Category Archives: News

Fracking giant Cuadrilla has agreement with university academics to vet earthquake data requests

Shale gas giant Cuadrilla is facing new questions about the transparency of its fracking operations as it can be revealed the firm has an agreement with a leading university to vet Freedom of Information (FOI) requests about its Lancashire earthquake data.

The agreement came about after Cuadrilla gave Bristol University its seismicity data for a research project and says that Cuadrilla must be consulted over any FOI request about that data made to Bristol University.

The agreement – obtained by i in redacted form under Environmental Information Regulations – says the university will take into account the firm’s representations on whether legal exemptions may apply for refusing to release the data or to even deny holding it.

Fears fracking just a mile away from Merseyside will go ahead despite government halt

Residents in one part of Merseyside are concerned fracking plans just one mile away may still go ahead despite a government halt on the controversial process.

People living in Formby are worried about plans to frack for shale gas at Great Altcar – submitted by energy company Aurora – just a mile from the area and a few miles from Ainsdale, Hightown and Lydiate will cause ‘damage to their health’ and ‘cost jobs’.

In November 2019 the government stopped fracking across England saying it would only allow its resumption if communities and scientists were in favour of it.

But the plans to to drill exploratory wells at Great Altcar in West Lancashire   – just 900 metres from the historic Formby Oilfield is not included in the suspension as it didn’t affect fracking processes that were already in.

Continue reading Fears fracking just a mile away from Merseyside will go ahead despite government halt

Radioactive water disposal plan would turn national park site into toxic dump

IGas should not be allowed to dispose of radioactive wastewater in a well at its Singleton oil site in the South Downs, campaigners have argued.

The company has applied for an environmental permit to continue reinjecting fluid from sites across southern England. The waste contains naturally-occurring radioactive material, known as NORM.

The Weald Action Group has objected to IGas’s application, accusing the company of not providing enough information and underestimating risks.

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Review of 2019

If you’re desperate for good news about climate change, it helps if you have a sense of schadenfreude. Probably the merriest fossil fuel stories of 2019 show the fracking industry on the verge of a meltdown.

Despite a raft of  accounting gimmicks, the industry wasn’t able to hide the fact that it was drowning in red ink. By mid-year, Sightline’s Clark Williams-Derry reported that::

A cross-section of 29 fracking-focused oil and gas companies reported more than $2.5 billion in negative free cash flows in the first quarter of 2019. These results were even worse than in the fourth quarter of 2018…

And as the year went on, the frackers’ problems kept getting worse. By December, the oil and gas giant Chevron was forced to write down its assets by more than  Ten Billion US Dollars, with industry analysts widely accepting that dozens of other companies in the sector would face a similar reckoning.

Whatever financial pain the industry is facing, though, looks like a flesh wound compared to the injury it has inflicted on the rest of us—and our environment. As Chevron tried to put on a brave face for investors, researchers at Stanford University dispelled the characterization of natural gas as a necessary “bridge fuel” to clean energy. 

A surge in natural gas has helped drive down coal burning across the United States and Europe, but it isn’t displacing other fossil fuels on a global scale. Instead, booming gas use is fueling the global growth in greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new study by researchers at Stanford University and other institutions.

In fact, natural gas use is growing so fast, its carbon dioxide emissions over the past six years actually eclipsed the decline in emissions from the falling use of coal, the researchers found.

Consider also the grim news that came in December, when the National Academy of Sciences reported that a new satellite-based methane analysis determined that a single gas well blowout in Ohio last year was one of the largest methane leaks in US history. The New York Times reported:

The blowout, in February 2018 at a natural gas well run by an Exxon Mobil subsidiary in Belmont County, Ohio, released more methane than the entire oil and gas industries of many nations do in a year, the research team found. The Ohio episode triggered about 100 residents within a one-mile radius to evacuate their homes while workers scrambled to plug the well.”

The Ohio blowout released more methane than the reported emissions of the oil and gas industries of countries like Norway and France, the researchers estimated. Scientists said the measurements from the Ohio site could mean that other large leaks are going undetected.

Continue reading Review of 2019

FRACKING BY ANOTHER NAME

From Paul Simmonds, St Lawrence:

Don’t be fooled by UKOG claims –it’s fracking by another name.

IW residents need to come together in solidarity to oppose UKOG’s intentions to extract oil and gas on the Island.

A council spokesperson states, “any planning application would be determined on its merits”. This is an outrage; there are no merits. It’s criminal that our council should consider any planning permission they clearly have no social responsibility or conscience.

