Keep up to date with May 2022’s news with our digest of daily updated headlines about the business, regulation and campaigns around UK fracking, shale, and onshore oil and gas.
Tuesday 31 May 2022
What would it take to relax fracking rules? – Tory backbencher asks minister. DrillOrDrop report on parliamentary questions to the energy minister
Sunak’s UK oil subsidy could have insulated 2m homes, says thinktank. The Guardian reports analysis by the E3G green thinktank that billions of pounds given away in a tax break for UK oil and gas exploitation could have permanently cut energy bills of two million homes by £342 a year if invested in insulation.
Rough: Britain’s largest gas storage site to reopen ‘within months’. Energy Voice reports the business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, is in talks with Centrica on plans to reopen the Rough gas storage site within months.
Union Jack Oil becomes associate member of UK Onshore Oil and Gas. Vox Markets reports that UJO has joined the industry lobbying organisation.
Monday 30 May 2022
Formal oil production phase approved for Egdon Resources’ site at Wressle, Lincolnshire. DrillOrDrop report
UKOG reveals gas storage plans for Portland, Dorset. DrillOrDrop report
Windfall tax threatens oil and gas investment in North Sea, says Shell. Energy Live News reports comments by Shell that the implementation of the new windfall tax will create uncertainty over future investment.
Greenhouse gas removal ‘not a silver bullet to achieve net zero’. The Guardian reports that many of the UK’s top scientists working on carbon capture technologies do not believe they will be developed and scaled up in time to reach net zero and limit global heating to 1.5C. They told an event in London that carbon capture was “hard and expensive” and focus must be on reducing emissions.
Sunday 29 May 2022
Loophole could let North Sea oil and gas giants slash UK windfall tax bill. The Observer reports North Sea oil and gas companies that already benefit from huge tax breaks could use fresh rules to slash how much they pay under a new windfall tax announced by Rishi Sunak as part of his £15bn cost of living package, according to the left of centre thinktank, Common Wealth
Saturday 28 May 2022
Rishi Sunak’s ‘obscene’ tax relief for fossil fuel firms will ‘cost taxpayer £1.9bn a year’. The Independent report comments from the New Economics Foundation Think Tank that tax relief on investment in oil and gas extraction will cost the taxpayer around £1.9bn a year.
Friday 27 May 2022
Windfall tax to raise £5bn, but firms promised relief if they invest in Britain. The Independent reports government plans to raise £5 billion from the windfall tax but it announced on oil and gas companies on Thursday, but it left a back door for companies to avoid much of the charge if they invest in new oil.
Business secretary grants consent for development of the Jackdaw Field in the North Sea. Link to documents
Thursday 26 May 2022
Rishi Sunak announces £5bn windfall tax on energy firms. The Guardian, and many others, report the chancellor’s £15bn package of support for households struggling with the cost of living crisis, part-funded by a £5bn windfall tax on energy companies.
Revealed: the PR firm behind the UK’s net zero backlash. DeSmog reports that the consultancy, Blue Sky Strategy, run by the anti-BBC campaigner Rebecca Ryan, is working with climate science denial groups to oppose the UK’s net zero target.
Egdon Resources plc repays £1m loan to Union Jack Oil. UJO announces that the loan, made on 26 November 2020, has been repaid in full, as the agreement
Wednesday 25 May 2022
G7 ministers may pledge to phase out coal, decarbonise power -draft. Reuters reports that climate ministers from the Group of Seven economic powers will consider this week committing to phase out coal-fuel energy by 2030 and decarbonise power by 2035.
Egypt says climate finance must be top of agenda at Cop27 talks. The Guardian reports that the host of November’s UN climate summit wants to focus on “moving from pledges to implementation”.
