Keep up to date with August 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.
Wednesday 31 August 2022
DrillOrDrop’s review of the latest UK onshore oil data for May 2022: daily production at 30+ year low.
Will pumping more oil and gas solve the energy crisis? The Week reports experts who say boosting domestic supplies is ‘unlikely to tame super-high prices’ in immediate term
Saltfleetby first gas nomination. Angus Energy announces its first nomination of gas export and sale will be to Shell, via the National Grid.
Don’t start fracking – Tory rivals told. North Yorkshire’s Gazette and Herald reports on calls by Frack Free Ryedale to the two Conservative leadershi0p candidates to stand by the manifesto pledge on fracking.
Jacob Rees-Mogg named frontrunner to be next business secretary. The FT reports that the likely appointment of a “climate dinosaur” would set the UK back on net zero targets.
How will next UK prime minister tackle cost of living and environment crises? The Guardian reports on the inflationary economic and social crises facing the next prime minister
Tuesday 30 August 2022
Owner of fracking firm Cuadrilla spent $1m+ in UK in 2021 despite operations “on hold” because of the moratorium. DrillOrDrop report on AJ Lucas accounts
Tories rush to drill for more oil in North Sea. The Times, Guardian, Mail, Telegraph, Business Green and others report that Liz Truss will approve more oil and gas drilling if she becomes prime minister. Environmental campaigners have criticised the move.
Liz Truss warned North Sea oil drilling ‘frenzy’ is ‘gift to fossil fuel giants and won’t solve energy crisis’. The Independent reports on reaction to Liz Truss’s proposals to offer new North Sea oil and gas licences. The website also comments that the plans would be “disastrous for bills and the planet. Also STV News
Dear Liz Truss, climate change is not a hoax – Scotsman comment. The Scotsman comments that unlike Donald Trump, Liz Truss has not dismissed climate change as a “hoax”. However, it is beginning to look like she and the former US president share similar views on the greatest threat ever faced by humanity .
Don’t restart fracking, Tory leadership rivals told. The Times responds to commitments by the Tory leadership contenders to resume fracking
NSTA gives Centrica green light to reopen Rough gas storage site. Energy Voice reports that Centrica gets the go-ahead to reopen Rough.
UK Sees Up to £170 Billion Excess Profits for Energy Firms. Bloomberg reports on scope for a further windfall tax and the impact on winter energy bills.
Wholesale gas prices tumble as Europe prepares to intervene in energy markets. The Guardian reports that the European Commission is working on emergency intervention and longer-term structural reform.
‘Privatisation got us into this mess’ Sky News reports on comments by the mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, who advocates public ownership of utilities to tackle the cost of living crisis.
Monday 29 August 2022
Households could get 25% discount on energy bills if they back local fracking plans. The Daily Mail reports that fracking companies could offer local people a 25% cut in energy bills if fracking goes ahead. The industry body, UKOOG, says this offer, worth about £811, could happen if a site went into production.
Green Tories back Johnson’s call for successor to invest in renewables. The Guardian and Times reports that leading green Conservatives have backed Boris Johnson’s call for his successor to invest in renewable energy, amid concern that the Tory leadership frontrunner Liz Truss could rely more on fossil fuels to combat soaring prices.
Nearly one in four ‘won’t turn on heating this winter’ as energy bills soar. Energy Voice reports on a poll for the Liberal Democrats which found 23% of people surveyed said they would not turn on their heating, rising to 27% among under 18s.
Sunday 28 August 2022
Boris Johnson: Don’t give up on green energy. The Telegraph reports that Boris Johnson will say this week that Britain must not give up on investing in green energy in favour of short-term fixes for the cost of living crisis. His comments, in a farewell message, are seen as a warning to Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak to maintain his ambitions for new nuclear reactors and offshore windpower.
EU Countries Revisit Shale Gas Amid Energy Crisis. The Nation reports that shale gas production may be brought back on the table to alleviate the European energy crisis similar to coal and nuclear power, which had long been shelved due to mounting reactions from environmentalists.
Saturday 27 August 2022
Gatwick Gusher is more Dorking than Dallas: Surrey becomes battleground for fight that could determine future of British energy exploration. The Daily Mail picks up the news (reported by DrillOrDrop on 15/8/22) that a legal challenge over the climate impact of oil production at Horse Hill, in Surrey, is to go to the Supreme Court.
Ed Davey: I’m proud to have stopped fracking, despite energy crisis. The Telegraph reports comments by the Lib Dem leader, Ed Davey, that he is proud he was the person who “basically stopped” fracking in the UK. The former energy secretary, in the Tory-Lib Dem coalition introduced the traffic light system which required companies to halt fracking if it triggered tremors measuring more than 0.5ML.
