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- Ken Wilkinson - prominent pro-fracking activist and industry supporter (Yes we know , he doesn't know what "prolific" means does he)

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How many wells?

Click the image from more information on Cuadrilla's plans for PEDL 165

Fracking Employment

From the Financial Times 16 October 2013

AMEC forecast just 15,900 to 24,300 nationwide - direct & indirect

Jobs would typically be short term, at between four and nine years

Only 17% of jobs so far have gone to local people


Looking for misinformation, scaremongering, lies or stupidity?

It's all on this website (but only on this one post ) featuring the Reverend Mike Roberts.

(Oops - there's more! )

Here though is our favourite Reverend Roberts quote of all time - published in the Lancashire Evening Post on 5th August 2015

"If you dare oppose fracking you will get nastiness and harassment whether on social media, or face-to-face"

Yes you!

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With Friends Like These …

We are quite used to sparring with the industry’s front groups. It is a rather obvious strategy for them to set up astroturf groups claiming to be organised by local residents who can then say and do things that the companies themselves might prefer not to be seen saying and doing.

Recently though we had a group called Reclaim the Road brought to our attention, because they were trying to discredit the vast number of local citizens who demonstrate peacefully outside Cuadrilla’s site at Preston New Road in the press.

We took a look at their Facebook page, and frankly we were shocked. The fact that pro and anti-frackers trade insults is nothing new but the level of vitriol shown on this page is shocking. Indeed it is probably bordering on the illegal as it includes hate speech, misogyny and obscenity. (None of that will breach Facebook’s community standards of course 😂)

But upstanding citizens’ groups like Reclaim the Road wouldn’t condone such comments of course would they? Or would they?

Here is what Jim O’Neil (a Blackpool resident who for some reason is an admin on the Kirby Misperton debate Facebook page) had to say when questioned about the awful content.

However, 2 weeks later all of the posts are still there. Clearly if the admin had been alerted to the posts and chosen to allow them to stay and then more to be posted then the group must condone the content.

Jim’s claim that he’s not convinced that some of these people are actually members of the main group rings a bit hollow when a number of the offenders are frequent posters on the Backing Fracking page that he also frequents, and some (such as Darren “stop being a brainwashed retard” Mennel, also post on Backing Fracking and the Kirby Misperton group he admins, so they are presumably known to him. The worst offender, the predictably anonymous “Jagtoss Wagtoss”, used to post his insults on the Backing Fracking Facebook Page but his output seems to have been removed. It seems even they have some standards. He has been banned from most anti-fracking Facebook pages for his obscene trolling, but Reclaim the Road appear to find his output quite acceptable.

We’ll leave you to decide whether you feel this content is what you expect from a group who see it as their role to criticise legitimate protest. It looks more like the kind of content you might expect from a Tommy Robinson fan club to us.

Warning extremely unpleasant and explicit content!

Post script – evidence we have and comments from others lead us to believe that JagToss Wagtoss is none other than Blackpool local Darren Taylor. Way to go Darren!

Cuadrilla downgrade forecast confidence

Things have not been going swimmingly for Cuadrilla (unless we imagine them splashing around on their soggy well pad perhaps).

This is perhaps reflected in the language they use to describe their level of confidence in their ability to extract gas from their operation at Preston New Road.

Back in January their CEO Francis Egan stated

We are very encouraged by our early analysis of the data and confident that there is a very sizeable quantity of natural gas in the Bowland Shale

However, by April this confidence seems to have been downgraded to optimism

From the data we have amassed so far we are optimistic that, after fracturing the shale rock, natural gas will flow into this horizontal well in commercially viable quantities

How will he describe their state of mind next?

So shale gas is a damp squib

Damp squibIt was all going so well for the frackers. Report after report told us that UK shale gas was going to provide security of supply, cheaper gas, and oodles upon oodles of jobs.

Doubters were caricatured as unpatriotic, Putin funded, fools who could not see the fossil fuel El Dorado that our government was predicting, nor understand the key role that fracked gas was going to play as a bridge fuel.

But then it seemed somebody seems to have told the government some things that it found distinctly unpalatable, and which it has (not totally successfully) tried to bury at the same time as continuing its dash to foist shale gas developments onto unwilling communities.

