Keep up to date with February 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.
Click here for headlines from previous months. Please let us know if we’ve missed something important contact@DrillOrDrop.com
Thursday 2 March 2023
Legal challenge to Dunsfold drilling gets go-ahead. DrillOrDrop report in successful application by Protect Dunsfold and Waverley Borough Council to challenge planning permission for UKOG’s Loxley gas exploration.
Protest at High Court by opponents of Surrey gas drilling. DrillOrDrop report on statutory review sought by Protect Dunsfold and Waverley Borough Council against gas drilling in Dunsfold.
Angus Energy completes sidetrack well at Saltfleetby. DrillOrDrop report
Core shareholders in Angus Energy offer debt facility to cover drilling overruns and diligence costs of potential acquisition. Company statement
Angus Energy appoints Richard Herbert as chief executive and George Lucan as executive chairman. Company statement
Egdon Resources completes acquisition of Aurora Production. Egdon Resources announces it has acquired Aurora’s 18.75% interest in PL090 (Waddock Cross) and 8.33% in PEDL070 (Avington).
Tuesday 28 February 2023
Campaigners back onshore wind to replace fossil fuel energy. DrillOrDrop report on Weald Action Group’s response to government proposals to relax restrictions on onshore wind.
Monday 27 February 2023
UKOG installs test boreholes in plans for water injection at Horse Hill. DrillOrDrop report on reinjection plans at UKOG’s Horse Hill site in Surrey.
Friends of the Earth reaction to latest Ofgem energy price cap. Connor Schwartz, warm homes campaigner at Friends of the Earth, says:
“The government must not delay any further in rolling out a street-by-street insulation programme. Not only is this the best solution to lower bills permanently and help those struggling most, it’s also badly needed for the sake of our planet.”
Sunday 26 February 2023
Gloucestershire council blasted over oil sector ties more than four years since declaring climate change emergency. Gloucestershire Live reports on criticism by Green party councillors of Forest of Dean District Council overs its investments in a fund which has oil and gas industry shares.
Friday 24 February 2023
N Yorks Tories block opposition motion on fracking. DrillOrDrop report on vote on proposal by Lib Dems and Greens on North Yorkshire County Council.
Thursday 23 February 2023
IGas trading and reserves update. IGas issues a trading and operations update in advance of its 2022 full year results, due out on on 30 March 2023.
Ineos buys Chesapeake shale assets for $1.4 billion. Energy Voice reports that Ineos Energy has made its first play in the US onshore market with a $1.4bn acquisition of a portion of Chesapeake Energy’s US onshore oil and gas assets. The group is set to acquire approximately 2,300 wells producing net 36,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) in south Texas’ Eagle Ford shale from Chesapeake Energy.
How the bitter fracking debate forced Jim Ratcliffe to abandon Britain. The Telegraph reports the billionaire and UK fracking cheerleader has relocated to Texas.
Wednesday 22 February 2023
Challenge to Surrey gas drilling goes to court. DrillOrDrop report on Protect Dunsfold and Waverley Borough Council bid for a statutory review of planning permission for gas drilling by UKOG at Loxley.
Heat pumps: Lords slam ‘failing’ green heating scheme. The BBC reports on a House of Lords inquiry which described the government’s flagship green heating scheme for heat pumps as “seriously failing”.
Today’s climate activist ‘criminals’ are tomorrow’s heroes: silencing them in court is immoral. In an opinion piece for the Guardian, George Monbiot argues against legal restrictions which prevent protesters charged with public nuisance from using motivation and proportionality as a defence.
Extinction Rebellion Cambridge occupies Sedgwick Museum. The organisation says it is protesting about the fossil fuel connections of the Department of Earth Sciences.
Tuesday 21 February 2023
Government defeated again on key measures to limit protest tactics. DrillOrDrop report. Also reported by the Guardian and Irish News
WI joins celebrities and campaigners to reject Rosebank oilfield. DrillOrDrop report
Report estimates potential value of UKOG’s Surrey gasfield. DrillOrDrop report on prediction that gas production near the village of Dunsfold could generate up to £124m for UKOG.
Mozambique gas challenge seeks appeal to supreme court. DrillOrDrop report that Friends of the Earth has lodged an appeal against UK government funding of a $1.15bn gas project in the Cabo Delgado region.