Tuesday 24 May 2022
Climate campaigners disrupt Shell AGM. DrillOrDrop report
Shares drop again as Angus Energy acquires 100% of Saltfleetby gas project for £14m+. DrillOrDrop report
Monday 23 May 2022
Angus Energy’s oil site in Brockham, Surrey, resumes oil production and starts water reinjection. DrillOrDrop report
Shell consultant quits, accusing firm of ‘extreme harms’ to environment. The Guardian reports that Caroline Dennett, a senior safety consultant, has quit working with Shell after 11 years, accusing the fossil fuel producer in a bombshell public video of “double-talk on climate”
Britons will back shale gas projects if producers help them cut energy bills – survey. Proactive Investors reports on YouGov data, highlighted by UK Onshore Oil & Gas, which shows more than half of British adults said they would support shale projects if it meant lower energy bills for local people.
Brandalism adverts in Aberdeen criticise Shell’s operations for the environment, its staff and consumers.
Complaint about Global Warming Policy Foundation’s charity statement. Politicians, campaigners, writers, scientists and organisations have urged the Charity Commission to re-examine the case for charity status of the GWPF in the light of revelations that it has received funding from fossil fuel interests.
Friday 20 May 2022
Shell granted injunction against petrol station protests. Lex reports the judgement in a High Court case brought by Shell to prevent environmental protests at its petrol stations. An emergency injunction was granted on 5 May 2022. Link to documents
Thursday 19 May 2022
UK has approved several fossil fuel projects since Cop26, analysis finds. The Guardian reports on approvals of fossil fuel projects since COP26 and around 50 schemes thought to be in the pipeline between now and 2025. The article mentions oil and gas production at West Newton and refers to rulings expected on three onshore appeals.
Institute for Government slams ‘incoherent’ government net zero policymaking. BusinessGreen reports on comments by the think tank that policy decisions on new coal mines, air passenger duty and North Sea oil and gas are undermining the net zero agenda.
Wednesday 18 May 2022
Breaking: Restoration of dormant Broadford Bridge oil site delayed for another two years. DrillOrDrop report on West Sussex County Council planning committee decision on UKOG’s Broadford Bridge site.
Critical climate indicators broke records in 2021, says UN. The Guardian and others report on analysis from the UN World Meteorological Organisation which says critical global indicators of the climate crisis broke records in 2021, from rising oceans to the level of heat-trapping emissions in the atmosphere. Reuters
UN secretary general asks countries to ease barriers to green energy. Reuters reports calls by the UN secretary general for a global coalition to speed the deployment of battery technology, urging countries to ease intellectual property constraints to hasten the transition from fossil fuels and combat climate change.
Tuesday 17 May 2022
Wressle oil helps lift Union Jack revenues by more than 1,000% in 2021. DrillOrDrop report
Labour vote on windfall tax defeated. MPs voted by 310 votes to 248 against a Labour motion for a windfall tax, a govenment majority of 62. Hansard
Shut down fossil fuel production sites early to avoid climate chaos, says study. The Guardian, in an exclusive, reports on a new scientific study in the journal Environment Research Letters. It concluded that nearly half of existing fossil fuel production sites need to be shut down early if global heating is to be limited to 1.5C, the internationally agreed goal for avoiding climate catastrophe. Also reported by PA
The surreal, but also real, problem of Britain’s gas glut. Sky News reports that the UK is drowning in gas – but consumers will get little or no relief from these very low prices.
Oil protestors flooded Kwasi Kwarteng with 20,000 emails to block Cambo. Energy Voice reports the energy secretary is dealing with 100 campaign messages a day as climate activists opposed the controversial Cambo oil field expansion off Shetland.
Businesses blast ‘economically illiterate’ North Sea windfall tax ahead of vote. Energy Voice reports on a letter to six Scottish MPs that a windfall tax on North Sea oil and gas firms would be “economically illiterate” and could drive up domestic energy costs.
Monday 16 May 2022
Further approval of waste water disposal at Horse Hill oil well. DrillOrDrop report
Fracking review with “undermine trust if risk mitigation factors ignored”. The Telegraph reports that 35 Conservative backbenchers have warned in a letter to Kwasi Kwarteng that the review of fracking science could amount to a “whitewash”. They say it must consider evidence that the risks of fracking can be managed and mitigated.
Revealed: UK fails. to deliver £240m in net zero projects. The Independence reports that Britain has failed to deliver almost a quarter of a billion pounds in green projects aimed at reaching net zero.
