Cuadrilla Resources

Cuadrilla Resources


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.

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. After months of deliberation, Lancashire County Council rejected both of Cuadrilla’s planning applications for the two sites at the end of June 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. Cuadrilla’s operations in Lancashire have since been met with a “rolling resistance,” with campaigners maintaining a constant presence next to the site.

The PR firm, Brunswick Group, and the lobbying company, PPS Group, have provided services to Cuadrilla. 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

September 8, 2022

In response to an announcement by prime minister Liz Truss ending the moratorium on fracking in the UK, Cuadrilla CEO Francis Egan said:

“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.”

November 25, 2020

Cuadrilla reported losses of £38.6 million in its annual financial results, according to The Lancashire Post. 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. In it, Egan criticises what he considers 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.

The letter also claims 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 ends 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. 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.

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”.

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.

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.

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.

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. 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. 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. The protests were met with heavy policy presence and numerous arrests, including the arrest of Green Party MP Caroline Lucas.

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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