In the first half of 2018 Cuadrilla drilled two horizontal wells into UK shale rock at its flagship Preston New Road (PNR) site in the parish of Westby-with-Plumptons, in the Fylde, Lancashire.
In May the company submitted an application to the Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy for consent to hydraulically fracture the UK’s first ever horizontal shale gas well at PNR.  Cuadrilla received the green light in July, and in October 2018 it began fracking after a seven-year pause.
Cuadrilla currently has eight sites in the Lancashire Bowland shale gas exploration licence area. Only one, Preston New Road, is operational so far, but by January 2019 activities had ground to a halt after a series of tremors occurred during Cuadrilla's first attempted fracks in late 2018. On 11 July, Cuadrilla announced it was preparing to frack again and would remobilise equipment at Preston New Road between now and September, focusing on PNR-2, the second well at the site. 'We have an exciting few months ahead, for all of us,' said chief executive Francis Egan.as a last-ditch effort to convince policymakers to relax safety rules on the government's earthquake tremor rules. 
Another well site, at Roseacre Wood near Blackpool, was refused permission by Lancashire councillors. In February 2019 the local government secretary James Brokenshire rejected Cuadrilla’s appeal against councillors' refusal to give the site the go-ahead. 
- 1 Background
- 2 History of fracking
- 2.1 'Earth tremors' in Blackpool 2011-12
- 2.2 Balcombe, Sussex protests 2013
- 2.3 The battle for Lancashire
- 2.4 Fighting anti-fracking campaigners
- 2.5 Breaching planning laws to 'avoid protests' in cooperation with police
- 2.6 'Chilling' Injunctions against protest at oil and gas sites
- 3 Policing costs
- 4 Lobbying and spin
- 5 Key lobbying firms and consultants
- 6 Constituencies including Cuadrilla licences
- 7 People
- 8 Other
- 9 Affiliations
- 10 Contact details
- 11 Resources
- 12 Notes
Parent company Cuadrilla Resources Holdings is a UK-registered company privately owned by its management team (8%) and two investors, the Australian drilling and engineering company AJ Lucas (47%) and Riverstone LLC (45%), which was previously chaired by former BP CEO and former Cuadrilla chairman John Browne. It is backed by Centrica, which in 2013 spent £100m buying a 25 per cent share of Cuadrilla's Lancashire fracking operation and licence.
In 2017 the firm employed 'some 70 staff' in the UK both directly and through contractors, mostly based at the well sites.
Cuadrilla reported it made a loss of $17.68 million in the year to 31 December 2015, caused in large part by the ongoing delays to get fracking underway at its sites.It subsequently reported a loss of $11.5m in the year to December 2016.
In June 2018 however, Cuadrilla reported its first profit of $5.457m for its annual accounts in the year ending 31 December 2017. This was largely thanks to contributions from Centrica totalling $16.9m. It had little other income, however, just $23,000 in revenue from services for the exploration and appraisal of oil and gas assets, up from $12,000 in 2016. According to these accounts, 'Cuadrilla remains debt free and is financed by its shareholders'.
Following the series of tremors induced by fracking at Preston New Road in October-November 2018, AJ Lucas, which owns 47% of Cuadrilla, saw its share price under come under strong pressure.
History of fracking
'Earth tremors' in Blackpool 2011-12
In November 2011, a damning report commissioned by Cuadrilla revealed the company's own fracking operations at Banks, near Merseyside, were the 'probable' cause of 50 separate earthquake tremors in the Blackpool area from earlier in the year.
The announcement proved controversial for the entire industry, and soon forced the company to stop work after the government implemented a moratorium on fracking while it reviewed the implications of the report.  This was later lifted in December 2012, despite mounting public concern. 
Balcombe, Sussex protests 2013
Cuadrilla's attempt to resume exploration elsewhere in summer 2013 at Balcombe in Sussex were met by strong protests from local residents and campaign groups. In a significant victory for the anti-fracking lobby and local communities, Cuadrilla announced in October 2013 that it would pull out from its site in Blackpool after the continued disruption made production commercially non-viable. 
The battle for Lancashire
In July 2013, Cuadrilla announced it would divest its focus from West Sussex to the Fylde area of Lancashire.  The company's lengthy application process to frack in Lancashire was the subject of much protest, and saw a series of government and lobbying initiatives successfully over-ride local democracy.