Friday 26 August 2022
Truss fracking commitment a “fanciful” solution to energy costs, Miliband says. LabourList reports comments by Ed Miliband, shadow energy secretary, who accuses Liz Truss of “touting fanciful solutions” to spiralling energy bills, including an end to the ban on fracking.
The government has made this crisis worse than it needed to be. Business Green reports that the government’s repeated failure to promote energy saving, enhance energy efficiency, and deliver more domestic energy generation is condemning the UK to an era of rolling crises. The website says the two Conservative leadership candidates have:
“spent the summer attacking solar farms, misleading the public about the ability of fracking projects to play a meaningful role in tackling the crisis, and singularly failing to engage with the solutions that could help. “
Odey Asset Management LLP increases its stake in IGas. IGas announces that Odey has increased its shareholding from 5.10% to 6.02%
Thursday 25 August 2022
Angus Energy shares rise on Saltfleetby gas processing. DrillOrDrop report
Energy price cap: Insulate homes against soaring fuel bills, urges Friends of the Earth. The campaign group commenting ahead of tomorrow’s energy price cap announcement said:
“With millions of people already struggling with rocketing energy bills, the government should stop dithering and start insulating.”
Truss unveils plans to beat energy crisis: Tory leadership favourite ‘will give multi-billion bailout to hardest-hit families’. The Daily Mail reports Liz Truss has said said she will give the green light for a resumption of fracking. The Conservative leadership contender is quoted as saying:
“We will end the effective ban on extracting our huge reserves of shale gas by fracking but be led by science, setting out a plan to ensure communities benefit. Fracking will take place only in areas with a clear public consensus behind it. “
Does the UK really need more gas projects? Business Green reports that an increase in UK gas production can “have an only negligible impact on prices”. The website says the Jackdaw field is expected to meet only 1-2% of UK gas demand over its lifetime. The website adds:
“the still embryonic UK fracking industry would have to plaster much of England with wells – overcoming intense local opposition in the process – to have any chance of producing sufficient quantities of gas to demonstrably impact prices”.
No new North Sea gas projects, say campaigners, as UK gas power now costs nine times more than new renewables. Campaigners from Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth Scotland and Stop Cambo delivered a petition to Downing Street, signed by 60,000 people, calling for a halt to approval of the new Jackdaw North Sea gas field.
Google ‘airbrushes’ out emissions from flying, BBC reveals. BBC News reports that the way Google calculates the climate impact of flights has changed, reducing their apparent impact by removing a key driver of global warming from the online carbon flight calculator.
Energy bill crisis: Majority backs welfare boost for hardest-hit. The Social Market Foundation reports on polling which finds that six in 10 voters want targeted support for struggling households to help with the cost of energy, food and water.
Wednesday 24 August 2022
Fracking ‘could ease soaring energy bills if given immediate green light’. The Telegraph reports comments by a government source that the Treasury will tell the new prime minister that fracking should be given the green light immediately to ease bills next winter. [Gas produced in the UK is sold on international markets and would not bring down local prices – unless, possibly, the sector was, say, nationalised.]
Climate protest against Cambridge University. XR Cambridge and XR Youth Cambridge reported they protested outside Cambridge University’s chemistry department and Newnham Road Shell petrol station as part of action against the licensing of the Jackdaw gasfield.
Record-low price for UK offshore wind is nine times cheaper than gas. CarbonBrief updates analysis from July which now concludes 11 gigawatts of new renewable energy capacity, secured by the government, will generate electricity nine times more cheaply than current gas prices.
Rishi Sunak promises ‘massive energy efficiency’ programme if elected PM. Business Green reports Rishi Sunak has promised to embark on “a programme of massive energy efficiency upgrades in homes” if he wins the race to becoming Britain’s next prime minister, touting insulation as key.
An extra 1,500 people died in England and Wales during July’s heatwaves, official figures reveal. The Daily Mail reports more than 1,500 extra deaths took place in England and Wales during July’s heatwaves.
Tuesday 23 August 2022
IGas new Lincolnshire oil production site doesn’t need environmental survey (EIA) – officials. DrillOrDrop
IGas battery plans for Welton Gathering Centre. DrillOrDrop
Energy companies investing just 5% of profits in renewables. Channel 4 News reports on its analysis that concludes that big energy companies are investing the equivalent of 5% of their record profits in green projects.
Monday 22 August 2022
Climate campaigner leaves tunnel but protest continues. XR South East reports that Scott Breen has complied with a High Court order to leave a tunnel on the route of Esso’s aviation pipeline from Southampton to London and has moved into a pallet tower.
