Fracking moratorium is a “betrayal” – Cuadrilla’s owner

Cuadrilla’s Australian owner has condemned the reinstatement of the moratorium on fracking in England as a betrayal of the shale gas industry.

Fracking operation at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site. Photo: Cuadrilla Resources

Speaking at the AJ Lucas annual meeting today, group chief executive Brett Tredinnick said:

“There is no rational scientific basis for the re-imposing of the moratorium, and it is a betrayal of an industry that has the potential to create tens of thousands of jobs across the North of England, generate billions in private sector investment, and provide local councils with much-needed tax revenue.”

Mr Tredinnick said the company had been “shocked” at the decision by Rishi Sunak to restore the moratorium last month.

He said the company would “continue to push for the removal of the moratorium to ensure shale gas can play a role in alleviating the UK’s energy crisis”.

A J Lucas raised nearly $20m in a share placing a week after the lifting of the moratorium by Liz Truss in September. The money was needed to fund A J Lucas’s operations in the UK, including spending on plant and equipment.

A J Lucas’s chairman, Andrew Purcell, told the meeting in Brisbane the return of the moratorium was a “profoundly disappointing decision”. He described it as:

“a curt dismissal of the genuine and considerable good faith effort invested by Francis Egan, CEO of our UK operations, towards a restart of our operations”.

He said the introduction of the moratorium in November 2019 was “unfair” and “its reintroduction particularly so”. He said:

“We and our partners have invested significant amounts of money in the UK and have always performed in full compliance with our licence conditions.”

The moratorium was introduced following fracking-induced earthquakes at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site near Blackpool in 2018 and 2019. The stronger seismic events were felt across the Fylde region. Nearly 200 people reported damage to buildings from the 2.9ML earthquake on 26 August 2019.

Cuadrilla has complained that construction and extractive industries have been allowed to generate higher levels of surface seismicity than shale gas operations.

Mr Purcell suggested that the real purpose of the moratorium for the UK government was “to provide a thin veil for a mindset of outsourcing fossil fuel production whilst loudly proclaiming green credentials to the domestic electorate”.

Cuadrilla has the largest acreage of shale gas licences in England. It said it spent $1.1m in the past year on maintaining its licences and pursuing strategies to overturn the moratorium.

The AJ Lucas statements did not refer to a court challenge on the moratorium. IGas, another leading UK shale gas licence-holder, has said it reserved the right to take legal action recover “significant” investment.

But Mr Purcell said:

“Increasing domestic production of gas, should be a national priority. However, imposing windfall taxes on oil and gas production and a vacillating position on fracking only underscores the regulatory risks associated with making long term investment decisions in the UK.”

48 replies »

  1. As the lifting of the moratorium has always included the caveat of “local consent”, he should’ve waited to see if he had community support BEFORE selling shares and assuming he had a “go ahead”. The fact that he didn’t, just proves that the industry has never really had any respect for local opinion. If he’s feeling badly done to, he should finally be able to identify with communities who have had industry foisted upon them – talk about “unfair”. And “there was no rational scientific basis” for lifting the moratorium since the BGS report did not prove that it could be done safely.

    • alex9391: easy to see you’ve never raised capital and been involved in starting, creating a company! [Edited by moderator]

  2. What has been unfair is the millions spent lobbying government by the fracking companies.
    What has been unfair is the influence and access to the media the fracking companies and industry supporters have had, where inaccurate information, propaganda and even climate change denial has been allowed to go largely unchallenged.
    What has been unfair is that some so called think-tanks and educational charities that have promoted fossil fuels and fracking, have been given significant access to media and government whilst operating from the murky Tufton Street premises, keeping their funding streams and vested interests secret. Only to now have been exposed as having received funding from the fossil fuel industry!
    What has been unfair is how planning policy was changed to favour fracking and that diminished local decision making on fracking development, yet at the same time local communities were given the right to veto onshore wind.
    What has been unfair is that the government and industry has tried to force this industry on local communities for over a decade and the negative impacts of fracking have been repeatedly and inaccurately trivialised.
    What has been unfair is that communities have had to raise and spend their own money and use a vast amount of their own time to fight a powerful industry with millions at its disposal. And again for the record, were not funded by Russia – this unfounded accusation has been debunked many times!
    I doubt you will find there is much sympathy for the fracking industry in those communities living in areas licensed for fracking or the wider public. The industry has made decisions in the full knowledge of the facts. Truss was only in power for a short time, the industry always knew there was no certainty as she clearly stated that fracking would only go ahead with the consent of local communities and it also knew local communities were strongly opposed. Council after council voted to formally oppose fracking during the brief time Truss was in power and many local MPs, including Conservatives, voiced their strong opposition. The industry knew the terms of the 2019 moratorium and manifesto commitments. And it also knew the BGS review did not provide any new science to justify lifting the moratorium.
    If the industry is now choosing to continue to spend more money lobbying the government, that is its choice but please don’t pretend it is unfair or they have been badly treated. The industry knows the score and will know that opposition to fracking is just as strong and if anything may be stronger.

