Daily headlines

May 2023 headlines

Keep up to date with May 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.

Saltfleetby gas site in Lincolnshire. Photo: Angus Energy

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

Wednesday 31 May 2023

Planners back more time for restoration at Cuadrilla’s fracking site. DrillOrDrop report on the recommendation from county council planners on the Preston New Road shale gas site.

Egdon Resources seeks 10 more years at Waddock Cross oil site, where there has been no production since 2014. DrillOrDrop report, BBC News and Dorset Echo (30/5/23)

October date for Cumbria coal mine legal challenge. Friends of the Earth and South Lakes Action on Climate Change have a date for their legal challenges to the government decision to grant planning permission for a new coal mine in Cumbria.

Tuesday 30 May 2023

The Guardian view on Labour’s green plans: just stop oil to save the planet. A Guardian editorial says Sir Kier Starmer is right to say no to new hydrocarbon extraction from the North Sea.

Preferred bidder for Wythenshaw Hospital geothermal scheme. IGas announces its geothermal business, GT Energy, has been selected as the preferred bidder to deliver geothermal heat for Wythenshaw Hospital in Manchester.

Saltfleetby field: production and pricing update and future drilling plans. Angus Energy announces it has engaged planning consultants to submit a further planning application for expanding the site at Saltfleetby with new wells and a process plant. The company said the three producing wells were reaching average daily rates of 9.5mmscfd. Winter gas revenue was expected to be £2.5m per month.

Monday 29 May 2023

Leitrim locals and Lakota ‘water protectors’ unite against fracking, mining. The Irish Times reports comments by the anti-fracking group Love Leitrim that the county should not become a “sacrifice zone” that is constantly under threat from extractive industries such as fracking and mining

Sunday 28 May 2023

Labour confirms plans to block all new North Sea oil and gas projects. The Guardian reports Labour has confirmed it will block all new domestic oil and gas developments if it wins power, proposing instead to invest heavily in renewable sources such as wind and also in nuclear power.

One day we can turn off the North Sea gas taps, but not yet. The Sunday Times gives its view on Labour’s plans to block all new North Sea oil and gas licences.

Saturday 27 May 2023

More than 1,500 arrested at Extinction Rebellion protest in The Hague. The Guardian reports an estimate by Dutch police that more than 1,500 people were arrested during a protest by Extinction Rebellion in the Hague.

Thursday 25 May 2023

Expert warns that North Kelsey oil plans are a “clear and obvious conflict” with UK climate commitments. DrillOrDrop report on evidence submitted to the appeal hearing on Egdon Resources’ plans to drill for oil at North Kelsey in Lincolnshire.

Energy Minister: ‘We will never license oil and gas development in the UK that isn’t compatible with net zero’. Business Green reports Graham Stuart has insisted new oil and gas licenses are compatible with UK climate goals, as he argued the UK can continue to attract green investment without engaging in ‘subsidy race’.

What France’s new ban on short flights could signal for the future of flying. The Washington Post reports that France has become the first country to ban short-haul flights, cutting several domestic routes that can be easily reached by train.

Ofgem energy price cap falls to £2,074 but households will see little relief. The Guardian reports the energy price cap in Britain has fallen but the average household will still pay almost double the rate for their gas and electricity than before costs started to soar.

Sam Hall: Some claim Net Zero is woke. But dragging climate action into culture wars would fail with red wall voters. Sam Hall, director of the Conservative Environment Network, writing for Conservative Home, says dragging climate action into the culture wars is irresponsible and would not work politically with red wall voters this approach is trying to appeal to.

Just Stop Oil protesters throw paint over Chelsea Flower Show garden. Sky News reports that three women from Just Stop Oil threw orange paint over the RBC Dolphin Garden, designed by Paul Hervey-Brookes.

Enough with fossil fuels, Pope says in latest climate appeal. Reuters reports comments by Pope Francis that the world must rapidly ditch fossil fuels. He said  U.N. climate summit meeting in Dubai on Nov. 30-Dec.12 “must listen to science and institute a rapid and equitable transition to end the era of fossil fuel”.

Wednesday 24 May 2023

UK risks missing out on net zero jobs, says CCC. DrillOrDrop report on warning from the government’s climate advisor.

‘Worthless’: Chevron’s carbon offsets are mostly junk and some may harm, research says. The Guardian reports on a new investigation into Chevron’s climate pledge that has found the fossil-fuel company relies on “junk” carbon offsets and “unviable” technologies, which do little to offset its vast greenhouse gas emissions and in some cases may actually be causing communities harm.

