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.
See also: Almost half of firms awarded blocks in 14th round overseas owned or based abroad
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.
Oil and natural gas operations have been shown to contaminate surface and ground water with endocrine-disrupting chemicals. In the current study, we fill several gaps in our understanding of the potential environmental impacts related to this process. We measured the endocrine-disrupting activities of 24 chemicals used and/or produced by oil and gas operations for five nuclear receptors using a reporter gene assay in human endometrial cancer cells. We also quantified the concentration of 16 of these chemicals in oil and gas wastewater samples. Finally, we assessed reproductive and developmental outcomes in male C57BL/6J mice after the prenatal exposure to a mixture of these chemicals. We found that 23 commonly used oil and natural gas operation chemicals can activate or inhibit the estrogen, androgen, glucocorticoid, progesterone, and/or thyroid receptors, and mixtures of these chemicals can behave synergistically, additively, or antagonistically in vitro. Prenatal exposure to a mixture of 23 oil and gas operation chemicals at 3, 30, and 300 μ g/kg · d caused decreased sperm counts and increased testes, body, heart, and thymus weights and increased serum T in male mice, suggesting multiple organ system impacts. Our results suggest possible adverse developmental and reproductive health outcomes in humans and animals exposed to potential environmentally relevant levels of oil and gas operation chemicals.
Campaigners warned of ‘battles’ to defend the countryside last night as vast new areas of England were left facing the possibility of being fracked.
Licences for 27 areas, mostly in northern England and the Midlands, including near Nottingham, Sheffield, Lincoln and Preston, have been awarded to companies to explore for oil and gas.
A further 132 areas, including parts of the West Country, the South Coast, the North East and North West, will follow suit subject to further environmental assessment and conditions to protect wildlife and habitats.
Around 1,000 square miles of England are covered by the 27 confirmed licences, with a further 5,000 square miles subject to consultation. It comes after measures to fast-track planning applications for fracking were revealed, with ministers able to step in and take over decision-making from local councils.
Fracking involves injecting water, chemicals and sand into shale rock to release the gas trapped within. Energy minister Lord Bourne said backing onshore oil and gas, and the safe development of the shale gas industry, would help build a more resilient economy, create jobs and secure energy supplies.
Has David Cameron instructed DECC to omit his Witney constituency from the areas currently under offer in the 14th round of onshore licensing? Below is a map of his constituency shown in blue, with adjacent constituencies outlined in black. The red boundaries with the hatched areas mark the 14th round offer acreage on offer. The acreage is made up of 10 km x 10 km blocks, based on the Ordnance Survey grid. The ‘island’ square to the east of Witney comprises nine such blocks. Existing onshore oil and gas exploration wells are shown by the red dots. DECC will be announcing the licence awards within the next couple of months.
Inexplicably, DECC has omitted from the offer a big swathe of eastern England, extending from David Cameron’s Witney constituency eastwards to the coast of East Anglia. I say ‘inexplicably’, because there is nothing about the geology of this region that particularly warrants its exclusion.
Fracking is likely to reduce local house prices, increase noise and damage the landscape in rural communities, according to a report officials tried to censor.
An internal document evaluating drilling for gas onshore has now been published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) following a battle with campaigners.
A version of it released last summer was censored 63 times in just 13 pages, prompting accusations the Government was seeking to cover-up the impacts of fracking – a controversial process in which shale rock is cracked open at high pressure to release gas and oil.
Defra has now published the full report, which reveals house prices ‘are likely to fall’ by up to 7 per cent and warns that properties may need ‘insurance to cover losses in case of explosion at the site’.
The publication of the report was ordered by the Information Commissioner’s Office, which said its release was ‘in the public interest’.
A federal judge in Wyoming has put a stay on new rules governing hydraulic fracturing on public lands, just before they were about to come into effect Wednesday. Four states and two industry groups have sued to block the rules as too restrictive.
US District Judge Scott Skavdahl placed a temporary hold on the rules’ implementation until July 22, giving the government a month to better articulate its case. Skavdahl stopped short of issuing an injunction sought by the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and the Western Energy Alliance, who were joined by Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota and Utah in seeking to block the rules from taking effect.
“We’re obviously very pleased. The judge is being very careful,” Kathleen Sgamma of the Western Energy Alliance told the Casper Star Tribune.
“While the matter is being resolved, the BLM will follow the court’s order and will continue to process applications for permit to drill and inspect well sites under its pre-existing regulations,” said Department of the Interior spokeswoman Jessica Kershaw, referring to the Bureau of Land Management, an agency governing the use of federally owned land.
Read more http://rt.com/usa/269431-wyoming-fracking-federal-rules/
Fracking should be allowed at one of two sites on the Fylde coast in Lancashire, a report has recommended.
Lancashire County Council’s most senior planning officer was responding to an application by energy firm Cuadrilla to extract shale gas at Little Plumpton and Roseacre Wood.
The application for Little Plumpton has been recommended for approval. Roseacre Wood has been recommended for refusal.
The final decisions will be taken by councillors next week.
The recommendation of approval is for test fracking at the site. If Cuadrilla intends to undertake commercial fracking it would require a separate application.
If approved it would be the first time a council has backed an application to frack, drill and test flow the gas and the first fracking since tests near Blackpool were deemed the mors “likely cause” of earth tremors in 2011.
Read more http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-33132569