After the hullabaloo they made about the launch of their Community Commitments Tracker it was surprising that Cuadrilla have failed to update it as promised on a quarterly basis.
Could the reason be embarrassment?
In the launch version they claimed that in November 2016 they have 715 Lancashire based businesses registered on their supply chain portal. The next update will of course have to tell us how many are registered now.
How interesting therefore to read a Big Issue article that states
Recent direct action by campaigners against supply chain companies has brought some success in persuading them not to do business with Cuadrilla.
and in which UKOOG’s Corin Taylor states that
Cuadrilla has 400 local companies registered on its portal to be notified of contracts. There is definitely an interest in this industry from the local supply chain.
So it would seem that they have lost nearly half of the 715 they had registered in November.
We look forward to reading the next version of Cuadrilla’s Community Commitments Tracker with great interest.
It was also interesting to read that Corin chose not to mention his own ludicrous 74,000 jobs estimate in this article, preferring to quote a lower Ernst & Young figure. If even he won’t stand by his own work, who else will?
It is inarguable that Lancashire Constabulary are going above and beyond the call of duty in facilitating Cuadrilla’s operations, but some of the things we hear are quite frankly bizarre.
This story was sent to us by a motorcyclist who had some unexpected (by him at least) interaction with the boys in blue this week.
“Earlier today (21/04/2017), I was ‘trapped’ / ‘coralled’ (on my Honda Crosstourer bike) by a ‘fleet’ of police cars.
I was travelling along Fleetwood Rd, towards the M55, with 2 motorway police cars a little further ahead.
One pulled into a private road on the left (to get behind me), the other carried on to the roundabout (Wesham Cir it’s called).
When I got to the roundabout he blocked the entrance, and I was sat directly in front of him for about 5 minutes – waiting.
(He was holding me (and all other traffic) up, I assume so that he could ensure that more backup got there).
He then pulled onto the roundabout and through, off onto Fleetwood Rd (so they had the road behind me ‘blocked’ and the only other exit road ‘blocked’). This ensured that if I was avoiding them, my only route was the motorway; I took the M55 slip-road.
I noticed a police car join about a 1/4 mile behind me, steam up the outside lane, then pull in behind me (reading my plate).
At this point, I noticed 2 other police cars coming up behind him.
He over-took me, pulled in front of me and displayed a message saying “FOLLOW ME”, the other police cars sat close behind.
He pulled over onto the hard-shoulder (and I followed, with the trailing police cars pulling in behind me).
They all got out of their cars, and the lead Police officer came to me.
Long & short of it: he told me that someone on a BMW GS motorcycle (resembling my bike) had been ‘tailing’ Cuadrilla lorry drivers, and they were just checking that it wasn’t me.
I told the officer that I supported what you guys are doing, but, they could see that my bike was not a BMW GS.
(How they think that it is illegal to ‘tail’ lorry drivers anyway – I have no idea).
What they did with me was complete over-kill – at one point, they had me stopped within 5 feet of a police car at the roundabout! Why didn’t he just get out of his car and walk up to me?
Why did they intentionally try to get me onto a motorway, where I can do 130 mph to avoid them?
How many people did they inconvenience stopping all traffic?
It was like some kind of ‘SWAT’ operation!
The officer himself was courteous / polite, but, they had no reason whatsoever for this stop. (They knew my bike type – they had me stopped in front of them for 5 minutes).
This is obviously official procedure; it was too ‘organised’, and what annoys me most is that I get a feeling that it was either:
a) a ‘practice’ session or
b) an attempt to get a threatening ‘warning’ to the BMW GS owner, and this, regardless of the inconvenience caused to unrelated people.
I fully support what you guys are doing, and, this kind of treatment makes me think: ‘should I be doing more than just ‘supporting’?’.
I’d like to know how much Cuadrilla are paying the police to cover the cost of this tax-paid police ‘operation’, and I will be writing to the Chief Constable to ask that question.”
