IGas Energy

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Former UK prime minister David Cameron visiting IGas UK operations in 2014

IGas Energy Ltd is Britain's largest independent oil and gas explorer and developer, with licences to explore for oil and gas across the country including the North West, East Midlands, the Weald Basin in southern England and the northern coastal area of the Inner Moray Firth in Scotland. [1]

In May 2014 IGas negotiated a deal to buy rival producer Dart Energy, which holds licences to produce gas from coal seams in Scotland. The deal, worth £120 million, makes IGas the UK's biggest shale gas explorer with more than a million acres under licence.[2]

IGas is owned by its founding executives, investment funds and the Beijing-based China National Offshore Oil Corporation Ltd (CNOOC), which holds nearly 20 per cent.

In March 2015 IGas agreed a deal with chemicals giant Ineos to sell it a 50 per cent interest in seven of IGas’ shale gas licences in the North West along with the option to acquire a 20 per cent interest in two further IGas licences in the East Midlands. The deal is worth £30 million in cash and a further £138 million commitment to fund a two-phase work programme to develop the sites. [3]
FrackWell.png This article is part of the Spinwatch Fracking Portal and project

IGas began drilling in November 2018 at its Tinker Lane shale gas exploration site near Blyth in north Nottinghamshire after an 80-hour lock-on protest blocking the site entrance. It is the first shale gas well to be drilled in Nottinghamshire.[4] Injunctions against protesters are in place at Tinker Lane.

Injunctions against protestors at fracking sites

In September 2018 IGas Energy obtained a High Court injunction against 'unlawful protest' at three of its exploration sites in the Midlands and Cheshire. [5]

Shale gas a 'game-changer' for Britain

IGas announced back in 2014 that it believed shale was a 'game-changer', arguing that it could be 'extracted cleanly and safely'.

Igas's chief executive at the time Andrew Austin described hopes for UK fracking as 'a very big prize' - whereby in the 'best-case scenario' up to 10 per cent of the UK's gas supply for the next decade could come from shale gas produced in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire. IGas already produced conventional oil and gas in the area, and said it hoped to develop up to 15 fracking sites over that period.[6]


IGas London office, 7 Down Street
IGas produces approximately 3,000 barrels of oil and gas a day from over 110 sites across the country. Primary production areas are in the East Midlands (Welton and Gainsborough), Cheshire, Flintshire and Staffordshire, as well as in the Weald Basin in southern England.

In the year to 31 March 2013, IGas produced over 901,000 barrels and achieved £68.3 million in revenue. [7]

IGas estimates that within its own licence area, covering 300 square miles between Manchester and Liverpool, there is likely to be in the region of 102 Tcf of gas in place (midcase).Britain’s total gas use currently runs at 3 Tcf a year.[1]


In February 2014 Barbara Keeley, UK Labour MP for Worsley and Eccles South described IGas's potential fracking site at Barton Moss in Salford, Greater Manchester as 'manifestly unsuitable', with drilling there causing 'absolutely huge inconvenience' to residents and businesses. She also described the process of 'fracking' - exploring below the surface for possible shale gas reserves - as "controversial and untested".

Keeley, in an interview with Govtoday, insisted the scheme should "never have been brought into that part" of the region, adding: "If you think that there are meant to trillions of cubic metres of shale gas said to be in the north west, why start in an urban area with very poor access?" [8]

Political access

Attendee at UK energy minister's May 2018 shale gas roundtable

Energy minister Claire Perry hosted a roundtable with the fracking industry 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. [9]

Oil and gas companies at the roundtable included:

Other industries and organisations: Chemical Industries Association chemical company SABIC, Coalfield Regeneration Trust, Engineering Employers’ Federation, GMB. [10]


  • IGas has a petroleum exploration and development licence (PEDL) for the Gainsborough area, but has yet to drill any wells or apply for permission to start fracking in the East Midlands.[6]
  • East Midlands – PEDL 139/140: In 2014 IGas signed a farm-out agreement with Total E&P UK Limited (“Total”), under which Total acquired a 40 per cent interest in the 139/140 Licences. Total will fund a fully carried work programme of up to US$46.5m, with a minimum commitment of US$19.5m. IGas was appointed operator on the Licences with an increase in equity interest to 14.5 per cent.[1]
  • North West: IGas has seven onshore licences, located in the counties of Cheshire, Flintshire and Staffordshire, that contain the Carboniferous Coal Measures and Bowland-Hodder shales. The total area under licence in this region is 1,020km2 (approximately 252 k.acres), where it owns 100% working interest in all licences.[1] Drilling of an exploration well at Barton Moss near Manchester began in November 2013 and was completed in March 2014 and on budget. IGas says that:
The well is now suspended and 'full laboratory analyses of the cores is underway the results of which are expected in the late Autumn (2014). The results from the core analyses together with thewireline log data will be integrated and utilised to determine the next steps in the appraisal process. The core data will be very beneficial in understanding the geomechanical aspects of the shales and this will help provide key data to optimise the design of any future programme involving hydraulic fracturing of the Bowland Shale.

