Cuadrilla is a privately owned company with headquarters in the United Kingdom. The company was founded in 2007, financed with investment from the Australian engineering company A.J. Lucas and the Anglo-American equity firm Riverstone Holdings. As of March 2016 it is owned 45% by AJ Lucas, and equally by Riverstone LLC, while Cuadrilla management owns the remaining 10%. In 2009, Riverstone had settled corruption charges in New York through its partner The Carlyle Group.
Its chairman is Lord Browne, former chief of BP and President of The Royal Academy of Engineering from 2006−2011.The chief executive is Francis Egan. Cuadrilla is Spanish for group or party, and is pronounced in English roughly as /kwəˈdriːjə/.
As of 2013, the company held licences for ten sites in the UK and had drilled three wells, all in Lancashire, one of which has been hydraulically fractured since 1993 by a previous owner; The company produces gas from that well, completed in sandstone.Grange Hill, Singleton: Cuadrilla drilled in 2011, and in September 2011 announced the discovery of 200 trillion cubic feet of gas in place under the Fylde Coast in Lancashire. Cuadrilla hoped to recover 10–20% of the gas. and that it could provide 5,600 jobs in the UK at the peak of production. At the same time Lord Browne claimed that the Lancashire discovery could satisfy the UK's gas consumption "for 56 years",
In 2012 media reported that the find was "so rich it could meet Britain's needs for decades", that shale gas in Lancashire alone could deliver £6bn of gas a year for the next three decades, and that it had "the potential to do more for Lancashire than the cotton industry." The British Geological Survey, responsible for producing UK's mineral resource inventories, and far more cautious in its estimates, re-evaluated its projections in light of the find.
As of February 2013 Cuadrilla estimated that Lancashire's shale gas could have a market value of £136 billion. and in July 2013, Cuadrilla applied for a permit to hydraulic fracturing of the well it drilled at Grange Hill.
In April 2014, Cuadrilla published news of their continuing consultation with residents shale gas exploration sites in the Fylde. existing gas well at Elswick, near one of its sites in Lancashire, was fracked 20 years ago by its then owners, British Gas
Weeton, Lancashire: The company drilled a well and two small earthquakes were caused by its hydraulic fracturing in April 2011. One of the earthquakes was large enough to be felt by some people at the surface. The earthquakes led to a government-ordered moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, which has since been lifted. As of 2013, this is the only well hydraulically fractured by Cuadrilla.
Elswick: The gas well had been drilled and hydraulically fractured by British Gas in 1993. The gas extracted from sandstone has been used to generate electricity for the national grid. Bought by Cuadrilla in 2010. Cuadrilla has frequently used this as a showpiece site. Cuadrilla's promotional use of Elswick brought it into conflict with the Advertising Standards Authority (United Kingdom).
Other sites:Becconsall, Banks: drilled in 2011. Cuadrilla plans further testing of the well.
Kirkham: planning permission only.
Westby: Cuadrilla plans to apply for permission to drill a horizontal well and test with hydraulic fracturing.
Hale Hall Farm, Wharles: planning permission only.
A proposed test well, half a mile from Balcombe in West Sussex, scheduled for summer 2013, was the scene of protests. Caudrilla had explained that the drilling would last no more than four months and would not involve fracking, however they were to use acid washing to open natural fractures. Their planning permission was to expire on 28 September 2013. They were to take samples of rock at around 900m (3,000 feet). Cuadrilla suspended its drilling plans in August 2013 after consulting with the Sussex police, citing "threats of direct action against the exploration site". The company said that the halt was done in the interests of safety of the drilling crew, the protesters, and the public.
Other sites:Cowden, Kent: originally drilled by another company in 1999. Cuadrilla has no current plans for the site.
Lingfield, Surrey: expired planning permission only
Since 2012, Cuadrilla has held a hydrocarbon exploration licence ("Pionki licence") over an 827 square-kilometer area in Poland with the northern half or "Lublin Trough" containing Devonian and carboniferous shales and the southern half or the "Radom-Krasnik High" containing Silurian and Devonian shales.
Cuadrilla has also pursued exploration activities in the Netherlands. In Noordoostpolder 202,379 acres composed of Namurian shales are predicted to contain multi trillion cubic feet (TCF) shale gas and in Noord Brabant 476,666 acres of Carboniferous, Triassic, Jurassic shales are thought to contain tight gas, shale gas, and oil shale.
Cuadrilla has been known to pursue exploration in Hungary. In Tompa 38,796 acres composed of recomplete Miocene were described to contain multi TCF Basin Centred TGS.
Controversies surrounding the earthquakes at Weeton, Lancashire, and the protests at Balcombe, West Sussex, are described above.
Cuadrilla gave evidence to the British parliament in Westminster in 2011, based on an analysis by Pöyry consultancy, that using the shale gas reserves in Lancashire could lower British natural gas prices by as much as four percent, and indirectly lower electricity prices. However, at a 2013 meeting in Sussex Cuadrilla's public relations spokesman Mark Linder of Bell Pottinger said "We've done an analysis and it's [the influence on prices] a very small…at the most it's a very small percentage…basically insignificant."
In April 2013, the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) compelled Cuadrilla to withdraw a brochure published the previous year following a complaint by anti-fracking group Refracktion concerning 18 statements it argued were misleading, of which the ASA upheld 6, plus one in part. Cuadrilla reportedly hired Westbourne Communications to assist with its efforts to promote fracking.