We will update here with any response that is received.
So Matt Lambert – the head of Cuadrilla’s PR army gave an interview at that nice Mr Haythornthwaite’s festival of UKIP on Lytham Green this week – funny that we have been told that the covenants on the green prohibit its use for business purposes, but heck, what’s a regulation or two when it comes to unlocking shareholder value eh?
He stated ” probably as early as the beginning of next year we’ll be heating homes in Lancashire with Lancashire Gas“. Even the interviewer found this one hard to swallow and repeated the claim incredulously. But hey, there’s nothing like a optimist is there?
He then went on to claim that “the studies have ranged between, you know, tens of thousands of jobs and even up to about a hundred thousand in this area.”
Well Matt, as the highest estimate I’ve seen for job forecasts in the entire UK (including the entire supply chain) and not just “this area” was the IoD’s very suspect 74,000 job scenario. I wonder which report supports your interesting claim of 100,000 jobs in this area.
I have asked the Cuadrilla Information Line to confirm which study Matt was referring to and will update here when they respond.
You can hear the whole interview here http://podcast.ukfast.net/fracking-could-heat-lancashire-homes-by-2018.mp3
We were struck by two different exercises in estimation today.
Firstly, AJ Lucas, Cuadrilla’s parent company had to publish a response to the Australian Stock Exchange regarding their “historically publicly reported Cuadrilla’s internal Gas Initially In Place (“GIIP”) estimate of the Bowland Prospect in England”.
The regulators had asked them some specific questions and the answers are rather interesting. ( (Point 4 is the very interesting one but do read 1-3 first for context)
AJ Lucas Group Limited (Company)
The questions in your letter dated 11 April 2017 and the Company’s responses are as follows.
1. Has the Company retained or commissioned any independent company or person to assess or analyse and report on the Company’s GIIP in relation to the Bowland Prospect?
The Company retained an independent consultant in early 2015 to evaluate early stage work by Cuadrilla and others relating to the potential gas-initially-in-place (GIIP) in the Bowland-Hodder Mudstone shale sequences within Cuadrilla’s PEDL-165 / EXL – 269 onshore UK licences.
2. If the answer to question 1 is “yes”, please confirm whether the Company has received a completed or final report in relation to the analysis of the Company’s GIIP for the Bowland Prospect.
No. The Company refers to its answer to Q4 below.
3. If the answer to question 2 is “yes”, please explain why this report or the results of the report have not been previously disclosed to the market, commenting specifically on whether it is in compliance with the Listing Rule Requirements, and if not, why the Company believes the report is not in compliance with the Listing Rule Requirements?
Not applicable. The Company refers to its answer to Q4 below.
4. If the report referred to in question 2 is not in a form that is capable of being disclosed to the market or otherwise does not comply with the Listing Rule Requirements, please confirm whether anything in the report is inconsistent with or varies materially from previous statements made to the market in relation to the Company’s GIIP for the Bowland Prospect.
The work referred to in Q1 above concerned the potential GIIP (the estimate of gas believed to be physically in place). It did not concern (recoverable) resources or reserves (the amount of gas, if any, that may ultimately be produced, having regard to technical, and, in the case of reserves, regulatory and economic considerations).
(the amount of gas, if any, that may ultimately be produced, having regard to technical, and, in the case of reserves, regulatory and economic considerations).
The consultant provided the Company with interim feedback, for discussion, on Cuadrilla’s estimates. Its work was incomplete. The consultant has stated that its interim work product does not necessarily reflect its final position, and does not consent to publication of any part of it. No completed or final report was issued and the interim work product is not compliant with Listing Rules 5.25 to 5.28.
Based on the work it had undertaken, the consultant’s interim feedback was that using a different approach, which it preferred, to calculate one of the key input parameters, it estimated a still very large but significantly reduced GIIP resource compared to that estimated by Cuadrilla. The consultant did not rule out Cuadrilla’s estimated range, but expressed a view that it might be considered a maximum or near maximum value. Further, the consultant found that the in place gas values estimated by Cuadrilla could be replicated within acceptable limits based on Cuadrilla’s input parameters and using a different model.
