Third Energy UK

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Third Energy UK Gas is a gas exploration company, previously known as Viking UK Gas Ltd (until November 2013) and Tullow UK Gas Ltd (1999-2003).

The company is 97 per cent owned by a private equity arm of Barclays bank, Barclays Natural Resources Investment (recently renamed Global Natural Resource Investments), which in 2014 described Third Energy as a 'start up business that is focused on acquiring and developing gas assets in the Southern North Sea and Central North Sea. [1]

In February 2017 it emerged that Third Energy had recorded yet another profit loss, this time £3.8m for the 2015 financial year. Several months later, in May, Barclays announced at its AGM that it would be selling its holdings in the firm in the near future.
Rasik Vasland on Third Energy’s plans in North Yorkshire. ITV News interview starts at 0.53secs

As of January 2018 the company's latest accounts remained many months overdue.

One of the firm's key directors John Dewar resigned as a company director in January 2018.


Third Energy's team is led by Rasik Valand (CEO) and consists of executives with significant exploration and production experience in the UK. [1] According to the company's website bumpf:

Third Energy exists to develop the UK's indigenous gas and oil resources in the most efficient, environmentally responsible, manner. Our interests encompass exploration stage gravity and seismic activity to appraisal drilling to the production of gas and power.
We operate gas fields in the Vale of Pickering in North Yorkshire and convert the gas produced to electricity for the UK's national grid. Over the next five years, we will be expanding our operations, both onshore in Yorkshire and offshore in the Southern North Sea to build a portfolio of gas assets. This will help to maintain national production for longer and reduce the need for UK imports of gas.

Interestingly, no direct mention of shale gas exploration was evident on the company's website in May 2014.

BBC Look North Report December 2017

Fracking in North Yorkshire

Protests North Yorkshire, August 2016
In May 2015 Third Energy became the second firm after Cuadrilla to apply for a licence to frack for gas in Britain with an application for a test well at Kirby Misperton in Ryedale - about 25 miles from York.

Despite strong protest from local residents and environmental campaigners, Third Energy says it is confident it can proceed in a safe way. Its application came after new energy secretary, Amber Rudd, announced 'she was determined to push forward with shale and even allow extraction under national parks', although also promised it would be tightly regulated.[2]

The firm was granted approval on 23 May 2016 to frack for gas at Kirby Misperton by North Yorkshire County Council's planning committee, which voted with a clear seven to four majority.

Third Energy said it would begin fracking for gas at the Kirby Misperton site at the year's end, when cold weather will minimise protests. Campaigners expressed concern about the controversial ruling's impact:

'These plans could pave the way for thousands of fracking wells to spread across Yorkshire and many other parts of the country if not stopped. Impacts, including pipelines, air pollution and waste disposal will spread far beyond the areas being drilled. Third Energy's plans in Ryedale are the thin end of a very large wedge,' said Frack Off.[3]

High court defends council's 'unlawful' fracking approval

In November 2016, the council faced a judicial review challenge in the high court over its 'unlawful' decision to allow fracking. Law firm Leigh Day acted on behalf of resident group Frack Free Ryedale and Friends of the Earth, on the basis that:

  • North Yorkshire had failed to properly assess the climate change impact of the fracking through its failure to consider the environmental impact of burning the shale gas extracted to create electricity at a nearby power station in Knapton
  • The council had failed to secure long-term financial protection from the fracking company against environmental damage of the area.

'Nearly everyone who responded to the council’s fracking consultation in Ryedale rejected the plans,' says lawyer Richard Stein.

In December 2016, the High Court ruled against the legal challenge, thereby backing the council's decision and Third Energy's plans to frack. [4]

Campaigners and resident groups expressed disappointment and outrage at the result. Friends of the Earth insisted 'councillors didn’t have the information about the total carbon emissions produced from the fracking project' to make a fair decision. The non-profit was ordered to pay £10,000 in legal costs.

