Research

Fracking companies feature on new “climate disinformation database”

171211 climate disinformation database web 1

Map of connections on the DeSmog database. Source: DeSmog UK

Two shale gas companies and their executives are on a database launched today which aims to reveal lobbying in favour of fossil fuels and against climate change action.

The database, from the website DeSmog UK, is designed to be a live log of activities and actions by key players who are said to be “pushing climate science denial and disinformation”.

The almost 70 entries include Cuadrilla and INEOS, companies behind shale gas exploration plans in northern England and the East Midlands, along with their executives, Francis Egan and Jim Ratcliffe.

DeSmog said the database was intended to help the public, journalists, researchers and policymakers check who they are dealing with on climate science and policy.

It gives background on companies and individuals, their connections, stance on climate change, quotes on energy and climate issues and climate lobbying activity.

DeSmog said today:

“Despite the UK posturing as a climate change leader on the global stage, there remain many issues on which it needs to move further, faster, if the government is to meet its own high standards.

“Behind each climate policy failure is a network of politicians, corporate lobbyists and shadowy think tanks pushing to preserve the fossil-fuelled status quo.”

DeSmog said many of the actors in the database were connected through funding, business relationships, personal connections and ideological origins. These links are portrayed on an updated map.

171211 climate disinformation database web 2

Industry section of the DeSmog UK map of key players

What the database says about shale gas

Cuadrilla

The database describes Cuadrilla as being “at the vanguard of efforts to exploit Britain’s shale gas resources”.

It charts the progress of the company’s planning applications in Lancashire for shale gas exploration.

It also includes Cuadrilla’s efforts to change rules to suit its activities, revealed in a DeSmog UK investigation.

During the summer, vehicles making deliveries to Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site near Blackpool deviated from the preferred route more than 100 times. This week, the company is seeking to bring deliveries into the site outside agreed times. It has also sought to remove the chair of the Preston New Road Community Liaison Group, who it described as not suitably impartial.

Francis Egan

DeSmog lists public statements and actions by Cuadrilla’s chief executive, Francis Egan, related to climate change.

They include his appearance in front of a House of Lords committee when Mr Egan said fracking could be “squared” with the UK’s emissions reduction goals, that it was “remarkably difficult” to get through planning processes to the point of production, and that UK shale gas would largely be competing with imported US liquefied natural gas at around $6 per unit.

INEOS

INEOS describes itself as “the biggest player in the UK shale gas industry. It has partnerships with other UK shale gas companies, including IGas. In November, it was granted a wide-ranging injunction against anti-fracking protesters although two campaigners have said they are seeking an appeal against it.

The database includes the quote by INEOS Shale’s operations director, Tom Pickering, that Scotland’s decision to ban fracking “beggars belief”.

It also refers to accusations made in April 2017 by Friends of the Earth that the INEOS group was exploiting an opportunity in Brexit to seek further exemptions from environmental regulations.

Also on the database is a meeting in April 2015 between INEOS and Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, on the day the original moratorium on Scottish fracking was announced. A month earlier, according to the database, INEOS and IGas agreed a £30m deal to expand fracking operations in England.

Jim Ratcliffe

Mr Ratcliffe, co-founder and majority owner of INEOS, described shale gas as a “saviour” of the UK economy.

The database said:

“He is known for his aggressive pursuit of industrial assets in the UK, including the Grangemouth petrochemical plant and refinery, Forties pipeline and fracking licences.”

On hearing that Ratcliffe’s INEOS was set to purchase the Forties pipeline from BP, an industry insider told Scotland’s Daily Record:

“Holy sh*t. This would be like giving a monkey a machete … Letting Jim Ratcliffe loose on all the operators who feed into that pipeline is a dangerous, dangerous ploy.”

In 2013, in a comment for the Daily Telegraph, Jim Ratcliffe accuses unions of intimidation, running counter to the values of society, in which freedom of speech is cherished.

In 2017, INEOS Shale sought an interim national injunction against anti-fracking protests to its activities.

28 replies »

  1. Here is painted a very frightening scenario, presented in a such a clear and comprehensive manner by DeSmog. It is the most revealing analysis I have yet seen of the huge extent of climate denial in U.K. I am astonished. The question is – what can we do about it? What can we do to promote climate truths on the big stage? I am utterly dismayed at how the Westminster government apparently allows this to happen….dare I say [some MPs] perhaps encouraging it…..?

