Keep up with January’s news with our digest of daily updated headlines about the business, regulation and campaigns around UK fracking, shale, and onshore oil and gas.
Monday 25 January 2021
Ofgem recommends independent body to steer Britain to net zero. Reuters reports that Ofgem has recommended that an independent body be set up to help lead the way to the government’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050.
‘Moral hazard’: MPs urge Bank of England to clean up dirty investments ahead of COP26. Business Green reports on a call by the Environmental Audit Committee to the central bank to align its corporate bond purchasing programme with global climate goals.
BP’s oil exploration team swept aside in climate revolution. Reuters reports that that the team of geologists, engineers and scientists at BP has been cut to fewer than 100, from a peak of more than 700 a few years ago, as part of a climate change driven overhaul triggered by chief executive Bernard Looney least year.
UK to launch global climate adaptation effort with partner countries. Reuters reports that the Prime Minister will announce that Britain will team up with Egypt, Bangladesh, Malawi, Saint Lucia and the Netherlands to help communities around the world that are threatened by climate change to adapt and build resilience.
Sunday 24 January 2021
Scottish university members of green network invest £5.2m in fossil fuel firms. The National reports an investigation by The Ferret which concluded that Scottish universities signed up to a COP26 green network of academic institutions committed to tackling climate change have shares worth nearly £5.2 million in fossil fuel firms and arms companies.
Climate change tsar Alok Sharma seethes at Robert Jenrick over Cumbria coalmine. The Times reports that Alok Sharma, president of the COP26, is said to be “apoplectic” with a cabinet minister for approving the £165m Whitehaven project, Britain’s first new deep coalmine in decades.
Ineos boss snubs MSPs investigating Scotland’s zero carbon future. The Herald reports billionaire Jim Ratcliffe has snubbed politicians investigating transforming Grangemouth into a carbon neutral hub despite his petrochemical company, Ineos, being the biggest single polluting company in the country.
Just what was it exactly that Oxford University saw in the billionaire boss of Ineos? Catherine Bennett writes in the Observer that Jim Ratcliffe’s funding for a new institute “signals that Oxford is still very much the go-to university if you’re a tax-averse billionaire, eager for serious recognition but concerned that academic sensibilities might somehow come between your £100m and a place alongside Duke Humfrey, Godfrey Sheldon and more recent donors Wafic Said and Leonard Blavatnik”.
Saturday 23 January 2021
Biden will have a hard task getting the US to commit to Paris targets. an editorial in the Independent argues that post-Trumpian radicalisation will leave a lasting legacy and the new president faces a battle in laying the foundations for net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Friday 22 January 2021
Expansion and long-term production planned at Rathlin Energy’s West Newton A wellsite in East Yorkshire. DrillOrDrop report on proposals to add six new wells and produce for 25 years.
Scotland on course to miss ‘ambitious’ emissions goals without policy shakeup, Climate Change Committee says. The Independent reports on comments by the CCC that Scotland’s greenhouse gas emission targets are “fantastic” but the country is unlikely to achieve them.
Sinn Féin MLA urges public to have voice heard as fracking consultation deadline looms. The Impartial Reporter has a call from Sinn Fein MLA Sean Lynch to the public to make their voices heard on his proposals to ban licences that involve fracking.
Thursday 21 January 2021
Council leaders call on East Yorkshire to declare a climate emergency. DrillOrDrop report on moves by East Riding Council which twice voted against opposition moves.
Legal bid to stop UK building Europe’s biggest gas power plant fails. The Guardian reports that a legal challenge by ClientEarth has failed to reverse the government’s approval of the proposed Drax gas-fired power station in North Yorkshire. Client Earth lawyers said the plant could account for 75% of UK power sector emissions when fully operational.
UK risks longer dependency on fossil fuels without nuclear. The FT reports that the Centre for Policy Studies, the centre-right think-tank, has called for new nuclear reactors to “counter the variability of renewables”. The group’s analysis shows that wind and solar met less than a fifth of Britain’s daily electricity demand on 82 occasions last year.
Wednesday 20 January 2021
Director’s loan. Europa Oil & Gas reports it has borrowed £225,000 from William Ahlefeldt, a non-executive director of the company. The money, to be lent for four months, is needed to “increase the Company’s headroom to fund any cost overruns or funding shortfalls” in the Wressle oil site development.
Environment Agency newsletter confirms Wressle hydraulic fracture plan not yet approved. DrillOrDrop update
UKOG finalises agreement on Basur-Resan licence in Turkey. DrillOrDrop update
Biden cancels Keystone XL, halts drilling in Arctic refuge on day one, signalling a larger shift away from fossil fuels. Inside Climate News reports on President Biden’s initial executive actions.
Biden administration pauses federal drilling program in climate push. Reuters reports that President Biden has temporarily suspended oil and gas permitting on federal lands and waters.
Fracking’s future: drop or drill? Engineering and Technology asks whether fracking could be revived as the country seeks to lessen its reliance on imported fuel. The feature quotes Jasmin Cooper, research associate at the Sustainable Gas Institute at Imperial College London, and Gina Dowding, a Lancashire County Councillor and Green Party spokesperson on fracking and fossil fuels.
