Union Jack £1m loan for Wressle oil site – workover rig expected in New Year

Union Jack Oil announced this morning it is to lend £1m to Egdon Resources, the operator of the Wressle oil site in north Lincolnshire.

Long-term oil production at Wressle got planning permission in January 2020, after two public inquiries and multiple planning hearings at North Lincolnshire Council. Work to stimulate oil production at the site is now expected early next year.

In a statement to investors, Union Jack said the 18-month loan would “assist in the development of the Wressle oil field”. It will be secured against a 25% stake in the two Wressle licences, PEDL180 and PEDL182, as well as the Wressle project and infrastructure.



Lancashire fracking company reports £38m loss

The company which drilled and fracked two gas wells in Lancashire has reported a huge £38.6m loss in its annual financial results.

The losses made by Cuadrilla Resources, which has subsidiaries including Bamber Bridge-based Cuadrilla Bowland Ltd, were attributed in the report to loans to other companies in the AJ Lucas group. They dwarf the losses reported in 2018 of £99,000 as the firm invested heavily in drilling and testing before operations were suspended indefinitely at the end of 2019.

The firm, which was aiming to develop fracking gas fields across the county, said that it and other fracking companies had been working with the Government to address concerns caused by repeated earth tremors generated by fracking operations, but had not yet come up with a solution which would enable the lifting of the moratorium imposed on fracking in the UK.

Continue reading Lancashire fracking company reports £38m loss

“exaggerated and “unsubstantiated assertions” about Surrey drilling plans

County councillors in Surrey are being urged not to accept their officials’ assessment of the benefits of gas exploration near the village of Dunsfold.

Officers have recommended approval of proposals by UK Oil & Gas plc (UKOG) when the application is considered by the planning committee on Friday (27 November 2020). But the community group, Protect Dunsfold, said UKOG had been allowed to use “unsubstantiated” and “generally unsupportable assertions” about the proposals.

The company has said the gasfield was potentially the UK’s second biggest onshore and could produce energy equivalent to that needed to power about 200,000 homes per year. In a briefing document released today, Protect Dunsfold said UKOG should be required to provide evidence to back up its statements. The council should also independently verify UKOG’s claims, the group said.

Its director, Sarah Godwin, said:

“we have asked SCC [Surrey County Council] Councillors not to accept the officers’ assessment of the “strategic benefits” claimed by UKOG and to prefer the actual evidence.”

She said:

“UKOG has continued to make potentially exaggerated assertions without providing hard evidence to support them.

“The [company] has completely failed to demonstrate with hard facts as to why the benefits of drilling the well will outweigh the harm to local businesses and developments.”


Councillors have narrowly turned down plans to drill for oil and gas at Dunsfold in Surrey for a second time. Members of the county council’s planning committee voted by six to five to refuse planning permission to UK Oil & Gas plc (UKOG) for its proposed Loxley wellsite.

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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Investigates Covia Holdings

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission informed the company, Fairmount Santrol  now called Covia Holdings Corp., that it was considering enforcement action.

Fairmount was selling specially manufactured sand, including one product that was touted as “revolutionary.”  The company’s special sand was never a dominant product, but in a competitive industry its marketing campaign drew attention to Fairmount Santrol. The company merged with another to form Covia in June 2018. It became the biggest frack sand producer in the country. Houston investment bank Tudor Pickering Holt & Co. called the new company the “800-pound gorilla in the sand game.”

Some of its success, however, may have been based on a lie, according to interviews with former employees, multiple whistle blower complaints, and other court documents. They tell the story of Fairmount Santrol scientists running tests on the proprietary sand that found that some of the company’s most-hyped products didn’t perform all that much better than the stuff that came straight from the ground.  One whistleblower said in 2017 in a complaint to the SEC. “This fraud is particularly brazen because the company aggressively markets scientific testing to create the illusion of proven performance and reliability,” The next year another whistleblower blamed executives who “wholly adopted and reinforced a culture of covering up its lies without regard to who might suffer.”

Covia has suffered especially because many drillers grew tired of fancy sand and decided the cheaper, local type worked just fine.        In June 2020, Covia filed for bankruptcy protection.

And sand, it turns out, isn’t such a precious commodity anymore.

Lancashire fracking site leaked greenhouse gas whose damage was equivalent to 142 trans-Atlantic flights


The Manchester University study, which involved taking readings at a monitoring station near the drill site and using drones over head said the amount of the greenhouse gas leaked was the equivalent environmental cost of 142 trans-Atlantic flights.

The research team was led by Prof Grant Allen who said that over a one-week period in January 2019, analysis showed the leak to be a result of the release of non-combusted methane from the flare stack following operations to clean out the 2.3 km deep shale gas well. Claire Stephenson from Frack Free Lancashire said the study showed that fracking was not the relatively “clean” fossil fuel bridging technology that some had claimed. 

She said: “This latest report confirms the serious concerns that we have been voicing for years: fracking increases methane emissions that contribute to the escalating climate crisis. The industry continually dismissed any fugitive emissions as unproblematic, previously calling it “reassuringly tiny”. The fact is, Cuadrilla did not and likely could not, control methane leaks from their operations, which on top of the host of fracking failures – including structure-damaging earthquakes – should sound the death knell for this terrible industry.”

Continue reading Lancashire fracking site leaked greenhouse gas whose damage was equivalent to 142 trans-Atlantic flights