A report (discovered by FoI by Greenpeace) seems to have been published in 2016 which told the government that far from expecting 4,000 wells to have been drilled and fracked by 2032, it was likely that by 2025 we will only have seen 155 drilled, leaving an incredible 550 wells in each remaining year to be drilled to reach that target.

And what does that 155 well forecast actually mean? Using the Estimated Ultimate Recovery rates from the IoD report (3.2 bcf a well) we get a total extracted (over the 20 – 30 year life of the well of about 930 bcf). If we allow 20 years that’s just 47 bcf a year of production from wells drilled up to 2025.

In the last 4 quarters reported in the Government DUKES report the UK has used 2,900 bcf of gas, so the average annual production expected from those 155 wells is about 1.6% of UK demand. Even if we used Cuadrilla’s highly optimistic forecasts of 6 bfc a well that only makes a drop look like a drip – maybe 3% of UK annual demand?

You would have to be truly desperate to pretend that that will have any significant impact on anything.

It seems that UK fracking really is turning out to be the epitome of a damp squib – a firework that fails to go off – but like any unexploded firework it is still dangerous, which is why we have written to Mark Menzies MP asking him to insist that the government makes this report public. We need to be in possession of the full facts as we face governmental interference in the democratic process, and their attempts to force a failed agenda onto local communities.

It has also been interesting to see how the industry and its supporters have reacted to this news. The Greenpeace article states that:

Cuadrilla, the UK’s largest fracking firm, which produced its own modelling in 2012 that showed many more wells than the government now expects, said the discrepancy could be down to “technical drilling advancements” that “allow operators to access rich gas zones from just one well without the need for multiple vertical wells.”

However in 2012 Cuadrilla Resources were fully aware of these developments as we can see from their evidence submitted to the Energy and Climate Change Committee in October 2012, where they seemed to be suggesting that they has already mastered these “technical drilling advancements”

“In the case of onshore shale development, on-going drilling of new wells does not mean populating the countryside with ever-increasing drilling locations. Horizontal wells can radiate from the same well bore like the tines of a fork, and radially in several directions.”

So given that we know that can’t be the real reason for the discrepancy perhaps Cuadrilla would like to have another go at explaining the discrepancy?

Meanwhile, serial pro-fracking commentator Michael Baker (AKA Yetypu) had this to say on the Daily Telegraph article comments:

Perhaps he hadn’t quite worked out that if the IoD’s forecast for the number of wells was “pie in the sky“, that means that the derived forecasts for investment and employment which depended on that level of activity were logically also “pie in the sky“. Oops!

The answer my friend …

New research by You Gov commissioned by climate change group 10:10 shows that on shore wind is vastly more popular than either of the government’s two pet projects (Small modular nuclear reactors or fracking)

Support for fracking is particularly low.

A very clear majority (61%) really don’t want a fracking site within 5 miles of their home while just 21% would be happy to have one.

Compare that to onshore wind, which the government keeps telling us nobody wants and which we must apparently feel free to oppose on a local level and the situation is reversed – 65% happy and 24% unhappy. If it’s community owned then it’s 69% happy and just 17% unhappy.

It is time that the government dropped it’s absurd opposition to renewable energy sources and bowed to the inevitable – who know it might even help their electoral prospects, and that’s something they seem to need all the help they can get with just now.

You can read more about the polling and access the data underlying it using this link.

Uncomfortably Number

As we reported in our last post the Backing Fracking astroturf group’s new website isn’t exactly a reliable source of information.

Today we read their latest blog post in which they state:

You have to commend the PR boys for that “per fracking stage” don’t you. How about when you add up the 45 stages?

And “apparently” boys? Er no – it really has. It’s in Cuadrilla’s own Hydraulic Fracture Plan which they submitted to the Oil & Gas Authority and Environment Agency for review in July 2017. Didn’t you know?

The comparison shown with Elswick confirms what we have said all along – it used just 163m3 of water compared to the 34,000 m3 that this test well will use.

But in their FAQ it clearly stated “Even the longest horizontal wells are unlikely to use more than 27,000 cubic metres each

See it’s here:

Now for your mental gymnastics this morning I want you to multiply 45 x 763 and express the result as a percentage of 27,000.

