EA minded to permit waste water re-injection at Surrey oil site

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The Environment Agency is seeking public comments on its proposal to allow Angus Energy to dispose of waste water underground at the Brockham oil site in Surrey.

Angus Energy site at Brockham, Surrey, on 16 December 2018. Photo: Brockham Protectors

Despite local concerns, the EA said it was minded to permit water re-injection at Brockham.

In a draft decision document, the EA said it was satisfied that risks had been identified and that operating procedures were “sufficient to mitigate the risk to groundwater”. There was no need for groundwater monitoring, it said.

A public consultation opens on Wednesday 29 December 2021 and runs until Monday 31 January 2021. Comments can be made online or by email

Details

Waste water, also known as produced or formation water, often comes to the surface during oil and gas extraction.

It is usually very salty and may be radioactive. Companies seek to re-inject it back underground to avoid expensive water treatment and to support the pressure in the hydrocarbon reservoir, improving hydrocarbon flows.

Angus Energy has previously said it would give up the Brockham site if it could not re-inject waste water.

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Enforcement at Rathlin Energy oil site not “proportionate or sustainable” despite planning breach, says council

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Rathlin Energy breached planning permission at its West Newton-A site in East Yorkshire, a council official confirmed today.

But the official said it would not be “proportionate or sustainable” to insist Rathlin returned the site to farmland, as required by the permission.

A local residents’ group, which raised the issue with East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said today it was seeking legal advice.

Rathlin Energy’s West Newton-A site, November 2021. Photo: Used with the owner’s consent

DrillOrDrop reported last week that planning permission at West Newton-A, granted in 2018, lapsed on Friday 19 November 2021.

Our article said Rathlin Energy had not complied with a condition to remove all equipment, plug and abandon the wells and restore the site by the deadline.

Neither the company nor East Riding of Yorkshire Council responded to our questions.

But DrillOrDrop has seen correspondence, sent today by a council officer to a resident, confirming that Rathlin has not complied with the first condition of the planning permission requiring site clearance and restoration.

The official said:

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Emissions from 40 planned fossil fuel projects would be nearly three times as much as the UK emits in a year– new study.

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New research, published within days of the start of Cop26 climate talks, reveals that 40 oil, gas and coal projects have been submitted for approval in the UK.

Horse Hill oil site in Surrey. Photo: HHDL

If they got the go-ahead, the study estimated these projects alone would amount to almost three years of UK greenhouse gas emissions.

The schemes comprise seven onshore oil and gas developments, including oil production at Horse Hill in Surrey and at Biscathorpe in Lincolnshire, where a decision is due as world leaders gather for COP26.

There are also 30 offshore projects, including the Cambo oil field off Shetland, and three coal mines, including Woodhouse Colliery in Cumbria, the UK’s first in 30 years.

The analysis, published this morning in the report, Tip of the iceberg: The future of fossil extraction, estimated that the 40 developments were projected to emit the equivalent of 1.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. This would be the equivalent of nearly triple the UK’s annual emissions, the report said.

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Fossil fuel extraction plans “vastly exceed” safe climate limits – UN

Drill or drop

Fossil fuel production planned by national governments “vastly exceeds” the limit needed to keep global temperatures at safe levels, the United Nations said today.

Egdon Resources’ oil production site at Wressle, North Lincolnshire. Photo: Union Jack Oil

Despite greater climate ambitions and net-zero commitments, oil and gas production is expected to rise sharply and planned cuts to coal extraction are just modest.

A report for the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) says countries have predicted they will produce more than double the fossil fuels (110%) in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting warming to 1.5C.

The 2021 Production Gap Report looks at the discrepancy between governments’ planned production of oil, gas and coal, and the global fossil fuel production levels needed to limit warming to 1.5C and 2C.

Since the first report in 2019, the gap is largely unchanged. Total fossil fuel production is expected to increase to at least 2040, creating an ever-widening production gap, it said.

Today’s report, produced by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), said governments’ production plans and projections would lead to about 240% more coal, 57% more oil, and 71% more gas in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

Ploy Achakulwisut, a lead author on the report and scientist at SEI, said:

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‘Wreckers of the Earth’: 300 London-based companies destroying the planet

Corporate watch

The Wreckers Portal 2021

The earth is not dying, it is being killed, and those who are killing it have names and addresses.” Utah Phillips

Capitalism is burning up our planet, devastating ecosystems and communities in its ceaseless hunger for profit. Everything is for sale, and the one great goal is growth: producing and consuming ever more stuff, even as it kills us. This engine of mass destruction is driven by burning forests: the long-dead forests of fossil fuels, and the living forests of today. Though we all play our parts in the consumer system, some people play much bigger parts than others. The people killing the earth are those directing the machine – and crushing any resistance to it.

Our Wreckers of the Earth project has two aims:

  • to identify and map 300 of the main planet-killing companies, banks, investment funds and institutions, with their bases in London;
  • and to help show how they work together as a coordinated system of power and profit.