So without wishing to sound uncharitable it loooks rather as though Cuadrilla and AJ Lucas have paid a consultant in 2015 to estimate the amount of gas in place in their licence area, and not liking the “significantly reduced” answer, have buried the report and not taken it through to publication.
This did not impress the investors on the AJ Lucas Hot Copper stock board. Here is the very first comment :
The second sort of estimation that interested us today was by our old pal Peeny, who masquerades under various IDs on pro-fracking boards. Here he is as “Jim Georges” on Backing Fracking.
He points here to an article which he seems to think supports the viability of fracking in the UK. In fact the article suggests that US shale operators have got costs down to a level where, in the US, they can be profitable and attractive investments with oil at about $60 a barrel. UKOOG on its website acknowledged that costs may be up to 3 times higher in the UK than in the USA , so the break even line has to be a lot higher here. The problem for UK frackers is that even at $60 a barrel most would suggest an equivalent gas price of around 45p a therm, and not one published study of the costs of UK extraction that we have seen suggests UK shale gas can be extracted for less than 48p a therm. It isn’t hard to see why this is problematic is it?
So it seems there just may not be that wonderfully tempting 200 tcf of gas in place under Cuadrilla’s licence area after all and in spite of the apparent optimism from anonymous American shills, it may be not be financially viable to extract what there is of it.
The following statement was put out by Frack Free Lancashire this morning.
It has come to our attention that certain individuals are using social media to try and undermine the efforts of Frack Free Lancashire, Friends of the Earth, and some of our most well respected anti fracking campaigners for their own purpose/agenda. Until now we have maintained a dignified silence but this has now become a serious matter and we are concerned that others, who do not know the background, will take these allegations at face value.
We do not understand why anyone within the anti fracking community would want to try and undermine the efforts of people fighting this industry. Not only is it divisive and dangerous but it plays into the hands of the industry who must remain the full focus of our attention if we are to stop fracking.
In particular there has been a serious allegation regarding the whereabouts of donations made to Frack Free Lancashire.
This is an extremely serious accusation. Frack Free Lancashire has always made it absolutely clear that all donations collected were to go into the Legal Fund and that is where every penny has gone. FFL wishes to assure everyone who has donated to the Frack Free Lancashire Legal Fund that they can be certain that their donations have ONLY been used and will continue to ONLY be used to directly support the legal challenges of members and their groups. We would like to thank all those people who have so kindly and generously donated to make the legal challenges possible.
We hope that this accusation and other allegations against individuals stop immediately. Online defamation is a serious offence and if it continues we will take legal advice/action.
Frack Free Lancashire is an umbrella for many anti fracking groups and individuals who are all working extremely hard to stop fracking in the UK. The FFL name is known and respected not only in the UK but worldwide. There is no hierarchy. Whilst we may not always agree, we all work together and try to reach a consensus. There is no-one trying to control. There is no impropriety or substance to these allegations. It is by working together we remain strong. To try and destroy this is not only divisive but dangerous and damaging.
Rest assured we will carry on the fight. We believe in unity and will work to unite as many local groups as possible. We have strength in numbers. This is what the industry fears most. We will continue to help those groups who need it most such as the Preston New Road Action Group (PNRAG) and Roseacre Awareness Group (RAG) who are both under immediate threat and have fully embraced the ideology of a united Frack Free Lancashire.
Issued on behalf of Frack Free Lancashire
Our last post was about Cuadrilla’s failure to honour their commitment to a “Putting Lancashire First” tracker. Looking today for an update on their Community Liaison Group it is starting to look as though this failure is systemic. It’s almost as though they are hiding something, or just don’t wish to engage with the local community (apart of course from their pet supporters like Fylde RUFC and AFC UKIP)
According to Cuadrilla’s website, since this time 2 years ago there has only been one meeting of the Preston New Road Community Liaison Group. It seems to have taken place on 20th March according to its agenda. However, Cuadrilla’s PR agency, Lexington Communications, who run the group don’t seem to have quite got round to providing any minutes nearly a month later.