In February 2014, the company submitted applications to drill and frack eight shale wells at sites in Preston New Road and at nearby Roseacre Wood, however, these were rejected by members of Lancashire County Council's development control committee in June 2015. The company appealed the decision.
Six months after Lancashire council's refusal, Conservative ministers gave themselves new powers to override local council planning decisions. A leaked letter from July 2015, signed Amber Rudd, Greg Clark and Liz Truss revealed the proposals to remove the decision making powers from the council were tabled very shortly after the council refused permission to Cuadrilla, so that the decision could be reversed.  A subsequent public inquiry into Cuadrilla's appeal against the rejected planning applications, held in February - March 2016, saw the determination eventually passed onto the government's communities and planning secretary Greg Clark who was later replaced by Sajid Javid in July 2016.
In October 2016 Javid ruled to uphold the appeal, paving the way for shale gas production at Preston New Road from 2017. The application for the Roseacre Wood site is still undetermined. Cuadrilla began construction of the Preston fracking site in January 2017. 
In November 2016, it was revealed that the government deliberately delayed the release of a damning report on fracking until after the decisions on Cuadrilla's applications were taken, thereby favouring the company's appeal in 2015. The report cites significant risks to human health, house prices, tourism and farming caused by the shale gas industry.  The government previously released a heavily redacted version of the report, which excluded the risk assessment. 
Fighting anti-fracking campaigners
Cuadrilla has engaged in efforts to disparage and undermine residential groups and green campaigners who oppose fracking, going so far as to launch a series of legal disputes against individuals who have led local protests.
In March 2014, Green party MP Caroline Lucas faced trial in the High Court after being arrested for wilful obstruction of a highway outside the Cuadrilla site in Balcombe.  She was found not guilty a month later. 
In June 2016, Cuadrilla launched a lawsuit against prominent anti-fracking campaigner Tina Rothery for £55,000. Alongside the protest group 'the Nanas', Rothery occupied a field near Blackpool being considered for fracking, which the company had rented from a local farmer.  She refused to pay the fee, and was then held in contempt of court. In December 2016 however, she was found not guilty and was spared jail and the fine. 
Breaching planning laws to 'avoid protests' in cooperation with police
In July 2017 after a month of anti-fracking protests, lock-ons and 'slow walks' at the Preston New Road site, Cuadrilla's drilling rig was delivered overnight 'to avoid protests', in breach of planning permission. This prompted Lancashire county council to warn Cuadrilla it was considering action against it.
Cuadrilla argued it had opted to deliver outside of its permitted hours to 'minimise' the disruption at the site, and claimed it had done so in consultation with the police.
'Chilling' Injunctions against protest at oil and gas sites
Preston New Road protestors breached injunction, rules judge
In June 2018 Cuadrilla was awarded an interim injunction at the High Court in Manchester that covered protest activity against their shale gas exploration operations at the Preston New Road site near Little Plumpton.
At a two-day hearing in early July 2018, campaigners and locals argued that this injunction prevented meaningful protest and was too onerous. However, Judge Mark Pelling QC said the injunction struck the right balance and awarded Cuadrilla and local farmers an extension until 1 June, 2020. The Gazette reported that:
- The injunction bans blockade of the entrance and nearby road and suppliers’ sites, slow walking in front of delivery trucks or climbing on vehicles and trespass on the site. It does not prevent people standing on the roadside.
Several weeks later at a 6.5-hour lock-on protest outside Preston New Road on 24 July 2018 six people were arrested for breach of Cuadrilla's injunction.
Three of the six arrested faced trial on 25 June 2019 in Manchester, in what's believed to be the first case of its kind in the UK, for an alleged breach of a protest injunction granted to a UK onshore oil or gas company. Chris Wilson (55), Katrina Lawrie (41) and Lee Walsh (44) denied breaking the injunction in force around the site.
In court, Cuadrilla's lawyers argued that the protesters 'had showed 'reckless intent' to disrupt traffic by locking themselves together at the entrance to Preston New Road fracking site on 24 July last year and were part of a “conspiracy” to break the injunction'.
