Cuadrilla Resources

Cuadrilla Resources

Background

Cuadrilla Resources is a UK oil and gas exploration company. Founded in 2007, Cuadrilla has been at the vanguard of efforts to exploit Britain’s shale gas resources. The company’s CEO is Francis Egan.

The company is owned, as of March 2016, partly by Australian engineering firm AJ Lucas (45 percent), Anglo-American equity firm Riverstone LLC (45 percent) and the remaining 10 percent is owned by Cuadrilla management.

Cuadrilla is perhaps best known for its operations in Lancashire, where it first attempted to drill for shale oil and gas in 2011, which caused two minor earthquakes in April of that year. The earthquakes triggered a national moratorium on fracking until 2012.

In December 2012, the former Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced it was lifting the ban on hydraulic fracturing in the UK to allow shale gas exploration once again. Since then, the government has been working hard to promote fracking as a way to contribute to the country’s energy security. This has been met with vocal campaigns that stress the harmful impacts of fracking on water resources, health and the climate.1Frances Rankin. “‘Cuadrilla Were in My School Today’ — Fracking Company’s New PR Trick,” DeSmog, July 20, 2017.

Starting in 2015, Cuadrilla set its sights on Lancashire once again in hopes of exploring for shale gas at its Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood drilling sites.2Shale gas developments in Lancashire,” Lancashire County Council. Archived January 18, 2017. After months of deliberation, Lancashire County Council rejected both of Cuadrilla’s planning applications for the two sites at the end of June 2015.3Ben Lucas. “It’s Not Over Yet. The Fight Against Fracking in Lancashire Continues,” DeSmog, October 30, 2015. One month later the shale gas company launched an appeal in hopes of overturning the council’s decision.

But then, in October 2016, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid overturned the local decision, giving Cuadrilla the freedom to frack.4Ruth Hayhurst. “Government Approves Cuadrilla’s Lancashire Fracking Plans at Preston New Road but Roseacre Wood on Hold,” DeSmog, October 6, 2016. Cuadrilla’s operations in Lancashire have since been met with a “rolling resistance,” with campaigners maintaining a constant presence next to the site.5Mat Hope. “How 25 Metres of Country Road Became England’s Fracking Frontline,” DeSmog, May 2, 2017.

The PR firm, Brunswick Group, and the lobbying company, PPS Group, have provided services to Cuadrilla.6(Press release). “Cuadrilla announces the appointment of Francis Egan as chief executive,” Cuadrilla Resources, June 15, 2012. Archived February 6, 2019. Archive URL: https://archive.is/mJxqe 7APPC. “Register for 1st December 2012 – 28th February 2013“. Archived March 15, 2022. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. PPS Group lists numerous other energy companies among its clients, including Celtique Energy, Devon Wind Power, EDF Energy, Hive Energy, Miller Argent, and RWE Npower Renewables.

Key Deeds

April 12, 2023

LancsLive reported that fracking firm Cuadrilla asked Lancashire County Council for a two-year extension to its fracking operations in Preston beyond 2023. 

The Preston site operated by Cuadrilla sparked a nationwide moratorium on fracking in 2019, after gas extraction caused “a series of earthquakes.”  

In response to the reintroduction of the fracking moratorium in October 2022 by Rishi Sunak’s government, Cuadrilla CEO Francis Egan said: “it beggars belief that our Government should reintroduce a moratorium on exploring for and producing our own shale gas.”8Jamie Lopez. “Fracking firm Cuadrilla in bid to extend Preston site permission by two years,”LancsLive, February 9, 2023. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/ZI1j1

September 8, 2022

In response to an announcement by prime minister Liz Truss ending the moratorium on fracking in the UK,9Lizzy Buchan. “Anger as Liz Truss lifts fracking ban – with gas to start flowing in six months,” Mirror, September 8, 2022. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/lcZBE Cuadrilla CEO Francis Egan said:10Matthew Veazey. “Cuadrilla, Ineos Execs Encouraged by UK Action to End Shale Drilling Ban,” Natural Gas Intelligence, September 8, 2022. Archived January 30, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/sMFve

“This is an entirely sensible decision and recognizes that maximizing the UK’s domestic energy supply is vital if we are going to overcome the ongoing energy crisis and reduce the risk of it recurring in the future.”

Egan added that maintaining the UK’s energy supply “will require the continued use of gas until at least 2050. Today’s announcement sets the foundation for us to move toward gas self-sufficiency, and not be reliant on the whims of dictators, or the vagaries of international supply lines and exports.”11Matthew Veazey. “Cuadrilla, Ineos Execs Encouraged by UK Action to End Shale Drilling Ban,” Natural Gas Intelligence, September 8, 2022. Archived January 30, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/sMFve

November 25, 2020

Cuadrilla reported losses of £38.6 million in its annual financial results, according to The Lancashire Post.12Tim Gavell. “Lancashire fracking company reports £38m loss,” Lancashire Post, November 25, 2020. Archived July 7, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/da1Qu This followed the release of a study by Manchester University which concluded that 4.2 tonnes of methane had been leaked from Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site in January 2019. 