With this level of community engagement is it any wonder that Cuadrilla have no social licence to operate in the area?
I wonder if Lancashire County Council should be giving them a little prod. Administering a CLG is, after all, a part of their planning conditions.
Oh what a brave new dawn it was! Cuadrilla decided that even though legal challenges were still outstanding they would fire the starting pistol on the Shale Gas Revolution and start developing their pad at Preston New Road.
“Bliss it was in that dawn to be alive” as Wordsworth wrote, and in that optimistic mood Cuadrilla made a very public promise. They would “put Lancashire first in terms of creating jobs, investment, new skills and community initiatives as a result of shale gas exploration and, if exploration is successful, shale gas production in Lancashire.”
In order to demonstrate this they promised to publish a tracker quarterly in 2017 which would show how they were holding to their promise.
To be honest as soon as it became apparent that their major contract for site construction had gone to a company based in Greater Manchester (and not Lancashire as promised) this whole idea looked a bit risible, but we thought that they would at least try to get a version of the tracker released in the first quarter of the year.
But no – as at April 11th (Well into Quarter 2 of the year) their web site is still serving up a tracker which they refer to above as “the 2016 tracker”. No tracker was published in Q1 of 2017. Imagine our surprise!
So yet another PR fail at the first hurdle from Cuadrilla – they really don’t seem to care much what locals think of them after all, but we thought we’d give them a hand by publishing our own version here.
There has been much contention over the last 5 days about the way in which Cuadrilla have appropriated a patch of land over which, according to the police, the public have a right of way.
On Friday the Heras fencing at the site, which had been along the hedge line was moved forward without explanation until it met the edge of the cycle path.
It would surely be cynical to suggest that Cuadrilla’s motivation for this was to deny the area to activists who had caused them problems during the week by “locking-on”. Wouldn’t it?
It took a while to establish who gave them permission. The police didn’t know and it was only by the concerted application of pressure that a PLO finally confirmed on Monday evening that a certain Paul Smith of Lancashire County Council had emailed permission to Cuadrilla on the previous Friday.
We have now had sight of the demand made by Cuadrilla and the rubber stamp given to it by Mr Smith
Nobody we have asked (protestors, police or security staff) claims to have seen Cuadrilla make any effort to do any work which would require this fencing to be in place since they were granted permission 5 days ago.
We do not believe that the granting of this permission, without any qualification or detailed consideration, demonstrates an adequate duty of care for the interests of all of the stakeholders so we have, today had this exchange of emails with Mr Smith. We’ll let you draw your own conclusions about whether his response is satisfactory.
From me to Paul Smith – 14 March 09:40
Dear Mr Smith
I am writing to express my serious concern about the permission which you have apparently granted to Cuadrilla to move their Heras fencing out over the public footway at the side of Preston New Road to the edge of the cycle lane.
I understand that this permission was granted to them by email from yourself, ostensibly to allow them to carry out some work on utilities and sight lines, last Friday (10th March).
This raises the following questions:
1. Is the footway a right of way? If so were the procedures laid down here adhered to and where was the closure advertised?
2. Is there a time limit on the permission. If so what is it? If not, why not? You will of course be aware that although the fences were moved 5 days ago there has been no sign of any work whatsoever on sight lines or utilities in the vicinity of the fence.
3. Why was permission granted to block the footway in its entirety? This is totally unnecessary as any work on sight lines could be done with fencing at either end, not spanning the entire ~20 metres of the footway. Presumably the same is true of work on utilities.
4. Why was a condition not imposed that the Heras fencing should only be moved out while work was in progress and moved back when work was not being done. According to staff on site it would only take 5 minutes to move the fencing in and out, so allowing the footway to be blocked continually is clearly disproportionate.
