Cuadrilla’s Fracking Spin Cycle
Cuadrilla’s community engagement initiatives at their proposed fracking site at Preston new Road may have ground to a halt, but that doesn’t mean that they have stopped trying to influence opinion.
Cuadrilla have a long history of using PR Companies, often in a rather inept way. A leaflet created with PPS Group was censured by the Advertising Standards Authority for multiple counts of exaggeration and making misleading and unsustainable statements, and a Bell Pottinger executive speaking for Cuadrilla was taped saying “I know that everything I say sounds like utter ****** bullshit”
This doesn’t, however, seem to have dampened their enthusiasm for burning cash on PR.
How many PR companies would you guess Cuadrilla paid fees to between 1st September and 30th November 2015? One? two? Several? Seven?
SEVEN. Yes really. We have to ask why a company which claims to have so much local support needs to employ SEVEN PR / Lobbying companies in three months to get their message across. For comparison IGas and Third Energy only seem to have used one PR company each in the same period.
You can see the details on the website of the Association of Professional Political Consultants but we have extracted them here for you
|PR Company||Client||Other Related Clients|
|Edelman Public Affairs||Task Force on Shale Gas - www.shaletaskforce.uk - Funded by Centrica, Cuadrilla, Dow, Total, The Weir Group, GDF Suez|
|HK Strategies||Cuadrilla||All Party Group on Unconventional Oil & Gas, Arup, Celtique, Energie, Centrica, Essar Energy, Ground-Gas Solutions, Igas Energy, Ineos UK, Peel Environmental, The Weir Group, Total, Remsol|
|Portland||Cuadrilla Bowland Ltd|
|PPS Group||Cuadrilla Bowland Ltd||Celtique Energy, Ineos Enterprises Ltd, Peel Environmental Holdings Ltd|
|Westbourne Communications||Cuadrilla Bowland||Centrica Energy|
Looking at the source data from which this table is extracted we were also struck by something which isn’t there.
We know from an admission from John Kersey of the Institute of Directors that the so-called North West Energy Task Force has its communications and administration provided by Westbourne Communications. In the register all clients, even pro bono clients, are listed. However, the North West Energy Task Force does not appear even as a pro bono client of Westbourne Communications, although Cuadrilla Bowland and Centrica (who own a large share in Cuadrilla’s PEDL 165) are listed as clients. Now it is possible of course that Westbourne provided no services of any kind to the North West Energy Task Force over that busy 3 months for fracking PR. Indeed the @NWTaskforce Twitter account only posted 9 tweets in the period concerned which seems a bit dilatory for an organisation claiming to be a “task force”, so maybe not much was really going on in the guerilla war being waged against the insurgents in Roseacre and Preston New Road? There may of course be another more credible explanation.