    • Well said Kat. This is a perfect example of Cuadrilla misrepresenting the true facts and throwing their toys out of the pram in order to shed crocodile tears and con their shareholders. They were well aware of the fact that the BGS report had found no new evidence and lifting the moratorium would be conditional on obtaining community support. They were also well aware that that would never be given willingly. If they jumped the gun and raised money on such a tenuous hope they have only themselves to blame. The only way fracking would have happened here would have been if it was forced on an unwilling public, which clearly demonstrates their continuing contempt for us.

  3. CAUDRILLA is this a ” betrayal ” to the people of England who will be exposed to this toxic future if Fracking was permitted ???????

    ” Forever chemicals ” linked to Cancer and Birth defects

    • Cancer and Illnesses were on planet Earth along time before fossil fuels and fracking Jim! Ignorance is the easy way to continue using, and bashing the same! It’s pure lunacy…

      • ELI-GOTH ,

        Clearly you,

        ( a ) haven’t bothered to read the report .

        ( b ) you don’t understand the English language .

        ( c ) your so far down on your UK investment , that in order to try and resurect this dead dog industry and hopefully claw back some of your loses . Your willing to say anything , do anything and are choosing to ignore the FACTS on this toxic industry . You blindly ignore the proven dangers to human and animal health, the environment , climate change and you also don’t care about the depreciation to the value of peoples homes in Fracking areas

        Which one is it ELI-GOTH ???????

        My monies on ( c )

  4. You are a very angry bunny Jim!,
    You harp on regarding cancer, but you now discuss the depreciation of peoples homes, in the same sentence as my assumed investment in the UK…
    Maybe it’s not the worries on illness and cancers and really the worries of your personal residential investment! ‘Outed’!!
    (You will literally ‘SAY’ anything to dissuade and bash an industry you couldn’t live without its everyday resources)!

  5. Exactly, E-G.

    That toxic industry-electricity distribution in USA-that is recorded as causing many forest fires, destroying property and killing humans and animals and adding a huge quantity of toxic elements into the atmosphere, is still ignored.

    As is the toxic industry of kids handling, with their bare hands, a known carcinogen-cobalt, and suffering the medical consequences.

    Or there is Chernobyl!

    There indeed must be some motivating aspect to ignore in one direction but not in another.

    Perhaps E-G may be so far ahead in (c) in respect of Chesapeake Energy that it is irritating the bunny?


      Do you two actually read what you write before posting your comments ? 🤣

      You’ve got ELI-GOTH , questioning why I have more than ” one reason ” for NOT wanting Fracking.

      MARTIN’S approach on the other hand , is to try and vilify the ” whole ” electricity network …. In MARTIN’S world , he/she would have hospitals performing operations under gaslight…. Again I ask you , are you a redundant Gas Mantle maker hoping to resurect the gas industry ? 🤣🤣

  6. No, Jack, Martin’s approach is to show how many forms of energy have issues that require careful control to avoid harm, as much as is possible.
    The problem you have with that, is yours Jack. You want to waffle on about cancer but ignore that cobalt is a known carcinogen. So be it. Try and create a weapon and you may just find the same weapon already exists elsewhere.

    I have tests for cancer this week Jack. I have not been anywhere near a fracking site, but I have had two hybrids. So, that must be it, then? [Edited by moderator]

    Currently Jack, hospitals could manage few operations without fossil fuel input. So, I would suggest you concentrate upon that reality rather than being silly. Additionally, what happens when there is a natural disaster somewhere in the world? Oh yes, aircraft and helicopters are mobilized, and portable hospitals are provided together with generators fueled by fossil fuel as electricity distribution rarely survives natural disasters.

    Maybe you have lost a lot on your Tesla investment, but still no excuse.

    • MARTIN ,

      Do you live in the UK ???????