On 28 June Mark Pelling QC, the same judge who had extended Cuadrilla's injunction in July 2018 until mid-2020, ruled that the three protestors were in contempt of court for taking part in the protest - a charge that carries a two-year maximum prison sentence. No sentence has been set yet, though Pelling has stated he will not be sending them to prison.
The protesters' solicitor Simon Pook said: 'Injunctions such as this have a chilling effect on the right to peaceful protest. Britain has a proud history of protest. It forms the essence of civic society. From the actions of the suffragettes to the ‘Blackpool Two’, civil disobedience has long been exercised as a form of legitimate protest.'
2019 legal case against Cuadrilla to curtail injunctions
In June 2019 Friends of the Earth launched legal proceedings to try to force Cuadrilla to 'substantially reduce' its wide-ranging injunction which restricts anti-fracking protests against its Preston New Road site. An initial hearing on the challenge was held on 28 June at the High Court in Manchester. 'Injunctions such as that granted to Cuadrilla, raise very significant human rights issues and are a sinister attempt to use the law to stop peaceful protest against the fracking industry,' stated the group. 
In February 2019 Lancashire’s police and crime commissioner Clive Grunshaw announced that the government would give £4.3m towards the cost of policing anti-fracking protests outside Preston New Road. 'Operation Manilla' outside the Preston New Road site near Blackpool, would cost nearly £11.5m by March 2019, he added. This was an increase on the government's contribution in 2018, when it gave just £1.4m, the minimum allowed under Home Office rules. 
Lobbying and spin
Cuadrilla's 'quiet word' with government ministers over waste management regulations
In March 2014, a Freedom of Information request revealed that former UK environment secretary Owen Paterson convened an 'urgent high-level' meeting for Cuadrilla's former chairman Lord Browne with the chair of the Environment Agency (EA) Lord Smith, and other government executives. The meeting was organised on Browne's behalf in order to challenge waste management regulations that applied to the company's operations, after a series of correspondence that included Cuadrilla's chief executive and former energy minister Michael Fallon.
At Browne's request, Smith offered to fast-track Cuadrilla's consultation for an environmental permit, as well as to intervene in any county council decision that jeopardised Cuadrilla's interests. The meeting also jubilantly discussed the UK's successful lobbying attempts in the EU to defeat attempts to set legally binding environmental regulations for the continent's shale gas industry. 
The disclosures, which had been redacted from meeting minutes released by the Environment Agency, showed a conflict of interest, especially given Lord Browne's role as the government's lead non-executive director. Green campaigners subsequently questioned the integrity of the EA.
Sponsoring 'expert' consensus
After stepping down from his EA role Lord Smith went on to head the industry-sponsored Task Force on Shale Gas, a so-called independent body bankrolled by Cuadrilla and other oil and gas firms.  The group which received some £650,000 from the fracking firms, claimed it would 'assess the existing evidence, ask for new contributions and lead a national conversation' surrounding fracking, providing 'impartial opinions on the impacts, good and bad, that the exploitation of shale gas will have on the UK'.
In practice, the group has authored a series of reports that have recommended expansion of the shale industry in the UK. Lobbying firm Edelman manages the Task Force's Secretariat. The group has been criticised as yet another cog in the fracking industry's efforts to manufacture 'expert' consensus on the practice of fracking.
Special meeting with energy minister on oil and gas policy ahead of May 2018 shale gas roundtable
Government records show that energy minister Claire Perry met with Cuadrilla 'to discuss oil and gas policy' in the run-up to her May 2018 roundtable with the fracking industry, which took place just hours before she gave evidence to a committee of MPs on the Conservative government's proposed changes to relax the rules on shale gas development in the UK. 
A 'reconstructed' attendee list was released under the freedom of information act to North Yorkshire resident Jonathan Bales following an internal review of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy's initial almost completely redacted FOI response. 
Oil and gas companies at the roundtable included:
- Service companies: Ground Gas Solutions, Marriott Drilling, Onshore Energy Service Group, Zetland Group.
- Investors and fund managers: Riverstone (a major partner in Cuadrilla), Kerogen (investor in IGas), Global Natural Resource Investments (formerly part of Barclays which invested in Third Energy), KKR, JP Morgan.