Europe slashed winter gas use amid energy crisis. Reuters reports that European countries slashed their gas use from August to January, as unusually warm weather curbed household heating, soaring prices curtailed industrial output and governments launched emergency measures to contain the energy crisis.
Ex-easyJet pilot fined for blocking road outside Harrods in climate protest. The Guardian reports on the trial of Just Stop Oil protesters. One, a former easyJet pilot fold the court he left his job because thought he was contributing to climate change.
Cambridge University students vote for completely vegan menus. The Independent reports on a vote by Cambridge University students in favour of removing all animal products from cafes and canteens.
Tuesday 14 February 2023
Balcombe oil test gets go ahead. DrillOrDrop report on decision by the Planning Inspectorate to overturn an unanimous refusal of planning permission for well testing at Angus Energy’s Balcombe oil site.
Monday 13 February 2023
Ineos billionaire has a cracking plan. The Times reports that Jim Ratcliffe, of Ineos, has raised E3.5 billion to build what the paper calls the greenest chemical cracker in Europe. The project, in Antwerp, Belgium, was the “largest investment in the European chemicals sector for a generation”, Ineos said.
Saturday 11 February 2023
Block Cuadrilla’s bid for more time at fracking site – local Conservative MP urges council. DrillOrDrop report on Mark Menzies’ letter to Lancashire County Council on Cuadrilla’s application for two more years at Preston New Road. Blackpool Gazette
Senior Tory almost quit party over fracking vote. DrillOrDrop report on Chris Skidmore’s reaction to the October 2022 vote on fracking.
New environment regulator applies to join legal case on onshore oil production. DrillOrDrop report on the application by Office of Environmental Protection to intervene in the Sarah Finch challenge against Surrey County Council due at the Supreme Court in June 2023.
BP attacked over decision to scale back climate goals. The Times reports BP’s decision to water down its 2030 climate goals has been criticised by Federated Hermes, which co-leads negotiations with BP over its energy transition plans on behalf of Climate Action 100+, a group of more than 700 investors with more than $68 trillion in assets under management.
Friday 10 February 2023
Ineos ordered to pay costs in protest injunction challenge. DrillOrDrop report on the latest stage of a legal dispute lasting more than five years involving campaigners Joe Boyd and Joe Corre and the would-be fracking company. Ruling issued on 7/2/23.
Angus Energy Saltfleetby update. Angus Energy reports that the sidetrack drilling programme at Saltfleetby was likely to be extended by 14 days to select a “more advantageous kick-off position or the sidetrack in order to utilise a more robust geological layer. The company said it would involve a further 100m of drilling.
UKOG statement on Turkey earthquake. UKOG says its Resan licence area “remains unaffected by the earthquakes in Turkey.
NatWest pledges to stop providing loans for new oil and gas projects. Morning Star reports that NatWest has pledged to reduce lending to oil and gas firms amid new climate change initiatives due to be unveiled next week.
UK must quit climate-harming energy charter treaty, experts say. The Guardian reports that more than 100 academics have written to the UK government urging it to leave the energy charter treaty, a a secret court system that enables fossil fuel companies to sue governments for huge sums over policies that could affect future profits.
Thursday 9 February 2023
Cuadrilla owner takes $157m hit from fracking moratorium. DrillOrDrop report on the AJ Lucas decision to impair the value of its UK shale gas assets by more than $157m.
Calls to brand fracking in North Yorkshire ‘inappropriate’ rejected. The Northern Echo reports that the leadership of Conservative-led North Yorkshire County Council has said it will not support Liberal Democrat and Green motions to declare fracking as inappropriate.
Wednesday 8 February 2023
Peers inflict defeats on government anti-protest measures. DrillOrDrop report on the report stage of the Public Order Bill in the House of Lords (7/2/23)
Latest UK onshore oil production reveals that November 2022 saw the third consecutive monthly fall in daily production, halving output at Wressle and another record high for onshore flaring. DrillOrDrop report
French giant TotalEnergies posts record $20.5 billion profit amid high oil prices. The AFP news agency reports that TotalEnergies announced record profits of $20.5bn.
Equinor shares soar on record 2022 profit. Reuters reports Equinor posted a record profit for 2022 of $74.9bn (£62bn), bigger than Shell and BP combined.