      I ask because you don’t seem to care about the ” proven ” cancer risks that Fracking would expose UK citizens to .

      Instead your ONLY concern is the small number of people mining Cobalt in the Democrat Republic of Congo… Is that where you live ?????

      Don’t you care about the health and wellbeing of UK citizens ????????

      MARTIN , whoever you really are , your on the WRONG forum page ….. On here we are discussing the highly dangerous and proven , toxic impacts that Fracking would expose UK citizens to .

      MARTIN , I’ve come to learn that when trying to gain an edge on Fracking , you’ve done everything , been everywhere know everything and have had everything ….. It’s quite easy to be Superman/Superwoman on a forum webpage when your only giving an ” OPINION ” which is all you ever give . Nothing , I repeat NOTHING you ever say is backed up with and evidence .

      [Edited by moderator]

      Here you are MARTIN , ” PEER REVIEWED ” studies linking Fracking to Cancer.

      Children living near Fracking sites have an increased risk of Leukemia

      Proximity to fracking sites associated with risk of childhood cancer

      [Edited by moderator]

      • [Edited by moderator]

        How many people will die from medical conditions caused by the cold in the UK this winter, Jack? There are statistics for previous years when heating was more affordable. How many for this winter, Jack?

        (There are no proven toxic effects of fracking in the UK, Jack. You have just extrapolated from USA but are unwilling to extrapolate other issues from USA. That is not scientific, it is deliberate editing to try and make an opinion become a fact when it plainly isn’t supported by evidence. When it is untrue, it is not a fact, Jack. You are not FULLY exposing anything, other than yourself. There is no evidence from UK fracking. So, what you post is really just opinion, Jack, that what is reported in USA would happen in UK, but only for when it fits for Jack!)

        By the way, Jack, what you discuss on the forum is your business. I will continue to discuss the reality and the facts.

        • MARTIN

          You know , I always welcome your OPINIONS , but myself and the readers also are aware that that’s all they are , your OPINIONS.

          It’s clear that you are not able to back anything up you say with any evidence.

          I’ve shown you ” links ” to PEER REVIEWED studies that indisputably prove the clear and present dangers of Fracking.

          MARTIN again I question, are you living in the UK ?????

          MARTIN , There are enough ” World Leading ” medical and scientific institutions that have done studies in to the dangers of Fracking in the USA , the home of Fracking ….. With such in depth studies from the USA , warning of the health environmental and climate dangers of Fracking I think we can accept that as sound evidence.

          If a doctor in the USA tells me , that jumping from the top cliff can have serious health implications , I certainly don’t need to test out the theory just because I’m living in the UK .

          MARTIN , How many times do forum members need to tell you .. Fracking will NOT bring down energy costs for UK citizens … Highly expensive to produce , Fracked Gas will be sold on the open , international market to the highest bidder.

          Didn’t you know, Fracking companies are not charities ????????

          Since you have brought up about the UK and Fracking, what are your thoughts on this ,?????

          British Medical Journal criticises safety of fracking

  7. What do I think, Jack?

    [Edited by moderator] Locals to potential UK fracking sites have been offered the opportunity for lower energy costs, before the moratorium was re-imposed. Whether that might be extended would be up to Government. They could simply extend the existing windfall tax and do exactly what they are doing with the current one-bring down energy costs in UK. So, Jack, you are wrong, you know you are wrong, [Edited by moderator]

    There is no “International Market” for gas. The gas market is made up of a number of regional markets, such as the Henry Hub in USA and the Dutch TTF. In USA they were “enjoying” gas at $7 per MMBtu on the Henry Hub whilst the Dutch TTF showed $47 per MMBtu. Not an opinion, Jack, fact. You were trying to make a big thing out of it that $7 was a record high! There is no International Market, and UK has a very limited ability to export gas so it would be very easy to control gas prices in UK, if the UK were not so reliant upon imports! Therefore Jack, your attempt to go where you have not researched is par for the course, but with exactly the same outcome. Just more holes in your feet. (That comes from a well- known saying here in the UK Jack, that care should be taken not to shoot yourself in the foot when handling something without the knowledge to do so. Often given as a warning by landowners before starting their pigeon shoots to reduce those pesky herbivores, Jack.)

    As far as cliffs go, Jack, there are a lot of people who do jump off them, or dive off them, taking the necessary precautions, and have a fine old time doing so! Yet there will be links available showing how to do so would be doomed. I can imagine, with some certainty, where your search engine would be directed.

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