Daily headlines

December 2022 headlines

Keep up to date with December 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.

Protest outside Schlumberger headquarters in London, November 2022. Photo: Extinction Rebellion

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


Saturday 31 December 2022

What to watch in 2023? DrillOrDrop review of key events expected in the coming year

3 onshore oil and gas wells drilled in 2022 – official data. DrillOrDrop analysis of official drilling data

Friday 30 December 2022

Anti-fracking tributes to Dame Vivienne Westwood 1941-2022. DrillOrDrop report

Thursday 29 December 2022

Review of 2022: the year fracking was off, then on, and off again. DrillOrDrop.com report

Saturday 24 December 2022

Happy Christmas from DrillOrDrop.com

Wednesday 21 December 2022

Crane at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site. DrillOrDrop report on latest operations at the suspended fracking site near Blackpool.

Monday 19 December 2022

Angus Energy raises £7.1m in share placing and subscriptions. DrillOrDrop report on announcement from the Saltfleetby and Brockham operator.

Operators fined over flaring and production breaches. DrillOrDrop report on sanctions against Equinor, EnQuest and Spirit Energy.

MP Menzies calls for Cuadrilla to pack up and leave Fylde fracking site now. The Blackpool Gazette reports comments by Fylde MP, Mark Menzies, who has called on Cuadrilla to “pack up and leave”, following the announcement that it will seek an extension of its planning permission.

Investors ramp up pressure on Big Oil firms to set 2030 climate targets. Reuters reports that the Follow This group of investors has tabled resolutions urging four of the world’s top oil and gas companies to set broad climate targets for 2030, reviving pressure on the sector after a year that saw governments shift their focus to energy security.

Hydrogen is not a panacea for reaching Net Zero, warn MPs. The UK parliament’s science and technology committee reports that hydrogen will likely have a “specific but limited” role in decarbonising sectors, for example where electrification is not possible, and as a means of storing energy. It says hydrogen is unlikely to be economically viable for heating homes or fuelling passenger cars in the short and medium term. Reports in the Times and FT.

5.4 quake jolts oil-producing West Texas as locals blame fracking for 4th strongest tremor in state. MEAW reports a moderate earthquake occurred in Western Texas on Friday, December 16. The United States Geological Survey explained that the magnitude 5.4 quake occurred around 5.30 pm, was located 12.5 miles north-northwest of Midland and Odessa, and had a depth of 5.09 miles

Sunday 18 December 2022

SSE begins work on hydrogen storage cavern on Yorkshire coast. The Guardian reports the energy company SSE has begun work to develop an underground cavern in East Yorkshire to store hydrogen, aiming at stockpiling renewable source of power. The project would produce hydrogen using renewable energy in a 35-megawatt electrolyser to be stored in a cavern the size of St Paul’s Cathedral, a mile deep at Aldbrough on the Yorkshire coast.

Extinction Rebellion protester from Ashbourne disrupts another cathedral service. Derbyshire Live reports a climate protester from Derbyshire disrupted a Sunday service at Lichfield in Staffordshire. May Small, 63, held up a banner that read “invest for good not harm – tell the truth about climate”.

Friday 16 December 2022

Global coal consumption to reach all-time high this year – IEA. Reuters reports on a publication from the International Energy Agency, which predicts global coal consumption is set to rise to an all-time high in 2022 and remain at similar levels in the next few years if stronger efforts are not made to move to a low-carbon economy.

Thursday 15 December 2022

Older people drive increasing support for fracking – annual government survey suggests. DrillOrDrop reports on the latest annual government survey of public attitudes, which found opposition to fracking continued to exceed support but support had risen and opposition was down on a year ago.

Bid fails to revoke consent for West Newton gas plans. DrillOrDrop reports ministers have refused a request to overturn planning permission for expansion and long-term production at a Rathlin Energy oil and gas site in East Yorkshire.

Labour climate and environment forum launches with new poll showing opposition green plans are winning over voters. Business Green reports on new polling which reveals how voters are more likely to support Labour when they see its leaders talking about climate change.

Biggest North Sea producer refuses to drill new oil wells because of windfall tax. The Telegraph reports that Harbour Energy has opted out of licensing bid in a blow to government ambitions to boost domestic energy supplies.

HSBC to end funding for new oil and gas fields. BBC News, among others, reports the announcement from HSBC that it will stop financing new oil and gas fields.

UK’s offshore wind investment is a risk with windfall tax, power chiefs warn. Bloomberg UK reports the Treasury has been told that offshore wind projects may no longer be viable and that energy security and climate goals are at risk without wind.

Wednesday 14 December 2022

IGas submits production application for new Glentworth oil site. DrillOrDrop reports formal plans have been submitted for a new Lincolnshire oil site that could produce up to 90,000 tonnes a year.

Pennsylvania residents sue Sunoco for damage to home and water systems from Mariner East II pipeline construction.

