Major Cuadrilla investor backs out amid controversy over fracking in the UK

Support us and go ad-free

Private equity firm Riverstone has sold its stake in Cuadrilla, the UK’s only fracking firm.

The US firm has lost its patience with the nascent UK fracking industry, selling its 45% stake to Australian mining firm AJ Lucas, which was already Cuadrilla’s largest shareholder.

The value of the deal, which has seen AJ Lucas increase its stake to approximately 93%, has not been disclosed.

Cuadrilla said the remaining stake in the company is primarily owned by current and former employees.

Riverstone hired advisers from the Royal Bank of Canada to assess the potential for a sale in September, according to reports.

It is understood the investment group grew increasingly frustrated as Cuadrilla has struggled to produce and sell natural gas amid government regulation and massive public opposition to the practice.

The fracking firm believes there are significant shale gas reserves beneath Lancashire but saw its most recent extraction attempt suspended after causing an earthquake registering 2.9 on the Richter scale.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Cuadrilla was forced to halt operations at Preston New Road last year (Cuadrilla/PA)

Its fracking operations are now inactive after the UK government launched a moratorium in November, halting the production method and exploration with immediate effect.

However, three days after the government’s moratorium announcement, it issued a document saying it will consider fracking applications “on their own merits” in the future.

AJ Lucas said it believes the moratorium will eventually be lifted, as it announced the move which it said would also simplify decision-making.

The company said it envisages “limited, if any, operational activities”, at the suspended Preston New Road site in 2020.

Cuadrilla said it is “providing the appropriate data, analysis and technical expertise” for a resolution which it believes would allow shale gas exploration in the UK.

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. I sent this email update to Tory govt Minister had no reply as of yet WHY Boris??
      Email sent –dated 4.2.2020
      To Tory Govt members plus over parties for true clarity on FRACKING
      All Govt members

      This is a Freedom of Information Act request we HAD put in now to get answers
      ON FRACKING out of Tory Govt Minister/Boris/our local M.P. Mr. Stephenson as well
      for information From Tory Govt Minister +our Tory local M.P. Andrew Stephenson/of Pendle area
      We resident of Lancashire/P.B.C./Colne area
      Wish to know if fracking is to start back up in 2020—2021-time frame in Colne yes or no?
      And all over place of Lancashire like Blackpool again??
      We know Tory Govt Minister, Ms Leadsom stopped it to gain voters in Dec 2019 G.E.
      But she stated it was only on hold for now???–So what decision as Tory Govt + Boris made now
      On fracking the hell out of Lancashire /Pendle/Colne area (Will it be banded fully yes or no?)
      Remembering this ‘true’ fact Tory Minister + Boris/ and our local area Tory M.P.
      it is costing British taxpayer vast amounts of public cash now – (for NO Gas retune at all)
      We resident wish a response now we have sent more than 1 email to you all on this matter
      But you all seem fit Not to reply to residents/ voters on fracking matters in Lancashire -WHY?
      It is now time to come clean Tory Govt members in LONDON.
      This is now a freedom of F.O.I. Act request we will give you 30 days to respond
      Or we will take more action at this end of country.
      This matter is very’ important to us residents and need an URGENT reply from Tory Govt,
      Ministers plus our local area Tory M.P. of Pendle/Colne.
      That pays out our public taxpayer money to the firm fracking in U.K.
      But so far, we have had NO gas for our cash
      Therefore, the Tory Govt is funding Fracking with our public money,
      (taxpayer cash)
      (A possible? chocolate tea pot out come here)
      (our public money being wasted now)
      Us taxpayers paying a big rich firm for nothing again this wasted cash here could fund our local areas Boris.
      So, you can keep your promises to us of new funding in our poor area of Lancashire,
      You promised us Boris in Dec G.E. 2019 – FOR OUR VOTES—Boris.
      We resident of Lancashire/Pendle/Colne/Trawden/
      area wish a true reply please now.
      That leaving the E.U. as started to move on
      (we wish a reply to this email on FRACKING please)
      Let’s hope we get the truth now residents plus voter of Lancashire/Pendle/Colne/Trawden areas

    2. Update post to fracking
      Dated 7.2.2020
      To Cuadrilla firm + Australian mining firm AJ Lucas
      Including our Tory Govt/Minister /Boris.
      Firstly, Tory Govt when are you going to reply to me truthy?
      We British taxpayer wish our money back Tory Govt have’ paid
      In funding to Cuadrilla already for nothing to be delivered (NO-GAS)
      Therefore, before you fracking firms do a runner out of the U.K.
      Fracking sites please return our public cash to us U.K. Taxpayer.
      Remembering this ‘true ‘FACT most of us residents of Lancashire
      /Pendle/Colne, area wish no fracking at all now Tory Govt.
      ON me reading the article here Cuadrilla are Not interested in safty
      Or our resident’s wisher Not to frack as this article just proves,
      they are more interested in cash funding only.
      Whining because a backer as pulled out of fracking mess.
      I do hope Tory Govt take note here of this article before giving,
      any more of our U.k. taxpayer money away to Cuadrilla+ A.J Lucas,
      just to keep the rich already broad member of both firms happy
      and in a lifestyle out of U.K. they like to live.
      Boris STOP our public taxpayer money funding Fracking firms
      And get back our taxpayers cash your party has already,
      paid them for nothing Boris ( gas at all)
      only big drilling site holes in our Lancashire countryside.

    3. Fracking is actually a money loser in the long run for private investors, and so ideally they go for public money as a subsidy to finance it. I wonder if this will happen.
      Godzilla is 93% now owned by AJucas. Damn spelling mistake. Its Caudrilla.
      Far bigger companies than AJLucas have lost more money on such a risky bet.
      Public money for the loser as compensation?
      They’d try anything for cash.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.