Daily headlines

October 2021 headlines


Keep up with October 2021’s news with our digest of daily updated headlines about the business, regulation and campaigns around UK fracking, shale, and onshore oil and gas.

Click here for headlines from previous months. Please let us know if we’ve missed something important  contact@DrillOrDrop.com

Placards opposing UKOG’s plans to drill for oil at Arreton, expected to be decided in October 2021.
Photo: Don’t Drill the Wight

Thursday 28 October 2021

British Olympians among climate campaigners who blockaded oil refinery. DrillOrDrop report

Emissions from 40 planned fossil fuel projects would be nearly three times as much as the UK emits in a year– new study. DrillOrDrop report on research by Friends of the Earth and the New Economics Foundation on proposed oil, gas and coal developments in the UK.

World is failing to make changes needed to avoid climate breakdown, report finds. A global report by Systems Change Lab finds that every corner of society is failing to take the “transformational change” needed to avert the most disastrous consequences of the climate crisis, with trends either too slow or in some cases even regressing. The Guardian

Shell pledges to halve own emissions by 2030 following landmark Dutch court ruling. Energy Voice reports Shell has pledged to halve scope 1 and 2, or direct, emissions from its operations by 2030 following a landmark Dutch court ruling in May.

Wednesday 27 October 2021

Today’s budget is “shockingly bad” for the climate, say environmentalists and opposition. DrillOrDrop report on reaction to Rishi Sunak’s 2021 spending review. Carbon Brief on climate and energy announcements, also INews, Guardian, Press Association, Bloomberg. Budget speech as delivered

UK PM Johnson: COP26 outcome is in the balance. Reuters reports comments by Boris Johnson to parliament: “COP26 is both unbelievably important for our planet, but also very difficult, and it’s in the balance,

43 Lords have financial interests in fossil fuel industry. Open Democracy reports that one in ten Tory peers have a financial stake in oil and gas firms, prompting concerns that politicians are “worrying cosy” with the sector.

BP to still be producing oil in 2050, believes operations boss. Energy Voice reports by BP vice president Gordon Birrell that the company will still be producing oil and gas in 2050, despite increasing calls for the industry to face the chop.

COP Chair Alok Sharma Predicts Modest Glasgow Climate Result. The Energy Mix reports comments by the COP26 president on his hopes for the Glasgow summit:  “The overarching ambition is that we should be able to say we’ve kept 1.5°C alive.”

Tuesday 26 October 2021

The UK’s climate advisor has praised government plans to cut carbon emissions but called for detailed plans on how some ambitions would be achieved. DrillOrDrop report

Angus Energy update on Saltfleetby: rise in estimated revenue but delays expected in gas flow and uncertainty over drilling. DrillOrDrop report

Drax faces complaint over misleading biomass emission claims. The FT (paywall) reports that campaigners have made a complaint against the Drax power station over its reported green credentials.

COP26 climate change summit: Decisions the world takes now will set us on an irreversible path. We must recognise the danger and seize the opportunities – Amber Rudd. The former energy secretary, Amber Rudd, writing in The Scotsman, says “This is the very last opportunity that world leaders have to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. We must move the dial from red to black.”

Updated climate commitments ahead of COP26 summit fall far short, but net-zero pledges provide hope. The latest Emissions Gap Report from the UN Environment Programme finds new and update nationally-determined contributions take just 7.5% off predicted 2030 emissions, while 55% is needed to meet the 1.5C Paris goal. The latest climate promises for 2030 put the world on track for a temperature rise this century of at least 2.7C.

Monday 25 October 2021

Nicola Sturgeon says continued oil and gas extraction is wrong. Ahead of Cop26, the First Minister of Scotland said the Scottish government would no longer support unlimited recovery of oil and gas. The focus would be on achieving ‘fastest possible just transition’ that protects jobs and meets climate obligations, she said. The Scotsman (paywall), Upstream Online, Energy Voice, Evening Standard. Ms Sturgeon’s statement, made at Strathclyde University, was welcomed by Friends of the Earth Scotland. Its climate and energy campaigner, Caroline Rance, called for a ban on all new oil and gas projects, including the Cambo oil field:

“Today’s statement is an important first step, but climate science is clear that to limit dangerous warming to 1.5ºC there must be no new oil and gas projects, and a rapid phase out of existing extraction over this decade.

Climate crisis: greenhouse gas levels hit new record despite lockdowns, UN reports. The Guardian reports on the latest data from the UN’s World Meterological Organization, which said levels of climate-heating gases in the atmosphere hit record levels in 2020.