World must break dependency on fossil fuels, Sharma urges in climate speech. PA reports a call by the COP26 president, Alok Sharma, to countries to step up their pace on action. He said the Ukraine invasion had thrown into “stark relief” the dangers of energy systems powered by foreign fossil fuels. Also reported by Business Green
COP26: No countries have delivered on promise to improve climate plans. New Scientist reports there is little sign of countries revisiting and strengthening their plans for curbing emissions, despite promises made at COP26
Thunderer: We must not forget Cop26 promises made in Glasgow. Nicola Sturgeon, writing in The Times on the six anniversary of COP26, says countries must not forget the commitments they made at the climate summit.
Greenpeace protesters arrested after blocking oil tanker from Russia in Thames. The Independent reports police arrested eight people after Greenpeace protesters blocked an oil tanker that had arrived in the Thames from Russia.
Johnson’s ‘jet zero’ plan unrealistic and may make UK miss CO2 targets – report. The Guardian reports on a study by Element Energy, which concludes that the UK government’s jet zero plan to eliminate carbon emissions from aviation relies on unproven or nonexistent technology and “sustainable” fuel. It is likely to result in ministers missing their legally-binding emissions targets.
Cumbria coalmine redundant before it even opens, say campaigners. The Guardian reports on analysis by Friends of the Earth, which concluded that the new coalmine proposed for Cumbria is likely to be redundant before it even opens because steelmakers that are its target market are moving so rapidly away from fossil fuels.
Saturday 14 May 2022
Kwarteng to class natural gas as “green”. The Telegraph reports that gas is to be classed as a “green investment” as the government seeks to increase North Sea production. Also reported by Independent (15/5/2022) and Bloomberg UK (16/5/2022)
Friday 13 May 2022
More time for drilling at Horse Hill. DrillOrDrop report
Natural gas to be glassed as “green” investment to boost North Sea. The Telegraph reports that proposals to bolster UK energy security risk angering climate change campaigners.
Thursday 12 May 2022
DrillOrDrop’s compilation of MPs’ comments on the measures in the Queen’s Speech on protest and energy security. Link
Wednesday 11 May 2022
Revealed: the ‘carbon bombs’ set to trigger catastrophic climate breakdown. The Guardian reports that oil and gas majors are planning scores of vast projects that threaten to shatter the 1.5C climate goal. If governments do not act, these firms will continue to cash in as the world burns.
North Sea oil and gas bosses get combined £25m pay rise. The Guardian reports bosses of some of the largest North Sea oil and gas companies have been handed bumper payouts – including a £4.6m “golden hello” for the chief executive of the region’s biggest producer – amid growing pressure for a windfall tax.
Equality and government climate strategies. Friends of the Earth reports that as a result of its legal challenge, the UK government has admitted to acting unlawfully in its Heat and Buildings Strategy.
Tuesday 10 May 2022
New government attempt to criminalise lock-on protests. DrillOrDrop report on the public order bill in the Queen’s Speech.
Plans by Egdon Resources to drill for oil in Lincolnshire will not cut energy bills, opponents said during a 17-mile pilgrimage between two proposed sites. DrillOrDrop report
Just one of 50 aviation industry climate targets met, study finds. The Guardian reports on a report by the climate charity, Possible, which concluded that the international aviation industry has failed to meet all but one of 50 of its own climate targets in the past two decades.
Monday 9 May 2022
Proposals to extend the life of a dormant oil site at Broadford Bridge for a fourth time have been supported by West Sussex planners. DrillOrDrop report
Climate limit of 1.5C close to being broken, scientists warn. The Guardian reports on research by the UK Met Office, which concludes that the probability of one of the next five years surpassing the 1.5C global heating limit is now 50%. BBC News
Music fans more likely to care about climate change, survey finds. The Independent reports on a study by Glasgow University which found that people who love listening to music place a higher priority on tackling the climate crisis.Climate limit of 1.5C close to being broken, scientists warn
Friday 6 May 2022
UK oil and gas firms to put £250bn into low carbon energy by 2030. Energy Live News report on new analysis on spending in the next decade.