That’ll be 34,000 and 127% then.

Yes indeed, boys and girls, just a week after launching the site, and by their own admission their FAQ information underestimates the reality by 27%. (And of course underestimates their water per person comparison by a factor of 1000 as we saw before.)

I’d say that was either totally incompetent or intentionally misleading, but they have been very careful to state “Backing Fracking is a residents collective, and operates as an unincorporated association to campaign in support of shale gas extraction in the UK” in the footer of each page.

By operating at arms length like this the industry PR team clearly believes it can say what it likes and avoid any censure from the Advertising Standards Authority. Clever isn’t it, but about as underhand as we have come to expect from this industry?

If you want a good laugh take a look at their FAQs and in particular this one

When you’ve stopped laughing have a read of our various exposés of their fakery – starting here.

“Nation shall speak rubbish unto nation”

Well it finally happened!

Industry astroturfers Backing Fracking have at long last created their own website, 2 years after collecting over £1100 for the purpose. On each page of the site they repeat the claim that “Backing Fracking is a residents collective

We imagine that Backing Fracking must subconsciously referring to the halcyon days of the Soviet workers’ collectives and Stalin’s first 5 year plan.

Sadly collectivisation created a large-scale famine in the Soviet Union in which many millions died and civil resistance was common. We confidently expect fracking in Lancashire to be equally well received by the local proletariat.

We do of course know more than a little about exactly who these “residents” really are. See our previous investigation here.

But come on guys! Did you really expect people to be so naive as to believe that a few anonymous local residents would get together and pay a large monthly subscription to Nationbuilder – the  social campaign management web site, which has been described as “the mercenary software that powered Trump and Brexit”.

I mean that’s not the sort of thing that we might expect from an astroturfing group at all is it? 😂

[The use of Nationbuilder by major political campaigns, and questions about it’s role as a data controller are discussed here]

I wonder how much it would cost Backing Fracking if just a few people from each of the hundreds of anti-fracking groups in the UK signed up to their subscription based model. It could get very messy for them indeed!

So what is the content like? Well it’s the usual mix of straw men, half truths and misdirections that we have come to expect from the industry’s most vocal and rabid mouthpiece, although they do seem to be making an effort to sanitise their image away from the ugly macho posturing which characterises their Facebook feed these days.

However, it seems that their attention to detail gets lost in their frantic need to persuade. Take this as an example.

Now, even they admit on the same website that :

180 people using 150 litres a day would use just 27,000 litres. It would take 180 THOUSAND people to use 27,000 cubic metres in a day.

Who knows, perhaps the same person was hired to put the content together as did the site at “Lancashire For Shale” who announced that there were only 2281 cubic feet of gas in “the area”.

Given that we use about 3,000,000,000,000 cubic feet of gas a year in the UK that would keep us going for at least 0.2 seconds.

For what this massive PR exercise must be costing them you’d really think they’d pay a bit more attention to detail wouldn’t you?

Proud of Froud

We are so impressed by Trina Froud’s letter in this week’s Lytham St Annes Express that we thought we’d reproduce it in full here. She speaks for many of us who are frustrated by the portrayal of events by Lancashire Police and their failure to deal with Cuadrilla’s security team in a professional manner. Here it is :

Dear Sir,

Dismayed by the recent Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) announcement (of £8 million to begin research into the environmental effects of fracking), and disturbed by the reports of policing at the Preston New Road site, this particular ‘guinea pig’ decided to visit Cuadrilla’s site to see it first-hand.

While there, a lock-on occurred, it was over very quickly and was ‘successful’ despite the attempts to prevent it by Cuadrilla security guards and police. The police wear yellow hi-viz jackets and the private security wear orange, so both stood out in the activity.

It was clear to me that the security guards were assaulting the protesters, while the police that I saw, were on the outside edge of the group doing little.

I subsequently spoke to a police officer to suggest that the police should have been controlling and removing the aggressive security men, in order to calm the situation, rather than moving away some of the observers.

His argument was that it was the duty of the security to come to the aid/defence of the police, that security are trained in handling such situations, and it is different in the centre of the melee … oh and that he would ‘Never say Never’ when I doubted that he would thump someone.