“The only demonstrations that really work are disruptive ones.” Gary Lineker tells Channel 4 News that disruptive climate protesters could be considered “heroes” if the world takes action against the climate crisis, and says “it’s very worrying” people are being arrested for protesting.

Tuesday 23 May 2023

CEO of biggest carbon credit certifier to resign after claims offsets worthless. The Guardian reports that David Antonioli to step down from Verra, which was accused of approving millions of worthless offsets used by major companies.

More Than 100 US, EU Politicians Want Oil CEO Removed as COP28 Head. Bloomberg reports that more 100 US and EU lawmakers appealed to the leaders of hteir countries and the UN to oust oil executive Sultan Al Jaber as head of this year’s COP28 climate summit.

Shell AGM: Climate activists storm shareholder meeting. BBC News reports that climate protesters stormed Shell’s annual shareholder meeting in London, with security having to step in to protect board members.

Turkey Pinarova-1 testing update. UKOG said testing on the Pinarova-1 well had been suspended pending access to larger, more powerful perforating guns capable of fully penetrating the 9 5/8 casing and cement.

Friday 19 May 2023

Legal challenges to new Cumbrian coal mine go to High Court. DrillOrDrop report

Thursday 18 May 2023

Campaigners cleared of criminal damage in protest at Schlumberger’s Cambridge research centre. DrillOrDrop report on conclusion of long-running case (ruling on 17 May 2023)

Explainer: The Public Order Act 2023. Netpol publishes a review of what the Public Order Act 2023 means.

Wednesday 17 May 2023

Egdon shares rise 80%+ as it agrees to £27m takeover. DrillOrDrop report on Egdon’s announcedment that it has agreed to a takeover by Petrichor.

Cumbrian coal mine company intervenes in Supreme Court challenge over Horse Hill oil production. DrillOrDrop report that West Cumbria Mining has been given permission to intervene in the case brought by Sarah Finch against oil production at Horse Hill in Surrey.

North Kelsey appeal goes to two days. DrillOrDrop report on the duration and venue for the hearing to decide Egdon Resources’ appeal over refusal of planning permission for its oil site at North Kelsey.

Monday 15 May 2023

Wressle oil delivers first Union Jack annual profit. DrillOrDrop report on Union Jack Oil plc annual profits

Production ramp up at Saltfleetby. Angus Energy reports that a second compressor at its Saltfleetby field was successfully commissioned on 10 May and the three producing wells (B2, A1 and B7T) are now flowing gas to the grid at a combined average daily rate of 9.5 mmscfd. This is a 75% increase in production on the first quarter of the year, the company says.

North Sea ‘taxed to death’, warns Ineos’s Sir Jim Ratcliffe. Ineos owner, Jim Ratcliffe, tells the FT (and reported in the Telegraph) that the British government is taxing the North Sea oil and gas industry “to death”. He said ministers were playing “primitive politics” by raising taxes from 40% to 65%, through the windfall tax, and then 75%.

Thursday 11 May 2023

Waverley resolves to challenge Dunsfold oil decision. After the local elections, Waverley Borough Council’s Executive has confirmed that it will challenge the decision of the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to allow oil and gas exploration at the Loxley Well site near Dunsfold.

Renewable energy projects worth billions stuck on hold. BBC News says billions of pounds’ worth of green energy projects are on hold because they cannot plug into the UK’s electricity system. It says some new solar and wind sites are waiting up to 10 to 15 years to be connected because of a lack of capacity in the system.

Wednesday 10 May 2023

Sunak backs North Sea oil and gas sector in grilling over Rosebank field. CityAm has  backed continuing North Sea oil and gas production, arguing that the UK “will need fossil fuels for the next few decades.”

Tuesday 9 May 2023

New parliamentary committee seeks views on priorities for net zero emissions. DrillOrDrop report on the new House of Commons energy security and net zero committee.

Conservative county councillors reject call to close loopholes in windfall tax on big oil. Divest East Sussex reports that Conservatives voted unanimously against a motion calling on the county council leader to write to the prime minister urging him to close loopholes in the windfall tax. The motion was supported by Green, Liberal Democrat, Labou and Independent Democrat councillors.

Resignation of AJ Lucas chief exec. AJ Lucas – the owner of Cuadrilla – reports its chief executive, Brett Tredinnick, has resigned.

Sunday 7 May 2023

Residents get go-ahead for court challenge to Balcombe oil test. DrillOrDrop report on permission for a statutory review granted to Frack Free Balcombe Residents’ Association.