Sponsorship and advertising in schools and sports clubs
Cuadrilla's own website sports a glossy image of young teens in school uniforms with Cuadrilla boss Francis Egan handing them trophies as part of their prize for the 'Young Engineers Competition' in Lancashire. The firm has sponsored these £12,000 awards for the past five years: the aim, it says, is 'to improve STEM facilities within schools and 'foster the engineers of the future'. Cuadrilla argues that: 'Creating new skills and jobs is one of our top priorities as we aim to meet the challenge of supplying cost-effective, secure and safe energy for the future.
The website also details its sports donations:
- We are also delighted to be sponsoring the AFC Fylde Community Foundation’s ‘Train Like A Pro’ football development programme for 240 young people in Lancashire opportunity to experience what it’s like to be a professional athlete, while gaining vital life skills. The programme works with 12 local partners to select young people from across Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre to take part in the initiative, which has been designed to provide equal and inclusive access to sports and enrichment programmes to children from disadvantaged backgrounds. 
The Train like a Pro programme was gifted £5000 according to Cuadrilla's community donations list; the AFC Fylde Club was also given wider sponsorship of £17,600 in 2016. 
Key lobbying firms and consultantsSince 2011, Cuadrilla has employed a raft of lobbying, PR and planning consultants to help it persuade politicians and local communities to accept its shale gas explorations. Learn more about the key players by watching our video.
Lobbyists and planning consultants PPS started working with Cuadrilla in early 2011, representing both its Cuadrilla Bowland Ltd and Cuadrilla Balcombe Ltd subsidiaries. In the early years Paul Kelly and Nick Sutcliffe were communications consultants and directors at PPS; Sutcliffe was also a local politician for Guildford District Council.
In 2012 PPS produced a brochure for Cuadrilla, titled Summer 2012 Exploring For Natural Gas: Cuadrilla Resources is exploring for natural gas in Lancashire which the Advertising Standards Authority found contained misleading and exaggerated claims that breached CAP code.  This was despite PPS' proclaimed communication strategy that since 2011 it 'has focused on making Cuadrilla and its operations as transparent as possible so that the government, media and opinion-formers could gain trust in the company’s corporate governance and technology'.
Cuadrilla has used this influential lobbying agency led by Charles Lewington since March 2013.  In February 2014 Lewington was spotted socialising with the climate-denying Tory environment secretary Owen Paterson and former energy minister Charles Hendry at the Intercontinental Hotel bar in Park Lane, London. 
The official UK government registrar for lobbying shows Hanover as having recorded ministerial contact for Cuadrilla as a client for all quarters since April 2015 to the quarter ending March 2017. 
In June 2015, Westbourne was forced to deny it had set up a pro-fracking 'astroturf' group on behalf of Cuadrilla. Press releases featured in the mainstream media showed eight students holding a 'Students for Shale' banner on the steps of Lancashire Country Council, ahead of the councils' debate on whether to allow fracking in the region.
The Morning Star criticised these pro-shale geology students for having vested interests in fracking given they were hoping to get jobs in the industry. One student also attended Blackpool and Fylde College, a designated national training centre for the onshore gas sector since 2014, supported by Cuadrilla and partner energy giant Centrica.
Westbourne account director, Maurice Cousins, denied deliberately using Lancashire geology students to try to show positive public support for fracking. He said: 'I do not understand what the issue is. We are transparent and not misleading. The students are within their rights to their opinions'. Cousins also accused the newspaper of 'harassing' students.
Westbourne also ran the North West Energy Task Force (NWETF), a ‘local’ lobby group set up by Centrica and Cuadrilla to push the business case for fracking in Lancashire. Emails released by Defra under freedom of information rules reveal that in May 2014 an unnamed Westbourne staffer wrote to Guy Robinson, a special adviser to the then environment secretary Owen Paterson, to request a meeting on ‘shale gas and farming’. The lobbyist, whose name is redacted but mentions NWETF is a client, was ‘working on a research paper exploring the potential benefits of shale gas developments to farmers’. He/she wanted ‘to discuss some of the findings’ over ‘some lunch or a brief coffee’ ahead of a launch event. 