Tuesday 19 January 2021
UKOG submit revised papers for Isle of Wight exploratory oil wells: Now open for comments. See also DrillOrDrop report of Friday 8 January 2021.
Monday 18 January 2021
Plans to import fracked gas through Cork shelved. The Irish Times reports that a proposal to import LNG from fracking through the port of Cork has been scrapped. A memorandum of understanding between the port and the US gas company, NextDecade, expired on 31 December 2020 and Cork had no intention of renewing it.
Fermanagh Chair’s casting vote defeats proposal on limiting discussions behind closed doors. The Impartial Reporter says the proposal, which drew even numbers at Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s January meeting, ell when the chair, Diana Armstrong, used her casting vote. The call for open council business arose followed concerns that correspondence from fracking and mining lobbyists were not discussed publicly.
Saturday 16 January 2021
Carbon capture is vital to meeting climate goals, scientists tell green critics. The Guardian reports that supporters of carbon capture and storage insist that it is not a costly mistake but the best way for UK to cut emissions from heavy industry
Friday 15 January 2021
Ineos suspends key part of Antwerp chemical facility. DrillOrDrop report on Ineos decision to postpone a controversial scheme to build Europe’s biggest propylene factory in the Port of Antwerp. ICIS, Chemical Week (subscription)
UKOG gives details on new production and water reinjection wells at Horse Hill. DrillOrDrop report
Formal approval of UKOG’s Turkish licence acquisition. DrillOrDrop report on official go-ahead for UKOG acquisition of 50% of Resan-Basur licence.
Too many companies are banking on carbon capture to reach net zero. Bloomberg reports that as governments and companies jostle to show how committed they are to fighting global warming, plans to take carbon dioxide out of the air are becoming a giant loophole — just as experts have warned for years.
Oil industry’s public climate denial campaign dates back to at least 1980, nearly a decade earlier than previously thought. DesmogUK reports on newly discovered archives which show that the American Petroleum Institute, the leading oil and gas industry trade group, publicly pushed misleading information on climate change as early as 1980.
Thursday 14 January 2021
IGas seeks 10 more years at Notts oil sites. DrillOrDrop report on applications to extend planning permission at Rempstone A and B.
Revealed: business secretary accepted donations from fossil fuel investors. The Guardian reports that Kwasi Kwarteng accepted funding as part of the 2019 election bid despite Tories’ green pledges.
Wednesday 13 January 2021
Horse Hill protest case dropped “in the public interest”. DrillOrDrop report on decision by the CPS to drop charges against two campaigners against oil production at Horse Hill in Surrey.
OGA confirms ongoing flexibility to licence change requests caused by Covid-19. An Oil & Gas Authority review of its Covid-19 approach to licence timelines says flexibility may still be available. Operators and licensees are reminded to approach the OGA early about any request to amend a licence timeline.
Carbon footprint of imported goods could be included in emissions target, minister says. The Telegraph reports that environment secretary, George Eustice, is considering UK targets to reduce emissions that include the carbon footprint of consumer products and imports.
Tuesday 12 January 2021
Wressle frack plan still “in draft”. DrillOrDrop report on a key document needed to allow small-scale fracking at Wressle in north Lincolnshire that has not yet been approved.
Monday 11 January 2021
Leaked audit report shows senior staff ‘overlooked’ councillors’ anti-fracking position. Tyrone i says a leaked confidential report has shown two senior members of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council staff failed to appropriately amend a consultation document ahead of launching, to reflect the specific position of councillors around fracking.
Ineos flaring set to light up night sky in Grangemouth. The Falkirk Herald reports that Ineos is warning residents the level of flaring at its Grangemouth site will be particularly high today and tomorrow. Last week, an “operational issue” led to increased flaring for two days.
Friday 8 January 2021
Second consultation on UKOG’s Isle of Wight drilling plans. DrillOrDrop report
Ministers change at energy and climate change. DrillOrDrop report
Thursday 7 January 2021
IGas appeals over refusal to extend life of Avington wellsite in Hampshire. DrillOrDrop report
Wednesday 6 January 2021
Work underway at Wressle oil site. DrillOrDrop update on the North Lincolnshire production well.
Tuesday 5 January 2021
Guest post: notice to quit casts new doubt on onshore regulation. DrillOrDrop guest post by Ben Dean about OGA order for plugging and decommissioning of Ryedale wells
Monday 4 January 2021
Reports that workover rig has been delivered at Wressle site in North Lincolnshire
Saturday 2 January 2021
Fermanagh and Omagh District Council: Councillors criticise items being heard confidentially. An article in the Impartial Reporter quotes criticism by two members of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council over the exclusion of public and press from discussions on a fracking consultation.
Friday 1 January 2021
Horse Hill monthly oil production falls to record low. DrillOrDrop report
Ineos completes acquisition of BP’s global aromatics and acetyls business. Ineos reports the deal, worth $5 billion, covers 15 sites across the world and 10 joint ventures.UK risks longer dependency on fossil fuels without nuclear
Categories: Daily headlines