Constituencies including IGas licences

Coal Bed Methane (CBM) pilot

IGas started commercial sales of electricity generated from CBM in 2009. According to the IGas website:

The Doe Green pilot Coal Bed Methane (“CBM”) site continues to produce gas and generate electricity. All three production wells, each of which is testing a separate seam, demonstrate that gas is flowing from the seams. [11]

As of 2017 this site was operated by Ineos Shale.


Former executives

  • Andrew Austin -Ex-CEO and founder of IGas. Was an executive director from 2004-15 and CEO from 2007-15 with full time responsibility for the day to day operations and business development. [12] Holds a 5.41% shareholding in IGas.[14]Now at Rockrose Energy.


  • Francis Gugen - Non-executive chairman. Francis is a founder and non-executive chairman with over 30 years of oil and gas industry experience. [12] Holds a 13.4% shareholding in IGas
  • Robin Pinchbeck - appointed non-executive director July 2012. Pinchbeck began his career at BP where he held various management roles over two decades. He was CEO of operations services and then group director of strategy at Petrofac. [15]
  • John Bryant - Senior Independent Non-Executive Director. John is the Chairman of AIM listed Weatherley International plc, and a board member of AIM listed China Africa Resources Plc. [12]
  • Cuth McDowell - non-executive director and chair of the Audit Committee appointed December 2012. Has 33 years of international experience in the oil and gas sector, having held a range of leadership positions in Exploration and Production. [12]

Company directors


Lobbying firms

Subsidiaries and acquisitions

  • On 28 February 2013, the Company completed the acquisition of PR Singleton from Providence Resources plc [1]
  • December 2013: Acquisition of Caithness from Caithness Petroleum plc for £7.9m (including assumed borrowings and closing adjustments) which was financed by issuing 7,488,301 Ordinary Shares. [1]
  • Acquisition in 2011 of Star Energy and equity fundraising of £20.6m.
  • Signed an agreement with Nexen Petroleum UK Limited to acquire Nexen Exploration UK Limited, making our Group the operator and sole owner of all our licences.

  • Island Gas Limited Exploration for and evaluation, production and marketing of oil and gas
  • Island Gas (Singleton) Limited Production and marketing of oil and gas
  • Island Gas Operations Limited Electricity Generation
  • IGas Energy (Caithness) Limited Production and marketing of oil and gas
  • IGas Exploration UK Limited Production and marketing of gas
  • Star Energy Group Limited Service Company
  • Star Energy Limited Service Company
  • Star Energy Weald Basin Limited Processing of oil and gas
  • Star Energy Oil and Gas Limited Service Company
  • Star Energy (East Midlands) Limited Dormant
  • Star Energy Oil UK Limited Dormant



Address: 7 Down Street,
Telegraph: +44 (0) 207 993 9899
E-mail: enquiries@igasplc.com
Website: http://www.igasplc.com/


See: Fracking lobbying firms


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Unlocking Britain's Energy Potential, IGas Energy plc Annual report and accounts 2013/14, access 20 August 2014
  2. IGas Energy plc, Result of Annual General Meeting and IGas approval of the acquisition of Dart, Press release, 1 September 2014.
  3. INEOS to acquire significant share of key IGas North-West shale gas assets, Ineos press release, 10 March 2015, accessed same day
  4. Ruth Hayhurst, Picture post: IGas announces spud of Tinker Lane shale gas well after 80+ hour protest, DrillorDrop, 27 November 2018.
  5. Igas Energy, 'Warning High Court Injunction in place, 3 September 2018
  6. 6.0 6.1 BBC News, [http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-26910718 Gas chief Andrew Austin: Fracking in East Midlands could provide 'big prize, 7 April 2014
  7. IGas Energy PLC, Annual report and accounts 2012/13
  8. Daniel Mason,‘It just shouldn’t be there’: MP condemns fracking site, govtoday.co.uk, 5 February 2014, acc 20 October 2014
  9. What do they Know?, Shale Gas Round Table: internal review of Freedom of Information request to Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, 24 July 2018
  10. Ruth Hayhurst, What government told the shale gas industry about success, regulation, jobs and support, Drill or Drop, 22 October 2018, accessed same day.
  11. Production, Igas, acc 16 April 2014
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 About Us, IGas website, undated, acc 16 April 2014
  13. RNS Number : 0807N Igas Energy PLC, released 23 July 2014
  14. Ian Lyall, IGas chief tops up his holding, Proactive Investors, January 17, 2014
  15. Giles Gwinnett, IGas Energy welcomes Robin Pinchbeck as director, July 11 2012
  16. Register of All-Party Groups (As at 7 June 2013), parliament.co.uk
  17. Register Of All-Party Groups [as at 18 August 2014, acc 19 August 2014
  18. APPC Register Register for 1st March 2014 - 31st May 2014, acc 25 June 2014
  19. APPC Register Register for 1st March 2014 - 31st May 2014, acc 25 June 2014
  20. Public Relations Consultants Association. PRCA Public Affairs Register Entry, 1 Jun - 31 Aug 2011