Pending your response to the above I would be grateful if you would provide a copy of the permission email so that we can validate what is being done against what had been permitted.
As one police officer commented to me yesterday, “You know why Cuadrilla have done this, we know why Cuadrilla have done this, it is just LCC who don’t”.
As long as Cuadrilla are facilitated in blocking legitimate protest by flaunting the permission they have got from you and closing off an area where protest has taken place, then evidence suggests that that protest will simply move as you saw yesterday. The result yesterday was that a highway for which you are responsible got blocked by protest on a lorry.
If I might proffer a suggestion, you would satisfy any of Cuadrilla’s genuine requirements and make the police’s job much easier if you rescinded the permission that you have apparently granted Cuadrilla and reissued a more qualified permission which takes in to account the reality of the situation, and not what is convenient to Cuadrilla.
From Paul Smith to me – 14 March 10:10
Further to your email below I have the following responses:
1. the area of highway fenced off is not a footway but is a grass verge
2. there is no particular time limit as the placing of the fencing at the approved location does not have any impact on the general travelling public
3. as previously stated, it is not a footway but is in fact a grass verge
4. as the location of the fencing does not affect the general travelling public I am happy for the fencing to remain in position until all the remedial works have been carried out.
Please find attached a copy of my email granting permission for the positioning of the fence.
[No sign off or signature – emails between Paul Smith and Nick Mace shown above attached]
From me to Paul Smith – 14 March 10:47
1. The police in attendance at PNR (both PLOs and TAU) have made it very clear that they regard the grass verge and the tarmaced space in between the hedges, as an area to which the public has a right of access. They routinely describe is as a “footway”. Would you please clarify the legal basis on which you appear to be claiming that it is not.
2. Whilst the general travelling public may not be directly impacted by the fencing, you clearly have a duty to ensure that the rights of pedestrians are taken into account. You appear not to have considered the position of pedestrians as stakeholders in this decision that you have taken. Would you please clarify the basis on which you have discounted the rights of the many people who have continually used the area under discussion over the last 2 months
3. Regardless of whether you call it a footway or a verge, you have given indefinite permission for Cuadrilla to block off an area to which the police have confirmed on multiple occasions people have a legitimate right of access. From the email trail below you seem to have rubber stamped a demand from Cuadrilla (it is not phrased as a request is it?) without question, and without imposing any conditions or limitations, or considering any ways in which the impact could have been mitigated by limiting the scope of the permission. In acting in this way you have failed to take into account the needs and rights of all of the stakeholders concerned. Again I think it fair to ask you to explain why.
4. Again you seem to ignore the needs and rights of the many people who have used this area over the last two months. You appear to have been given no indication of the likely duration of whatever works may be envisaged, nor do you appear to have asked for such information. If you did perhaps you would be kind enough to provide some documentary evidence of that.
Having been made aware of the issues involved and the inflammatory potential of your decision, I am genuinely surprised and disappointed that you should adopt such a dismissive attitude towards the issues raised.
I would request that you pay this matter more attention and then respond more positively to me as one of Lancashire’s council tax payers. If you prefer not to then I will escalate this within the council, with my own representative and with the police.
Mr Smith has now replied as follows
1. If the Police routinely describe this area as footway, unfortunately they are incorrect. The area in question is a grass verge with the footway being on the south side of Preston New Road.
2. The rights of pedestrians are taken into account by the availability of the footway on the southern side of Preston New Road. This is no different to any site of a similar nature
3. Permission has been granted for the duration of the remedial works. As you will see from the email from Cuadrilla, I will be informed when the works have been completed. As previously stated, as there is no effect on the general travelling public I have no particular concerns regarding the timescale of the remedials subject to them being carried out in a timely manner
4. The area of adopted highway that is now fenced off for the remedial works to be carried out is far less than the area cordoned off whilst the access was being constructed. This is a vast improvement for the general travelling public.
