Keep up to date with January 2023’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 January 2023
ExxonMobil reports 142 per cent jump in annual earnings. The Times reports that profits at ExxonMobil rose to the highest ever level for a western oil major to a record $55.7bn, equivalent to £5.1m per hour.
Protesters interrupt debate of anti-protest bill in House of Lords. The Guardian has film of a dozen Extinction Rebellion protesters disrupting a speech in the House of Lords as peers debated a bill on protest crackdowns.
Climate protesters who squashed cake into King Charles waxwork told to pay damages. The Guardian and Telegraph report that climate protesters who threw cake into the face of a waxwork of King Charles in Madame Tussauds have been ordered to pay £3,500 in compensation.
Friday 27 January 2023
Cuadrilla owner “evaluating options” on UK fracking. A statement from Cuadrilla’s owner, A J Lucas, said it was “evaluating its options” in the UK after the reinstatement of the moratorium on fracking in October 2022.
Thursday 26 January 2023
UKOG meets energy minister. UKOG reports it met Graham Stuart to discuss energy storage and plans for an energy storage hub at Portland Port in Dorset.
CEO Stephen Sanderson enjoyed an encouraging meeting yesterday in Parliament with the Minister of State for Energy and Climate Graham Stuart. Meeting covered all areas of UKEn's energy storage hub project at Portland Port in Dorset. https://t.co/xfqaFIa6ZK pic.twitter.com/ub76ZxncuK— UKOG (@UKOGlistedonAIM) January 26, 2023
Wednesday 25 January 2023
Centrica plans battery storage at Knapton in North Yorkshire, HQ of former fracking company and former site of gas-fired power station. DrillOrDrop report on the latest changes at Third Energy.
BP sponsorship of Royal Opera House ends after 33 years. The Guardian, Telegraph, Independent and Evening Standard report a statement from the Royal Opera House that its sponsorship relationship with BP would not be renewed.
Celebrities call on UK banks to stop financing new oil, gas and coalfields. The Guardian reports that famous names including Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson and Mark Rylance have joined activists and businesses in calling on the UK’s big five banks to stop financing new oil, gas and coal expansion. Make My Money Matter, a campaign set up by Richard Curtis, has written to heads of HSBC. Barclays Santander, NatWest and Lloyds to urge the banks to stop financing fossil fuel expansion. Also reported by Business Green and BBC News
Fossil fuel lobby waged $4m disinformation campaign during climate summit, report finds. The Independent reports that most of the content originated from one PR company, based in the US
Nearly 50% of the University of Stirling’s investments are linked to fossil fuels. Brig Newspaper reports that Stirling University has invested nearly £420,000 in companies linked to fossil fuels, despite pledging to invest only in organisations with policies and controls to protect the environment.
Natural gas hits 20-month low, firmly in $2 territory, despite evolving cold. UK Investing reports gas was trading at around $2 after hitting a 20-month low, despite forecasts for cold weather.
Net zero scheme critics are ‘conspiracy theorists’, says council chief. The Times reports Oxford City Council has released what the paper calls a ‘dystopian’ video defending traffic proposals under which motorists must apply for permits to travel through certain zones. Critics of the scheme were described in the video as conspiracy theorists.
Tuesday 24 January 2023
Saltfleetby sidetrack drilling delayed. DrillOrDrop report
As Extinction Rebellion pauses disruptive tactics, what have its climate protests achieved? The Independent asks whether a change of direction for XR will revive a plateauing protest movement to meet the moment.
UN forced to ask whether Cop28 climate summit is effectively being run by an oil company. The Independent reports that the UN has sent questions to the COP28 presidency over its links with the oil giant Abu Dhabi National Oil Company. Also reported by Politico
Monday 23 January 2023
Government to offer £600m for green steel switch. BBC News reports that the government is expected to announce hundreds of millions of pounds of support to help Britain’s two biggest steelmakers, British Steel and Tata Steel UK, go green.