March 25, 2019

Cuadrilla CEO Francis Egan wrote a letter to The Times in response to an article by Conservative MP Lee Rowley published earlier in the week.13“All this jumping up and down by @Lee4NED is probably creating more movement and vibration in the House of Commons than hydraulic fracturing ever will at Blackpool Tower…” Check out the full edit of Francis’s letter in The Times today which sets out a few facts 👍🏻,” tweet from Cuadrilla, March 25, 2019. Retrieved from twitter.com. Archived August 15, 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

In it, Egan criticised what he considered the “extraordinarily conservative seismicity limit currently in place,” which has caused the company to halt drilling operations on numerous occasions following minor earthquakes at its Preston New Road site in Lancashire.14Ben Webster and Emily Gosden. “Cuadrilla puts fracking on hold after strongest earthquake yet,” Times, December 11, 2018. Archived August 15, 2019. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/CRmoD

The letter also claimed that fracking in the UK “could reduce its dependency on imported gas by 50 per cent, create £1.8bn in community benefits and up to 64,000 jobs by 2035.”

It ended by saying: “all this jumping up and down by Mr Rowley is probably creating more movement and vibration in the House of Commons than hydraulic fracturing ever will at Blackpool Tower.”

September 2018

Three protestors became the first to be sent to jail for protesting against fracking in the UK.15Sara Stefanini. “‘This Won’t Break Us’: Lancashire Anti-Fracking Protestors Jailed,” DeSmog, September 26, 2018. They were handed custodial sentences at Preston Crown Court having been found guilty of a public nuisance offence after they boarded lorries heading to Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road fracking site.16Mat Hope. “The Day Fracking Protest Became a Jailable Offence — In Pictures,” DeSmog, September 25, 2018.

August 2018

Cuadrilla was officially warned by the Environment Agency after breaking the law by storing waste and an unpermitted site for “longer than is acceptable”.17Emily Gosden. “Cuadrilla is warned over storage of shale waste,” Times, August 16, 2018. Archived May 15, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/Wa5mT

June 2018

The company reports a profit for the first time after after exploratory drilling triggers a $13.7 million payment from energy giant Centrica.18Emily Gosden. “Cuadrilla hits profit after a decade,” Times, June 4, 2018. Archived December 29, 2019. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/E5SvQ

October 2017

A DeSmog UK investigation into Cuadrilla’s efforts to circumvent planning restrictions on its activities revealed the company’s attempts to change the rules to better suit its activities, from allowing vehicles to take non-preferred routes onto its drilling site to lobbying to remove opponents from forums where the company can be publicly challenged.19Mat Hope. “Cuadrilla vs Lancashire: How a Fracking Company Assaults Planning Rules,” DeSmog.

August 2017

Drilling begins at Cuadrilla’s Lancashire site at Preston New Road at Little Plumpton. With fracking expected to take place later in the year, the site will hold the first horizontal shale gas exploration wells in the UK.20Ruth Hayhurst. “Drilling Begins at Cuadrilla’s Lancashire Shale Gas Site,” DeSmog, August 17, 2017.

July 2017

Grassroots direct action collective Reclaim the Power took daily action to blockade the site, during a month of Rolling Resistance.

At the same time, DeSmog UK research showed that throughout Lancashire, Cuadrilla was promoting its brand and putting its logo in front of hundreds of children through the sponsorship of sports clubs and school competitions.21Frances Rankin. “‘Cuadrilla Were in My School Today’ — Fracking Company’s New PR Trick,” DeSmog, July 20, 2017. As DeSmog UK reported, five children were pulled out of local Weeton St Michael’s primary school by their parents after the children were banned from talking about fracking, according to one mother. Concerned parents also claim they weren’t consulted over safety fears of the school being within one mile of the fracking site.

January 2017

Construction of Cuadrilla’s site began in January 2017.22Kyla Mendel. “Fracking Firm Cuadrilla Officially Begins Work at Lancashire Shale Gas Site,” DeSmog, January 6, 2017. At the same time, the company was immediately met by daily roadside resistance by the community and a series of direct actions which have blockaded the site.

July 2013

After the announcement that Cuadrilla planned to frack for shale oil and gas in Balcombe, the company was met with strong resistance. A group of protesters blocked the gates to the site in order to prevent a lorry with drilling equipment getting through.23Robert Booth. “Anti-fracking protesters halt Sussex shale gas operation,” The Guardian, July 25, 2013. Archived May 17, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/0Jpls The protests were met with heavy policy presence and numerous arrests, including the arrest of Green Party MP Caroline Lucas.24Fiona Harvey and Peter Walker. “Caroline Lucas among dozens arrested in Balcombe anti-fracking protest,” The Guardian, August 19, 2013. Archived April 25, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/SpnWl

April 2011

Two earthquakes with magnitudes of 2.3 and 1.5 occurred as a result of Cuadrilla Resources operations at its Preese Hall site in Lancashire in North West England. The earthquakes prompted the UK government to place a temporary moratorium on shale gas exploration which lasted until December 2012.

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