5. I have not taken a “dismissive attitude to the issues raised” but have answered the queries raised.
To which I have responded at 1pm
Thank you for your reply which I will discuss with police officers on site before reverting to you or escalating this further.
I note the expansion of the email recipients to include Sgt Hill and your other colleagues.
Having discussed with local PLOs and the Chief Constable of Lancashire who was visiting the site today, I decided to check what the status of the land now was, given the open ended permission given by Mr Smith to Cuadrilla, so I emailed the Head of Planning ad 16:45 this evening
Dear Mr Mullaney
With relation to the email trail below, can I please ask you to confirm whether the permission to move the fence, granted to Cuadrilla by your colleague Mr Smith, means that the extra land now within the barrier is officially part of the works area of the development site, and therefore subject to the same planning regulations, development control and other planning department protocols?
I look forward to your response.
The ninth commandment “Thou shalt not bear false witness” forbids speaking falsely in any matter, lying, equivocating, and any way devising and designing to deceive our neighbour.
It would be tiresome to apply that to, and comment on, the serial failures to observe it over on the Backing Fracking Facebook page, but yesterday we were stopped in our tracks by an exchange we read. Here it is in full.
For those of you who do not know Michael Roberts, as well as being one of the admins on the farcical Backing Fracking Facebook page, is also a semi-retired Church of England vicar. Yet here he is not only denying having made a statement which is on record, and claiming to be misrepresented, but accusing the other person of lying about him having made it! That seems like odd behaviour for a man of the cloth.
There can be no doubt that he made the statement “Not next to me, I think it would need to be several hundred yards away from the nearest house. Exactly how far I don’t know” . He can be heard making it in a recorded Radio Lancashire interview here, about 2 minutes and 40 seconds in:
The Reverend Roberts has just been appointed HfD (House for Duty) Priest in Charge at St Anne’s church in Woodplumpton
We wonder what the local parishioners will make of the man who will be now be delivering their Sunday sermons?
Of course it is entirely possible that Michael did not intentionally set out to mislead and that the inconsistency between observable facts and his claims is due to something else.
In that case his new flock may be grateful for the final provision of clause 3.5 of the Church of England’s House For Duty Guidance
It is now 8 weeks since Cuadrilla unexpectedly started work at Preston New Road. I say unexpectedly because from what we were told they forgot to alert local residents and possibly the police until the day after they started, which was not a very auspicious start to any pretence at community relations.
How are they doing?
Well, Francis Egan, CEO, of Cuadrilla, is putting a brave face on in spite of protectors continually demonstrating outside the site, and the pop-up protests, which are convincing supply chain companies to re-evaluate their dealings with a company which is so unpopular locally. Only today Drill or Drop report that “Cuadrilla has told DrillOrDrop that its operation remained on schedule.”
However, if we take a look at where they expected to be we can see a yawning gap between what was planned for the first two months and what has actually been achieved. Obviously we don’t have access to their actual project plan, but they have indicated the progress they expected to make in other documents
Here is what we can see in their Environmental Statement:
Anyone who has visited the site will be aware that the access track isn’t even near finished yet. The exploration well pad is still a pile of soil, work on fencing has only just started with sound baffles having been delivered only this week by a freight company who have since asked not to be further involved with the project. The drilling cellars are pits where the boreholes will be drilled, and there is no obvious sign of these having been excavated. The conductor casing (to prevent the sides of the hole from caving into the wellbore) presumably can’t be put in before the pad itself has been constructed. Fortunately for Cuadrilla United Utilities thoughtfully supplied a new mains water pipe running just past the site only very recently. What a lucky co-incidence that was, but we have seen no evidence of any connection between it and the pad site.
At this point the next step would be to drill the first well.
It will be very interesting to see how much later than 2 months it is before the drill bit hits the ground. The arrival date of the drilling rig will give a very clear indication of the impact that protectors have had on the pad construction schedule.