Cuadrilla is also a core sponsor of a subsequent pro-shale group Lancashire for Shale, accused by local campaigners as another front group and shill for the industry. Its steering group includes most of the steering group listed on the now-mothballed NWETF.
Bell Pottinger provided public affairs advice to Cuadrilla from May 2013 until February 2014. During this time one of its PR executives, Mark Linder, was also responsible for Cuadrilla's corporate development.  In August 2013 at the height of the Balcombe protests, anti-fracking protestors made national headlines by supergluing themselves to Bell Pottinger's London headquarters. BPPA appears to have lost the account after February 2014, although continued to lobby on behalf of Cuadrilla's Lancashire licence part-owner Centrica, whose account it had handled for several years.
The ongoing relationship with Centrica prompted anti-fracking campaigners to target Bell's London offices once again in April 2017, where a group dressed in animal masks occupied the firm's lobby to 'expose' what they call the agency's "continual support for fracking" as part of a two-week action aimed at companies involved in the fracking supply chain. Reclaim the Power activist Ash Hewitson told PR Week companies like Bell Pottinger were 'crucial' for the fracking industry. 'Through their partnership with Cuadrilla and Centrica, they work to further the fracking agenda and suppress the stories of resistance and opposition on the ground,' he said. The group threw leaves, spread manure and sprayed 'squid ink' on the windows. 
Lexington has listed Cuadrilla as a client since September-November 2015 and appears on the APPC Register as recently as 31 May 2017.  The agency handles the energy company's 'Community Liaison Group' and 'community information line'. IGas, another major fracking firm, has also been a registered client with Lexington. 
Cuadrilla was a registered client with Portland from March-May 2015 until June-August 2016.
Constituencies including Cuadrilla licences
Cuadrilla was awarded eight shale licences across 18 licence blocks by the Oil and Gas Authority under the 14th licensing round in 2015. The constituencies covering these licensed areas include:
- Barnsley East – Michael Dugher, Labour MP
- Beverley and Holderness – Graham Stuart, Conservative MP
- Don Valley – Caroline Flint, Labour MP
- Doncaster Central – Rosie Winterton, Labour MP
- Doncaster North – Ed Miliband, Labour MP
- Wentworth and Dearne – John Healey, Labour MP
- East Yorkshire – Greg Knight, Conservative MP
- Fylde – Mark Menzies, Conservative MP
- Haltemprice and Howden – David Davis, Conservative MP
- Scarborough and Whitby – Robert Goodwill, Conservative MP
- Selby and Ainsty – Nigel Adams, Conservative MP
- York Outer – Julian Sturdy, Conservative MP
- Thirsk and Malton – Kevin Hollinrake, Conservative MP
Active (as of January 2017)
- Francis Egan - Chief executive, appointed in December 2012.
- Matt Lambert - Director of government and public affairs, appointed in 2013. Has previously worked for Betfair, Microsoft, lobbyists Grayling and was a speechwriter and researcher for Liberal Democrats in the 1980s.
- Roy Franklin - Director, appointed in January 2012.
- Ken Lowe - Water manager, appointed in 2012.
- Huw Clarke - Senior Geoscientist, appointed in July 2009. Conducted the geological operations for the Preese Hall 1 shale gas discovery well. Speaker at the March 2014 Shale Gas conference in London. 
- Jacqui Reid - Head of corporate communications, appointed in 2013. 
- Sam Schofield - Lancashire communications and public affairs manager, appointed in 2014. Previously worked for the lobbying firm PPS.
- Neville Lancaster Jr - Director, appointed in May 2010.
- Philip Arnall - Director, appointed in February 2014.
- Ivor Orchard - Director, appointed in February 2014.
- Alfredo Marti - Director, appointed in February 2014.
- Robin Duggan - Director, appointed in April 2015.
- Rebecca Henworth - Company secretary, appointed in September 2015.
- Rowland Wright, external affairs director circa 2019
- Lord Browne - Chairman, resigned in March 2015. Managing partner of Riverstone Holdings, the venture capital firm that backs it. Now chairman of L1 Energy, an oil and gas firm backed by Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman.