Protests outside Equinor. Friends of the Earth Scotland reports that climate campaigners protested outside Equinor offices in Aberdeen today against the company’s profit announcement. The company is waiting for a UK government decision on developing the Rosebank oilfield off Shetland.
Renewable spurt pushes power towards emissions ‘tipping point’. Reuters reports comments by the International Energy Agency that a rise in wind and solar production, together with more nuclear electricity, will dominate growth in global power supply over the next three years, curbing the emissions impact of greater energy use
Tuesday 7 February 2023
Cuadrilla’s bid to delay restoration of Lancashire fracking site – details published. DrillOrDrop report on plans by Cuadrilla for a two-year delay to returning its controversial Preston New Road shale gas site to farmland.
New energy security and net zero department formed in reshuffle. DrillOrDrop report on new department headed by Grant Shapps. Also reported by the Press Association, Guardian and others. Business Green reports on the reaction from the green economy
BP scales back climate targets at profits hit record. BBC News reports that BP announced record annual profits, of $27.7bn in 2022.
BP scales back pledges to cut oil and gas production. Edie reports that BP has stated it is no longer likely to meet a previous pledge to reduce oil and gas production by 40% by 2030, against a 2020 baseline.
Don’t Say It Out Loud, But BP Is Back Into Petroleum. Bloomberg reports that BP hasn’t pulled a U-turn on going green but it isn’t moving in a straight line either.
COP28 Chief’s Global Tour Begins With a Defense of Fossil Fuels. Bloomberg reports on comments by the UAE’s Al Jaber that hydrocarbons are needed as a bridge in transition and climate talks but reflect on issues of energy poverty.
Monday 6 February 2023
Egdon looks at North Yorkshire gas prospect. DrillOrDrop report on Egdon Resources’ option agreement to operate the PL081 licence, which includes the Weaverthorpe gas prospect.
Grid can take Loxley gas, says UKOG. DrillOrDrop report on UKOG statement that all the potential gas that could be produced at its prospective gas site at Loxley in Surrey could go into the local network.
Wressle produces net revenue of US$13m for Union Jack Oil. Union Jack reports the Wressle well in North Lincolnshire is producing at historically record rates under natural flow and with no formation water. The company said it had received $13m in revenue from Wressle since 19 August 2021.
Sunday 5 February 2023
UK’s net-zero czar warns of climate leadership ‘vacuum’. Politico reports that Chris Skidmore, who signed the UK’s ambitious climate pledge into law, is quitting as an MP.
Friday 3 February 2023
1.5ML earthquake felt in Blackpool. DrillOrDrop report on an earthquake centred on an area between two former fracking sites in Lancashire.
Thursday 2 February 2023
UKOG gets more time for Loxley gas drilling. DrillOrDrop report on an extension from the industry regulator to UK Oil & Gas for the proposed Loxley-1 well, near Dunsfold in Surrey. (Statement issued 1/2/23)
North Yorkshire Council given legal warning over opposing fracking. The Northern Echo reports Conservative-led North Yorkshire County Council has been warned its decisions over some major developments could be ruled invalid if it approves an opposition move to brand fracking as “inappropriate”. Liberal, Liberal Democrat and Green councillors have tabled motions on the issue in November. Legal officers have advised that if the motions were approved it could give the impression that the council and its members have a pre-determined view or are biased in dealing with planning applications for fracking.”
Shell annual profits double to record high. BBC News reports Shell profits reached $39.9bn (£32.2bn) in 2022, double the level in 2021 and the highest in the company’s 115-year history. Also reported in the Guardian, FT and Mirror
Tougher windfall tax urged as Shell posts record profits. Friends of the Earth calls for a higher windfall tax to help fund a nationwide programme of insulation and renewable energy. Friends of the Earth Scotland described the profit as obscene and said they were evidence that the fossil fuelled energy system was “seriously harming people and the climate”.
Nearly 14,000 Nigerians take Shell to court over devastating impact of pollution. The Guardian (and FT) report nearly 14,000 people from two Nigerian communities are seeking justice in the high court in London against the fossil fuel giant Shell, claiming it is responsible for devastating pollution of their water sources and destruction of their way of life.
Wednesday 1 February 2023
Government warned to kick fossil fuel habit to avoid worst climate impacts. DrillOrDrop report on reaction to the Climate Change Committee recommendations on UK adaptation plans.
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