New data on the costs and benefits of shale gas exploration in Lancashire


Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road, 10 August 2017. Photo: Roseacre Awareness Group

The shale gas company, Cuadrilla, announced today it had spent a total of £6.8m in the Lancashire economy in the past two years. But new figures show the cost of policing outside the company’s Preston New Road site near Blackpool reached almost £6m for a single year.

Cuadrilla LCT 30 Jan 2018

Source: Cuadrilla Resources

Releasing the latest data from its Putting Lancashire First tracker (above), Cuadrilla said in the final three months of 2017 it had spent more than £2m directly and indirectly in the county’s economy. In the same period, the figures show the company had taken on no new full-time employees but created an extra four contract or temporary jobs and one apprentice or internship.

Cuadrilla quarterly spending 180130

Direct spending, at £1.92m in October-December 2017, was the highest quarterly figure recorded by Cuadrilla so far. This period coincided with continued drilling a vertical well and preparations for horizontal drilling. But during the same period, indirect spending – the money spent by Cuadrilla’s contractors with other Lancashire suppliers – was the lowest recorded.

Also in the final quarter of 2017, Cuadrilla’s figures show it had contributed £61,000 through the shale industry community benefit scheme, £7,000 in local sponsorships and £2,000 in local donations. An extra 29 businesses registered on the company’s supply chain portal.

Policing cost at Preston New Road reaches nearly £6m

New data from Lancashire Constabulary put the cost of policing operations at Preston New Road during 2017 at £5.919m.

There have been anti-fracking protests outside the site entrance since Cuadrilla began work in January 2017. The force said about 100 officers were directly involved each day in policing the operation. It said:

“As has been demonstrated a number of times when campaigners have carried out ‘lock ons’, it is essential to have the number of officers at the site that are currently allocated to the operation.”

2017 PNR total policing costs

Source: Lancashire Police

The latest policing data comprised:

  • Officers plain time – cost of officers scheduled to work that day
  • Officer overtime
  • Non-staff costs – equipment, food, hire cars, welfare vans
  • Mutual aid – spending on support from other forces
  • Consequential costs – time off in lieu for officers working on the operation

Previous figures from Lancashire Police suggested the total cost in 2017 was just over £3m. But this figure comprised only overtime, non-staff costs and mutual aid. The latest data also included officer plain time and consequential costs. The force said:

“This is to provide further information and to ensure that we are being transparent as well as consistent with the information that we provide to the Home Office.”

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire, Clive Grimshaw, has applied for special grant funding towards the cost of policing. On 12 January 2018, the Home Office Minister, Nick Hurd, said the application was being reviewed and a decision would be made “in due course”. DrillOrDrop report

2017 PNR policing costs by category

According to the new data, police spending at Preston New Road from October-December 2017 was half that of July-September 2017 and the second lowest during the year.

During the final quarter of the year, 11 people were arrested and charged. Five of the charges were obstructing the highway, three under Section 241 of the Trades Union and Labour Relations Act, one for obstructing the police and two for what were classified by the police as other offences. See DrillOrDrop report on arrests throughout 2017.


Francis Egan 9 Lancashire for ShaleCuadrilla’s chief executive, Francis Egan, said today:

“Having completed the vertical well through the Bowland shale, where we have acquired very useful data, and started drilling the first horizontal well into UK shale, we are delighted to demonstrate that Lancashire’s economy has benefited by almost £7m to date. Working with Lancashire suppliers remains a priority for us and we are grateful for their high-quality services and support and pleased we have also enabled the creation of so many local jobs.”

Frack Free LancashireFrack Free Lancashire, a group opposed to Cuadrilla’s activities, said:

“From the outset we have seen that Cuadrilla’s claim to be putting Lancashire first has been a sham, with even the main contract for their pad construction going to a company outside the county. It is telling that after 12 months operating they now claim to have 10% less supply chain registrations than they had at the start of 2017, showing that local supply chain businesses are visibly underwhelmed by the claims that they are making.