UKOG claims, “there will be no fracking and no pollution. Don’t be fooled, they can’t be trusted as their well-kept secret doesn’t tell you they intend to use a process called chemical acidisation; which like fracking carries all the risks to our health and environment but even worse it uses a higher concentration of chemicals. Companies like UKOG want to use this process across Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire and the IW. It’s fracking by another name.

The threat is real and we cannot be complacent. Frack Free IW is doing a fantastic job in challenging this but the community needs to stand up and defend its rights to clean air and water, and protect our environment in the face of a climate change crisis.

Four green policy concerns Boris Johnson must address immediately

Johnson looks set to prioritise “getting Brexit done” during his first few days within his new majority and while that will have huge ramifications for UK green policy, there are also a few other areas that the Prime Minister needs to address immediately in order to boost business confidence in delivering a net-zero economy by 2050.

So, what should be at the top of the Tories’ bulging in-tray of green policy issues?

 

1) Future-proof post-Brexit environmental standard loopholes

As mentioned, Johnson will look to pass his “oven-baked” Brexit deal, before Christmas, including a raft of changes that would alter 40 years of EU environmental regulations.

Part of the  Withdrawal Agreement on the departure from the EU customs union and the laws that it enforces is a new regulatory system that the UK will need to stick to as part of any future trade deals with EU nations. This has been called a “level playing field”.

This would require the UK to conform to EU standards on environmental policies and others as part of a trade deal, but the UK has no legal obligation to maintain current standards if no trade deal is agreed, this has already sparked concern that the UK could renegade on environmental standards in pursuit of other trade deals, notably with the US. This includes directives on industrial emissions, transport emissions – including a variety of rules on Euro 5, 6 and 7 vehicles – waste, and biodiversity.

The Prime Minister needs to immediately address concerns that the UK could renegade these standards in pursuit of short-term trade deals. Ideally, the approved deal that eventually passes through Government has mechanisms in place for an independent body – notably the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) – to ensure that environmental standards aren’t relaxed and are improved upon as the UK nears its net-zero target deadline.

Earlier this year, a coalition of almost 40 environmental organisations including Greenpeace, WWF UK and ClientEarth called for the Draft Environment Bill to be altered, to ensure that the public can request disclosure from the UK’s post-Brexit watchdog.

Speaking of the Environment Bill…

Continue reading Four green policy concerns Boris Johnson must address immediately

AJ Lucas Struggles To Raise Capital Amid UK Fracking Ban

Investors have ignored AJ Lucas’ latest attempt to raise money for its UK oil and gas exploration efforts.

Investors have ignored AJ Lucas’ latest attempt to raise money for its UK oil and gas exploration efforts.

The company announced yesterday that it’s latest raising aimed at retail shareholders had raised just $2.4 million from retail investors through a 19-for-20 entitlement offer instead of the $8.1 million it was looking for.

Making the rejection even more notable was that the poor uptake came after the offer was extended by a week.

Yesterday Lucas told the ASX that the retail offer had been completed with applications for 37.1 million shares at $0.065 each.

Last month AJ Lucas revealed institutional investors had only paid $26.2 million for new shares, when it was looking for $46.3 million.

This brings the total amount raised under the Entitlement Offer to approximately $28.6 million.

The money raised is supposed to be for ongoing activities in the UK, where the company operates the Cuadrilla joint venture.

 

Ineos posts new injunction notices at proposed Woodsetts shale gas site

 

The shale gas company, Ineos, has installed new protest injunction notices at its proposed exploration site at Woodsetts in south Yorkshire.

The company first installed notices at Woodsetts in July 2017, days before it announced plans to apply for planning permission there.

The notices were later removed in 2019 after the Court of Appeal quashed sections of the injunction as unlawful.

Ineos does not have planning permission for the Woodsetts site.

Rotherham Council refused consent to drill and test a vertical shale gas well on 8 March 2018 and again on 7 September 2018.

The application did not include hydraulic fracturing but local people have said they see it as a precursor to fracking in the area.

A decision is still awaited on the permission after Ineos’s application went to a public inquiry in June 2019.

Since then, the government issued a moratorium on fracking, following earth tremors caused by Cuadrilla’s operations at Preston New Road in Lancashire.

The Woodsetts inquiry inspector, Katie Peerless, asked the parties, which included the local group, Woodsetts Against Fracking, to submit their comments on the moratorium.

Her report is due by 13 January 2020. The final decision will be made by the local government secretary.

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