Key staff quit Cuadrilla as company scales down fracking site

pnr 191129 Maxine Gill2

Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road, 29 November 2019. Photo: Maxine Gill

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.

Key departures

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.

190829 bubble chart Refracktion

Relative size of earth tremors induced by fracking at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site, 15-29 August 2019. Chart: Refracktion

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

79 replies »

  1. Hi Ruth,

    [Edited to remove other staff names] Do you know who, if any geo staff are still there ? Cos am wondering how Cuad can work with OGA to resolve geo issues, if they or most senior staff have all gone.


  2. I hear experienced Registration Number loggers are looking for new positions as well due to lack of income from the NGO’s.

  3. Good news! Fracking is dying a slow death. People don’t want it in UK + the industry knows it.
    Investors + Fracking enthusiasts go live + hang out with your mentor, Trump (+ Farage hopefully), in the USA!
    There is no room for fracking in a small overpopulated island whose natural environment is already very fragile.
    No more Fossil Fuel industries.
    Renewables are the future.

    • Jacquie

      I think that pro frackers should wait for another democrat to be president before hopping off to the US, given that they were more supportive of fracking over coal. Or just go to Canada instead.

      Meanwhile oil and gas supporters can go hang out in Norway with their oil producing mentors and lignite mining supporters ( if there are any out with Germany ) can go hang out with German Political and green party Mentors.

      Coking coal mining supporters in Scunthorpe could go hang out with their mentors in Russia ( or the lake district once that coal mine gets going ).

      Wind power supporters can hang out with Boris ( offshore wind ), and onshore wind supporters can hang out with the SNP ( in Edinburgh ).

      Coal mining supporters can hang out with president xi ( actually you can hang out with the Chinese to be mentored in fracking, coal, nuclear, wind and solar….they are not picky ).

  4. Good news!
    Fracking is as dead as a Dodo!
    Nobody wants fracking on a small overpopulated island where the little that’s left of the natural environment is already under huge pressure.
    Goodbye Frackers + either focus on renewables or go join your mentors Trump (+ hopefully Farage) in the US.

  5. No wonder Cuadrilla are no longer sponsoring Fylde Rugby Club or AFC Fylde!

    Cuadrilla must have known they were doomed!

    Obviously even propaganda won’t help the frackers or their backers now that the earthquakes have done the unthinkable and damaged people’s homes, including mine!

  6. Worldover the fuel demands are now focusing more on Natural gas, LNG n now in recent time country like India also was working on shale gas fracturing found it is not economically viable due to less output, hence discontinuing. Here due to the Tremors people are objecting. One thing for sure the less with disturb n exploit the Natural resources is better to save the ecology, environment n the climate .

  7. Nice of you to take an interest, Kaushik. Your comments are simply factually incorrect, but that is quite normal on this site.

      • Your comments about fracking in India. Factually incorrect.

        Easily done, but there are some who do post on DoD who do know about such subjects. I would suggest a little more research on that aspect may bring you some enlightenment.

        • I am from the petroleum field n have worked in many exploration projects at a senior level.

          Yes it can be done but the economics of such shale gas fracking is not viable n against investment the quantity which was estimated based on earlier datas were just not even take it to break even point. In recent reports as published by the petroleum psu company govt decided not to continue with shale gas fracturing at present.

  8. Good morning everyone – Off topic but just a little bit more important for the planet than who works or doesn’t work at Cuadrilla…..

    COP25 in Madrid, “Coal use in both the US and the EU28 has dropped substantially, possibly by as much as 10% in both regions in 2019 alone, helping push down global coal consumption,” Mr Andrew said. “US emissions have declined by around 1% per year every year since 2005. That trend continued in 2019.”

    “The Global Carbon Project’s annual analysis of emission trends suggests that CO2 will go up by 0.6% in 2019.

    The rise is due to continuing strong growth in the utilisation of oil and gas.

    Since the Paris agreement was set out in 2015, CO2 emissions have risen by 4%.

    Last year saw a strong rise in emissions of almost 3%, with strong demand for coal in China being the main factor. There was also a surge in demand for oil, driven by a booming global market for cars, particularly SUVs.

    This year’s modest rise, if indeed it is a rise, as the margin of error is large, reflects some significant changes in the demand for fossil fuels.

    While global emissions from coal use fell by less than 1%, this masks some huge drops in countries like the US and across the European Union.

    “Through most of 2019 it was looking as if coal use would grow globally, but weaker than expected economic performance in China and India, and a record hydropower year in India – caused by a strong monsoon – quickly changed the prospects for growth in coal use,” said Robbie Andrew, a senior researcher at the Cicero Centre for International Climate Research, part of the Global Carbon Project.

    “Coal use in both the US and the EU28 has dropped substantially, possibly by as much as 10% in both regions in 2019 alone, helping push down global coal consumption,” Mr Andrew said.

    The drop in coal as a source of energy was offset by the continued rise of oil and gas.

    The data comes as the COP25 climate summit continues in Madrid amid a growing sense of crisis.
    Media captionCOP25: What you need to know about the climate conference

    Gas use rose by a robust 2.6%, and while renewable sources like wind and solar have also grown substantially, according to the authors the greener fuels have merely slowed the rise in the growth of fossil fuel emissions.

    “Compared to coal, natural gas is a cleaner fossil fuel, but unabated natural gas use merely cooks the planet more slowly than coal,” said Dr Glen Peters, also from Cicero.”

    So natural gas up 2.6% globally.

    It’s those emerging middle classes aspiring to our life style – booming global car market…..etc…

  9. Stay classy, DoD. Your barely concealed glee speaks volumes.

    (“Analysis of Linkedin”….truly journalistic pioneers.)

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