“The real story here is that, based on the police’s own data, our estimate of the real full cost of the police force facilitating the fracking operations is twice what Cuadrilla claim to have spent in the local economy. Local people should be under no illusions. This industry will cost the community dearly if it is allowed to take hold and no amount of glossy PR handouts can paper over the cracks that are becoming more evident every day.”

84 replies »

  1. Estimated costs of Climate-Change amplified damages to the USA alone last year (including wildfires, floods and coastal damages) – 300 billion dollars and counting. Puerto Rico, a USA protectorate has all but been obliterated.

    • Do you have any scientific evidence that those natural events were amplified by climate changes Phil P? Or is it just your conjecture?

      • Yes – there’s plenty out there but all the deniers will say is you cannot prove that any particular storm was a result of climate change. Just as the tobacco industry could easily state that you cannot prove that this box of cigarettes caused that cancer or the gas industry can claim that this particular well caused that contamination. Statistics in the end makes the point. I’ve been looking at the predictions of increased extreme weather events due to climate changes over the last few years. The amount of sea level rise is very accurately predicted now, year on year (it’s accelerating) and the way the ocean temperature rises feed storm intensity is well known. As they say DYOR – there are hundreds of papers on the subject area.

    • Estimated benefits of oil and gas industry worldwide across since the beginning of history – essentially equivalent to most of the world’s GDP . Human benefits of oil and gas industry – most human life would not have existed without it. That which existed would be fairly miserable. So, the 300 billion dollars looks like chump change, of course many would argue that 300 billion is farcical.

      • ‘Human benefits of oil and gas industry – most human life would not have existed without it. ‘ – if you really believe this I think a trip to the psychiatrist may be in order……

  2. John-sorry to burst your bubble but shale gas from the USA has already been used in UK domestic supplies. So, we would use USA shale gas but not UK’s? Too quick to try and play the plastic card, but it turns out to be a Joker.
    Never mind, Donald will be able to talk about the booming USA economy during his State of the Nation speech tonight whilst TM is off to China desperately trying to drum up business in an attempt to increase our industrial GDP above 10%.

    • If he is to talk with honesty. President Trump will be talking about the crippling, eye watering , growing debt mountain……

      Fracking the hell out of the USA has made NO IMPACT on this expanding debt monster.


      United States debt clock, take a look at the figures

    • Well said Martin C. This is where the nimbyism is truly exposed. It seems it is perfectly acceptable to ship USA shale gas (ethane) over here with all the environmental overhead it entails in liquefying it (a very energy intensive process), loading it to a fleet of tankers and then shipping it across the Atlantic in fossil fuel powered ships. All this is fine, but we don’t want the shale gas to come from under our feet whilst incurring none of those environmental overheads? The nimbys are truly exposed here, they have no answers. They cling to their discredited environmental arguments like a life raft, while they turn up their gas fired central heating to keep warm (fired by Norwegian pipeline gas or Qatari LNG of course, but that doesn’t matter).

      • Fred. You say “they have no answers”. Are you that new to this blog? Also it’s worth clearing up your confusion over natural gas. The predominant form of natural gas – and target of these fracking proposals – is methane (CH4). That’s what gets used for power generation and fed into the national grid for domestic end-users. It is clearly the main commercial driver behind these large scale (speculative) explorations. Ethane is a by-product which often comes mixed in with the raw natural gas (but not always). Along with various condensates and contaminants it has to be separated out before the methane can be supplied (cleanly) to the gas grid.

        INEOS is undoubtedly eyeing up the possible win-win of not only being able to profit from the gas sales (if developments are successful) but getting the byproducts as well for their plastics operations into the bargain. Meanwhile they have landed just one dragon ship at Grangemouth so far – full of ethane – for the plastics plant there. That’s not methane and not natural gas (strictly speaking), nor is for the grid.

    • Really Martin? A genuine question – I understood that the Ineos shipment was ethane destined for cracking at Grangemouth. Can you point me towards a reference to a shipment of gas from USA that has entered our domestic gas supply please?