Tory leadership candidates failing on net zero policies, says thinktank. The Guardian reports comments by the right-leaning think-tank Onward that the two Conservative leadership candidates are failing to promise the policies needed to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions.
Sunday 21 August 2022
‘Nothing is off the table’ Truss supporter pledges to develop ‘domestic energy sources’. The Express quotes MP Chris Philip, a Truss supporter in the Conservative leadership contest, who suggests that fracking is on the Truss agenda.
Billionaire Brexiter’s energy giant Ineos nets £474m profit thanks to soaring prices. The Guardian reports on new filings at Companies House for Ineos UK E&P Holdings, the oil and gas division of Ratcliffe’s empire, which reported a profit of £474m in 2021 compared with a loss of £226m in 2020, Also in the Telegraph
Saturday 20 August 2022
PM favourite Liz Truss could cut taxes for tradesmen & hints families will get more help with soaring energy bills. The Sun quotes Liz Trust as saying Britain needs to “beef up” domestic energy supplies by fracking where locals want it.
Price cap seen to breach £6,000 for first time in grim new forecast. PA quotes forecasters that bills could rise to £6,100 from April 2023.
Retail shareholders voice discontent with Angus Energy’s recent communications strategy. This is Money reports share chatters are complaining that Angus Energy is tweeting about the Saltfleetby gas site, rather than using the stock exchange news service.
Fracking decision imminent: Next PM with huge decision over new energy supplies. The Express reports a “landmark moment in the battle over whether to drill in England for [shale] gas” is expected shortly after Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak moves into No 10.
Friday 19 August 2022
Climate campaigner given 72 hours to leave tunnel protest over aviation fuel pipeline. DrillOrDrop report on a protest near Chertsey in Surrey against Esso’s Southampton to London Pipeline Project
Nadhim Zahawi’s dig at Whitehall as he blames departments for energy shortage by accusing them of hampering attempts to boost supply. The Daily Mail reports on comments by the chancellor, which it says “blamed the Whitehall blob for frustrating attempts to boost Britain’s energy supply”.
Thursday 18 August 2022
A fossil fuel investment resurgence amidst Europe’s energy crisis? In an Energy Voice opinion column, Mike Preston argues that opportunities in the European oil and gas industry have become more attractive for private equity sponsors. But he says buyers need to be aware of the challenges and negative attention the sector generates.
45 million in UK to be plunged into fuel poverty in winter. Energy Voice reports on research by York University which estimated 45 million people would struggle to pay energybills this winter.
Industry unites behind plan for crisis fund to control soaring energy bills. The Guardian reports the energy industry has united behind a plan to set up a crisis fund that could prevent bills from soaring next year and provide a lifeline for households struggling with the cost of living.
Wednesday 17 August 2022
Climate change will not affect our operations, says oil and gas firm, Rathlin Energy. DrillOrDrop report
Children born near fracking wells three times more likely to develop leukemia – study. The Guardian , Independent and Inside Climate News are among outlets that report on a study of more than 400 cases of acute lymphoblastic leukemia from a sample of 2,500 Pennsylvania 2-7 year olds.
Doctors for XR drop banner at Lords reading “JP Morgan stop bankrolling new oil and gas”. Extinction Rebellion reports on the fifth protest by Doctors for Extinction Rebellion in the past 12 months against JP Morgan Chase, the world’s biggest financier of fossil fuels and the principal sponsor of Lords cricket ground.
Cuadrilla will not need to do environmental study to bring back fracking in Lancashire. Lancashire Evening Post reports on Cuadrilla’s request for a screening decision. DrillOrDrop reported on this news on 28 July 2022. The company’s request was to extend the life of the site – not for fracking.
The Conservative case for net zero is the only one that makes sense to cut our bills. Cameron Smith, of the Conservative Environment Network, writing in City Am, says plans by the party leadership contenders won’t be enough to touch the sides of the cost of energy bills this winter. He says “Our reliance on fossil fuels is to blame for the energy crunch.”
Tuesday 16 August 2022
Council officials approve Horse Hill crude oil storage plan. DrillOrDrop report
Blackouts loom as Tories urged to start fracking now to stave off energy crisis. The Daily Express reports on an article by James Woodhuysen in Spiked magainze
Monday 15 August 2022
UK’s highest court to rule on climate impact of onshore oil production. DrillOrDrop report on announcement that Sarah Finch is to take her case against Surrey County Council over carbon emissions from Horse Hill oil to the Supreme Court.
Interview: campaigner “vindicated” by Supreme Court hearing on climate impact of oil production. DrillOrDrop interview with Sarah Finch.
