More than 300,000 people have signed a petition opposing the government’s proposal to accelerate new fracking developments. In May, it emerged that ministers wanted to introduce measures to speed up planning applications for the controversial gas extraction technique and make decisions “faster and fairer”. This would involve granting planning permissions to fracking companies through a permitted development right, which does not require local authority permission. Critics of the plan say it will make approving new fracking operations as straightforward as putting up a garden shed, as the rule was originally conceived to help streamline minor changes to homes. A petition containing hundreds of thousands of signatures has been handed to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on the final day of its consultation into the matter. “The government claims to champion localism, but its proposals to fast-track fracking fly in the face of this rhetoric,” said Daniel Carey-Dawes, senior infrastructure campaigner at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, one of the organisations behind the petition. “These 300,000 signatures represent a level of opposition that cannot and must not be ignored.
Independent 26th Oct 2018 read more »
Oil-dependent nations such as Saudi Arabia face “unprecedented challenges” and it is more essential than ever that they diversify their economy, the International Energy Agency warns. The rise of shale oil, the growth of electric cars and population growth threaten to erode the finances of countries that rely on income from exporting oil, the Paris-based agency said. Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman embarked on a programme of economic diversification called Vision 2030 after oil prices fell from more than $100 a barrel in 2014 to less than $30 a barrel in 2016. But its centrepiece, the flotation of state oil giant Saudi Aramco, has been repeatedly postponed and the oil price has been above $70 a barrel since April.
Times 26th Oct 2018 read more »
In July 2014, ExxonMobil announced a $1bn investment to add new capacity to its refinery at Antwerp in Belgium. It was some rare good news for the European refining industry – the construction of a unit to convert heavy, higher sulphur oil from the “bottom of the barrel” into more valuable products such as diesel fuel – at a time when mounting concern about climate change were casting doubt on investment in fossil fuel infrastructure. But according to Barbara Underwood, New York state’s attorney-general, when Exxon decided to spend money on the refinery, it was being less prudent about the costs of future environmental regulation than it suggested to investors. The battle between Exxon and New York has put a spotlight on the question of how oil companies talk about the implic ations of climate change for their business, and the outcome of the civil suit filed this week will be closely watched. The state began investigating Exxon three years ago, originally on the theory that the company hid evidence on how fossil fuels were contributing to climate change.
FT 25th Oct 2018 read more »