    • When was “shale gas from the USA” used in “UK domestic supplies”?

      Ethane from US shale gas was imported by INEOS for their feedstock at Grangemouth.
      The first UK shipment of US shale (imported from Cheniere by Centrica on a 20-year deal to bring 89 million cubic feet per annum on a “free on board” basis, which enables them to sell the LNG on to the highest bidder (meaning it may never enter the UK system), isn’t due until September 2018.

      [Typo corrected at poster’s request]

  3. Paid protesters are causing traffic problems and requiring a Police presence. Apparently from March the protests are set to increase. That’s when the weathers better and people will come out of their gas central heated houses. I live near the site and there are just a few paid protesters most days…

    • Really Kisheny. And exactly how do you know that they are paid? Or are you just another one repeating what unthinking idiots post on Farcebook?

      [Typo corrected at poster’s request]

      • Refraction
        Yes, one would need some proof of payment before being certain that those protestors are paid.
        How much and by whom would be interesting to know, if true.
        Likewise how they survive would be interesting to know as well ( savings, pensions, charity or whatever ).

        I have the issue in reverse. When saying I support fracking ( best to state this first off as it saves someone repeating what I know regarding what is on the proffered pamphlet ) a few lean forwards and say …. “I hope they are paying you enough to do that”.

        Saying I am not paid gets nowhere. Presumably they are well cocooned in their farcebook world to feel that what could be solved by a question ( are you paid?) is a bit too much effort.

        Others say ..”why on earth would you do that”? Which usually leads to a good discussion and an agreement to disagree on a number of points, but not all.

    • Sorry to disillusion you, but the tale of protestors being paid is a load of rubbish. I’m a 71 year old local mother and grandmother and have been at the gates of PNR since Cuadrilla arrived there in January 2017. It costs me over £20.00 per week in bus fares and I can assure you that no one is being paid by Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace£, the Russians or any other ridiculous accusations I have heard from pro frackers. It may be difficult for those who believe people will only do something if they are being paid, but some of us hav better reasons than money to stand out in all weathers and be pushed around by police acting as Cuadrilla’s security guards.

  4. Yes, I did my own research PhilipP. It showed that wine used to be produced in Northumberland, skating happened on the Thames frequently and Viking ships were build from timber that would not grow in the same area now because it is too cold! The one common factor is NONE of that was due to man’s activities. Climate change is not new and has been happening since before we have historical records. Your comments reference climate change and all the evidence out there but fail to make any mention about relative influencing factors eg. one major volcano will produce more air pollution than man does, in a very short period.
    I know it is one of the comfort blankets to try and treat others as climate change deniers, but that is false and a kop out. Try looking up solar activity-it seems the UK is going to suffer a cold spell in the not too distant future, and skaters may be back on the Thames. That’s due to man’s activity? (Will be a big requirement for nice cheap, convenient gas heating then!)

    hrb-the money has come out of Cuadrilla’s magic pockets-they can be refilled repeatedly (but do not let the antis know that-they think they can’t.)

    • NASA the proof , experts believe rapid climate change is man made .

      A section taken from the above link , quote
      ” In its Fifth Assessment Report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of 1,300 independent scientific experts from countries all over the world under the auspices of the United Nations, concluded there’s a more than 95 percent probability that human activities over the past 50 years have warmed our planet.”

    • not surprised to find you believe in magic, you seem to have been taken in by the little irishman and his promise of a pot of fracking gold at the end of the pnr rainbow.
      people forget at their peril that leprechauns are masters of trickery and that they and their stories, are cobblers

  5. This is where all the anti frackers and eco activists contradict themselves.

    First they argue that yes the evidence is all out there to see that human have caused climate change so badly that it has resulted in severe natural disasters in the last few years. Or each time a natural event happened they claim that is due to man made climate change.

