Cuadrilla, one of the UK’s leading shale gas firms, is majority owned by entities based in offshore tax havens, a Greenpeace investigation has found.
The analysis of financial data and companies house filings also reveals that 40% of existing oil and gas exploration licenses have been awarded to exploration partnerships in which at least one company is owned offshore.
The news comes as the government prepares to announce the next round of licenses to drill onshore for oil and gas.
This includes companies based in tax havens such as Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands, all of which were recently placed on an EU tax haven blacklist for being “non-cooperative” with efforts to combat tax avoidance.
45% of Cuadrilla is held by Riverstone Holdings through a Cayman Islands-based investment fund, while another 45% is held by Australian company AJ Lucas, which is 50% owned and substantially bankrolled by Kerogen Capital, registered in the Caymans.
Other leading fracking firms owned by companies registered offshore include Third Energy – which is owned by a division of Barclays bank based in the Cayman Islands – and Celtique Energie, which has sought to frack in South Downs national park.