Sunday 14 August 2022
Keir Starmer demands ban on raising energy prices. The Observer reports on Labour calls for the energy price cap to remain at £1,971 as charities warn the Tory leadership candidates of the catastrophic impact on the cost of living. Also reported by Bloomberg
Local politicians voice concerns over next Prime Ministers pro fracking stance. Deeside.com reports two local Senedd members have voiced concerns that the next prime minister could re-introduce fracking.
Saturday 13 August 2022
Rishi Sunak: ‘I’ll make UK energy independent by 2045 so energy crisis never happens again’. INews reports comments by Rishi Sunak that he will make the UK energy independent by 2045 if he is selected as Tory leader. He pledged urgent action with a new energy security task force, deregulation in the North Sea to increase gas production over the winter and allowing fracking for shale gas where there is local consent.
Friday 12 August 2022
Truss rejects new UK windfall tax while Sunak’s open to the idea. Energy Voice reports that Conservative leadership front-runner Liz Truss ruled out a fresh windfall tax on energy companies if she becomes prime minister, while her opponent Rishi Sunak vowed to find up to another £10 billion to help Britons pay for soaring power bills.
UK energy tax breaks are at odds with cost of living crisis. The FT says North Sea oil and gas already has ample tax breaks. Investment in oil and gas could receive a tax deduction of 46%, the paper says.
UK energy industry told to help with cost of living or risk windfall tax. The Times reports that UK energy companies have been told to use their “huge” profits to help bill payers or face further windfall taxes during a meeting where prime minister Boris Johnson “unexpectedly” showed up.
Analysis: Why UK energy bills are soaring to record highs and how to cut them. Carbon Brief reports that a global energy crisis has been building for nearly a year, after the post-Covid rebound crashed headlong into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, sending already-rising gas prices stratospheric. The analysis concludes:
“Plans to resurrect fracking for shale gas in the UK will not reduce energy bills”
Top Tory calls for fracking to reduce huge energy bills. Lincolnshire Live reports comments by Clr Colin Davie, the executive member for the environment on Lincolnshire County Council:
“I will go where the community want to go, if communities are absolutely opposed to it then I will support that view. But people have got to realise that if we don’t get some more energy into our networks, more gas and oil and fracking, energy bills will continue to rise.
“If communities believe there is a benefit for them to host fracking, then they’ll want to host it. You could see local energy bills falling because you’ll have this on your doorstep. There’s an argument for that.”
- A factcheck by Simon Evans, deputy editor of Carbon Brief, in July 2022, concluded fracking in the UK would not reduce energy bills.
Conservative party leadership frontrunner Liz Truss cheers up UK’s small band of frackers. This is Money reports on comments by Liz Truss at a Conservative Party hustings in Cheltenham that she believed fracking should be allowed. See also BBC News
UK fuel exports to Netherlands up by 67% in June, data shows. The Guardian reports on data from HMRC that British exports of fossil fuels more than double in value in June. More than £1bn went to the Netherlands, home to some of Europe’s biggest gas storage facilities.
‘Buyer beware’: Greenpeace vows Cambo legal action despite Shell exit. Energy Voice reports comments by Greenpeace that is position on the controversial Cambo field “hasn’t changed” and that it still intends to pursue legal action if development goes ahead, as partner Shell looks to offload its stakes in the project.
Thursday 11 August 2022
Shell launches sale of North Sea Cambo oil prospect – sources. Reuters quotes industry sources that Shell has hired the investment bank, Jefferies, to run the sale process of its 30% stake in the Cambo oilfield off Shetland.
Industry body warns against more stringent windfall tax. City Am reports on a warning from Offshore Energies UK that further changes to the windfall tax would undermine investor confidence and hamper the oil and gas industry.
Burning imported wood in Drax power plant ‘doesn’t make sense’, says Kwarteng. The Guardian reports comments by the business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, at a private meeting of MPs that importing of wood to burn in Drax power station “is not sustainable” and “doesn’t make any sense”.
Big Oil Set to Cash in On Trillion-dollar Offshore Wind Prize. OE Digital reports on European oil majors investing in offshore wind.
Wednesday 10 August 2022
Coalmine decision delayed again. Friends of the Earth comment on the government’s decision to delay again the decision on a new coalmine in Cumbria, this time on or before 8 November 2022.
Booming energy giants face tougher windfall tax as bills set ‘to hit £4,400’. The Sun reports the treasury is looking to beef up the 25% levy on record-breaking profits announced in May as the energy price cap is now forecast to reach £4,400 by next spring.
Energy price rises are a looming calamity. The Telegraph comment calls for Tory leadership contenders to prepare an effective policy response.