London: a global hub of ecocidal capitalism

London is home to fossil fuel giants and to many of the worst mining polluters. It is the world’s second-largest financial centre (after New York). It is the key financial marketplace for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and for trading oil, metals, minerals and other “commodities” sucked out of the earth. Lax regulation and tight security make London a money-laundering haven for the world’s tyrants, oligarchs, and billionaires. The legacy of the British empire still lives in the infrastructure and services London offers: insurance markets, law firms, arms dealers, PR agencies, down to prestige shopping and investment property.

NB: all the information here was updated and checked in September 2021.

How can I access the information?

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Rapid cuts to methane leaks at oil and gas sites needed to meet climate targets – IEA.

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Cutting methane emissions from oil and gas sites is vital to limiting global warming to 1.5C, the International Energy Agency said today.

In its annual World Energy Outlook, the IEA said this measure could close 15% of the gap between what was needed to limit temperature rise and today’s pledges by world governments.

The flagship report – designed as a guidebook for world leaders at next month’s climate talks in Glasgow – said there would need to be cuts in 2030 of almost 90 million tonnes of methane emissions from fossil fuel operations to keep the world on track for net zero by 2050.

“Rapid reductions in methane emissions are a key tool to limit near-term global warming, and the most cost-effective abatement opportunities are in the energy sector, particularly in oil and gas operations.

“Methane abatement is not addressed quickly or effectively enough by simply reducing fossil fuel use; concerted efforts from governments and industry are vital to secure the emissions cuts that close nearly 15% of the gap to the NZE [Net Zero Emissions by 2050 scenario].”

Today’s report also said the use of oil would have to fall sharply to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

For the first time in a World Energy Outlook, the IEA predicted an eventual decline in oil demand. If all today’s announced climate pledges were met, the world would still be consuming 75 million oil barrels per day by 2050 – down from around 100 million today. But to meet net zero emissions by 2050, the use of oil would need to plummet to 25 million.

The IEA said there had been “a large rebound” in oil and coal use in 2021. Largely for this reason, 2021 was also seeing the second-largest annual increase in carbon dioxide emissions in history.

The IEA’s executive director, Fatih Birol, said:

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Government urged to withdraw from legal case in support of Surrey oil production — DRILL OR DROP?

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Photo: Weald Action Group

The UK government is being urged today to withdraw from a legal challenge about the climate impacts of oil production in Surrey. Horse Hill oil site in Surrey.

Campaigners have argued that the government cannot claim to be a world leader on tackling climate change while also backing fossil fuel extraction projects in the courts.

The newly-named Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), is opposing a case brought by Surrey campaigner, Sarah Finch, to be heard at the appeal court next month (November 2021).

The case centres on the granting of planning permission by Surrey County Council for 20 years of gas production and expansion of the Horse Hill oil site.

The DLUHC confirmed this morning that the secretary of state, Michael Gove, has recused himself from involvement in the case because his constituency is near Horse Hill. But a spokesperson said the department remained an interested party.

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The “energy revolution” that has produced no gas

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The licensing of thousands of square miles of English countryside for fracking five years ago has resulted in no wells and no oil or gas.

14th round licences offered in central and northern England. Source: Oil & Gas Authority

Areas from the Isle of Wight and Dorset to the North York Moors were allocated to exploration companies in what was described at the time as the “start of a shale gas revolution”.

By today, under the terms of the new licences, the operators should have drilled nearly 100 wells and fracked more than 10% of them.

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Radioactive waste disposal allowed to continue at oil site in national park.

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An oil company has won consent to continue the disposal of liquid radioactive waste in the South Downs National Park. IGas Singleton oil site in West Sussex. Photo: IGas Opponents of the industry have criticised the decision, which will allow fluid from oil production to be injected into a borehole at IGas’s Singleton site, nearChichester, in West Sussex. Philip Maber, who lives near the site, said:

“This operation seriously threatens our chalk aquifer with forever contamination and is also the biggest single source of carbon-based emissions in West Sussex. “I feel guilty and frustrated at how little our community and country understand the urgency for change.”

The consent, granted by the Environment Agency (EA), allows IGas to inject up to 80m3 per day (more than 17,500 imperial gallons). If IGas injected the maximum every day, there would be enough liquid to fill an Olympic swimming pool in about a month. The campaign network, the Weald Action Group, said today:

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Wreckers of the Earth: a map of ecocidal capitalism in London.

Corporate Watch

The earth is not dying, it is being killed, and those who are killing it have names and addresses.” – Utah Phillips

London is one of the main worldwide hubs of ecocidal capitalism. This city is home to oil and gas giants including BP and Shell, as well as many of the world’s most devastating mining corporations. Perhaps even more significant is London’s role as a global centre for the banks, investors and traders who fund the planet-killers and launder the profits. As well as the insurers, law firms, arms dealers, security companies, PR agencies, lobbyists, and others who provide critical support.

Our “Wreckers of the Earth” map of London identifies and locates them. It comes in several forms: a poster map; an online map; and a written directory.

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