Friday 5 May 2023

Views sought on detailed plans for UKOG’s challenged Loxley gas site in Surrey. DrillOrDrop report on UKOG’s submissions to meet conditions of planning permission.

Ithaca may top up UK Cambo oilfield stake as Shell tries to sell. Reuters reports that Ithaca Energy has signed an agreement with Shell to market the oil major’s 30% stake in the Cambo oil prospect, with a potential for Ithaca to increase its ownership.

Result of UKOG agm. UKOG announces all the resolutions at its agm were passed.

Thursday 4 May 2023

The falling value of the Gatwick Gusher. DrillOrDrop analysis of UKOG’s Horse Hill-1 well.

Shell results: oil giant’s profits reach $9.6bn in Q1. Energy Voice reports Shell had earnings $1.5bn higher than expected.

Union Jack sells Claymore Area royalty agreement. Union Jack Oil announces it has disposed of its 2.5% interest in the Claymore Area Royalty Agreement.

Wednesday 3 May 2023

UK security minister defends new anti-protest laws before coronation. The Guardian reports comments by Tom Tugendhat that King Charles’s coronation is a “chance to showcase our liberty” after the UK government fast-tracked legislation to crack down on protests.

Turkey: Pinarova-1 update. UKOG reports the Pinarova-1 well has reached its final depth of 600m below surface. Plans are now being made to run a flow test opepration.

Total sues Greenpeace over emissions reporting. Energy Voice reports TotalEnergies has launched a legal action against Greenpeace following a report from November 2022 on the company’s carbon footprint. Greenpeace France said the case was intended to prevent free speech.

Tuesday 2 May 2023

UK onshore oil and gas production in charts – February 2023. DrillOrDrop’s review review of the latest UK onshore production data for February 2023 reveals rising daily oil production but falls at the newest producing field at Wressle. Lower gas production at Saltfleetby contributed to falls in the UK onshore gas total.

Saltfleetby sidetrack well commissioned. Angus Energy reports its new sidetrack, known as B7T, was commissioned. It was connected by a temporary flowline to the production facilities on the Saltfleetby site and processed gas is being delivered to the National Grid. At present the well is flowing at approximately 4 mmscfd with the B2 well at 2 mmscfd. The A4 well has been temporarily retired to balance pressure and flow rates of two other wells.

BP first quarter 2023 results. BP declares a profit of $8,218m in the first quarter of 2023, up from a loss of $20,384m in the same period in 2022.

BP’s profits labelled ‘heinous’ as calls grow for tougher windfall tax. CityAm, the Guardian and BBC News reports bumper profits at bP have been labelled “heinous” and sparked renewed calls for a tougher windfall tax, after the oil and gas giant recorded one of its best ever starts to the year while Britons struggled to pay high energy bills.

Forget bumper BP results: another North Sea storm is brewing. The FT reports the proposed Rosebank oilfield off the coast of Shetland is set to be “the new national lightning rod for criticism of the UK’s fossil fuel policies”

Anti-monarchists receive ‘intimidatory’ Home Office letter on new protest laws. The Guardian reports official warning letters have been sent to anti-monarchists planning peaceful protests at King Charles III’s coronation saying that new criminal offences to prevent disruption have been rushed into law.

MSPs disappointed after Ineos bosses snub Grangemouth net zero probe. The Herald reports the petrochemical giant Ineos, which has two plants at Grangemouth, has rejected calls to give evidence to a Scottish Parliament committee which is investigating cleaning up industries at Grangemouth. MSP said they were disappointed and surprised.

NT government announces fracking in the Beetaloo Basin can go ahead. ABC News reports the Northern Territory government in Australia will allow a full-scale onshore gas industry to go ahead in the gas-rich Beetaloo Basin, five years after a moratorium on fracking was lifted. 

The UAE’s climate envoy Sultan Al-Jaber called for a “phase out of fossil fuel emissions” rather than fossil fuels. Climate Change News reports that the head of the Cop28 climate talks has called for “phasing out fossil fuel emissions”, teeing up a debate between governments over the role of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology in the fight against climate change.

Supreme Court moves put Biden climate agenda at risk. EE News reports opponents of robust federal climate action were emboldened this week after the Supreme Court signaled that it may be ready to overturn a powerful tool that helps agencies like EPA defend their rules against legal attack.

Monday 1 May 2023

Oil Company Gave $200K to Group Accusing Pipeline Opponents of Taking Secret Money. DeSmog reports that a First Nations advocacy group whose leader has accused pipeline protesters of being beholden to hidden financial interests has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from one of Canada’s top oil and gas producers.

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