Climate finance for poor countries to hit $100bn target by 2023 – three years late, says report. The Guardian covers the release of a the Climate Finance Delivery Plan, compiled by German and Canadian governments in advance of Cop26, found that the target for climate finance to the development world will be met within two years. But experts say it is shameful that developed countries are not doing more to help the poorest in the world. Climate Brief has an analysis of which climate finance flows are falling short of the $100bn pledge. Climate Home News

‘I’m very worried’: Boris Johnson admits reaching climate summit deal is ‘touch and go’. The Independent reports comments by Boris Johnson that the Cop26 climate summit may not get the agreements that are needed.

UK petrol price hits all-time high amid oil market pressure. The Guardian, among others, report average price rises to 142.9p a litre on Sunday.

Sunday 24 October 2021

Judi Dench supports fundraiser for legal challenge to oil drill at Horse Hill in Surrey. DrillOrDrop report, Crawley Observer

Saturday 23 October 2021

“Significant” methane emissions recorded at UK onshore oil sites. DrillOrDrop report

BP paid ex-MI6 spy firm to snoop on green campaigners. Open Democracy reports BP spent years spying on peaceful climate campaigners, hired a private intelligence firm set up by a former MI6 agent and shared informed with the British Museum and University of Warwick.

Friday 22 October 2021

Council planners support proposal for long-term oil extraction in the protected landscape of the Lincolnshire Wolds. They said the proposal by Egdon Resources at Biscathorpe would be in the public interest and help in the transition to a zero-carbon economy. DrillorDrop report, BBC News (25/10/2021), Lincolnshire Live (25/10/2021)

Angus Energy reveals new oil production plans for Brockham wellsite in Surrey. DrillOrDrop report

Thursday 21 October 2021

Leaked documents reveal the fossil fuel and meat producing countries lobbying against climate action. Unearthed reports on a major leak of documents which, it says, shows some of the world’s biggest coal, oil, beef and animal feed-producing nations are attempting to strip a landmark UN climate report of findings that threaten those domestic economic interests. Unearthed says a small group of nations, including Australia, Saudi Arabia and the OPEC countries, is attempting to water-down the International Panel on Climate Change upcoming assessment of world options for limiting global warming.

Onshore oil and gas monitoring: a structured approach to quantifying whole-site methane emissions. The Environment Agency publishes findings of a study on how to measure the volume of methane at onshore oil and gas sites.

Oil refinery woes raise concern in Westminster over financial backers. The Guardian reports on concerns about the finances of refineries supplying about a quarter of the UK’s fuel. It says financial difficulties afflicting two of the UK’s remaining oil refineries have raised concerns in government about their little-known ties to a Kremlin-allied oil business and a commodities trading house under investigation for corruption,

Wednesday 20 October 2021

Fossil fuel production planned by national governments “vastly exceeds” the limit needed to keep global temperatures at safe levels, the United Nations said today. DrillOrDrop report, Energy Voice

Net Zero strategy and reaction. The UK’s net zero strategy still avoids what is needed to avert climate catastrophe (Guardian). UK sets out plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions (Carbon Brief)

No formal Cop26 role for big oil amid doubts over firms’ net zero plans. The Guardian reports fossil fuel firms have been given no official role in the Cop26 climate summit, against a background of growing concern among UK officials that big oil’s net zero plans do not stack up.

Climate compatibility checks for new oil and gas licences to be launched by the end of the year. Anne-Marie Trevelyan tells parliament the licences will be used to assess the climate compatibility of any future licensing rounds to ensure they keep to climate goals.

COP26: Yorkshire’s’ council pension pot invested £800m in fossil fuels, despite climate emergency pledge. Yorkshire Post reports that pension funds used by councils across Yorkshire have invested more than £800m into fossil fuels, despite authorities declaring a climate emergency.

COP26: Lancashire County Council pension fund puts £99m into fossil fuels, but still has greener portfolio than most local authorities. The Lancashire Post reports that the county council has one of the least polluting pension portfolios of any local authority in the country.

Scotland’s Acorn Project snubbed ‘for political reasons’, SNP MP says. The National reports the decision to snub Scotland’s flagship carbon capture project in favour of two sites in the north of England has been branded a “political” choice by the UK Government.

Tuesday 19 October 2021

Breaking: Councillors vote unanimously against UKOG oil drilling plans at Arreton on the Isle of Wight. DrillOrDrop report on planning meeting and reaction. County Press, ITV, On the Wight, Euronews, Island Echo

Government plans for low carbon heat “lack ambition”, say critics. DrillOrDrop report, Guardian, Independent

Scotland misses out on first carbon capture and storage facility. BBC News reports the Acorn Project at St Fergus in Aberdeenshire has missed out on UK government backing to develop a carbon capture and storage facility for the North Sea. The money will go instead to projects on the Humber and around Liverpool.

