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Same shit – different shovel! The NWETF gets a reboot

We learned this week that

Lancashire for Shale, a new pro-shale group funded by local businesses and industry, held its launch reception yesterday evening (25th July 2016) for Lancashire firms at the White Tower restaurant in Blackpool to call on local and national decision-makers to get behind onshore natural gas development in the county.

What’s that you say? A “new” group? Another one? Whatever happened to the now discredited North West Energy Task Force, which was revealed as being administered by Cuadrilla’s favourite PR guerillas Westbourne Communications last year?

Well it seems that instead of putting it out of its misery they have bought it a change of clothes down at the charity shop.

It is claimed that this group is a fusion of the aforementioned Task Farce and the damp squib that was their Supply Chain Portal – you can see the supply chain website at http://www.shalegaslancashire.co.uk/. For those of you who haven’t visited it that is the site that has a footer reading:

Cuadrilla Copyright

The footer on the Lancashire For Shale site is different – It reads, rather pompously,

Lancashire For Shale is charged with understanding how the responsible extraction of natural gas from Lancashire’s shale can be used to create jobs, generate economic growth and boost local revenues.

Perhaps we should be asking exactly WHO has charged them with this responsibility – it certainly wasn’t any local residents or tax payers was it? Perhaps they have simply appointed themselves to this “important” role?

But in case there is any doubt that this is just an NWETF retread this is from Lee Petts’ Linked In profile :

“The North West Energy Task Force is charged with understanding how the responsible extraction of natural gas from Lancashire’s shale can be used to create jobs, generate economic growth and boost local revenues.”

Yes that’s word for word the same mission statement isn’t it?

To be fair they do admit who they are,  but try to claim their “activities and views are independent of our financial supporters“. Yes, they really do! Here’s what they say:

Lancashire For Shale receives funding support from a range of people, businesses and organisations including Cuadrilla Resources and Centrica, WJF Technical Support, Abbey Telecom, Stay Blackpool and the Onshore Energy Services Group. We thank them for helping us to position Lancashire to make the most of the jobs, opportunities and investment that shale gas could one day bring.  Our activities and views are independent of our financial supporters.

So they are funded by companies, including those run by people who are on their own steering group and yet somehow claim to be able to to be “independent of our financial supporters“. Perhaps somebody can explain to us how that works?

Talking of their steering group, Lancashire For Shale list a steering group of 14 people. Of these 14, 11 are on the SME panel of the now discredited North West Energy Task Force.

They are:

Claire Smith
Martin Long
Philip Hargreaves
Steve Pye
Frank McGlauchlin
Babs Murphy
Bernard Whittle
John Kersey
Lee Petts
Rob Green
Peter Whitehead

The remaining 3 are on record as supporting the NWETF. They are:

Tim Freshney
Tony Raynor
Nick Campbell

Can there be any doubt at all then that this is just a retread for our friends at the industry front group the NWETF, who are having another go at rebranding themselves after they were discredited when they has to admit to having their communications and administration were provided by the now rather infamous Westbourne Communications?

So, they wouldn’t make the faux pas of being publicly associated with Westbourne again would they? Would they?

More than half of the material on their page http://lancashireforshale.co.uk/the-facts/ is made up of “fact” sheets with the NWETF logo on them, which emanate from Westbourne Communications as can be seen from the web address of some of the download links – e.g.  :


More telling though is the gaffe they made when sending out the Press Release announcing the new group.

It was sent out via some professional mailing list software, and as one would expect, there are “add us to your address book“, “update preferences” and “unsubscribe” links. All of these point to a server at http://westbournecoms.us2.list-manage1.com

lancsforshlel westbourne

What are the chances then that this new group is not just another mouthpiece for the fracking industry’s PR machine?

What is perhaps most disappointing though is that they can’t even be bothered to do any of this properly!

The front page contains the claim that 2281 cubic feet of gas could be extracted from “the area” (presumably Lancashire)


They are, of course, referring to the 2281 TRILLION cubic feet that the BGS suggest as their upper estimate for the Bowland Shale as a whole.

The lower limit of the range is 822 tcf* and the upper limit is 2281 tcf, but the central estimate for the resource is 1329 tcf.

Hardly any other body uses that figure – the 1329 TCF is usually deployed for obvious reasons.

2281 Cubic feet of gas (73,349 kWh), as per their rather careless web site, would only power about 4 or 5 homes for a year. Oops! A bit careless that!

In fact they really aren’t very careful at all – they spell Cuadrilla as “Quadrilla” on the FAQ page and give a web site address – www.lancashiresupplychain.co.uk – that they don’t even own (http://lancashireforshale.co.uk/faq/)


This site had not been registered and is still available as I type:


Interestingly they have listed an email from this non-existent site on their previous website, so for about a year any prospective supply chain company may have been wasting their time sending hopeful emails into the ether.

With friends as competent as these does Cuadrilla really need all of the enemies that they have made since 2011?

2 Responses to Same shit – different shovel! The NWETF gets a reboot

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