Having now watched filming from within the centre of that group, my opinion has not changed; the security men were at the heart of the action and were assaulting the protesters. I do not accept that men employed to guard a site should be out on the public highway at all, let alone assaulting the general public.

The police were not under threat, and reinforcements arrived quickly, I counted 50 men on the ground and 16 marked vehicles soon afterwards. I was dismayed by the security guards, the lack of effective police action, and the subsequent refusal of the police officer to acknowledge my concern.

However as I write this, on 31st July, I see that the police are present in great strength, vastly outnumbering the protesters. I am certain that police are trained to far higher standards than security guards, and yet today they themselves are behaving aggressively in an unrestrained fashion. It is no wonder that friends, who have lived here all their lives, and always respected the police, feel shocked and betrayed.

The consequences of Cuadrilla’s operation will outlast the obvious ones of traffic and noise – trust in the independence of the police, once lost, is not going to be regained.


T Froud


DECC Wave 22 shows support for Fracking crashing to a new low

Today the government belatedly posted the results of its BEIS wave research. This is a series of polls which has been asking questions about energy on a quarterly basis since March 2012 and about shale gas specifically since Wave 8 in December 2013.

Today’s results show support for fracking crashing to a new low of 16% (split as support 14% and strongly support down to 2% – both record lows) whilst opposition is growing and is now up to a record high of 33% (split as strongly oppose 13% and oppose 20%).

Support for fracking has declined by almost 25% over the last 12 months (21% down to 16%).

The % of people neither supporting nor opposing remained fairly constant at 49%. This figure has hovered around 50% since the polling began.

The trend is evident as opposition can be seen to be bearing down on support and crushing it – this industry continues to lose support day by day in spite of efforts to alternately buy local support and to beat local opposition to the floor using the sledgehammer of legal injunctions.

It is clear that their attempts to demonise protest are backfiring and that this industry has about as much chance of getting a social licence as I have of winning the lottery (spoiler alert: I never buy tickets).

Interestingly many those that expressed an opinion in favour of fracking cited jobs, lower bills and using less fossil fuels as reasons. These arguments are pushed by the fracking PR machine but are almost totally without substance, so as people are made aware of the truth we should see a further decline in support as the scales fall from people’s eyes.

By far the largest (and growing) reason for support was “Loss/destruction of natural environment” – up from 55% last year to 68% this year, so we can expect a PR push from Cuadrilla telling us how green fracking is and how it won’t industrialise the country side (second spoiler alert: It isn’t and it will)



Snap Judgements

We received the following press release today and feel that it deserves to be read:


Local documentary photographer unfairly targeted by police after covering an anti-fracking demonstration for nine minutes.

A photographer has been unfairly targeted by police after covering an anti-fracking protest in Greater Manchester.

Oldham-based Peter Yankowski-Walker, 53, was arrested in Horwich, Bolton, on February 28, 2017 nine minutes after arriving at a demonstration outside AE Yates, a company who have supplied oil and gas exploration firm Cuadrilla with a drilling pad for their controversial fracking work in Lancashire.

While photographing the demonstration, Yankowski-Walker was arrested for obstructing a public highway – after almost being knocked down by on of AE Yates trucks. He was held in a prison cell for 10 hours before being charged. Yankowski-Walker believes he has been unfairly targeted by police because of a government crackdown on journalists sympathetically covering anti-fracking demonstrations.

At his subsequent appearance at Bolton Magistrates Court police presented the criminal record of another man as Yankowski-Walker’s, a mistake they later admitted – yet the same incorrect criminal records was presented at a second court date in Manchester nine days later.

Peter Yankowski-Walker does not have a criminal record.

During his police interview after his arrest, Yankowski-Walker said police tried to coerce him into admitting guilt; he claims this excessive form of policing is part of a government-led attack on protest and suppression of information surrounding fracking.

Peter Yankowski Walker said: “I am trying not to be paranoid, but when sat in a dock after not even committing a crime and to see the effort to prosecute someone for something so trivial is mind blowing and a waste of taxpayers money. Especially as the incident was live-streamed and completely backs up my statement.

“The judge demanded the Crown Prosecution Service remove the wrongful criminal record from my file – but he decided to take my case to a full day’s trial, using as evidence against me body cam footage from four directions. This was pushed forward by two representatives from the Crown Prosecution Services.