Tuesday 13 December 2022

Information from fracking firms not trusted by local communities, study reveals. DrillOrDrop report on public reactions to shale gas plans by Ineos in Woodsetts and Aurora Energy Resources near Great Altcar. An academic study found that most people living near two proposed shale gas sites did not trust information from fracking companies.

‘Contingency’ coal plants stood down after first big test of UK’s resilience. The FT reports that National Grid has abandoned its plan to fire up old coal plants.

Outgoing boss of oil and gas trade body warns against ‘environmental populism’ amid North Sea debate. The Scotsman reports comments by Deirdre Mitchie, chief executive of Offshore Energies UK, who said it was important not to be distracted by a “single-issue approach”

Monday 12 December 2022

Cuadrilla seeks go-ahead to generate electricity at Elswick gas site in Lancashire. DrillOrDrop reports a public consultation has begun into Cuadrilla’s application for a bespoke environmental permit at its Elswick site.

National Grid fires up old coal plants as icy weather risks UK blackouts. The Times reports the National Grid has triggered emergency plans to fire up old coal plants as cold, still weather sparked fears of a supply shortage this evening. Also the Telegraph reports on power prices surging with cold snap.

Just Stop Oil supporters slow march as government threatens law change to silence dissent. Just Stop Oil reports that its supporters stopped traffic at key routes in central London to demand government halts all new fossil fuel licences and consents.

Renewable energy jobs growing four times faster than rest of UK market. The Guardian reports on data that shows the number of jobs being created in the renewable energy industry is growing four times faster than the overall UK employment market.

Pennsylvania lifts ban on gas production in polluted village. AP News reports one of Pennsylvania’s largest drillers will be allowed to extract natural gas from underneath the rural community of Dimock, where it has been banned for a dozen years because of accusations it polluted the water supply, according to a settlement with state regulators.

Sunday 11 December 2022

UK oil and gas licensing faces legal challenge from environmental groups. The FT reports that Greenpeace has started legal proceedings against the UK government in a bid to stop the award of more than 100 new licenses to explore for oil and gas in the North Sea. Friends of the Earth and Uplift have also written to the business secretary, Grant Shapps, warning they believe approval of the licensing process was unlawful.

New Cumbria coalmine: backlash grows as steel industry plays down demand. The Observer reports senior steel industry figures have rejected claims that their demand for coal has driven the government’s divisive decision to sanction the first new UK coalmine for 30 years. At Westminster, there are suspicions that the decision has been driven purely by the promised jobs the project will bring to the area and boost the government’s “red wall” credentials.

West Cumbria coal mine protest held at proposed Whitehaven site. BBC News reports on a protest at the proposed site of a new coalmine in Cumbria.

Saturday 10 December 2022

US to examine environmental impact of planned Cumbrian coal mine. The Independent reports the US climate envoy John Kerry has suggested he will keep a close eye on UK plans for a new coal mine in Cumbria.

Friday 9 December 2022

Three insulate Britain supporters vindicated after jury returns unanimous not guilty verdict. Insulate Britain reports the jury at Inner London Crown Court took 40 minutes to reach its verdict. The group said Joshua Smith, 29, a stonemason from Manchester, who has been in prison without trial since July for taking action with Just Stop Oil,  Gwen Harrison, 45, a climate change consultant from Kendal and Emily Brocklebank, 24, a student from Leeds were declared not guilty of all charges relating to the Insulate Britain roadblock on Bishopgate on 25th October 2021.

Europa Oil & Gas reports on failed resolutions. The company with interests in the Wressle oilfield reported that special resolutions at the AGM did not achieve the required 75% vote to pass.

Germany considers €1 billion in support for 10 fossil fuel projects overseas. Climate Home News reports Germany is considering support for at least 10 foreign fossil fuel projects worth over €1 billion ($1bn), despite its pledge to end international funding for coal, oil and gas.  

Big Oil does little to act on climate despite vows – U.S. House panel. Reuters reports major energy companies are not doing enough to prevent the worst effects of climate change despite public promises to fight the problem, a U.S. House panel said about documents released on Friday that it got in a probe.

Thursday 8 December 2022

Oil firms seek windfall tax price floor in meeting with Jeremy Hunt. Energy Voice reports that the chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, is due to hold a meeting on Friday on the windfall tax with oil and gas executives seeking a price floor to the levy.

Just Stop Oil supporters disrupt traffic calling for U-turn on coal decision. Just Stop Oil reports it has stopped traffic on key routes in central London to demand a half to all new oil and gas licences and the reveral of yesterday’s decision on a new coal mine.

