Fossil Fuels

Plans for an onshore gas site in Cheshire will make it “less likely” the UK will meet its commitments on global warming, a public inquiry has heard. In January 2018, Chester and Cheshire West Council rejected IGas’s plan to test for gas by injecting acid into a well next to the M53 at Ellesmere Port. The energy company denies protesters’ claims that the work would have a negative impact on the environment. IGas’s appeal is being heard by a government planning inspector.

BBC 20th Jan 2019 read more »

LetterL Councillor Miranda Cox, Kirkham town council, Councillor Julie Brickles, Westby parish council, Lancashire. We write in response to your interview with Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla (“Just say if you don’t want us fracking”, last week). He may be riled at the claims made by some anti-fracking campaigners and confused about government’s changing enthusiasm for the industry, but we are angry that three tiers of local democracy have been overturned and the fears and concerns of our communities disregarded. The most recent tracker of public opinion showed only 18% supported shale gas.

Times 20th Jan 2019 read more »

Letter David Lowry: I read with increasing disbelief the Panglossian view of fracking presented by Francis Egan, boss of Cuadrilla. His most egregiously inaccurate assertion was to say “no one’s child is going to be killed as a result of [fracking]”. I respectfully disagree. A study published by independent academic researchers at the University of Missouri in 2013 found greater hormone-disrupting chemicals in water located near fracking sites than in areas without drilling. Endocrine disruptors interfere with the body’s endocrine system, which controls numerous functions with hormones such as the female hormone oestrogen and the male hormone androgen. Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals has been linked by other research to cancer, birth defects and infertility. Public Health England warned in a report more than five years ago: “If the natural gas delivery point were to be close to the extraction point with a short transit time, radon present in the natural gas would have little time to decay . . . there is therefore the potential for radon gas to be present in natural gas extracted from UK shale.” Such radioactively poisonous gas could thus pollute air in many kitchens where gas hobs are used.

Times 20th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 21 January 2019

Fossil Fuels

Analysts have increased their forecasts for prices in Europe’s carbon market to 2021 as supply cuts begin to bite, but warned that short-term prices will be volatile due to uncertainty about Britain’s departure from the European Union.

Reuters 16th Jan 2019 read more »

The UK spends the most of any EU nation on subsidising fossil fuels, according to a new report by the European Commission, which also found that EU-wide payments have failed to decrease despite the bloc’s commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change. In 2016, the UK pumped more than €12bn into fossil fuel support, closely followed by Germany, France, Italy and Spain. However, those countries actually then spent more on renewable energies like wind and solar than on coal, gas and oil. Fossil fuels enjoyed an estimated €55bn in public funding across the EU, with the energy sector the biggest recipient, followed by the residential sector, industry and transport.

Edie 16th Jan 2019 read more »

The government is to review a decision to allow open-cast coal mining in a valley in County Durham. Lawyers for the government have written to campaigners to say their decision-making was flawed and agreed to look again. The mine in the Pont Valley, known as Bradley, began operating last year after four decades of opposition. This week, James Brokenshire, the communities secretary, told campaigners the decision not to revoke permission for the mine would be re-examined. The move comes as Brokenshire is also considering whether to grant planning permission for another open-cast mine, at Druridge Bay in Northumberland. The mines are operated by Banks Group, which is at the forefront of open-cast mining, despi te the government’s pledge to phase out coal by 2025. Campaigners against the Bradley site were told this week by government lawyers that the decision would be reviewed after they threatened a judicial review of Brokenshire’s failure to step in and stop the mine from operating.

Guardian 16th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 17 January 2019

Fossil Fuels

Environmental activists have accused Barclays of being on the “wrong side of history” after publishing an “underwhelming” climate policy document that fails to rule out funding for tar sands projects. Barclays is the last major UK bank to publish rules for how it will conduct business with companies involved in carbon-heavy industries such as oil and coal. Other lenders including HSBC, RBS and Lloyds outlined their own commitments last year. Despite meeting environmental activist groups including Greenpeace and ShareAction while finalising the policy in recent weeks, Barclays stopped short of introducing a full ban on funding for oil projects linked to tar sands. The policy document says that any transaction where proceeds are used for exploration, extraction, processing or transport of tar sands oil – including pipelines – will face “enhanced due diligence”. The bank will also ask firms to prove they have considered the environmental and social impacts associated with their projects. The UK bank was targeted by Greenpeace protests last month over its policy on tar sands oil projects, notably in Canada. The activist group occupied a Barclays branch in London, and thousands of customers threatened to switch banks unless Barclays promised not to invest in pipelines for tar sands oil. Barclays said it did not currently provide finance for any specific tar sands pipeline projects. However, the Guardian understands that it does provide general corporate finance to firms in the energy sector that may have some involvement in tar sands projects. Greenpeace said in a statement that the new policy left Barclays “on the wrong side of history”. It said: “By continuing to fund tar sands pipelines, Barclays is once again choosing short-term profit over human rights and the wishes of a small number of corporate clients over those of tens of thousands of its customers.”

