Barclays-backed fracking firm is ‘in meltdown’ after two directors quit

Keith Cochrane and Frack Free Ryedale logo
Glen Black

One of Britain’s major fracking firms has just announced the loss of two directors and a PR firm. And one campaigner said this was the sign of a company “in meltdown”.

Troubled past

Keith Cochrane and Lord Jitesh Gadhia quit Third Energy on 12 September. The pair joined in September 2017 as chairman and senior independent director respectively. Rasik Valand, CEO of Third Energy, said in a press release at the time:

I am delighted to welcome Keith and Jitesh to our team at Third Energy as we take the company to the next stage of its development.

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But Third Energy came under fire in January after Carillion collapsed. Cochrane was interim chief executive of the failed construction company. And the fracking firm faced more problems later in the month after the government said it couldn’t begin work until it proved its “financial resilience”.

Barclays-backed Third Energy has had a licence to frack at Kirby Misperton, in the Ryedale district of North Yorkshire, since May 2016. But its plans first hit delays in December 2017 due to legal hiccups.

In a statement, Third Energy admitted Cochrane and Gadhia’s exit was due to these delays. It told DrillOrDrop:

As the hydraulic fracturing programme and further development is currently delayed, with resulting low levels of activity, the Company has accepted the directors’ resignations.

Russell Scott of Frack Free Ryedale told DrillOrDrop:

It is no surprise these two directors are retreating from what is clearly a company in meltdown.

The Guardian reported that Third Energy has also stopped hiring PR firm Newgate Communications.

Fracking on the ropes?

On 12 September, Ryedale District Council shunned government proposals to allow fracking without planning permission. Frack Free Ryedale said the move “sent a strong message to Westminster”. And on 18 September, more than 20 Conservative MPs threatened to rebel against these same proposals.

Featured image via YouTube and Yorkshire’s Fracking Frontline/Flickr

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Glen Black