“Independent photographers and film-makers are seeing a trend unfolding as in the last few months the police have stepped up their arrest rates on anti-frackers. Valued footage has helped cases to clarify that no wrongdoing occurred and it seems now, those who document and provide evidence are being targeted too. Photojournalists, documentary film-makers and live-streamers have contacted me to say that that they are experiencing less tolerance by the police and more oppression, whist collecting evidence and imagery of social change.

“I feel that my case is being treated more seriously because of the links with documenting the protest against hydraulic fracturing than it would be if it was another subject. I am honour-bound however to continue to do my job; unbiased grass roots reporting is essential in providing a balanced picture.”

Yankowski-Walker under the name Peter Walker is due to appear before a district judge at Manchester and Salford Magistrates Court, Crown Square, M60 1PR Time 9.30am May 15th, 2017.



February 28, 2017 – Peter Yankowski-Walker is arrested at demonstration outside AE Yates in Horwich, Bolton.

March 7, 2017 – Bolton Magistrates Court. False criminal record of Yankowski-Walker to magistrates. Yankowski-Walker visits Bolton police later who agree that false records were presented in court.

March 16, 2017 – pre-trial, Manchester. Police again present false criminal record of Yankowski-Walker to district judge.

May 15th, 2017 – due to be appear before district judge at Manchester Magistrates Court.



Images of Peter Yankowski-Walker are available upon request. Email: vital.media@ntlworld.com

Contact Peter Yankowski-Walker:

Email: vital.media@ntlworld.com

Mobile: 07486 858656 home number 01706 661 646


You can see some of Peter Yankowski’s images here:

Big issue: http://www.bigissuenorth.com/news/2017/03/tidal-wave-force-fracking/

Drop the Drill: https://drillordrop.com/2017/03/03/protest-weekly-update-27-february-5-march-2017/

Salford Star: http://salfordstar.com/article.asp?id=2673

The Canary http://www.thecanary.co/2017/03/09/first-telegraph-lied-now-police-use-gratuitous-violence-quiet-lancashire-village-video/

Primrose Bank, Past, Present and Future. Social documentary photographic book.



Peter Yankowski-Walker has a Masters in International Photojournalism, having trained with one of Britain’s best know social documentary photographers: Ian Beesley at the University of Bolton. Peter is well known by many for his iconic imagery, documenting the anti-fracking protests in the North West over the last three-and-a-half years. The images will be published in a photo documentary book.

His images have been shared all over the world and have appeared in many magazines and online news journals.

Yankowski-Walker added: “I feel that unrestricted social documentary photography gives a balanced view of contemporary social history as it unfolds, a perspective that is essential to freedom of expression and democracy.”

Board and Bodging

After the shock announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange by Cuadrilla’s parent AJ Lucas that a study they commissioned “estimated a still very large but significantly reduced GIIP resource compared to that estimated by Cuadrilla“, Cuadrilla have now announced a shake up of their management team.

The New Board of Directors, with immediate effect, is shown below:


Kenneth Williams Syd James David Brent
Kenneth Williams
Operations Director
Sid James
PR Director
David Brent
Kenneth's lengthy experience in carrying on regardless makes him uniquely suitable for this high pressure role. Ooh er Matron!As the star of Carry On Cowboy, Sid brings a wealth of relevant experience to looking after the rigs, frack towers and other erections.David's reputation for sincerity made him the obvious choice for controlling community engagement.
Jimmy Carr KFrank Spencer Baldrick
Finance Director
Jimmy Carr
Technical Director
Frank Spencer
Strategy Director
Jimmy's experience of off-shore tax arrangements will be invaluable should the company ever find a way to extract gas in the UK profitablyAll technical matters will now be in the more than capable hands of Frank Spencer. "Mmmm — nice!"We desperately need a very cunning plan. Baldrick's track record for innovative, blue sky thinking made him the right man for the job.
Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf
Corporate Affairs Director
Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf
Muhammad has been looking for a new Oil & Gas related post for some time. His media handling skills will strengthen our communications capability.

Should you have any questions about the above appointments please contact Cuadrilla’s information line, where you can speak to the nice boys and girls at PR company Lexington Communications.

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Who's fault?

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