Friday 20 January 2023
Davos 2023-Starmer says no new UK oil and gas fields under a Labour government. Reuters reports that the Labour leader, Keir Starmer, speaking in Davos, said there would be no no investment in new oil and gas fields in Britain under a Labour government.
Tory-Linked Think Tank Appoints ‘Brazen’ Climate Denier as Director. DeSmog reports Michael John Cole, chairman of a Newcastle-based health foods distributor, joined the Global Warming Policy Foundation’s (GWPF) board of trustees on December 30, according to Companies House documents filed last week.
Google fails to block adverts on ‘climate lie’ sites. The Times reports that Google is still allowing adverts to run alongside articles calling climate change a “hoax” and a “big lie” despite pledging more than a year ago to block Google Ads running alongside content containing climate misinformation.
Thursday 19 January 2023
‘Ridiculous’: Greta Thunberg blasts decision to let UAE oil boss chair climate talks. The Guardian reports that Greta Thunberg, speaking in Davos, criticises the United Arab Emirates for appointing the head of its state-owned oil company to chair the Cop28 climate talks this year.
Perception spillover from fracking onto public perceptions of novel energy technologies. A paper in Nature concludes that public opposition to fracking can harm the chances to successful deployment of geothermal energy.
Wednesday 18 January 2023
Revealed: more than 90% of rainforest carbon offsets by biggest provider are worthless, analysis shows. The Guardian reports on analysis that finds the forest carbon offsets approved by the world’s leading provider, Verra, and used by Disney, Shell, Gucci and other big corporations are largely worthless and could make global heating worse.
Davos 2023: UN chief urges ‘credible’ net-zero pledges or risk greenwashing. Reuters reports the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on business leaders gathered at the World Economic Forum in Davos to follow the principles outlined by an expert group to make “credible”, accountable net-zero pledges.
Greta Thunberg detained at German coal protest. BBC News reports that the climate campaigner was among activists briefly detained by police at a protest in western Germany.
Tuesday 17 January 2023
Britishvolt: UK battery start-up collapses into administration. BBC News reports the UK battery start-up Britishvolt has collapsed into administration, with the majority of its 232 staff made redundant with immediate effect. The company had planned to build a giant factory to make electric car batteries in Blyth, Northumberland.
New Cumbria coalmine likely to break UK’s climate pledge, analysis says. The Guardian reports on new analysis which finds that the new coalmine in Cumbria is likely to prevent the UK from meeting its internationally agreed commitment to reduce emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas methane
Monday 16 January 2023
New measures to silence climate activists? They’ll only spur us on. Indigo Rumbelow, a supporter of Just Stop Oil and co-founder of Insulate Britain, tells the Guardian the latest proposed anti-protest legislation “is not going to deter us: if anything, it’ll have the opposite effect. We call on everyone to step up and do whatever is nonviolently possible to resist new fossil fuel exploitation in the UK – and the government’s slide into authoritarianism”.
Saturday 14 January 2023
UK private renters ‘could save £570 a year if ministers act on energy efficiency’. The Guardian reports on research which concluded that raising the minimum standard of energy efficiency to a C rating for privately rented homes would save bill payers about £570 a year.
Friday 13 January 2023
Court of Appeal judges dismissed legal challenge to UK government $1.15bn funding of Mozambique gas production project. DrillOrDrop report
Another call for earlier ban on flaring in UK oil and gas fields. DrillOrDrop report on the review by Chris Skidmore MP on the UK government’s net zero strategy. Also widely reported by other media outlets.
EU plans law forcing companies to prove green claims are real – draft. Reuters reports that the European Union has drafted plans to require companies to back up green claims about their products with evidence, in a bid to fight greenwashing and misleading advertisements.
Thursday 12 January 2023
Exxon scientists in the 1970s accurately predicted climate change. New Scientist reports on analysis of internal climate projections shows Exxon scientists knew the harm of burning fossil fuels, while firm’s executives played down the risk.