  2. Excellent report Ruth, and also excellent database report by Desmog UK.

    It is an interesting reveal to see that Ineos, Cuadrilla et al back door lobbying amounts to climate change denying and disinformation.

    This is no better than the Donald Trump efforts to silence the departments in USA responsible for informing the public on climate change issues, and that gives the fossil fuel lobbyists Carte blanche to run roughshod over the law and the people.

    It seems the same process is happening here, promulgated it seems primarily by Jim Ratcliffe and Francis Egan, albeit by secretive back door lobbying and privileged appeals to parliament to push their evident extreme bias.

    It is always astonishing that the sheer bare faced blatent bias that is illustrated for example in the Desmog UK database that includes the quote by INEOS Shale’s operations director, Tom Pickering, that Scotland’s decision to ban fracking “beggars belief”.

    Whilst at the same Jim Ratcliffe had simultaneously and hypocritically foisted a secret court back door “injunction” onto the British public that has attempted to effectively overturn entire tranches of established UK civil law regarding the right to protest that would otherwise required many decades of law court decisions and counter decisions that would not even then be allowed to overturn those same laws.

    That effectively represents an unconstitutional abuse of UK law, the British people, international agreements on human rights in this country and the entire world by association?

    You have to ask how this debacle had ever been allowed to come about in a so called democracy? Are we talking fair means or foul here?

    And Jim Ratcliffe says an entirely democratic vote in the Scottish Parliament “beggars belief”? Really?
    Now that! Is hypocrisy!

    It is that entirely unconstitutional inappropriate misuse of the secret courts to initiate a far reaching “injunction” to overturn the rights of everyone in this country that “beggars belief! Mr Jim Ratcliffe.

    • Well perhaps you know more about “gospel” than we do martin?

      No one expects the Ineos Inquisition?

      Call the police!
      Call the church!
      Call the church police!
      Call the Ineos Church of Saint Frack Police!

      Pathetic indeed!

  3. Not really a negative Save Lancs, just a comment upon the mentality that surrounds us today. Next we will be told that facebook “friends” are really friends!! Perhaps some should be less lazy, and do their own research??

    • You are surrounded, and it is not the mentality of those who oppose this poisonous unregulated industry that should “bother” you, but the minority monetary minimum micro minded monstrously mangled moralising mentality of that which you support, that being the Carboniferous gospel thumping Ineos Church of Saint Frack The Polluter?

  4. Actually, many of you do not, Save Lancs. You took a while to be able to recognise my name, even when it was printed below every post I made-but since you showed some sign of turning away from the dark-side, you have corrected that, so some research there! Others, have thought Third Energy was owned by Barclays Brothers, some that anyone who had any respect for Ineos must be an “investor”, and many, many more examples. Amongst all the dross posted merely to excite the easily excited, such lack of research still shows up.

    One small question. With Ineos being one of the largest petro-chemical companies in the world, is it a surprise that they conduct their affairs around supporting that business? Even my local butcher lobbies and promotes his business and industry. For the climate change industry it is also a massive expenditure. 20k delegates, lobbyists and hangers on recently in Germany conducting the same exercise. Shock, horror.

  5. The core sample show very weak and little gas bubbling out of the shale rock. This indicates commercial viable flow rate may not happen with Bowland shale. So the anti frackers shouldn’t worry too much compare to the investors.

      • Just look at the pic showed in previous post from Ruth regarding Cuadrilla livestream questions and answers in their third podcast.
        There are very little bubbling in the water bath from the shale core sample taken from PNR well. If such small gas are release to me it is unlikely to be economical.

  6. Lol bunch of leftie nonsense. They moan n groan but have no ideas of their own. No one is arguing that the earth is heating up but a lot of people actually think humans are causing it! You’ll find the majority of scientists don’t believe we are able to reverse or manipulate climate change. Money making exercise preying on the vulnerable. It’s a bit like religion.

    • In other words you have no response (i.e. no ideas of your own). I’m learning to take it as a rule of thumb that wherever you take an early offensive your accusations are exactly what applies to yourself GBH … a deflecting tactic but equally a transparent giveaway. DeSmog items are generally well researched and referenced.

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