Boris Johnson urges oil majors Shell, BP to invest in renewables. World Oil reports on comments by the prime ministers urging leading oil companies to invest “massively” in renewables.
Shell calls for Downing Street to approve North Sea gas project. Proactive Investors reports Shell is talking to the government to try and gain approval for the Jackdaw gas field in the North Sea, arguing the country and Europe face a “tough winter” without supplies from Russia.
‘Just Stop Oil’ protesters arrested after 60-hour blockade. The Telegraph reports more than 30 climate activists charged after causing significant disruption at the Nustar Clydebank facility in West Dunbartonshire.
UK creates fossil fuel exemption to keep Ukraine energy supplies topped up. PA reports the UK will exempt Ukraine from its ban on providing public support for fossil fuel energy overseas as ministers look to make sure services can continue to operate during the protracted conflict.
North Sea developments aren’t about lowering bills or securing energy supplies – they’re just business as usual. Climate lawyer, Tessa Khan, writing in the Guardian, says new domestic oil and gas production will have, at best, a marginal effect on UK energy bills. It won’t provide a secure and, crucially, affordable supply of energy. What it will do is ensure that the fossil fuel industry can keep cashing in on oil and gas from the North Sea, while millions of households struggle to pay spiralling bills.
Thursday 5 May 2022
Shell announces $9.1bn adjusted earnings in first quarter of 2022. Press release BBC News reports that these are Shell’s highest ever quarterly profits, nearly tripling the level at the same time last year.
Friends of the Earth call for windfall tax to fix leak homes as protection against soaring bills. Press release
Wednesday 4 May 2022
DrillOrDrop’s review of the latest onshore oil production data – February 2022: small recovery in daily production but monthly volumes down.
Climate sceptic thinktank received funding from fossil fuel interests. The Guardian reports that the Global Warming Policy Foundation has led the backlash against the UK government’s net zero policy
Ineos trialling hydrogen transport through 18-mile Scottish pipeline. Energy Voice reports Ineos has started a trial to transport hydrogen into the gas grid via a decommissioned pipeline in Scotland
Tuesday 3 May 2022
BP profits double to $6.2bn, fuelling calls for energy windfall tax. The Guardian reports BP profits more than doubled to about £5bn in the first three months of the year, adding pressure for a windfall tax. Also reported widely, including The Times, FT, BBC News, Energy Voice
BP announces plans to spend up to £18bn in the UK by the end of the decade. The Guardian reports the investment – North Sea oil and gas, offshore wind, hydrogen facilities, electric vehicle charging points and carbon capture projects – is not new.
Windfall tax urged following huge BP profits. Friends of the Earth calls for profits to be used in a nationwide insulation programme.
Just Stop Oil activists barricade themselves inside Scottish fuel terminal. The Independent reports the climate activist group has disrupted operations at an oil terminal in Glasgow by blocking the entrance and climbing on top of tankers.
Ex-British Steel boss speaks out against Cumbrian coalmine plan. The Times reports plans for a coking coalmine in Cumbria would “delay the industry’s transition to green technology and ruin the UK’s reputation as a leader in the fight to tackle global warming”, according to Ron Deelen, the former boss of British Steel
Sunday 1 May 2022
Kwarteng and Sunak at odds over windfall tax on oil and gas profits. The Guardian reports that government sources have played down the idea of a cabinet split over a possible windfall tax on energy companies as the business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, firmly quashed the idea, days after it was mooted by the chancellor.
UK asks North Sea oil and gas sector to set out plan to reinvest profits. Reuters reports Kwasi Kwarteng has written to the North Sea oil and gas industry asking it to set out a clear plan to reinvest its profits into British energy projects
Steel boss dismisses claim that sector needs new Cumbrian coalmine. The Guardian reports that comments by Chris McDonald, chief executive of the Materials Processing Institute, on the demand for coal from a new mine in Cumbria. He tells the paper the steel industry has become increasingly frustrated about claims that the mine would supply British-made steel and replace Russian imports. Two domestic steel producers understood to be unlikely to be significant customers for the mine’s coal, he says.