- Andrew Quarles Van Ufford - Director, appointed in May 2013, resigned 5 May 2017 (held role as exploration director). Now South Asset/Geoscience Manager at Endeavour Energy Resources in Texas, United States
- Mark Lappin - technical director from 2017 until February 2019, now chairman at Cluff Natural Resources
- Mark Miller - Director and VP, appointed in December 2012 and resigned in February 2013. From the USA, he founded and ran Eastern Reservoir Service until 2005.
- Peter Turner - Company secretary & director, appointed January 2008 and resigned February 2013. Managed its exploration activities in mainland Europe. Turner is a former academic who headed the Petroleum Geosciences Unit at the University of Birmingham. He holds a B.Sc, a PhD and an honorary D.Sc in Geology and has written over 150 publications and books. Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and the Americas.
- Anthony Carruthers - Commercial director, appointed in April 2012 and resigned in August 2015. Previously commercial manager East Africa for Tullow Oil from September 2010 – March 2012. Now a director of Forty Green Energy Ltd.
- Dennis Carlton - Director, appointed in March 2009 and resigned in February 2013. From the USA, he founded and ran Evergreen Resources until 2004. He led the successful development of coal bed methane in Colorado; his exploits appear in Gasland.
- Eric Vaughan - Chief operations officer, appointed in June 2008 and resigned in August 2015. Previously chief technology Officer and 'head of well development' 2015.
- Leon Jennings - health, safety and environment director Cuadrilla
- Andrew Price - Director, appointed in April 2010 and resigned in September 2015.
- Allan Campbell - Director, appointed in February 2010 and resigned in February 2014.
- Anthony Kelly - Director, appointed in February 2010 and resigned in February 2014.
- Hubert Ashton - Director, appointed in February 2008 and resigned December of the same year.
- Philip Tonkin - Director, appointed in February 2010 and resigned in January 2012.
- Christopher Cornelius - Director, appointed in February 2010 and resigned in November 2010.
- Haroun Van Hovell Tot Westerflier - Director, appointed in February 2010 and resigned in December 2014. Current managing director of Riverstone Holdings. 
- Gregory Beard - Director, appointed in February 2010 and resigned in May of the same year.
- 'ALDEX Ltd' - Company Secretary, appointed in February 2009 and resigned in December 2012.
Peachy & Co LLP was appointed to act for Cuadrilla in the UK from July 2008, as the firm has no in-house legal resource in the UK. This role has involved acting for the oil and gas firm:
- in February 2010 on a group restructuring and a $58m capital investment led by Riverstone/Carlyle Global Energy and Power Funds managed by Riverstone Holdings LLC and AJ Lucas Group Ltd, a company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
- in December 2011 on Cuadrilla's acquisition of a significant equity participation in a Hungarian O&G project, including successfully fracking a test well. Peachey's website reported that 'Further equity interests will be acquired following further seismic work and the drilling of a further exploratory well during 2012'.
- in October 2012 with negotiations with the UK Government to recommence its hydraulic fracking operations in the UK.
In June 2013 Peachey & Co acted for the Australian stock exchange quoted company A J Lucas Group Ltd in the sale of part of its interest in the Bowland shale gas exploration licence area to Centrica plc. A J Lucas is a major shareholder in Cuadrilla Resources which is the co-owner on the licence.
In March 2013 The Lawyer magazine reported that former Slaughter and May lawyer Hubert Ashton, now a partner at Peachey, admitted that the past few months of exploratory digging, questions in the House and earthquakes have been “interesting”. 
Auditors and bankers
- All-Party Parliamentary Group on Unconventional Oil and Gas which received £3000 from Cuadrilla, registered June 2013  and a further £1,916 from Cuadrilla in November 2015
- Institute of Directors (IOD) - Cuadrilla sponsored a publication by IOD on the prospects for UK shale gas, published in May 2013
- Shale Gas Europe - Cuadrilla is listed as a supporter of this now defunct trade lobby group, run by lobbyists FTI Consulting until 2018
- Task Force on Shale Gas (UK) - listed as a funder of this 'independent' group, whose secretariat is lobbying and PR company Edelman
- North West Energy Task Force - Cuadrilla is the lead sponsor.
- Lancashire for Shale - Cuadrilla is the lead sponsor.
- Cuadrilla Resources Ltd
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- Sceptre Way, Bamber Bridge
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