UK power cuts feared in worst-case scenario for energy supplies. The FT reports that ministers have been drawing up “worst-case” plans “for a bleak winter that could involve gas shortages and power blackouts”.
Wildcat strikes spread across Britain as thousands of workers stage unofficial walkouts over pay. The Telegraph reports workers are staging unofficial walkouts as soaring inflation and pay disputes trigger “a wave of wildcat strikes”. Hundreds of contractors at Ineos’s Grangemouth complex in Scotland blocked roads in a protest over pay.
IGas announces increased holding asset management company. An IGas stockmarket statement reports that Odey Asset Management LLP has increased its stake in the company from 3.71% to 4.26% . This is Money (5/8/2022)
Tuesday 9 August 2022
Union Jack update on capital reduction exercise. Union Jack Oil plc announces it has applied to High Court over its reduction of capital. The initial hearing is on 12 August 2022. The final hearing is schedule for 30 August 2022.
Lord Frost denies there’s a ‘climate emergency’ and says we should back fracking and nuclear energy. The Sun reports comments by Lord Frost that there is not a climate emergency and the next prime minister should stop hectoring Britons about going green.
How the net zero sceptics’ medieval arguments are being overwhelmed by a very modern reality. Business Green reports critics of the net zero transition are trying to blame it for the UK’s economic woes, but their arguments are looking increasingly detached from the modern world
Monday 8 August 2022
DrillOrDrop factcheck: web articles on IGas shale gas site at Misson, Nottinghamshire. Link
Egdon Resources appeals against refusal of planning permission at North Kelsey. DrillOrDrop report
Fears fracking could re-start in Lancashire as Conservative leadership candidates Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak both back it. The Blackpool Gazette reports comments by a Labour county councillor that the Conservative leadership candidates have committed to backing fracking.
Sunday 7 August 2022
BP to pay lower tax rate this year than before Covid. The Telegraph reports BP expects its global underlying tax rate will be around 35%, down from 36% in 2019 and 38% in 2018.
Saturday 6 August 2022
Revealed: BP’s ‘greenwashing’ social media ads as anger over fuel costs rose. The Guardian reports BP has spent £800,000 on social media influence ads after Labour proposed windfall tax.
Shell and BP to share in huge giveaway that will blow hole in windfall tax gains: £7.5bn taxpayer handout for oil titans. This Is Money reports that oil and gas titans are set to reap a mammoth taxpayer giveaway of up to £7.5billion despite making record profits.
Friday 5 August 2022
Huge fracking site ordered to shut by meddling councillors because it might upset owls – which flew off in 2018. The Sun reports (and comments) on the IGas site at Misson Springs in Nottinghamshire. Also reported by LBC (6/8/22022). See also DrillOrDrop factcheck on the articles
Tories are doomed if they betray Thatcher and retreat from net zero. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, writing in The Times says “the green lady invoked “our collective responsibility as stewards of the earth, leaders must abide by this”.
Thursday 4 August 2022
Sunak pledges to block green belt development. Planning Portal reports that Rishi Sunak has pledged to stop home building on the green belt, arguing that all development should take place on ‘brownfield, brownfield, brownfield’.
UK oil and gas decommissioning cost estimate drops 25% in 5 years. World Oil reports on the latest estimates from the North Sea Transition Authority
Big Oil under fire for ‘grotesque greed’ after record profits as people struggle with cost of living. The Independent reports on congressional hearing on oil profits.
IGas shareholder announcement. IGas announces on Odey Asset Management LLP has taken a holding worth 3.71% of the company.
Wednesday 3 August 2022
Anti-green politicians tipped for top roles in Truss government. DeSmog reports on comments by campaigners that action on climate change is in jeopardy if MPs such as climate science denier John Redwood are granted key posts.
Tuesday 2 August 2022
Calls for tougher windfall tax as BP announces tripling of profits. DrillOrDrop report on reaction to BP profits.
BP reports tripling of profits for second quarter of 2022. BP reports a tripling of second quarter profits to nearly £7bn. The company’s preferred measure of profit, the underlying replacement cost profit, rose to £6.92bn between April and June 2022, up from £5.11bn in the first quarter, and three times for the same measure and period of $2.29bn in 2021. Guardian, BBC News
Revealed: Energy crisis has made 30 House of Lords members wealthier. OpenDemocracy reports that 30 peers stand to make thousands from BP’s bumper profits as British households are told average bills could treble
Monday 1 August 2022
Guest post: Yorkshire Landowners question Conservative leadership candidates on fracking. DrillOrDrop guest post by Yorkshire Landowners in which they put key questions to Rishi Sunak and Liz Trust.