Monday 18 October 2021

Isle of Wight’s environment leader opposes UKOG oil drilling plans at Arreton due to be decided tomorrow. DrillOrDrop report

IGas announces solar partnership. DrillOrDrop report on IGas plans for solar farms

Ineos unveils £1.7billion green hydrogen investment plan. Energy Voice reports Ineos news that it will make Europe’s largest ever investment in electrolysis projects to make green hydrogen. The first plants will be built in Norway, Germany and Belgium in the next 10 years.

Sunday 17 October 2021

Climate camp established at proposed gas drilling site near Dunsfold in Surrey. DrillOrDrop report

Saturday 16 October 2021

Interview: UK energy minister reaffirms support for oil and gas ahead of Cop26. Energy Voice reports Greg Hands on a visit to Edinburgh reaffirmed support for the oil and gas industry amid calls to stop the Cambo oil field west of Shetland and the blocking of Shell’s Jackdaw development.

Thursday 14 October 2021

OGA highlights ‘major challenge’ in post 2030 emissions reductions. Energy Voice reports comments by the Oil & Gas Authority that the UK upstream oil and gas industry “must go much further and faster” to cut its emissions. OGA announcement

Wednesday 13 October 2021

Rapid cuts to methane leaks at oil and gas sites needed to meet climate targets – IEA. DrillOrDrop, Climate News Network, Guardian

West Newton looks to reservoir stimulation to make wells flow. Extended well tests at West Newton exploration sites recovered oil and gas but did not achieve sustained flow rates, it was revealed today. Industry statements said stimulation techniques would now being considered to make the wells flow. DrillOrDrop report

Monday 11 October 2021

IGas has announced it will not appeal against the recent refusal of planning permission at its shale gas site in Misson, Nottinghamshire. The wellpad will now be restored. DrillOrDrop report

Council officials back UKOG’s plans for oil drilling at Arreton, Isle of Wight – they said “economic benefits outweigh environmental harm”. DrillOrDrop report

We’re going to lose a lot of our freedoms. Suzanne Steedman, writing in the Blackpool Gazette, discusses existing and forthcoming legislation which she says is removing individual rights and freedoms.

Energy expert says UK is ‘one of the least prepared’ countries for ongoing crisis. Politics.co.uk reports on a BBC interview with Sir Dieter Helm, professor of economic policy at Oxford University, in which he said the UK had little capacity for energy storage and that fracking was not practical in the UK because of the country’s geological structure and population distribution.

Fracking ban is fuelling energy crisis – Yorkshire Post Letters. Bill Marsh, writing to the Yorkshire Post, says “I hope all  those who campaigned so vociferously (and successfully) against fracking will be at the forefront of explaining to struggling families that it was the right thing to do.”

Council planning committee vote against sending fracking letter to Minister as they should ‘deliver without prejudice’. Armagh i reports that Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council’s planning committee has voted against sending a letter to the Infrastructure Minister outlining Council’s opposition to fracking.

Friday 8 October 2021

Fracking industry urges Government to look again at shale gas with UK energy prices set to surge. iNews and the Daily Mail report calls by the trade body UK Onshore Oil & Gas to revive fracking. Katharine Gray of the organisation said:

“Our current gas crisis should be the flashing neon prompting the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy needs to look at the science and come up with a workable plan to maximise our abundant domestic resource.” 

Campaigners urge government to hold the line on fracking moratorium. Frack Free Lancashire said:

“The science doesn’t change to suit opportunists and it hasn’t changed. Fracking is still as unacceptable as ever, given the geological and environmental conditions here in the UK.

“What has changed temporarily is the global price of gas. Even if the frackers had been 100% successful here in the UK, what they could have achieved would have had zero impact on today’s problems.

“As it transpired, they were 100% unsuccessful and not a therm of gas has been fracked commercially from the Bowland Shale after 10 years.

“We understand that UKOOG have to try to justify their own existence but they really do need to try harder if they want to be taken seriously.”

Thursday 7 October 2021

Government wins oil drilling case: emissions would not have “material effect on climate change”. DrillOrDrop report on ruling by Scotland’s senior court against Greenpeace challenge on the permit to drill the Vorlich field.

Clean UK power will protect households from gas price rises – Kwasi Kwarteng. DrillOrDrop report

Government survey drops some questions on fracking. DrillOrDrop report

Business leaders urge Boris Johnson to back Acorn CCUS in Aberdeenshire. Energy Voice reports that Scottish business leaders have joined forces with the billionaire, Sir Ian Wood, to demand the north east of Scotland is made the centre of plans to decarbonise the UK energy system.

Hundreds of scientists tell Biden: half fossil fuel development now. Food and Water Watch reports that 330 US research scientists wrote to President Biden urging him to use his executive authority to stop all new fossil fuel projects and declare a climate emergency.

Wednesday 6 October 2021

Latest UK onshore oil production data: June 2021. DrillOrDrop report

Fossil fuel industry gets subsidies of $11m a minute, IMF finds. The Guardian reports that analysis by the International Monetary Fund found that production and burning of coal, oil and gas was subsidised by $5.9tn in 2020, with not a single country pricing all its fuels sufficiently to reflect their full supply and environmental costs.