The Green Party said the decision was 'a bitter blow not only to the communities there, who have fought so hard to stop this from happening, but to all who care about the fight against climate change.' [5]

Communities action group Frack Free Ryedale issued a press release saying:

'We are devastated that this decision allows the government to continue to ignore the views of local people in this case. We are saddened that the very sound grounds that were raised in the case have been dismissed in the ruling. We will not be defeated though, because we hold firm in the belief, supported by a huge amount of evidence, that fracking is wrong, and will continue to campaign against this ‘stop-gap’ industry that the Government is trying to force on communities across the country.' [6]

North Yorkshire County Council welcomed the result, saying it was 'grateful for the judgement of the High Court, which confirms the planning committee gave proper regard to all material planning considerations', adding 'the plan will become a key reference for planning decisions for development for the next 15 years, including hydraulic fracturing for shale gas'. [7]

Environment Agency approves Ryedale fracking plan

In October 2017 Third Energy said it planned to carry out five fracks by December at the Kirby Misperton site. On 12 October, the Environment Agency announced it had approved Third's hydraulic fracturing plan for the KM8 well, which was originally drilled in 2013 (see controversies section below).

The fracking plan states that 'a summary report will also be made available within 2-4 weeks of completion of operations and demobilisation'. And that:

All chemicals used in the operations will be posted on the Company website and released to all relevant UK government agencies and posted on the UKOOG website within 2-4 weeks of completion of operations and demobilisation. [8]


In summer 2013 at the height of anti-fracking protests in Balcombe, Surrey, Third Energy took shale rock samples while drilling for conventional gas in Kirby Misperton, Ryedale. [9]

The company has drilling rights across a 154 square mile area around the Vale of Pickering, which sits above part of the Bowland shale formation which stretches from Cheshire to Yorkshire and is estimated to hold around 1,300 trillion cubic feet of shale gas.

According to campaign group FrackOff there was a degree of stealth involved:

Viking UK Gas (a subsidiary of Third Energy) was caught using Cuadrilla’s drilling rig (which is now drilling for IGas at Barton Moss) to drill a deep well into the Bowland Shale at Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire. The primary target of the well was the conventional Skipton Moor Grit formation but the well was drilled to a total depth of around 9,000 ft, below the bottom of the Bowland Shale. Core sampling the Bowland Shale at Kirby Misperton is just one small step towards fracking Yorkshire, but given that slowly creeping forward seems to be the name of the game at the moment, all these small steps need to be fought or full-scale fracking will soon be a reality.
It turns out that at the same time a company called Rathlin Energy were doing a very similar thing in the East Riding of Yorkshire, just to the north of Hull. Rathlin has drilled two wells at Crawberry Hill near Beverley and at West Newton near Aldbrough (see map below). While portrayed as purely conventional oil wells both were drilled much deeper than the primary target, ending just below the bottom of the Bowland Shale (9,200 ft for Crawberry Hill and 10,500 ft for West Newton – see schematic below). For both wells, the primary target was the Permian era Caedby Formation at a depth of less than 4,900 ft but a secondary objective was to take core samples of the Bowland Shale. Rathlin has now submitted applications for two permits from the Environment Agency for continued testing of the West Newton well, with a public consultation (ending on the 4th March 2014). The permits are for the management of extractive waste (EPR/BB3001FT/A001) and a radioactive substances activity (EPR/PB3030DJ/A001). This application for a radioactive substances permit has attracted some attention in the area but not nearly as much as it should have done. Even more worryingly Rathlin has now submitted a similar application for the Crawberry Hill well (Mining Waste Operations – EPR/BB3000KC/A001, Radioactive Substances Activity – EPR/PB3930DV/A001) with a public consultation (ending on the 12th March 2014).

Property damage caused by fracking not covered by insurance

In January 2016, a Spinwatch investigation published in The Independent found that two-thirds of UK insurance companies will not insure against fracking-related damage, including polluted water from a fracking site being spread during a flood, or water contamination.