Guardian 14th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 15 January 2019

Fossil Fuels

The UK has rejected the case for relaxing fracking rules despite warnings that the current regime is “strangling” the nascent industry. In a letter obtained under freedom of information legislation, energy minister Claire Perry dismissed pleas by Cuadrilla for the rules to be loosened. The company hopes to become the first in Britain to start commercial fracking for gas. Over the past three months, Cuadrilla has had to stop work at its site near Blackpool on several occasions after fracking tests triggered earth tremors exceeding 0.5 on the Richter seismic scale. Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla, in October claimed that the government’s so-called traffic-light system, which requires fracking work to cease if tremors exceed that level, risked “strangling” Britain’s fracking industry “before birth”. He said the rules would need to be loosened “within weeks” or the company may never be able to discover if the UK’s shale gas resources are commercially viable. But in a letter to Mr Egan, Ms Perry stated the current system was “fit for purpose” and the government had “no intention of altering it”.

FT 13th Jan 2019 read more »

Reuters 13th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 14 January 2019

Fossil Fuels

Francis Egan is angry. Not in an earth-shaking, mortar-cracking way, but clearly frazzled. As chief executive of Cuadrilla Resources, the company leading efforts to extract shale gas in Britain, Egan is the defender-in-chief of fracking – and he is riled. “People calling you baby killers and stuff like that. It’s ridiculous,” he complains. “You can disagree with fracking, say it’s the wrong way for the country to be getting its energy, but no one’s child is going to be killed as a result of this. Not a chance. So, yes, it does annoy me.”

Times 13th Jan 2019 read more »

Saudi Arabia has finally silenced its peak-oil critics and simultaneously revived interest in its stalled $2 trillion (£1.6 trillion) plan for a stock market float of state-owned producer Aramco. The kingdom revealed this week it has enough crude to pump at current rates for at least another 70 years. At the end of 2017, Saudi oil reserves stood at an eye-watering 268bn barrels, up from previous estimates of 266bn. By comparison, the UK’s remaining cache of retrievable oil under the seabed of the North Sea will be almost completely drained, probably after another couple of decades.

Telegraph 12th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 13 January 2019

Fossil Fuels

A legal challenge against fracking firm Cuadrilla’s environmental permit to drill for shale gas in Lancashire has been rejected by the High Court. Environmental charity Friends of the Earth said the Environment Agency (EA) had failed in its duty to promote the “best available techniques” to reduce the impact of controversial gas extraction at the Preston New Road site. It argued the permit granted to the oil and gas exploration and production company was not based on sufficient evidence that it would effectively deal with contaminated waste fluid.

Independent 11th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 12 January 2019

Fossil Fuels

A wild stretch of Northumberland beach has become the ultimate testing ground of the government’s much-vaunted commitment to phase out coal by 2025, according to campaigners. On Friday, James Brokenshire, the minister for communities and local government, will start examining whether to allow a local coal mining company, Banks Group, to extract three million tonnes of coal from 250 hectares of land behind the sand dunes of Druridge Bay, in a project that will extend beyond the government’s own deadline for the end of coal. His predecessor, Sajid Javid, threw out the plans last year, citing among other environmental reasons the “substantial” adverse effect on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. But the high court overruled Javid’s decision in November, and the ultimate say now lies with Brokenshire. Campaigners demand that he follow his predecessor’s example and stop the Highthorn open-cast mine on the section of coast between Amble and Cresswell, making good on international promises to phase out coal. All sides have submitted their case to Brokenshire, who will begin his deliberations on Friday.

Guardian 10th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 11 January 2019

CCS

Oil majors Chevron and Occidental Petroleum are taking a minority stake in a Canadian start-up that has developed technologies to suck carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere and use it to make synthetic fuel. The deal marks the first significant investment by energy groups into the technology, known as direct air capture, which pulls carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by using chemicals and fans. Carbon Engineering, a Bill Gates-backed start-up based in Squamish, British Columbia, said the new investment was part of a $60m fundraising round that would help it design and build commercial-scale plants. The company has not disclosed its valuation. The investment comes at a time when the oil and gas industry is r acing to find ways to reduce carbon emissions while also maintaining its core business model, producing and selling fuel. Part of the answer could be “negative emissions”, which refers to a range of technologies that reduce the level of carbon dioxide in the air. “Negative emissions are increasingly essential in the various scenarios for how we address climate change,” said Steve Oldham, chief executive of Carbon Engineering. “It’s infeasible that we all stop using fossil fuels overnight.” Unlike more traditional methods of carbon capture, which rely on pulling carbon dioxide out of a smokestack or from close to the source of emissions in an industrial process, direct air capture sucks carbon dioxide from the air.

FT 9th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 10 January 2019

Fossil Fuels

Greater Manchester announced a policy this morning which would have the effect of blocking fracking across one of the UK’s major shale gas regions. The mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said there would be a presumption against fracking across 10 local authorities. The onshore oil and gas industry said he had “fundamentally misunderstood the role of gas”.

Drill or Drop 7th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 8 January 2019

Fossil Fuels

SCOTLAND’S most polluting companies have been named and shamed in a new database compiled by the Government’s Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa). Among those who topped the “dirty dozen” pollution league in 2017 were the Grangemouth petrochemical giant, Ineos, and the oil multinationals, Shell and ExxonMobil. Other leading polluters included plants run by the arms firm, Raytheon, in Glenrothes, the pharmaceutical company, GSK, in Irvine and the technology company, Texas Instruments, in Greenock. Toxic emissions from a chemical factory run by CalaChem in Grangemouth increased sharply between 2016 and 2017. The amount of dangerous dioxins released from the Baldovie waste incinerator in Dundee also rose.

The National 6th Jan 2019 read more »

Ferret 6th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 7 January 2019