At least 10 staff have said they have left the shale gas company, Cuadrilla, in the past few months.
They include the senior geoscientist, financial controller, communications manager, director of government and public affairs and the executive assistant to the CEO, Francis Egan.
Some have posted online that they have moved to other posts. Others have said they have been “released” from their current positions with Cuadrilla and are looking for other jobs.
The news comes as the company reported it had suspended the two shale gas wells at the Preston New Road site.
There are also plans to increase the speed limit on the road outside the site and police numbers have been reduced.
Analysis of Linkedin accounts shows that at least three members of staff left Cuadrilla in August 2019.
They were the company’s senior geoscientist, who had been with Cuadrilla for 10 years. An executive project manager and a communications manager also left that month.
August saw the company begin fracking the site’s second well, PNR-2. The British Geological Survey recorded 134 earth tremors after just 7 days of fracking. They included the UK’s largest fracking-induced seismic event, measuring 2.9ML.
The industry regulator, the Oil & Gas Authority suspended fracking within hours. Just over two months later, the government introduced a moratorium on fracking in England because of concerns about the risk of tremors.
In November, at least five more staff said they left Cuadrilla.
The company’s financial controller wrote:
“I will be leaving my current role at the end of November and am available to discuss new roles in the North West”.
Francis Egan’s executive assistant said:
“I find myself in unknown waters and will be released from my current position at the end of November. I am available to discuss new roles and interview at your convenience.”
Sam Schofield, the communications manager, also appears to have left last month. He now says his time at Cuadrilla ran from January 2014 to November 2019.
During September, his role included visiting people who had claimed the 2.9ML tremor damaged plaster and brickwork in their homes (DrillOrDrop report).
A health and safety engineer wrote on Linkedin last month that it was “with some sadness” that he left Cuadrilla and Preston New Road. He said he would “honestly miss the site … it’s like no place I have ever worked”. He added:
“never got a chance to say goodbye to many of you … keep that flame alive!”
A security and risk management consultant also said his role with the company ended in November 2019.
The departures appear to be continuing.
A supply chain, procurement and contracts officer wrote on Linkedin:
“I will be leaving my current position at the end of December so I am looking for supply chain & procurement/contract management opportunities in 2020.”
The director of government and public affairs, Matt Lambert, has been with Cuadrilla since 2013. He now lists his job from December 2019 as chief executive at the Federation for Industry Sector Skills and Standards.
Cuadrilla’s most recent accounts, for 2018, said the company had 26 employees.
DrillOrDrop asked the company to confirm that the staff we identified have left. We also asked how many of the staff who said they had left had gone voluntarily and how many were made redundant. We further asked whether this turnover was normal for the company or related to the moratorium and earlier earth tremors. The company has not responded.
Cuadrilla’s planning permission to drill and frack at Preston New Road expired last week.
The company still has consent to test PNR-2 and the first well, PNR-1z. It has said it will apply for an extension to drill and frack two more wells at the site. For the next 3-6 months, it is testing the pressure response of the shale reservoir.
In an update for members of the Preston New Road community liaison group, Cuadrilla said flow testing on PNR2 had finished and that equipment had been taken off the site. December 2019 update to Preston New Road community liaison group (pdf)
“We are now going through an exercise of consolidating our inventory, so some equipment and materials may be seen moving on and off the site, but this is not linked to any forthcoming well operations.”
The company said it had closed the site viewing area and a previous phone inquiry number (0800 901 2492). It was reviewing whether to remove heras fencing across the site entrance bellmouth.
Lancashire Police said it had reduced numbers at the site to two officers and what it called a “small team of police liaison officers”. This would be reduced further, the force said, following the removal of the campaigners’ Gate Camp at the end of last month. There are also plans to reinstate the 50mph limit on Preston New Road.
- Inquiries to Cuadrilla can be made using 01772 585 450 or firstname.lastname@example.org