Warm 2022 makes the past eight years hottest ever recorded. The Guardian reports on findings by the World Meteorological Organisation that last year’s average temperature was about 1.15C warmer than levels seen the pre-industrial era.
HSBC breaks green pledge with $340m coalmine loan. The Times reports that HSBC made a multimillion-dollar loan to an energy company that is bulldozing a village in Germany to expand a huge coalmine — despite a pledge to “seek to withdraw” from funding the fossil fuel.
Wednesday 11 January 2023
Plan for presumption against new oil and gas exploration in North Sea. The Scotsman and Herald report on Scottish government plans to adopt a presumption against new oil and gas exploration in the North Sea.
UK coal-burning power facility to stay open two years longer than planned, The Guardian reports that part of the Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal-fired power station in Nottinghamshire will stay open for two years beyond its planned closure date after a call from ministers prompted by the UK’s energy crisis.
Monday 9 January 2023
The Conservative backbench 1922 BEIS committee repeats its call for 100% discount on energy bills for people living near shale gas projects. Link to report and link to previous report issued in April 2022 Business Green
Former Tory minister quits party and lavishes praise on Starmer. The Guardian reports that Claire Perry O’Neill, who was part of Theresa May’s cabinet, lauds Labour leader’s ‘sober’ and ‘competent’ leadership
Thursday 5 January 2023
MPs call for ban on oil and gas industry flaring by 2025. DrillOrDrop report on recommendations by the Environmental Audit Committee that flaring on UK oil and gas fields to be banned in the next two years. It also called for a clear end date for oil and gas licensing. Also reports by the Mirror, BBC News, Daily Mail,
Government energy advisor quits BP after conflict of interest fears revealed. Open Democracy repots Peter Mather was appointed to the government’s BEIS board despite being paid to chair a BP shareholders’ group.
Wednesday 4 January 2023
Siccar Point Energy founderDoug Fleming joins IGas. DrillOrDrop report on Doug Fleming, who has joined the board of IGas as an independent non-executive director
Legal challenge launched over Cumbrian coal mine. Friends of the Earth reports that it is taking legal action against the UK government following the decision to grant permission for a new mine in Cumbria. Reported by Business Green and BBC News. South Lakes Action on Climate Change is also considering legal action and has sent a pre-action letter to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up.
Tuesday 3 January 2023
Latest UK onshore oil production – October 2022. DrillOrDrop’s review of the latest UK onshore oil data for October 2022: the monthly volume of flared gas was the highest reported since records began six years ago.
Saltfleetby gas – quarterly volume of 5.6m therms. DrillOrDrop report on Angus Energy’s gas volume from Saltfleetby in Lincolnshire
Reabold completes acquisition of southern North Sea firm Simwell. Reabold Resources, which has a stake in Rathlin Energy and West Newton gas projects, reports it has completed its acquisition of Simwell Resources.
Monday 2 January 2023
Details published on proposed new IGas oil site at Glentworth, Lincolnshire. DrillOrDrop report
Insulate Britain and Just Stop Oil vow to continue disruptive action. The Guardian (2/1/23) reports Insulate Britain and Just Stop Oil have doubled down on their commitment to disruptive climate “civil resistance”.
Sunday 1 January 2023
3 onshore oil and gas wells drilled in 2022 – official data. DrillOrDrop analysis of official drilling data
Extinction Rebellion announces move away from disruptive tactics. The Guardian reports that XR has announced it is shifting tactics from disruptions such as smashing windows and glueing themselves to public places in 2023. A new year resolution seeks to ““prioritise attendance over arrest and relationships over roadblocks”
Just Stop Oil accuses police and judiciary of “Working for death not life”. A statement from Just Stop Oil accuses government, police and judiciary which chose “power and profit” over “care and reason” of being “complicit in genocide” by signing “the death sentences of billions of people in the years to come”.