Gas prices surge to record high. The Times reports that UK gas prices surged by more than a fifth to a new all-time high on Tuesday 5 October.

Gas boiler sales should be banned in the UK within a decade, say the majority of British public. INews reports on a poll by Public First which found that 59% of people believe a ban on the installation of new gas boilers should come into force by 2030.

Tuesday 5 October 2021

Priti Patel outlines plans to curb disruptive protests – they could lead to “unfair and arbitrary” arrests, say opponents. DrillOrDrop report

Date set for Isle of Wight oil drilling decision. DrillOrDrop report, On the Wight

Reheating the shale gas debate will not solve the gas crunch. Dr Simon Cran-McGreehin, head of analysis at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, argues that the gas crunch highlights the benefits of “weaning ourselves off fossil fuels” to stabilise the energy market and achieving climate goals. He says UK shale gas would have little impact on energy prices, consumer bills or GDP.

UK’s 2035 zero carbon electricity goal ‘extremely challenging’. The FT reports Boris Johnson’s pledge to make Britain’s electricity system net zero carbon by 2035 would be “extremely challenging” to achieve in 14 years.

Boris Johnson hints at investment for Acorn CCUS project in Aberdeenshire. Energy Voice reports that the prime minister has hinted that the Acorn carbon, capture, utilisation and storage project in Aberdeenshire could benefit from government investment.

Fossil fuel demand shakes off pandemic in blow to climate fight. Reuters reports demand or coal and natural gas has exceeded pre-COVID-19 highs with oil not far behind, dealing a setback to hopes the pandemic would spur a faster transition to clean energy from fossil fuels.

Clean environment could become U.N. human right. Not so fast, say U.S., Britain. Reuters reports that Britain and the United States are among a few countries withholding support for a proposal brought at the United Nations that would recognise access to a safe and healthy environment as a human right, prompting criticism that they are undermining their own pledges ahead of the Glasgow climate conference.

Historical climate emissions reveal responsibility of big polluting nations. The Guardian reports that analysis of total carbon dioxide emissions of countries since 1850 has revealed the nations with the greatest historical responsible for the climate emergency. Six of the top 10, including China, Russia and Brazil, have yet to make ambitious new pledges to cut their emissions before the COP26 submit. Britain is eighth in the list.

UK needs a rapid plan to hit its green power goal. Editorial in the FT (paywall)

Monday 4 October 2021

Government urged to withdraw from legal case in support of Horse Hill oil production at appeal court next month. DrillOrDrop report

UK electricity generation to be fossil fuel free by 2035, says Boris Johnson. The Guardian reports the prime minister has told the Conservative conference that removing gas as a power source would help to protect against price surges.

Sunday 3 October 2021

Industry experts say Britain should lift fracking ban to help alleviate energy crisis and secure future gas supplies. This is Money quotes Francis Egan, chief executive of the fracking firm, Cuadrilla:

“Importing shale gas by ship from all corners of the globe, whilst leaving our own shale gas resources unexplored and undeveloped, is symptomatic of the misjudged approach that has led us to this point.”

UK Government U-turns and admits it has power to stop Cambo oil field. The National reports that the UK government’s legal department has said he business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, could “give directions” to the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), which is currently considering whether or not to give Cambo the go-ahead. Previous statements suggested ministers could not intervene. But this has been challenged Friends of the Earth Scotland and Uplift. They threatened legal action, arguing that government statements were based on “errors of law”.

Tories pledge six-month prison sentences for climate activists blocking roads. The Independent reports the home secretary, Priti Patel will use her Conservative Party conference speech to warn that people who use “guerilla tactics” to block highways could face unlimited fines and six months in jail.

Saturday 2 October 2021

Anger at Surrey oil drilling ‘hypocrisy’. The Times reports Boris Johnson has been accused of the “height of hypocrisy” over the government’s plan to defend drilling for oil in Surrey in the month he will be hosting the Cop26 climate conference. The article refers to a court of appeal hearing over the Horse Hill site at which the government is an interested party.

Friday 1 October 2021

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng rules out future fracking in UK amid warnings that Government will need to raise taxes on gas. This is Money reports comments by the business secretary on future fracking. He said too many communities would be disrupted in England and said nuclear and renewables was the answer to the energy crisis. 

Climate change: Is the UK on track to meet its targets? BBC News reports that the UK government has credible policies in place to deliver just about a fifth of its target to cut emissions by 78% by 2035, compared with 1990 levels. There are no policies on closing gas-fired power stations that emit CO2, or on reduce emissions from flights and shipping, heating buildings or agriculture. It is also unclear how a scheme to cut industrial emissions would stop a shift of production to other countries.

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