends of the Irish Environment, Radio Kerry

Leitrim delight at High Court decision on Shannon LNG. The Leitrim Observer reports on reaction from the community anti-fracking group, Love Leitrim.

Protesters not sold on change of tack by mining company. The Fermanagh Herald reports that local people have treated with suspicion news that Tamboran Resources has removed the fracking element from its licence application.

Ineos launches clean hydrogen business. Rigzone reports on the Ineos announcement that it has launched a new business to develop clean hydrogen capacity across Europe. See also Energy Voice and City AM

Anne-Marie Trevelyan joins COP26 leadership team to head climate resilience push. Business Green reports that the Conservative MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan has been appointed by the government as the UK’s international champion on adaptation and resilience for the COP26 climate summit,

Friday 6 November 2020

Update on what’s happening where on UK onshore oil and gas sites. DrillOrDrop report

Thursday 5 November 2020

Test underway on Horse Hill well. DrillOrDrop reports that the Horse Hill-1 well is undergoing a long-term pressure build up test to find out whether recent work successfully increased oil flows.

University to divest from fossil fuel companies. The University of Dundee announces it is committing to divest from fossil fuel companies in its £25m endowment portfolio, within the next five years.

Wednesday 4 November 2020

Saltfleetby update. Angus Energy reports that it has acquired a gas metering and analysis system for its site at Saltfleetby, along with two Caterpillar gas driven engine systems, two compressor units and a shrouded flaring system. The company said its 4″ pipeline connection was within 15m of the transmission grid entry point at Theddlethorpe. Proactive Investors

Angus Energy loan. Angus Energy reports that the final £58,335 of a£1.5m loan from Riverfort Global Opportunities PCC Limited and YA II PN Ltd has been converted into Angus shares. The company allotted 9.67m new shares. Total share capital is now 724m.

Tuesday 3 November 2020

Rig leaves Horse Hill after well intervention – transporter grounds at junction. DrillOrDrop report

France’s Engie pulls out of talks for US LNG import deal with NextDecade. SPGlobal.com reports that Engie has halted talks over a potential long-term supply agreement with US LNG developer NextDecade, with the French company having come under pressure not to import LNG produced from shale gas.

Monday 2 November 2020

Industry evidence on earthquakes “insufficient” to lift year-long fracking moratorium – regulator. DrillOrDrop report on the first anniversary of the fracking moratorium on OGA statement which dismissed proposals by the shale gas industry for resumption of operations.

“Time for fracking industry to move on”, say opponents on moratorium anniversary. DrillOrDrop report of reaction to news that industry research proposals are insufficient to lift the moratorium on fracking.

DrillOrDrop mentioned in House of Lords debate. Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb referred to an article in DrillOrDrop about the Office for the Internal Market.

Oil prices drop as new lockdowns hit economic outlook. The FT reports on concerns that new curbs on social activity will sap demand for fuel as Brent oil prices fell to $35.74 a barrel.

Sunday 1 November 2020

Production slide continues at Horse Hill. DrillOrDrop report on the latest data on oil production at UKOG’s Horse Hill site in Surrey

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