    And then suddenly they all proclaimed to prevent temperature rise above 4°C we must keep all fossil fuel in the ground. So as of now the rise above 4°C hasnt happened yet.

    So how can they claim to have proof that current climate driven damages are caused by human fossil fuel consumption?

    The logic dictates that you cant claim to have proof of the cause of an event and at the same time claim that we must take action to prevent that cause yet to happen from ever happening.

  6. To your question of 9.30-no, but it doesn’t have to be.

    To your question of 9.28-I have already-long ago-pointed that out. I am sure you can find it if you want to, but I am sorry refracktion that I will not post references repeatedly to allow every person on here to view. (I even referenced the ship!

    And Jack-that is not the proof. Of course man’s activity has had an impact upon climate change. That’s not saying all of it is man made.

    • You see this is where you confuse me – your post clearly seemed to be suggesting that you believe “NONE of that was due to man’s activities. Climate change is not new and has been happening since before we have historical records” but now you seem to be back pedalling to say “it doesn’t have to be” anthropogenic. So is it safe to say you agree that some climate change is anthropogenic and taht you just pulled out a couple of no anthropogenic examples and tried to generalise from them for reasons of our own?

      As regards your unwillingness to follow up your claims with evidence, I’m sorry Martin but you post such a huge volume of “stuff” on this site that I am not going to search it all for something of which I have absolutely no recollection I am not even sure exists. It sounds very much to me as though you don’t actually have any evidence. Prove me wrong if you can.

  7. Yes yes Martin. Those variations have been known about for decades as have the influences of volcanism. But please get your research up to date and avoid the echo chamber of the fossil fuel industry backed ‘science’ and their tame scientists and investment/propaganda outlets (probably the only ones you turn to).

    The same scientists that have mapped and observed all those fluctuations throughout our (holocene) era and more prehistoric ones are the same scientists showing how and why the current cause for concern is anthropogenic global warming…. urgent concern even, calling for action.

    Keep up the homework though. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing and those who think they know it all are the most dangerous of all.

  8. Hi all.

    I spotted this in Business Green yesterday: –

    Shale gas planning fails: Is the UK going cold on fracking? Amid recent planning rejections for gas testing in England and questions over fracking firms’ financial stability, green campaigners believe the tide is turning in their favour 2018 was supposed to be the long-awaited breakthrough year for the UK’s still fledgling shale oil and gas industry. After all, last year had not been kind to the sector. Scotland moved to ban onshore oil and gas exploration altogether, and commercial-scale hydraulic fracturing didn’t appear much closer to reality in England. Meanwhile, UK government public opinion trackers showed support for fracking hit its lowest ebb, nosediving to just 14 per cent, at the same time as opposition continued to grow. January has quickly become a month to forget for shale gas advocates, indicating that, just a few weeks in, 2018 might not turn out to be quite so promising after all. Firstly an application from energy firm INEOS to drill a controversial 1.7 mile deep well near Harthill to examine rock samples – which campaigners against the development claimed could lead to fracking – was rejected by Rotherham council last week due to concerns over highway safety and “insufficient ecological details submitted”. On the same day, planners in Cheshire rejected an application from IGas to carry out tests for gas in Ellesmere Port in the face of significant local opposition. Crucially, the ruling specifically cited climate change as one of the main concerns over the proposed development. Then, Cuadrilla’s plans for exploratory shale gas works near Roseacre Wood went the same way 24 hours’ later, when Lancashire council unanimously voted to reject the firm’s proposals. It was a fourth piece of fracking news emerging last week which may deal the most significant blow to the wider industry going forward. In a statement to Parliament, Business Secretary Greg Clark gave an update on the progress of Third Energy UK Gas Ltd’s application to hydraulically fracture its site in Kirkby Misperton, North Yorkshire – a decision which had been referred to him following regulatory changes late last year. Crucially Clark also announced that, while he was satisfied Third Energy UK has met all technical requirements for its proposals, he would be stalling the application in order to investigate the company’s finances. Business Green 30th Jan 2018


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