Top domestic insurers were approached by a test consumer saying they lived within five miles of the Third Energy's planned fracking site in Ryedale, North Yorkshire. Direct Line offered 'no cover for contamination caused by fracking as contamination is a general exclusion of our policy'. Lloyds Banking Group said 'for a claim to be successful, you would have to be able to prove that fracking is the actual cause of the damage'. Both More Th>n, Axa and Aviva replied that water contamination or damage caused by fracking would not be covered by home insurance, and LV= said 'if the damage was caused by poor workmanship of [fracking] contractors, this would not be covered'.

The investigation came after a DEFRA report was released, which warned properties located within a five-mile radius of a fracking operation may incur an insurance premium. [10]

Constituencies including Third Energy licences


  • Andy Mortimer
  • John Dewar - co-founder and operations director, retired as a company director officially in January 2018


  • Keith Cochrane from September 2017. Cochrane is former CEO of the international engineering firm, Weir Group, which is a big supplier to the fracking industry in the US. From 2015 he was interim chief executive of the giant construction firm, Carillion which went into administration in January 2018.
  • Lord Jitesh Gadhia, senior independent director from September 2017. Lord Ghadia is an investment banker and a board member of UK Government Investments and UK Financial Investments and a director of BGL Group, which owns He previously held senior positions at Blackstone, Barclays Capital, ABN AMRO and Barings Brothers. [11]
  • Meb Somani – Non-executive Chairman
  • Tom Cairns – Non-executive Director - Tom is a Director in BNRI based in London.

Directors listed at Companies House


  • John Alexander Gordon Dewar, Director, 26 Jul 2011- January 2018. Was Third's operations director until the end of 2017, remains a consultant. [13]
  • David James Robottom, Director, 12 Mar 2012- March 2017. chief finance director. has worked for Shell, BG Group and Texaco in technical, commercial and managerial roles over the last 35 years. Resigned as a company director on 28 March 2017.
  • Grant Emms - co-founder and geoscientist. Resigned as a company director in Oct 2013.
  • Jeremy Tyrie -appointed March 2011, resigned March 2012

Companies House details

Company Number: 01421481
Status: Active
Incorporation Date: 21 May 1979 (almost 35 years ago)
Company Type: Private Limited Company
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
SIC Codes
06.10 - Extraction of crude petroleum
06.20 - Extraction of natural gas

Previous Names


  • Newgate Communications from September 2013 until present. [14] Former journalist turned lobbyist Jason Nisse handled Third's account from late 2014 until his departure in mid-2017, as well as the industry trade body group UKOOG account.


Video resources

Rasik Vasland on Third Energy’s plans in North Yorkshire. ITV News interview starts at 0.53secs




Spinwatch and Powerbase resources

See: Fracking lobbying firms

External resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 Current Investments, Oil and Gas, Barclays Natural Resource Investments, acc 12 May 2014
  2. Terry Macalister UK fracking firm applies for licence in North Yorkshire Guardian, 22 May 2015, accessed 26 May 2015.
  3. Agnes Chambre, 'Watershed North Yorkshire fracking project' 24 May 2016, Politics Home, accessed 24 May 2016
  4. Adam Vaughan, Fracking to go ahead in North Yorkshire after high court ruling, The Guardian, 20 December 2016, accessed 20 December 2016.
  5. Green Party: North Yorkshire fracking ruling a bitter blow for fight against climate change, Green Party, 20 December 2016, accessed 20 December 2016.
  6. High court ruling press release, Frack Free Rydale, 20 December 2016, accessed 20 December 2016.
  7. North Yorkshire Council 'grateful' for High Court judgement, ITV, 20 December 2016, accessed 20 December 2016.
  9. Emily Gosden, Barclays invests in shale gas revolution, The Telegraph, 30 Nov 2013 9:30PM GMT, acc 12 May 2014
  10. Andy Rowell, Householders affected by floods face insurance double-whammy if they live nearby planned fracking sites, Independent, 9 January 2016, accessed 6 January 2017.
  11. Third Energy press release 4 September 2017
  12. Third Energy UK Ltd Officers, Companies House, accessed 24 January 2018
  13. Third Energy UK Ltd Officers, Companies House, accessed 24 January 2018
  14. APPC register last checked for quarter ending 31 May 2017