Wednesday 7 December 2022

UK’s first new coalmine for 30 years gets go-ahead in Cumbria. The Guardian and most mainstream media outlets report the UK will build its first new coalmine for three decades at Whitehaven in Cumbria, despite objections locally, across the UK and from around the world. Michael Gove gave the project the green light, paving the way for estimated investment of £165m. The scheme will create about 500 new jobs and produce 2.8m tonnes of coking coal a year. Decision document

CCC response. Lord Deben, chair of the Climate Change Committee, said:

Phasing out coal use is the clearest requirement of the global effort towards Net Zero. We condemn, therefore, the Secretary of State’s decision to consent a new deep coal mine in Cumbria, contrary to our previous advice. This decision grows global emissions and undermines UK efforts to achieve Net Zero. It runs counter to the UK’s stated aims as COP26 President and sends entirely the wrong signal to other countries about the UK’s climate priorities. The UK’s hard-fought global influence on climate is diminished by today’s decision.

Permission for the mine’s operation has been granted out to 2049, sanctioning new UK emissions from coking coal, for which there may be no domestic use after 2035. The mine is projected to increase UK emissions by 0.4 MtCO2e per year. This is greater than the level of annual emissions projected from all open UK coal mines to 2050.

The project’s developers estimate that 85% of the mine’s output of coking coal will be exported. It is not clear where these export markets will lie. The International Energy Agency’s recent World Energy Outlook sees a decline in global coking coal demand in all of its scenarios, especially from the end of the 2020s, when more modern decarbonised steel facilities come online. Global use of coking coal is projected to reduce by 63% by 2050 if countries achieve their present emissions commitments and by 88% if Net Zero is achieved globally by 2050.

We gave clear advice on the Sixth Carbon Budget that steel-making in the UK should be entirely low-carbon by 2035. By locking in use of coking coal, this decision appears to narrow the options for decarbonising steel in the UK. A strong signal has been given to the market that steel production via hydrogen direct reduction of iron is not favoured by government, despite this technology making most progress internationally as a means of decarbonising steel production. Achieving the necessary decarbonisation in the UK now appears to be dependent on successful, rapid deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the UK.

It now becomes more important to move ahead with CCS at a faster pace in the UK. We look forward to reviewing the government’s plans in this area in the forthcoming Energy Security Bill.

Scotland loses UK lead in cutting carbon emissions, says CCC assessment of progress. DrillOrDrop report

Rishi Sunak does gas deal with US. Reported by Daily Express (Rishi Sunak hails gas deal with US which will ‘slash prices’ amid uncertainty over Ukraine); Politico (Gas supply at center of new US-UK energy pact); Daily Mail (Fracking deal with the US will help Britain keep the lights on: Rishi Sunak and Joe Biden will unveil gas supply agreement today).

Tuesday 6 December 2022

Friends of the Earth legal challenge to UK funding of Mozambique LNG project goes to court of appeal this morning. DrillOrDrop report

Imminent Cumbria coalmine decision likely to cause new Tory split. The Guardian reports Michael Gove could green light the first UK coalmine in a generation as soon as Wednesday, in a move likely to open up new dividing lines among Conservatives.

Onshore wind rules to be relaxed after Tory revolt. BBC News reports the government has pledged to relax restrictions on building onshore wind farms in England after a threatened rebellion from Conservative MPs. Also reported by Mail Online (Is Rishi really in charge? Sunak performs another climbdown over onshore wind farm ban after also caving to Tory rebels on housebuilding targets)

Therese Coffey tells MPs moderate farm land could be used for solar farms. The Guardian reports on evidence by the environment secretary to the environment, food and rural affairs committee.

‘We are treating nature like a toilet’: UN chief says humanity is ‘weapon of mass extinction’. The Independent reports comments by Antonio Guterres at the COP15 biodiversity summit that we are “committing suicide by proxy”.

Just Stop Oil supporters stroll through London to demand an oil to new oil and gas gas. Just Stop Oil reports its supporters walked through south London and in the City of London.

Monday 5 December 2022

Consent for importing radioactive waste for disposal at Brockham. DrillOrDrop report

Latest onshore oil production data – September 2022. DrillOrDrop report

Saltfleetby update. Angus Energy reports that it expects to resume drilling in the open hole section of the reservoir for its sidetrack well at Saltfleetby early in the week starting 12 December 2022. Drilling is due to end on about 14 December and well clean up operations are due to start on about 16 December, followed by well testing.

Sunday 4 December 2022

Protesters gather outside Lewes town hall against fossil fuels. The Argus reports that campaigners from Divest East Sussex, Lewes climate hub and Extinction Rebellion plan to be outside Lewes town hall on Monday morning (5 December 2022) to protest against investment into fossil fuel companies.

Thursday 1 December 2022

Cuadrilla seeks two more years at Lancs fracking site at Preston New Road. DrillOrDrop report. BBC News (5 December 2022)

Lewes District Council agrees new anti-fracking policy. UK Daily News reports that Lewes District Council has agreed a new policy to oppose plans to frack or extract fossil fuels in the district.

1 reply »

  1. Fracking is a proven way of becoming energy. Secure with the potential for creating wealth growing the economy and reducing energy bills if managed correctly. Now we know high gas costs will be with us for many years. Look again after a year of paying 3 or 4 or more times the normal cost.

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